How to Seal Tin Ceiling Tiles

Written by Milan Jara on 12th Jul 2022

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Tin ceiling tiles are a great way to add character and depth to your house. Find out how to seal tin ceiling tiles and ensure their durability and glam look.

Tin ceiling tiles are the hottest trend after the revival of the Victorian era. Tin panels add flair to your vertical space and require little maintenance to protect their aesthetics and durability. Sealing tin tiles with matching color palettes conceals grids, nails, and other eyesores while ensuring a moisture-free ceiling. Let's learn how you can seal tin ceiling tiles the expert way.

Type of Sealing

When you decide to seal your ceiling tiles, there are three main options to do so. One is where you use oil-based paint to coat your ceiling tile. The other option is using a clear polyurethane sealant over your ceiling. Alternatively, purchase powder-coated tin tiles that confer superior protection from moisture and mildew growth.

Both options work and protect your tin ceiling tiles from moisture. Tin tiles look great in their original finish. If you leave them unsealed, they may develop a patina finish, which is also attractive. Sealing them with clear polyurethane sealant or varnish maintains the tin ceiling tiles' original look.

Oil-based paint and car paint work well for tin panels. You do, however, have to consider the type of tin tiles. Our faux tin ceiling tiles work well with MirroFlex trims for stylish designs and dampened sound. Faux tin tiles are ideal for schools and noisy neighborhoods. You must consider the paint's density to avoid damaging some sound-dampening properties in the tiles. Whatever you choose, avoid latex paint on tin ceiling tiles.

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How to Seal Tin Tiles

Tin tile is glued in or nailed into the ceiling framework for drop-in ceilings. Vaulted foyers require extra work to seal. Regardless of the type of ceiling, follow our five-step procedure to seal your tin ceiling tiles completely.

Prep: Wear Protective Gear

Paint, sealants, and primers have toxic fumes and chemicals you can inhale or get into your eyes, causing multiple ailments. Ensure you have a painter's mask and goggles on hand. You also need gloves since tin endings and nails may prick your bare skin. If you don’t have protective gear, you know what to buy first. Never start painting without wearing protective gear.

Step 1: Gather Supplies

It's time to assemble your tin-sealing supplies. Ensure you have the following tools and supplies before beginning your job:

  • Foam roller
  • Nylon brush
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Paint or sealant
  • Painter’s tape
  • Putty knife
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Lint-free cloths
  • Drop cloths

Step 2: Prep the Room

You do not want to spill paint or clear coat on the crown moldings, tin cornices, or other furnishings. Remove furniture in the room and cover the floor with drop cloths or sheets. Cover the corners of the walls and ceiling using painter's tape. Run the tape across the room and ensure it forms crisp intersecting lines.

Also, cover any electrical fixtures, including chandeliers and fans. Cover anything else you don’t intend to seal and proceed to the next step.

Step 3: Clean the Tiles

Using warm water and dishwashing soap solution or tile cleaner, clean the tin tiles. Use a lint-free cloth for best results or a cotton sponge. You can use a vacuum cleaner beforehand to clean the surface effectively. Make sure the tin tiles are dry before proceeding to the next step.

Tin tiles are fragile and rigorous cleaning can dent or nick the surface. If the tin ceiling tiles are newly installed, only wipe them with a lint-free cloth.

Step 4: Apply the Sealant (or Paint)

Pour the paint or sealant primer on the roller pan. Dampen the roller knap to ensure it soaks and discharges paint evenly.

If you are painting, apply oil-based rust-inhibiting primer. Two coats get the sweet spot between too much and too little. Apply the primer using the roller in overlapping strips cutting in from the outside.

Allow the primer to dry before applying the first coat of paint thoroughly. Let the first coat dry, which usually takes less than 2 hours, before painting the second coat. If you are using paint, you can achieve artistic finishes. You can opt for matte finish or patina. It all depends on your styling needs.

If you are applying a sealer, gently sand the surface. Do not overdo it since you may affect the designs and tin color. But if the surface is smooth, you can skip this part and proceed to apply the primer. Apply the primer and sealer over the tiles in V-shaped patterns, like painting, with gentle strokes of the roller work basket to prevent damaging the tin tiles.

Wait for the first coat of sealer and primer to dry for two hours before applying the second coat. Move the ladder from place to place while painting the whole room. You can remove the painter’s tape and apply a sealant to areas you may have missed using the nylon brush.

Step 5: Clean Up

Wash your brushes and remove the drop cloths and other coverings. Move the supplies into storage. Enjoy your work and take some pictures to share on the gram.

Tin Ceiling Tiles

Things to Consider When Sealing Your Ceiling Tiles

Consider the type of connection of the ceiling tiles. Interlocking tiles are more complex to remove, so it is better to seal them in place. You can prop up drop tin ceilings with furring strips to apply the sealer to them in place. The type of ceiling dictates the approach you will take. Mechanical fixtures are easier to disassemble and reassemble than glued-in tin ceilings.

Use oil-based primers over water-based primers. Water-based primers require many coatings, doubling your work, and the quality is undesirable. Choose the best oil-based primer that will produce a streak-free finish.

Varnish usually leaves a patina finish, so you may want to choose varnish sealants if you wish to patina.

Clear polyurethane sealer remains the original artistic finish of the tin ceiling tiles and protects them from moisture.


Tin ceiling tiles are a great way to improve your fifth wall’s appearance. Sealing them maintains their fabulous look and ensures their durability. Use our step-by-step procedure to seal your tin ceiling paneling. Check out prefinished tin-plated ceiling tiles that suit your aesthetic needs.

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