Hanging Ceiling Panels

Quick, useful tip on hanging architectural panels on ceilings with a modified French cleat. April 5, 2011

I have to install 4' x 8' laminated 3/4 MDF panels to create a ceiling in a commercial store. It is the general contractor’s responsibility to supply/install any preparation needed for me to install my panels? My original idea was for him to provide me with a plywood ceiling, and then use some sort of Z clips to install my panels.

After researching for what Z clips to use all are spec’d out for wall installations and I'm becoming concerned with the strength of the z clip being used for a ceiling installation. I was hoping someone here might have some experience with a similar situation and might have some suggestions as to what hardware to use and or other possible ways to install these panels.

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor V:
Can you get someone up in the ceiling to screw it from above?

From the original questioner:
No, only a 4" to 8" clearance above.

From contributor V:
Another way I've done it is with a modified French cleat made out of plywood. You use opposing rebates instead of the traditional 45 degree angle giving yourself a little more wiggle room. You arrange the cleats in a V shape so you can align the panel and slide it into place. It engages much more smoothly and positively than a panel clip. You can secure the ceiling side of the cleat with PL premium and when you are assured of fit and alignment use PL in the cleat’s to make sure the panel stays put.

From the original questioner:
I can't thank you enough. Your idea is the simplest, and best of all I could fabricate it myself.