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Information lacking on tin ceiling

QuestionDo you know of anyone who sells tin ceilings? What are your thoughts about a tin ceiling in a dining room? Is their anything I should know about installing a tin ceiling?

AnswerIt's ironic that you should ask this question because my wife and I have discussed this specific home improvement over the last six months. I, too, have been searching for a tin ceiling company or a showroom in the local area so I could see and feel the product. I've been unsuccessful in finding such a supplier.

There are some options available to help you achieve a look similar to a tin ceiling. You can order Lay-in, Glue-up, or Peel 'N' Stick low-cost thermoplastic classic and contemporary ceiling panels at your local home center, but they're just not the same as the real thing.

A more realistic look worth considering is a paintable vinyl prepasted wallpaper ceiling tile by Architectural Inspirations (Norwall Group Inc.), a German-made product that I found at a local home center. Once installed and painted, it runs a close visual second to an actual tin ceiling. Several patterns are available at about $11 a roll, and each roll covers roughly 58 square feet (21 inches x 11 yards). The vintage look of this product is something to appreciate.

Installation of a tin ceiling in a dining room is a personal preference. We decided instead to hand jazz our dining room ceiling and add crown moldings. To stay true to the era of the home, we plan to install a tin ceiling in our entertainment room, which we feel lends itself more to the cozy atmosphere and traditional dark look of a tin ceiling: antique copper, burgundy, or green. The high ceilings in our home will permit us to add matching tin crown molding. To create this nostalgic look, you need high ceilings (above 8 feet) to get the full effect of the tin ceiling and its crown molding.

I applaud your desire to purchase a tin ceiling locally, but don't rule out the idea of purchasing from an out-of-area company. I've been working with The American Tin Ceiling Company in Florida (visit their website at www.americantinceilings.com or call them at 888-231-7500), and they stock both traditional nail-on ceiling tiles and their new SnapLock tin ceiling.

A traditional tin ceiling requires a 3/8-inch wood substrate or furring strips installed in the area of the ceiling tile nailing pattern. However, the SnapLock ceiling installs directly to the ceiling, eliminating the need for a wood substrate. It is very similar to tongue-and-groove (T&G) plywood except it has two male flanges (tongues) and two flanges that accept screws. This is a sweet system, but it really comes down to personal preference. Do you want a traditional tin ceiling with the brads showing or do you want the same look but with hidden fasteners? We decided the SnapLock ceiling with hidden fasteners would be the best look for our 8-foot, 4-inch ceiling.

The American Tin Ceiling Company sells samples so you can feel the product and evaluate colors as you work toward a decision. You can also download their installation guide. Look for a color and pattern that complement both the room and the theme of the home.

If after evaluating the tin ceiling samples you decide the product does not meet your specifications, then check out the vintage ceiling tile vinyl wallpaper by Norwall. Good luck with your project!

Copyright © 2005, 2006, & 2007 LAF/C.R.S., Inc. All rights reserved.
Question answered by Leon A. Frechette.

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