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Is it safe to remove a ceiling tile in an apartment building? 🏢

SoftwareEng

Senior member
Apr 24, 2005
551
4
81
Greetings all!

Is it safe to remove a "hanging ceiling tile" in an apt building - I'm concerned with possible gases/toxins in the air above them. It's the same tiles you find in your non-telework office.

Above them is just empty space of the multi-apt building, with some dust. It's not painted. It's pretty raw up there (not what she said). I want to leave it open or install a window-type exhaust fan.

I'd be this guy, albeit much better looking:

1627591807171.png
 
Last edited:

lxskllr

No Lifer
Nov 30, 2004
54,882
4,854
126
There could be facehuggers up there too, but you don't know. First step is get the air in the space analyzed, then proceed depending on results. In any case, above the ceiling is better than below.
 
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nakedfrog

No Lifer
Apr 3, 2001
51,841
4,307
126
There could be facehuggers up there too, but you don't know. First step is get the air in the space analyzed, then proceed depending on results. In any case, above the ceiling is better than below.
That's a good point, he should probably use the only sure way to make sure there are no facehuggers.

 
Feb 4, 2009
31,125
11,568
136
From various places I have managed above drop ceilings is typically pretty nasty. There is always tons of dust and dead bugs. Worst offender had an uncountable amount of dead mice or mouse skeletons. Big apartment building above the basement retail space mice would drop from above and get trapped. Really disturbing to see all the carcasses. Before anyone asks I have a pest guy come out and clean them up, he also replaced all the tiles.

removing a tile that does not require fasteners or cutting or damage anything in a rental is fine. That tile needs to be back in place without damage when you leave. Those tiles are typically pretty cheap but you need to buy packs of them and matching the texture can be challenging, you may be better off paying a fine if you break it.
Adding a fan could be a violation, adding a wired fan and modifying the structure is certainly violating the lease unless you have one of those funky business leases where landlord takes care of roof and outside walls and you take care of everything inside and are free to modify as you choose provided it is safe and legal. This typically comes with a stipulation that licenses electricians need to do electric work or plumbers to plumbing and so on.
Basically check your lease and do not cut or remove or modify anything on the structure especially cutting a hole in a wall to add a vent.

I am confused as to what needs to be vented up there.
 

Red Squirrel

No Lifer
May 24, 2003
60,537
8,947
126
www.uovalor.com
Those tiles are load bearing, if you take even one out, the entire building can go out of square and it will cause all sorts of structural issues and you'll be held liable for it. No but seriously, if you think there are toxic gases in there, those tiles don't exactly make a perfect seal so you'd be in danger either way. In commercial applications they tend to use that area as the return plenum, essentially instead of piping a return into a vent they'll just have some tiles be vents, and the return of the hvac will just be left open inside the ceiling. So you already probably do have air circulating in there.
 
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Captante

Lifer
Oct 20, 2003
19,154
2,731
126
Those tiles are load bearing, if you take even one out, the entire building can go out of square and it will cause all sorts of structural issues and you'll be held liable for it. No but seriously, if you think there are toxic gases in there, those tiles don't exactly make a perfect seal so you'd be in danger either way. In commercial applications they tend to use that area as the return plenum, essentially instead of piping a return into a vent they'll just have some tiles be vents, and the return of the hvac will just be left open inside the ceiling. So you already probably do have air circulating in there.

Sad truth is that these days it really wouldn't be all that shocking to discover "structural-styrofoam" in a building.

o_O
 

IronWing

No Lifer
Jul 20, 2001
62,386
15,684
136
If there is water staining showing on the tiles then there’s an excellent chance for mold up there. Nuking it really is the only way to deal with mold.
 

Red Squirrel

No Lifer
May 24, 2003
60,537
8,947
126
www.uovalor.com
Sad truth is that these days it really wouldn't be all that shocking to discover "structural-styrofoam" in a building.

o_O
Lol I can't recall if it was the Florida building or another one, where they found newspaper shoved in voids that were supposed to be filled with concrete. Anything to save a buck.
 
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Amol S.

Golden Member
Mar 14, 2015
1,303
276
136
Greetings all!

Is it safe to remove a "hanging ceiling tile" in an apt building - I'm concerned with possible gases/toxins in the air above them. It's the same tiles you find in your non-telework office.

Above them is just empty space of the multi-apt building, with some dust. It's not painted. It's pretty raw up there (not what she said). I want to leave it open or install a window-type exhaust fan.

I'd be this guy, albeit much better looking:

View attachment 47987
Drop down ceilings are a sign that there is asbestos being used on the actual ceiling.
 

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