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How much weight can ceiling tile rails hold?

The question says it all, I need to know this because I need to hang something up that weighs about 100-120 pounds. I need to know which section of the grid of ceiling girders holds the most weight. The long sections between the intersections?The short sections between the intersections?Or the intersections themselves?If you dont remember what that looks like, think of your elementary school or work office. Yeah. those kinds of ceiling tiles, just the plain old styrofoam style stuff.I need an answer from a legitimate source, not a guestimation.


It depends on the installation. I would expect 100-120 pounds to be too much for almost all installations. 20-30 pounds is easily possible on almost all if supported over several feet of the rail and not just hung from one or two of the grid clamps sold for the purpose of putting up signs or displays. For example, the circular air conditioning outlets used in some stores that are connected by flexible ducts to the main ducts and the fluorescent light fixtures that lay in the openings weigh about 10 pounds. The variation is due to the location of the hanging wires for the grid and what the weight is doing. I would expect a hanging point directly under a vertical 16 ga. wire running up to the building structure/roof would probably be able to take 40-50 pounds if the wire were well twisted at both ends - but the wires are often just pushed through the hole and bent with a single hook. I am certain that 100 pounds applied in the middle of a rail between two support points is going to bend the rail in any common installation. To hold that much weight safely, I think you are going to have to run a wire through a slot or hole in the tile, up through the upper structure and tie into the building directly, especially if there is any chance of movement by wind, AC air flow, or people bumping the suspended item.
Apr 14, 2017

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