How to Install Tin Ceiling Tiles(page 1 of 2)

Get the look of 1920's glamour on your ceiling with unbelievably real-looking fake tin tiles.


People often think to decorate their walls with art and new paint colors, or their floors with fabulous rugs, but a famous designer secret to making a space special is to dress the ceiling. It isn't called the fifth wall for nothing. We started this project with a bare, square ceiling over a Spanish-style dining room. With some simple calculating and installing, this faux tin ceiling makes a dramatic impact, and it keeps with the 1920's style of the space. This plastic tile is made to look just like the real tin version. In addition to being easier to cut and work with, it's cheaper, too.

What You'll Need

  • Faux tin tiles
  • Tin adhesive strips
  • High tack contact cement
  • 1" nails (optional if you choose to nail up instead of glue)


  • Roller - ¼" nap
  • Ladder
  • Chalk line
  • Heavy-duty scissors
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Hammer (optional)

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Get Started: Plan, Purchase and Install

Find the square footage of the area you'd like to tile. Measure the length and width of the space. Next multiply those numbers together to find the square footage. This will be important for ordering enough of the product you select. If you're working on a ceiling, have a friend help you measure if needed to get the correct dimensions.

Order Your Tiles

When picking faux tiles, think about the style of your home first. Look for a style that naturally blends with your space. Faux tin ceiling tiles come in several colors, and several faux metal finishes – it comes down to taste and color scheme. They also come in 6" patterns up to 24" patterns. We chose a larger pattern that had a Spanish-style vibe and ordered it in a dark, bronzed finish.

Purchase 15% more tile than you need, for any cutting mistakes and pattern matching. I also suggest ordering 1" decorative strips in the matching material of your tile to cover seams.

To determine your installation needs, check the ceiling's material. Many people prefer a glue-up install, so you can reposition tiles as needed while the glue sets up. Plaster, paneling and plywood work with glue, but check your manufacturer's instructions for best practices.

Mark the Control Line

For most spaces, the control line should be a straight line cutting your tiled area in half. Measure to find a halfway point on either side of your space. Use a snapping chalk line to connect the two points by stretching it from one side to the other at your halfway mark. Two people should hold it in place, and one person should pull down and release the chalk-covered string to snap a chalky line on the ceiling. This will serve as a reference line that you can use to ensure straight tile placement.

Once you've completed a line going one direction, rotate 90 degrees and create another control line to create a cross and form straight lines bisecting your middle point. Plan for your first tile to be placed in the corner created by the intersection of the two chalk lines. For this project, that intersection fell behind a light fixture in the center of the room.

Dry Fit Tiles Before Installing

It's always best to dry fit your tiles before gluing up. Before you apply adhesive, place your tiles on the ceiling and trace any fixtures you may have to cut around.

Duct tape on the back of your tiles will help hold it up while you trace and dry fit each tile.

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