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Here's an easy suggestion (from someone who just did exactly this)

Posted by Ed F on October 26th, 2001 07:06 AM
In reply to how to install a drop ceiling in my basement by charlie c on October 24th, 2001 09:45 PM [Go to top of thread]

Sure the laser-level is great, and makes for a good installation, but if you've got to go out and rent one of these, you'll probably want to hurry the job to get the laser back to the rental store.
Depending on the age/condition of your home, just measure down from the sub-floor above. I'm sure your floor is level (otherwise you wouldn't be spending your time in the basement!
I determined where my runners would go, screwed a length of wire to the joist (didn't always land properly, so I screwed to the floor above) then used a good quality metal ruler to measure down a specified length and bent the wire at 90-degrees. As I got good at this, I just put some electrical tape around the ruler where I wanted the bend to be, and went from there.
The lay-out/centering can be a little difficult, especially depending on the tile size and # of lights. My walls were a little complex in their layout, and I to drop the ceiling an additional 6" to get around some duct-work, so I didn't do it the 'right' way, and just started in a corner and worked out from there.
If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line.

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