Home & Garden

Embassy suspended ceiling

  • Last Updated:
  • Dec 18th, 2019 12:43 pm
13 replies
Deal Guru
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Mar 23, 2008
10134 posts
6435 upvotes
Edmonton
We're planning on taking advantage of the sale to finish the ceilings in our basement, after ripping out the drywall to reconfigure the HVAC during our reno. No experience with it yet.

The pluses for me include the flexibility of a drop ceiling with regards to running wire or anything else, but better looking and less ceiling height lost. Cost isn't a big deal; I suspect we can get by with 3 or 4 bundles. Costco cost is $1/sq ft less than HD or Lowes at regular price, even less (obviously) when on sale like this

C
Sr. Member
Mar 19, 2013
696 posts
207 upvotes
Prince Albert, Sask.
Nice looking ceiling. I have top end Armstrong ceiling. 5 years love it. Still looks great. If you install this product, maybe down the road, it looks paintable. Looks like a great choice.
Deal Expert
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Dec 26, 2005
16633 posts
1608 upvotes
Thornhill
I installed one a few weeks ago. Two units of that Costco stuff.

Super easy to do, but keep in mind that it's MDF: if you bash in a corner, you can't fix it. This isn't bad since the corners of tiles are hidden, but if you bash in the ends of the crossbars, they are visible.

If your room is wider than 8', then you need to extend the main crossbars but abutting them. There is a small tongue and groove at the ends, and theoretically they are supposed to fit together well, but they don't. The abutments are visible and I may need to patch them up with caulk or something.

If you cut the secondary crossbars, the instructions say to screw on a scrap piece to the back so that the face is flush with the face of the main crossbars, but they don't. They are visibly different.

This MDF is pretty hard (1/4"). Cutting holes for air diffusers, heat registers, and lights requires work. I did my cuts with a sharp Bosch hole saw, and it was difficult to control if the teeth caught unevenly. Spin saw might have been easier.

Cutting MDF leaves lots of dust, so wear your mask.

In the end, I'm not going to spend my day looking at the ceiling, so this system is a time saver. Looks better than those office 2'x4' tiles. And it's really a low profile drop ceiling which I wanted. Pretty expensive bough, but it was a small area.

bjl
What we do in life echoes in Eternity... and in Google cache.
RFD discounts for Schluter products
Deal Fanatic
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May 5, 2007
5306 posts
1140 upvotes
416
Starting my research for our basement reno and most likely will just drywall the ceiling as we didn't want to do a suspended one. This is a pretty nice alternative. Might have to check out. From the description it looks like this needs at least 1.75" of clearance. Are there any other products that require less clearance?
[OP]
Jr. Member
Oct 15, 2009
170 posts
74 upvotes
t3359 wrote: I installed one a few weeks ago. Two units of that Costco stuff.

Super easy to do, but keep in mind that it's MDF: if you bash in a corner, you can't fix it. This isn't bad since the corners of tiles are hidden, but if you bash in the ends of the crossbars, they are visible.

If your room is wider than 8', then you need to extend the main crossbars but abutting them. There is a small tongue and groove at the ends, and theoretically they are supposed to fit together well, but they don't. The abutments are visible and I may need to patch them up with caulk or something.

If you cut the secondary crossbars, the instructions say to screw on a scrap piece to the back so that the face is flush with the face of the main crossbars, but they don't. They are visibly different.

This MDF is pretty hard (1/4"). Cutting holes for air diffusers, heat registers, and lights requires work. I did my cuts with a sharp Bosch hole saw, and it was difficult to control if the teeth caught unevenly. Spin saw might have been easier.

Cutting MDF leaves lots of dust, so wear your mask.

In the end, I'm not going to spend my day looking at the ceiling, so this system is a time saver. Looks better than those office 2'x4' tiles. And it's really a low profile drop ceiling which I wanted. Pretty expensive bough, but it was a small area.

bjl
Thanks for the review. Seems like a good choice for a small room but not so great for a large room. If you knew all this before buying, would you still do it ?
Deal Expert
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Dec 26, 2005
16633 posts
1608 upvotes
Thornhill
Aggy wrote: Starting my research for our basement reno and most likely will just drywall the ceiling as we didn't want to do a suspended one. This is a pretty nice alternative. Might have to check out. From the description it looks like this needs at least 1.75" of clearance. Are there any other products that require less clearance?
Snapclip was the alternative I was considering.

bjl
What we do in life echoes in Eternity... and in Google cache.
RFD discounts for Schluter products
Deal Expert
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Dec 26, 2005
16633 posts
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Thornhill
givememoney wrote: Thanks for the review. Seems like a good choice for a small room but not so great for a large room. If you knew all this before buying, would you still do it ?
Yup. Probably not a lot of other choices out there.

