How to Install Plastic Ceiling Tiles

Lead Image
  • 6-20 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 100-3,000
What You'll Need
Plastic ceiling tiles (2x2 pr 2x4 sections)
Silicone adhesive
Cutting shears
Tape measure
Straight edge
Tall ladder
Spackling compound

Learning how to install plastic ceiling tiles will not only allow you to add elegance and charm to your home, but it will also inexpensively cover a damaged or unsightly ceiling. This quick and easy home repair can be accomplished in a few weekends with simple tools and materials. To make the work go faster, have a friend help you.

Step 1 - Prepare Ceiling

Using a tall ladder, a bucket, and soap, thoroughly clean the entire ceiling surface. Cover any holes with a spackling compound. Sand any bulges with 100 grit sandpaper. To provide a greater surface for the adhesive and plastic ceiling tiles, apply a thin coat of primer to the entire ceiling. Using a straight edge, check the ceiling for flatness.

Step 2 - Design Ceiling

ornate ceiling tiles

Consider what the ceiling tiles will look like by placing them in an arranged order across the floor. Pay attention to design motifs and edges. Plan how the seams and the matching patterns of the plastic ceiling tiles will look before attaching them to the ceiling. Design the pattern on the floor much the way it will look when attached to the ceiling.

Step 3 - Apply Adhesive

Plastic ceiling tiles are sold with tubes of adhesive for attaching them to ceilings. Apply the adhesive sparingly to each tile. Generally speaking, a small square in the middle of the tile followed by a larger square at the edges of the tile will suffice.

Step 4 - Tile Installation

Standing on a tall ladder, begin affixing tiles to the ceiling as per the pattern arranged on the floor. Begin at an edge of the ceiling, holding the tile in place for approximately 30 to 45 seconds. Slowly remove your hand and see if the tile remains in place. If the tile does not appear to securely adhere to the ceiling, hold it in place for several more minutes.

Step 5 - Trim and Install Partial Tiles

ornate ceiling tiles with drop light fixture

To ensure plastic ceiling tiles fit closely around light fixtures with smooth, even borders, cut the tiles and place them around or near the fixtures without adhesive. When you have the desired fit, apply adhesive, and seal the tiles into place.

When placing ceiling tiles near a light fixture or ceiling fan, measure and cut smaller tiles to match evenly. Be careful not to buckle tiles to make them fit. Time and patience will go a long way toward obtaining a professional look.

Step 6 - Optional Ceiling Trim

Using either natural hardwoods or synthetic moldings, attach a border around the edge of the ceiling where it meets the walls. Natural wood can be stained to match existing furniture. Synthetic molding can be painted to match the room’s surroundings. Either way, the molding will further secure the plastic ceiling tiles by providing greater adhesion at the borders. Moldings can easily be pin-nailed in place or attached with finish nails and a hammer.