"Chicago grid" drywall ceiling questions

I have been researching information about what some people call a "Chicago grid" drywall ceiling system. Apparently, they call it a Chicago grid because the metal framing for the ceiling to which the drywall is attached is made by Chicago Metallic Co. Other manufacturers such as Armstrong also make similar metal "drywall ceiling grid" systems.
For a number of reasons, I want to use this system for the ceiling in a basement apartment that I am having completely redone in a 3-unit apartment building that I own.
Since I have never done this type of ceiling before, I plan on hiring a contractor who knows how to do Chicago grid ceilings to do the rough-in of this ceiling. But, at the same time, I want to be able to watch and see how it is done and also have my own regular contractor watch or help with the installation so he too can see how these are done. I found a couple of local building supply places that sell the Chicago grid metal framing and I will be asking them for names of local contractors who buy the metal framing from them and who regularly do Chicago grid ceilings. Ideally, I would like to find an experienced contractor who will charge me by the day for the labor part of the job, and I will pay for the materials.
The apartment that needs the new ceiling has a living room, bedroom, kitchen, bath, and two closets -- all of which will be getting a Chicago grid drywall ceiling. I really only need the contractor for the metal framing part, and maybe to hang some or all of the drywall. My regular contractor knows how to hang drywall and can do all of the finish work -- taping, painting, etc.
My question is, does anyone have a rough idea of about how long it would take a contractor and a helper to do the metal framing on a 4 room apartment such as the one I am having redone? The total square feet of the 4 rooms is a little less than 500 square feet. I am thinking that a contractor could probably do all of the metal framing in less than a day, and maybe do the rough hanging of some of the sheetrock in the same day.
Does anyone know if that is about right?
For those who are unfamiliar with this ceiling system (as I was), it is basically similar to a regular drop ceiling system except the metal framing is stronger and the drywall gets screwed into the metal framing from underneath and the seams later taped and finished, rather than dropping panels in on top of the metal framing.
And, here are some links and YouTube videos about the system:
http://www.chicagometallic.com/productpdf/Drywall-PG.pdf

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yo3m9GO3pns

http://products.construction.com/manufacturer/chicago-metallic-corp-nst2215/products/spanfast-drywall-ceiling-grid-nst32093-p
http://www.armstrong.com/commceilingsna/article63637.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDJT3xvQC-g&NR=1


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v
Vcr8k31Ac
Thanks.
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That system is just like a drop ceiling, the fire rated ones will take longer to install because the grid members have to be strung up in more locations with additional support wires compared with non-rated ceiling applications...
500 square feet is an awfully small apartment so it shouldn't take too much time -- in fact like any room you are doing a ceiling system in the smaller the room the more of a pain in the ass it is...
Are you going to use the ceiling to support standard drop-in grid system lighting ? Might be worth considering to save adding light fixtures which would stick down into the room...
Anyone who does a fair amount of commercial building construction work doing suspended grid systems would be fine to do this project -- you would want someone who knows how to do the commercial ones rather than the residential grade stuff because you want it done right the first time as you aren't using tiles you could pop out to tighten something up which has come loose...
~~ Evan
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Evan wrote:

Since it is a small apartment, that is why I was thinking it probably shouldn't take more than a day to do all of the metal framing and begin to hang some of the sheetrock. But, I'm not sure about that.
The 4 room sizes are approximately:
Living Room 12x15 Bedroom 12x13 Kitchen 8x9 Bath 7x9

No. There will be 4 ceiling fixtures (one per room) -- including ceiling fans -- for which the electrical boxes will already be mounted on blocks. The blocks for these electrical boxes will already be in place at almost the correct ceiling height, but will be ready to be padded out to the exact height as soon at the metal grid is in place for each room. My regular contractor will be there to do this as the metal framing is going up.

I agree.
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Those are called day laborers and usually can be found early in the morning at some of the Borgs in big cities. Some speak English, some don't. English speaking ones will better understand what you need done. If you want to have a real contractor on the job, ask for references and get quotes. Forget about buying the material. He will probably be somewhat amused and decline the job, and the amount isn't worth haggling over.
Joe
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Joe wrote:

Thanks. I defintiely don't want a day laborer. I do want an experienced contractor who often does Chicago grid ceiling systems. My thinking is that it may cost around $400 to $500 per day for that type of person (based on maybe $50 to $62.50 per hour) for an experienced contractor -- but I'm not sure.
I didn't mean that I would buy the matierials to save money or whatever. I just meant that I would pay the person for his time plus whatever the cost of the materials turned out to be.
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Get a commercial ceiling hanger. If you want to save time and if you are able, establish level and install the perimeter wall angle in all rooms as this is a time consumer. If you had all the hanger wire installed it would save time, but I doubt you could get the hanger wire where required.
I doubt that anyone will take the time to explain what they are doing or why. Drywall grid doesn't have to be as "square" as a finish ceiling, but basic methods will probably provide about the same product. It is not rocket science and I would think you could have it up and done in the time you've already spent researching it. Maybe what you want is to pay commercial wages for a day to one man to teach you.
It is too lengthy a process to explain in an email, but there is plenty of information available: http://www.google.com/#hl=en&sugexp=llsfp&xhr=t&q=how+to+install+drop+ceiling&cp &pf=p&sclient=psy&aq=0&aqi=&aql=&oq=how+to+install+dro&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp9decee79d1fe4a
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DanG wrote:

Thanks. I don't really need the person to explain a lot. The regular contractor that I use already knows how to do regular drop ceilings, including the level ine, etc. So, he won't need to be taught that aprt of the job.
We basically just want to be able to see how the commercial contractor does the Chicago grid sheetrock ceiling stuff -- including what materials to buy, what spacing is required for proper support, etc. -- all of which I am sure is simialr to a regular drop ceiling but is not the same.

Exactly. Or, more specifically, to just do the metal ceiling grid and hang a few sheets of drywall while my regular contractor (and I) watch and help.

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&sugexp=llsfp&xhr=t&q=how+to+install+drop+ceiling&cp &pf=p&sclient=psy&aq=0&aqi=&aql=&oq=how+to+install+dro&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp9decee79d1fe4a Most of those links appear to relate to regular drop ceilings, which I know are similar, but not to Chicago grid drywall ceilings.
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Sorry, exact same process. The material is slightly wider, but other than that it is identical to hanging a drop ceiling.
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DanG
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DanG wrote:

Well, I assume that one difference may be in the spacing of the metal framing when hanging drywall on the frame (including 1/2 inch or 5/8 inch drywall) and the required number and size of the support wires. I know with a regular drop ceiling the framing can be done to allow 2'x4' or 2'x2' openings, but maybe (for example) the Chicago grid requires 16-inch framing for the sheetrock.
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Speaking both as a retired contractor and as a person like yourself, hire a contractor to do whatever portion you want them to do, have your friend/contactor over for both of you to watch, ask the minimal amount of questions and learn what you can.
I personally never minded a client watching. I did not mind them asking a few questions. I absolutely did not want their help. The potential liabilities were not insurable.
No contractor is going to offer to teach you, but you should be able to learn by watching.
I only have a nickel. Do you have my 3 cents change? :)
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