How to Paint Faux Tin Ceilings

Written by Milan Jara on 26th Oct 2022

Painting Faux Tin Ceilings

Are you looking for a way to bring life and character to your old faux tin ceiling? Here’s a guide on how to paint faux tin ceilings.

Are you looking for a way to add character and life to your plain faux tin ceiling? Then you should consider painting it.

Painting faux tin ceilings can be challenging, especially if you’re inexperienced. You’ll face many pitfalls that could lead to disasters. But the task is much more manageable if you create a strategy, prepare the workspace, and get the right painting gear before you begin.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to paint faux tin ceiling tiles.

1. Get the Right Gear

The right equipment is key to excellent results when painting faux tin ceilings. Therefore, ensure that you have all the necessary materials before picking up a paintbrush.

Some essential equipment you’re going to need includes:

  • Latex or oil-based paint (these two kinds don’t flake or destroy your tin tiles)
  • Oil-based primer (prevents rusting)
  • Oil-based poly (optional - for a silvery shiny metal appearance)
  • Painting brush, roller, or sprayer
  • Sheets or fabric drop-cloths (to cover the floor and any furniture)
  • One-gallon and five-gallon buckets for mixing the paints and primer
  • Dishwashing liquid to clean the tiles
  • Cotton towel
  • Feather duster
  • Broom
  • Painter’s tape (optional)
  • Pencil
  • Stepladder
  • Protective clothing and goggles

It is vital to ensure you have all these materials before you start to set yourself up for a smooth painting process.

Painting Materials

2. Prepare the Room for Painting

No matter what method you intend to use to paint your faux tin tile, it is paramount that you prepare the room and tiles beforehand. Doing this will make your work easier and more organized.

Start by clearing the room since paint from the tiles could drip onto the items on the floor. Clearing the room also gives you working space since things in the room are obstacles to maneuver around when you’re working.

Next, cover the floor using sheets or fabric drop cloths. They will protect the carpet, wood, or tile floor from dripping paint.

Also, tape the areas where the walls meet the faux tin ceiling to stop the paint from damaging your walls.

3. Prepare the Tiles for Painting

Another essential thing you need to do is to clean the tiles. Painting over a dirty ceiling results in an uneven and unattractive surface. Therefore, dust off the ceiling using a feather brush or broom.

If your ceiling looks filthy, clean it with a dishwashing liquid. Mix a tablespoon of the dishwashing solution with a gallon of hot water. Then, using a cotton towel and the solution, clean each ceiling tile and rinse it with clean water. Finally, dry it using another soft cotton towel.

4. Create and Map Out a Grid (For Already Installed Tiles)

Most faux tile ceilings have a grid-style layout, so you should map the layout before painting to make the process easier.

For the best results, make a balanced grid. To do this, locate the room’s center by measuring the length of the wall, then dividing the number in half.

Next, map the grid evenly using painter’s tape, a chalk line, or a pencil. Begin from the center and draw straight lines across the ceiling to form a grid. Most faux tin ceiling tiles cover a square foot, so creating a grid is pretty straightforward on any size ceiling.

You can make this initial step relatively easier using painter’s tape. To do this, paint the area using a solid color that is a close shade to the paint you’ll use for the faux tin ceiling. Then, use the painter’s tape to map out the grid. When you peel it off after painting, you’ll have perfectly straight lines that look like the seams between tiles.

5. Apply the Primer

Add two gallons of metal etching oil-based primer to a five-gallon bucket. Then, using a roller, coat your faux tin ceiling with it. Ensure that all areas are well-coated. You can use a nylon brush to even out any areas that don’t have any paint coating or those that have excess paint. Then, leave the primer to set in and dry for about two hours.

6. Painting

After the primer has set in and dried, apply your oil-based or latex-based paint. You can get a new roller and brush for this task or clean and rinse the ones you used when applying the primer.

Paint the ceiling the same way you applied the primer. Be attentive to areas where the paint is not likely to reach, such as grooved areas and corners. You can easily spot such areas when priming – simply use a nylon brush to even out the paint.

Let the paint dry for about three hours before applying the next coat. Repeat the process for the number of paint coats you intend to use.

7. Inspect and Touch Up

After you’ve applied paint on the whole faux tin ceiling, you want to inspect your work. Check any areas you might have missed, especially around the corners and grooves. If you find areas not adequately coated, use a stepladder to reach such points and touch them up using a nylon paint brush. Give the paint about three hours to dry. Repeat the process until you’re satisfied.

8. Cleaning Up

After you’re satisfied with the results, you can start cleaning the area. Begin by peeling the tape around the walls and grid. Then, give the ceiling one final inspection to ensure that all surfaces and seams are well painted.

After Painting Faux Tin Ceilings

Dispose of the excess paint and used tape, clean and rinse off the brushes and rollers, and fold the drop cloths. After cleaning up the area, you can move furniture and other items back into the room.

Installing (When Painting Uninstalled Faux Tin Ceiling Tiles)

When painting uninstalled faux tin ceiling tile, you’ll have to install them after painting. Let the tiles dry for at least three hours, then carefully install them into the ceiling. You might want extra help from a friend or spouse to make this process easier. Here’s a detailed guide on how to install faux tin ceilings. Also, check out our high-quality faux tin ceilings that are great for your home.

After installation, you can clean up your materials and dispose of the extra paint and tape.


Painting a faux metal tile ceiling is a DIY project that can transform your home from plain to beautiful in hours. We hope that this guide will help you get better results within a short time. Ensure you get all the suitable materials before beginning any paintwork, making the whole process quicker.

Are you looking for affordable and professional-looking ceiling ideas to install in your home or office? Decorative Ceiling Tiles is here to help you. Our experts bring high-quality ceiling types for you at an affordable cost. We also offer other home decorating materials such as decorative ceilings, wall panels, and moldings. Get in touch with us today for the best home decor products that turn your home from plain to beautiful in hours.

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