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Question DetailsAsked on 2/21/2018

the 12x12 squares in my garage man cave are falling, moist temp in FL, what can I replace them with

garage went up probably 10 years ago and now the tiles are starting to fall down, thinking it is a moisture problem. It is insulated but still has above open attic area. NO way to control moisture..

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I would guess these were put up with mastic (usually beige or off-white or brownish-tan, looks like hardened white glue), which tends to dry out and break free over the years. I would look at where they came off - and in particular try a few and see if they are loose enough that they can be pulled down, and see if there is moisture on the back or darkness on the underlying surface indicating dampness on them.

Generally, assuming the garage and attic are not air conditioned. there would not be cause for moisture buildup at that point, UNLESS you have roof leakage. Probably a good idea to check the attic for any signs of moisture, leaks in roof, mildew or mold, etc. This might be an early indication of a water problem. And of course, if these are spread all over the ceiling then drying adhesive or overall area humidity would be the presumed cause, if concentrated in one area then a leak in the attic would be suspect - leaky roof, water heater or boiler leak if up there, plugged up A/C drain, etc possibly.

If garage IS air conditioned, then with a humid attic above those tiles could act as a condensation surface - with warm moist attic air condensing on the back of the air-conditioned cold tiles (hence the suggestion to find a few you can pull free to look for any sign of current dampness on the back).

IF air conditioned garage, assuming these are rigid surface tiles, not a good idea. If the acoustic ceiling tiles - fiberboard or fiberglass insulation with lots of holes in the surface, those are moisture permeable enough that they should not have that problem, and might just be falling because the adhesive is the wrong kind or old.

If no moisture problem at the interface or you fix any attic leakage causing the moisture, you could pull them all down and replace with a suspended ceiling with acoustic ceiling tiles, with drywall - either cleaning up what is there or scraping smooth and then overlaying with 1/4" Type X to give a clean surface to paint, or cleaning up the surface enough to allow for applying texturing to the drywall which is presumbly under the tiles..

Also, again if no reason to suspect moisture problem there, could just figure it is adhesive failure (assuming the tiles are letting loose of the adhesive rather than the drywall paper being damp and peeling off the gypsum) and re-adhere the tiles in place using an adhesive like Titebond Acoustical Tile Ceiling Adhesive (if acoustic tiles) or for non-acoustical vinyl or similar tiles, Locktite Powergrab or LiquidNails Vinyl Tile adhesive. BE sure to dedust the backs of tiles and the drywall before trying to reinstall.

Course, if you go that route, you will be replacing them bit by bit as they fail - you could try peeling off any ones whichj are loose adjacent to the gap where each one falls out to minimize the incidence of this (doing as many as peel off easy when one falls off), but trying to take them all down at once is likely to result in a bunch of those still adhering fairly well being damaged and having to be replaced, which could be a real problem trying to find matches so would probably mean all new tiles.

If you go with a new suspended ceiling, unless these are inordinately heavy tiles, could just be left up there and allowed to fall down on top of the suspended ceiling as they come loose - EXCEPT should deliberately remove any which could fall on top of light fixtures and cause overheating or melt and cause a fire. Suspended type ceiling should be ventilated type - with deliberate ventilation slots, usually crosswise across the center and around the edges, to ventilate that plenum. (Commonly done with ventilation grid pieces - sections of supporting grid which are wider and have a ventilation slot in them. If you put in a number of trougher flourescents or similar lights with open slots alongside, then you only need the ventilation gaps around the perimeter.

Note - if talking fiberglass acoustic ceiling tiles, with bare loose (as opposed to rigid glued mat) fiberglass on the back, they don't glue up well anyway because over time the fibers tend to pull out of the mat and let them fall.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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