How to Remove Tin Ceiling Panels

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What You'll Need
Plastic sheets
Protective gloves
Protective goggles
Protective mask
Screwdriver set
Strapping tap
Painters tape
Touch up paint
Paint brush

The use of tin ceiling panels became popular during the Victorian era. Ornate, opulent ceiling designs, previously created by European plaster artists, could be recreated inexpensively with rolled tin plate. Many homeowners dislike the material because it is older and no longer suits the décor they have chosen. There are many more reasons to remove these tin ceiling panels.

Call a local salvage company if you wish to sell the panels. Often, salvage yards will remove the tiles in exchange for a reduced price for the salvage. Alternatively, you can remove them yourself with a few tools and follow a few simple safety precautions.


Tin paneling is very sharp around the edges. Take caution that the corners of the paneling do not cut the walls or molding in the room. Always wear your protective gloves and goggles. Another precaution to consider is that tin ceiling panels may have been painted and there is a good chance lead based paint was used. Make sure your protective equipment is compatible with this type of work. Gloves and protective goggles are essential. To protect against possible lead poisoning, do not touch your face or eat until you have washed your hands.

Step 1 - Prepare the Room

Tin ceiling tiles were popular many years ago. Chances are they have been on that ceiling a long time. Great care and caution is required when removing these panels. Take everything out of the immediate area. Furniture, picture frames on the walls, drapes and blinds should be removed. Wall to wall carpeting should be covered with heavy plastic and taped down around the edges.

Use painter tape to cover any moldings that may be damaged with the sharp edges of the removed tin panels. You can add a layer of duct tape to the painters tape for extra protection; however, do not place the duct tape directly on the molding. Turn off the electricity at the breaker and remove any mounted light fixtures.

Step 2 - Remove Cornices

The first step is to remove the cornice, which is the beautiful crown type molding around the end of the ceiling. They generally come in 48-inch long pieces. Find a seam in the cornice and begin there. The cornice originally was overlapped; it may have separated over the years.

Once you find the first seam follow the cornice to the next seam to see if it overlaps or under laps the next piece. You want to remove the first under lapping cornice. This will make the removal of the next piece easier. Use the crow bar and lift the edge of the cornice. Remove all the cornice from the ceiling.

Step 3 - Remove the Tin Ceiling Panels

Locate the seams of the tin panels. The best place to start is by removing a panel closest to a wall and work your way out from there. Tin paneling is installed by attaching it to a 1-inch by 2-inch wood ceiling anchor.

Locate the nails and pry the tile away from the wood anchor. Once the tin gives way of the first row of nails you will be able to manually pull on the panel and the nails will slip out. Assist any stubborn nails with the crow bar.