How to Cover Drop Ceiling Tiles

Written by Milan Jara on 22nd Nov 2022

Drop Ceiling Tiles

Do you want to add character and flair to your drop ceiling tiles? Learn more on how to cover drop ceiling tiles for a spruced-up look in your home.

The construction of a drop ceiling, also known as a suspended ceiling, involves attaching a grid of thin metal rails to an existing ceiling and covering those rails with tiles. Drop ceilings conceal the ductwork, wiring, and piping installed in homes and buildings while allowing for convenient access to the mechanical system in a room when necessary.

Drop ceilings are a common choice for office buildings and basements, even though they require careful planning and installation. Although you can install drop ceilings virtually anywhere, it's ideal to have them where the ceilings are high enough to avoid losing too much headroom.

Which Tiles Are Appropriate for a Drop Ceiling?

You can finish drop ceilings with various tiles, such as metal, mineral fiber, or plastic. A typical suspended ceiling tile used in offices and basements is mineral fiber tile, available in various textures and designs. Because of their general cost and capacity to control and absorb sound, they are a popular option for drop ceilings.

Metal Ceiling Tiles

Another choice for a drop ceiling is metal ceiling tiles. Tin, stainless steel, aluminum, and copper are all common metals. These tiles are generally waterproof and offered in various styles and pricing. In contrast to mineral fiber tiles, aluminum ceiling tiles are not the best at absorbing sound and can cause an echo.

Other well-liked tile options for drop ceilings include plastic, PVC, and vinyl. These materials, notably copper or other metals, offer a range of shapes and moldings and might be a less expensive option than other tiles. You can learn how to insulate drop ceiling tiles to lower your utility bills. Plastic tiles also have the advantage of not staining like mineral fiber ones because they are water-resistant. Although plastic ceiling tiles significantly reduce the amount of noise that can pass through them, they are generally not as soundproof as tiles made of mineral fiber.

Cover Old Drop Ceiling Tiles

Covering Drop Ceiling Tiles

Here are some strategies for covering old drop ceiling tiles and once again making your ceiling a pleasing design statement.

1. Wallpaper Them

If your walls are a solid color and you're feeling adventurous, consider adding a layer of wallpaper to your drop ceiling. While somewhat messier than a painted drop ceiling, it is less permanent. Renters should stick to removable wallpaper or laminates.

Regardless of the wallpaper you choose, the surface must be as smooth as possible for the glue to adhere. As a result, you might need to fill in a highly textured decorative ceiling tile design with a thin layer of spackle. If you want to cover the ceiling grid completely, fill in the grid lines before applying wallpaper to the entire area. Alternatively, you can remove the tiles and wrap each one in wallpaper individually.

If the surface of the tiles is reasonably smooth, you can wallpaper the entire ceiling or cover each tile individually. If your tiles have several cracks, make sure to patch them beforehand with filler or caulk. Be particularly cautious when handling acoustic ceiling tiles because they are quite brittle. You can rapidly modernize your room by installing wallpaper over ceiling tiles. It will update the outdated tiles to reflect the modern style. Choose a simplistic piece that works nicely with the rest of your design, or go large with something a little more out of the ordinary.

2. Cover Them with Wood

Wood paneling is a compelling option for a regal appearance that still allows for simple access to whatever is above your drop ceiling. If you rent your home, think about utilizing sheets of wood veneer or a veneer that you can stick over the existing tiles using adhesive. Due to its texture, warmth, and unmatched natural beauty, wood patterns have a distinct aesthetic appeal.

3. Paint Them

Depending on the type of tile used, you can paint the tiles on your drop ceiling to give your office or basement some personality. Research the best paints to use for the sort of tiles in your drop ceiling before you begin painting them. The best options for painting drop ceilings are water-based paints and even spray paints, but it's crucial to try them on a small patch of tile to see how they look when dry.

Before painting, it's also crucial to determine whether the paint would reduce the acoustic ceiling tile's sound-dampening properties or fire-resistance rating. Try painting the tiles a single solid color like midnight blue, charcoal, or black. You may also embrace the grid and use it to make a multicolored paint-by-numbers checkered pattern.

4. Replace Them with Tin

You can easily replace your musty old drop ceiling tile with a new tin design. They are lightweight, reasonably priced, and instantly add architectural character, which is excellent if you have an older home. They may also offer a very cool depth to a more contemporary space. We have a wide variety of glue-up tin tiles that you can purchase and adhere to your existing surface if you don't feel up to replacing the old tiles. Easy as pie. For extra design inspiration, check out this tin ceiling kitchen to borrow ideas.

5. Minimize the Grid

Drop ceilings are difficult to overlook for various reasons, including the grid pattern. The tiles seldom precisely match the color of the actual grid, making everything look dingy even though the tiles and the grid usually are white. Try to downplay the difference between the two with plain white grid tape.

6. Use of Lovely Lighting

Flat, decorative, light-diffusing ceiling panels expand and brighten the area, as opposed to suspended lighting fixtures like chandeliers, which make a room with a drop ceiling feel even smaller. The panels are typically installed over existing drop ceiling light fixtures using screws, but you may also purchase panels with LED lights that affix straight to the ceiling grid using metal clips and screws. Here’s how to install LED lights for flush ceilings. Various interior design styles, from contemporary to industrial, are appropriate for designs ranging from cracked to stained glass.

Final Thoughts

If you want a fresh look in your home and decide it's time to renovate, consider a ceiling makeover using decorative tile. Dropped ceiling tiles, often called suspended ceilings, add a better look to your home. See the tile catalog at for drop ceiling tiles and unique accent pieces for your home.

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