Installing Cheap Ceiling Tiles

Written by Milan Jara on 14th Oct 2019

Antique White Ceiling at Jewelry Shop - Antique White

One of the best ways to keep a home renovation budget under control is to do the work yourself. Unfortunately, especially for more complicated projects, DIY efforts can fail miserably and end up costing you more than if you’d just hired a pro to begin with.

Luckily this isn’t the case with ceiling tile installation. Cheap ceiling tiles are easy to install. It’s a job that even someone new to home renovation could handle. If you choose to install cheap ceiling tiles on your own, there are a few things you should know before you begin the renovation project.



Things to Consider

Antique Copper Ceiling at Living Room - Antique Copper

First, you’ll want to select the right type of tile for the job. Your home has its unique issues and some types of ceiling tiles aren’t going to work in every place. You need to understand what weight your ceiling can bear and whether or not it’s set up for certain types of tiles. For instance, if you’re hoping to take advantage of the ease of drop ceiling tiles, you’ll need to make sure there’s a track already installed or install one yourself. If you aren’t doing a drop ceiling, you’ll need to invest in the right kind of adhesive and make sure you understand how to work with that adhesive properly.

Before buying anything – tools, tile, or anything else – make sure you invest some time in researching the various options and knowing what needs to be done to do the job properly. The most important thing you can do for any DIY project in your home is significant research before beginning the project. You can never be too prepared before a cheap ceiling tile installation job. There are plenty of great resources online for learning more about the DIY installation of ceiling tiles and you’ll probably be able to find quite a few step-by-step videos of installation procedures online. You can also speak to the pros at your local home improvement store and ask for tips.

The most important decision you’ll make when it comes to installing cheap ceiling tiles is investing in the right kind of tiles. Most tiles come in pre-made sizes. It’s possible to have the tiles custom-sized, but that’s going to raise the cost. It’s also important to look for a tile that features a flame-resistant coating for safety purposes. You never want to put a flame-resistant ceiling tile to the test but you’ll have peace of mind knowing what you’re installing offers this extra layer of protection.

Faux Tin Ceiling Tile – Glue Up – 24 in x 24 in – #289 - Silver

When the time comes to make your purchase, make sure you have the measurements of the ceiling available. And as all home improvement DIY experts will tell you, measure two or three times. It never hurts to double and triple check your measurements before the time comes to cut – or to buy!

Now that you know what to buy, you can begin to learn about the actual installation process. Different types of tiles are installed differently. For instance, drop tiles need to be installed on the drop track. Another common installation method is the tongue and groove fit. Most cheap ceiling tiles also require some kind of adhesive for extra support, so make sure you know the right type of adhesive to use with your chosen type of tile. Some tiles are installed by nailing the tile into a wood strip. This creates a very sturdy installation but tends to be a bit more involved.

Another important factor you’ll need to consider in the cheap ceiling tile installation process is the condition of your existing ceiling. Adhesives tend to only be effective on their own when a ceiling is perfectly smooth and flat. Installing tiles with adhesive on a ceiling that is popcorn, crooked, dented, or otherwise not smooth can leave you with a big project gone wrong and a lot of fix-up work to do. If you are planning to use adhesive because your ceiling is smooth, make sure you do a thorough cleaning of the ceiling and the tiles beforehand. Just a bit of debris can cause a catastrophe and you’ll have to re-glue a tile after the entire ceiling is installed.

A quick adhesive tip: Install a sample tile. Get you project materials together and about 48 hours before you plan to install everything, glue one tile to the ceiling. It’s a good idea to figure out where you intend to start your installation and just do the first tile. Then wait two days or more and see what happens. This doesn’t give you an exact prediction for how the tiles will perform because different parts of your ceiling surface might be different, but at least you’ll get a general idea of whether or not the project is going to work. If that sample tile falls before you begin the remainder of the installation, you’ll need to come up with an alternative way to install the tiles.



Cheap Ceiling Tiles Going to Look Cheap?

Aged Copper Ceiling at Historic Home - Aged Copper

The simplest answer to this question is “no.” But this isn’t always the case. There are cheap tiles that look cheap, but there are also cheap tiles that look expensive. The key to getting a great looking ceiling with cheap ceiling tiles is to find ones that look high end and create a style you love in the space.

The best thing you can do if you have a limited budget and you want to get a great outcome using cheap ceiling tiles is to do your research and shop around. Just because you aren’t paying a lot for ceiling tiles doesn’t make the tile itself cheap. There are plenty of places to find discounts on high-end tiles and there are plenty of ways to get a high end, designer look by using materials that duplicate a more expensive material. And finally, you have the option of saving even more money by installing the cheap ceiling tiles yourself. 

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