bjl
What we do in life echoes in Eternity... and in Google cache.
RFD discounts for Schluter products
Deal Addict
Sep 26, 2007
1123 posts
225 upvotes
Gatineau
Snapclip crossbars and panels are different materials and that will show. Embassy is all MDF.
Snapclip requires slightly less clearance at 1 inch but Embassy is just 1.75 inch.
On snapclip recessed lighting will sag, not on embassy.
I have installed the Embassy in 3 basement rooms and I find it's great. Perfect? No. The points mentioned above are sonewhat true, but often do you give such a detailed look at your ceiling? The general look is great. Would not change it. Easy to access the joists.
One of my rooms was about 20 x 8. Works great.
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Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 10, 2008
4356 posts
820 upvotes
Toronto
I'm buying the Embassy grid and clips, then DIY'ing the 1/4 tiles

Saving about 50% going this route. Most of the cost of the Embassy system is the tiles.
Let's hug it out
[OP]
Jr. Member
Oct 15, 2009
170 posts
74 upvotes
RCGA wrote: I'm buying the Embassy grid and clips, then DIY'ing the 1/4 tiles

Saving about 50% going this route. Most of the cost of the Embassy system is the tiles.
What will you do for titles ?? MDF that you will cut yourself ?
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 10, 2008
4356 posts
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Toronto
givememoney wrote: What will you do for titles ?? MDF that you will cut yourself ?
4x8 sheets of 1/4 MDF, cut down on the table saw. Doesn't have to be perfect since the ends are hidden.

Paint the tiles and rails the same color. Done.

The room I'm doing is 25x16 and I'm saving about $800

I'd make my own 2ft rail spacers, too, if I can find the right thickness MDF (glue up two pieces for your tongue and groove)
Let's hug it out
Deal Addict
May 5, 2008
4986 posts
1702 upvotes
Winnipeg
RCGA wrote: 4x8 sheets of 1/4 MDF, cut down on the table saw. Doesn't have to be perfect since the ends are hidden.

Paint the tiles and rails the same color. Done.

The room I'm doing is 25x16 and I'm saving about $800

I'd make my own 2ft rail spacers, too, if I can find the right thickness MDF (glue up two pieces for your tongue and groove)
Did the same..but got Rona to cut them but used steel track.
Member
User avatar
Jan 26, 2011
463 posts
186 upvotes
Gatineau
Sorry to bump an almost 3-year old thread, but this is the first results that popped up when I did a google search on this product and thought I would update it with my experience.

I purchased this at Reno-Depot (Lowes) when they had a 20% off promotion during Black Friday. I had two rooms to do, one is larger with angles, the other one is two rectangle sections separated by a beam (hidden by drywall). I managed to do everything all by myself, the key element is to get a straight line when you start but with a chalk line that you can screw on one end, it was relatively simple. The first room I did in two days but if we were two one day would have been enough. It was just screw the supports, cut the crossbars, all in all very simple. The second room which is larger took me a day to screw all the supports, then one day to install the crossbars, except that room had a section with an angle and that took me almost an entire day, which was not expected. One thing I noticed is that without realizing it my walls were not straight and I can see the crossbar is bending from the right angle, instead of having to deal with a large hole. I thought the crossbar could flex up/down but not sideways.

To save on materials I managed to re-use a lot of the main crossbars scraps to make secondary crossbars duplicating the tails on a table saw (using screws like they say was hell, the MDF split even if I pre-drilled the holes), so all my scrap filled out half of a 18" x 18" x 18" box, and I have about a dozen tiles that are 10" x 23.5" long that I might use on another project to build shelves.

There is no need for the heavier recessed lights nowadays with the spring loaded slim LEDs, I installed a few of those and they will hold very well to the 1/4" MDF without the need to add another layer like in the instruction video.

It's not perfect as others have mentioned, since the MDF is not painted but has some kind of plastic glued to it, it might be hard to hide damaged spots with paint, I found it is fairly resistant to scratches however so that shouldn't be too much of an issue.

I also noticed the tiles attract dust quite easily, perhaps because I was using my mitre saw in the same room, but even after I thought I cleaned them up with the ShopVac after I installed the lights I noticed they all had a small film on them. I'll have to clean them up with some cleaning products and a microfibre. Hopefully that was only because of the dusty environment and will not keep attracting it.

Overall I am very happy with the product, in my opinion it looks a LOT better than most standard suspended ceiling tiles, I'm not sure how much more costly it was compared to a more regular installation as I didn't consider the other options once I saw this, but since installation was a breeze and there was no real requirement to keep things level, the time I saved might be worth the cost difference.

I had this delivered to my house but to my surprise it was all on a single pallet... so if you don't want to pay $60 for delivery it will definitely fit in a car as long as you can fit an 8' long box and don't mind doing two trips.

For tools, you will need a mitre saw if you have to cut angles, but I would recommend one anyways as the 90 degree cuts are so much easier. You will need a table saw for cutting the tiles, in the video they use a mitre saw and flip the board, but you would need a 12" sliding saw, so rent one or borrow one it will make your life easier and reduce the risk of mistakes.

Then a drill of course, but get a bit holder that has a sliding screw holder, it will make things much faster as you hold the guide tool in one hand and screw with the other. The guide is a rip-off at close to $10, it's just an MDF board cut to a specific size, but it's not worth making your own and having to redo everything because you're a quarter inch short.

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