Mathematically lucky for us, our room measures 12'x18' and the tin tiles come in 2'x2' squares. Our first order of business was to find the center of the room. We used a snapline to snap vertical and horizontal guidelines at center. From there we snapped a 2x2 grid across the whole ceiling. We started in the one center square that did not require us to cut any holes for lights. We progressed from there on an east-west grid through the first row. Then we came back to the center-ish tile to commence the second row.We heeded the advice of fellow housebloggers on a couple things:
1. We used an adhesive on the backs of the tiles for extra sticking power
2. We drilled pilot holes for the manufacturer-supplied cone-head nails to make it easier to nail in and decrease the number of swings necessary (thereby reducing the odds we'd accidentally dent our semi-fragile tiles). Here are our first two:
We didn't get too far before we had to cut a hole for one of the can lights. This was a team effort. Eric would measure where the center of the 4.5" can light would fall on the tile and we'd mark 4 points (N,S, E,W) to guide the cutting. Then Eric drilled a large hole in the center of the marks. Here I took over with the tin snips and cut a circle approximating the shape of the can opening (tin snips are a little unwieldy and not precise, but accurate enough):
1. The factory finished tiles (ours came from MBoss, Inc. in clear coat) have a barely visible orientation, meaning that the finish leaves a detectable direction in which it was applied. We were careful that every tile we put up had the finish facing in the same direction.
2. The tiles are overlapped in setting and we determined that the overlap should be towards the rear and west of the house so that the seams are invisible from the main room through the arch.