Do it Yourself: How to Install Tin Ceiling Panels

Installing a tin ceiling can create an elegant old world look to your home. While the skills required for the installation are minimal, the added inconveniences of working on the ceiling make this a difficult job. However, if you are comfortable working on a ladder, this job can easily be completed in a single weekend.

Before beginning the installation, take careful measurement of the size of your room and buy the required tin panels and trim. Tin panels come in a variety of sizes, you may want to consider buying larger panels for a faster installation.

Prepare your work area by turning off any circuits that supply electricity to ceiling light fixtures. You should remove the light fixtures and then reinstall them the job is complete. You may also want to put a heavy drop cloth over the floor to collect any debris and protect the floor.

Begin the installation by removing any old tiles. It is important if you do not know the composition of the old tiles that you have them tested for asbestos before removing them. If the tiles test positive, have them removed by a professional who can minimize the dust and seal the area.

Otherwise you can remove any old tiles with a prybar while wearing safety glasses, a face mask, and gloves. Continue wearing the safety glasses and gloves throughout the installation, cut panels can be very sharp. Remove any other stray fasteners from the ceiling, such as nails or staples, with pliers as needed.

Use a chalk line and measuring tape to create a line that bisects the room’s width. Then add another that bisects the room and runs perpendicular to the first line. The lines created will mark the center of the room and the place to begin your installation.

Start the installation of the tin panels according to the manufacturer’s instructions with four panels intersecting at the center of the room. Most tin panels installations require nails at the joints of each panel. The panels should come with a diagram indicating where nails should be placed.

It is best to use a nail set to install each panel so you do not inadvertently dent your new ceiling. Keep in mind that tin panels are extremely malleable, so exercise care while handling them.

If there are any obstacles such as light fixtures or skylights impending the installation, you can cut a hole in the panels using tin snips. Because the panel is so delicate, you can press the panel against a light box to create an impression of the hole required. Then you can cut out the hole in the panel.

When you reach the edges of your room, trim the panels with tin snips as needed to fit the space. Then apply your tin cornice pieces. After the cornices have been applied, you can install the tin trim around the edges of the ceiling. Try to align any cuts in the trim with seams between the panels.

If you still like the idea of installing a tin ceiling, but are not sure you are the person for the job, call a professional. Someone experienced in this type of installation should be able to complete it in a few hours, leaving you more time to enjoy your ceiling.

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