I understand that ceiling tiles rely on gravity and a counter-force exerted by a metal frame to hold ceiling tiles in place.

That being said, I have a gaping square hole in a workshop ceiling that the fire inspector indicates that it is in my interest to seal up with a panel:

enter image description here

The photo shows three metal and one wood beams that could be used to suspend / hang a panel, however, I do not want to permanently "pin' the panel. Is there a clever method pin a panel (or if necessary two panels)? Methods, ideas with 'concrete' examples are appreciated. Thank you

I installed a small low voltage bracket with wings yesterday:

enter image description here

would the pinning technique utilized by the Carlon bracket enable the panel to hang and be removable? Perhaps this technique (and parts to implement) are already in practice?

  • 1
    Easiest would be to just screw an oversize(a couple of inches) panel on, without no tape/mud. Just need to unscrew when needed. Second nicer way is to make an access door/hatch.
    – crip659
    Sep 27, 2021 at 14:29
  • a clever method, sure, a clever method that that meets fire code may be harder.
    – Jasen
    Sep 27, 2021 at 22:27

1 Answer 1


There do exist removable plumbing access covers with a spring latch mechanism. They're easy to install and remove, but generally smaller than the opening here and wouldn't work out well. Larger access doors are often metal with a nice frame, but it looks like you need something about 33" long -- that might be both costly and hard to find.

More than anything the answer to "how to do this with drywall?" depends on what's acceptable for the completed appearance. IIRC fire rules require joints to be taped; any arrangement in which a gap is visible is probably out of the question. I'll propose a solution with trim covering the gap.

Choose a trim board you like. It might be millwork like a window casing or base board, or just plain rectangular stock. Buy enough to craft a frame covering the perimeter of the opening.

A common attic access hole would have this trim nailed to the ceiling so that it supports a drywall access panel laid on top (just like a ceiling tile system). Obviously you can't do that here because there are ceiling members in the way. So glue the trim to the access panel instead. Any sort of construction adhesive should do.

When the glue has set, hold the access panel in place and drive several screws through into the ceiling members above. I suggest placing the screws through the trim wood because it'll be more resilient to repeated removal and installation of the screws than drywall would be.

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