Renovating Drop Ceiling Tiles

drop ceiling tile
  • 8 hours
  • Beginner
  • 1500
What You'll Need
Drop ceiling tiles
Tape measure
Utility knife
What You'll Need
Drop ceiling tiles
Tape measure
Utility knife

Renovate your drop ceiling tiles to update the look of your basement or kitchen. There are different ways to renovate tiles made of different materials, like vinyl or metal. Before you begin, decide if the ceiling tiles you have are the best option for your room.

Acoustic Ceiling Tiles

The most common type of drop ceiling tile is acoustic ceiling tiles. They are generally made from composite fiberboard and selected for their noise reduction and noise transfer minimization qualities. Acoustic tile is great for basements, kitchens, and home theaters (Fig. 1). They are easy to cut and install, and their appearance can be updated with a simple coat of paint. If you decide to paint your acoustic ceiling tiles during renovation, make sure to keep the small holes in the porous tiles clear of paint jams. If the holes get clogged, open them up again using a toothpick.

paneled white ceiling

Vinyl Ceiling Tiles

Vinyl tiles can add a very interesting aesthetic to your room. They come in a wide variety of colors, including translucent shades, they're waterproof and washable, lightweight, and easy to install. Many varieties of vinyl ceiling tiles are also very green, as they are made from recycled plastic. This is a great option for do-it-yourself projects as the panels are lightweight and therefore easy to lift overhead (Fig 1).

ceiling tiles with molded edges

Metal Ceiling Tiles

If you are interested in creating a rustic aesthetic, consider using metal ceiling tiles. These come in a variety of metal finishes including brass, copper, tin, and silver. They also come in matte finishes, shiny finishes, and embossed finishes (Fig. 3). Metal ceiling tiles are very popular for kitchens and less so much for basements. Many people like to mix and match metal ceiling tiles to create unique patterns. You can save money by selecting faux tin tiles for your drop ceiling.

ornate metal ceiling tiles

Selecting Drop Ceiling Tiles

When selecting drop ceiling tiles, think carefully about how you want your kitchen or basement to look. If you are going for a rustic or industrial look, select metal tiles. If you prefer a modern or contemporary look, think about vinyl tiles. Finally, if you want to create a ceiling for a bedroom or a home theater, your best bet is to choose composite acoustic ceiling tiles.

Installing Drop Ceiling Tiles

To install drop ceiling tiles of any materials, first, measure the interior grid dimensions and then subtract 1/8-inch. This will allow the tiles to fit inside the hanging grid’s holding tray. Next, transfer the measurements to the tile panels that you purchased. Cut out the tiles and slide them into place. If you are working with acoustic or metal ceiling tiles, you may need to get someone to help you with the installation process as they can be difficult to navigate on your own.