Tin & Metal Cornice Buying Guide – How to Choose

Written by Milan Jara on 27th Jun 2022

Tin & Metal Cornice

A metal or tin cornice makes a bold statement. But not every room lends itself well to this design. We help you choose between the two.

Tin and metal cornices make a bold statement in any room. We explain what a cornice is (for those unfamiliar with the term) and which type of material to select for your next DIY project. Not every room will suit this type of bold statement. Yet, for those that do, tin and metal create an exceptional look.

What Is a Cornice?

Buildings consist of several parts, such as chimneys, doors, and windows. They contain different architectural elements that generate a specific decoration and style. Cornices are decorative elements found at the meeting point between the wall and the ceiling. When you look upwards, it is the horizontal piece that juts out from the top of the wall just below the ceiling.

This is often referred to as a type of crown molding, but the quality and detail are more involved.

For a room interior, a cornice is plaster molding or decorative wood containing a raised design. They are more intricate and detailed than other types of crown molding and often provide more depth. The designs are sometimes plaster, and the cornice circles the room’s perimeter below the ceiling.

Cornices are often used for high ceilings as they tend to be wider than any other type of crown molding. Only higher ceilings can successfully handle the width without the room appearing too small. Cornices, in the traditional sense, involve placing several pieces together to form the crown molding in a room. However, some use the term to describe decorative elements.

Metal Crown Molding

Out of the five distinct types of crown molding, metal provides an interesting look to a room. It is composed of the same material as a metal ceiling tile and is available in multiple finishes and patterns. Homeowners can easily find one that suits their specific room and style.

Metal crown molding is easy to install and was created to last for a long time. The material is simple and durable like wood but contains an ornate style that provides a classical appearance for any interior.

When to Choose Metal Molding

While each type of material has its own function and appearance, there are a few guidelines to follow for each. They do not go with every style, and you should consider this prior to purchasing them.

Choose metal crown molding if you are looking for a simple DIY project with an intricate appearance and for its longevity. You can use this material in rooms accompanied by metal ceiling tiles or traditional ceilings. In a traditional ceiling, it allows for a bit of style or to add a specific décor to a room.

It is found in various finishes and patterns, enabling you to keep your own design elements no matter what the style. For modern spaces, you may want to go with a style that contains clean lines and is more minimalistic. For antique, vintage, traditional, or classic appeal, you will want something more ornate and involved to draw attention to the room.

Furthermore, if you have a metal or even tin ceiling that has a busy pattern, you may want to invest in crown molding that is more subdued. Otherwise, the look may become too overwhelming visually.

Tin Crown Molding

Tin crown molding has its roots in the 1880s to 1930s, when it provided a more durable option for plasterwork. People chose it because it was more affordable and provided a high-class appearance.

Originally, tin was composed of thin iron sheets, with the first designs pressed using large hammers with interlocking dies. The thickness was switched to sheet metal in the 1880s, with the finished product painted white to provide the look of plaster.

Why Choose a Tin Cornice?

Tin & Metal Cornice

Tin is a durable material that is fireproof and lightweight. Its sheen (when left unpainted) adds a look of elegance and sophistication to a room. It can also enhance vintage homes. They last significantly longer than plaster and are easier to clean.

Tin ceilings and cornices have recently gained popularity to restore original appearances in older homes or turn of the century buildings. In addition, they are more durable than the ones made in the previous century as they have a powder-coated finish, ensuring they remain free from wear and rust.

Decorative molding comes in various options, including leafy, bead, step, dentils, cove, and egg and dart.

The Differences

Tin & Metal Cornice

Metal cornices have a wider range of applications than tin cornices. While any type of cornice design will beautifully finish a room and offer a great compliment to a metal or tin ceiling, you need to be aware of the ornateness of the ceiling and the room’s style overall.

Make sure that, no matter which crown molding you choose, you select one that matches your décor. Highly ornate moldings may not look great in modern homes. Ones with simple lines may get lost in rooms with detailed woodwork.

If your style trends towards modern or contemporary, you may want to select a metal cornice. The variations in design are more suited to this style than a tin ceiling which trends towards ornateness. This type of cornice design is better suited for more traditional, vintage, Victorian, or older home styles. It will provide that traditional look that is required.

The type of room you’re installing it in will dictate which to use as well. For bathrooms, you will need one that withstands moisture and high humidity. If placed outdoors, it should be resistant to the elements.

If used on a roof deck or other outside areas, your selection should be able to withstand rust and moisture. It needs to be exceptionally durable. Both types of cornices should be able to handle weather extremes. For indoors, in moisture- and humidity-rich environments, both should be able to stand up equally as well.

The rest is up to design choice. Metal cornices and tin cornices have a lot to offer and can elevate a room’s design. Its sparkling exterior, if left unpainted, draws the eye upwards due to its uniqueness. However, it may not be suited for every room.

Unless you have a formal living room or dining room, this look may be too much. However, installed in a basement, rustic kitchen, or bathroom, it can make a bold, definitive statement.

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