Tin ceiling tiles are square sheets of metal with intricate designs moulded into them. They were once a popular architectural feature from the 19th century, but many people today are using them to create unique architectural detail in their homes.
Tin ceiling tiles are also known as pressed metal tile.
Tin ceiling tiles, with their elaborate detailing, became popular in the United States and Canada because they provided an affordable alternative to the expensive plasterwork found in Europe. Fireproof and easy to install, tin ceilings were painted white and looked, for all practical purposes, like a real carved or moulded plaster ceiling. Tin ceiling tiles began being mass produced around the middle of the 19th century, but in the 1930s, they were used less and less.
When they were in high fashion, tin ceilings were commonly found in both private homes and businesses.
Tin ceiling tiles evoke the feeling of a simpler time and impart a quaint ambience. Tin ceiling tiles generally come in six-inch, twelve-inch or twenty-four-inch squares and are available in materials other than tin; you can purchase "tin" ceiling tiles made of aluminium alloy, plastic, or steel.
Techniques used in creating tin ceiling tiles are also used to create cornices, medallions, switchplates and backsplashes. The designs for ceiling tiles and other products are available in the Victorian and Turn of the Century designs, or also in Art Deco.
Where to Buy Tin Ceiling Tiles
The American Tin Ceiling Company in Bradenton, Florida, is a large producer of tin ceiling tiles. Products can be ordered from the company's website, where there is a very elaborate assortment of products with detailed descriptions and photographs.
At Home Expo's website, if you enter "tin ceiling tile," a long list of manufacturers will appear, complete with phone numbers and links to their individual websites. Some of these retailers offer free samples of tin ceiling tile.
Lowes carries a "tin look" ceiling tile. You can order it online.
Brian Greer's Tin Ceilings in Niagra Falls, New York, has a website that shares a rich history of ceiling tile. His products are displayed in an orderly way, and the consumer can click on different colours and types of finishes to get a sense of how the product will look before it is bought.
Tin Ceiling Antique-style
At Classic Ceilings of Fullerton, California, the products are created from the original 1896 moulds. "They are not reproductions of panels, which usually have less detail than the original panels," their website states. They offer three types of finish: steel plated, white, or a plating of chrome, copper or brass.
Tin ceiling tiles can be painted. It's best to paint them before you install them on the ceiling. When painting metal ceiling tiles, you should use a high quality oil-based paint. Using the best paint right off will prevent you from the back-breaking job of having repaint any time soon.