Painting & Caulking Tin Tiles

painting tin tiles

All finished tin tiles offered by American Tin Ceilings have a premium powder-coated enamel color. Powder-coating is a polyester resin that is baked onto metal. It is an extremely durable finish commonly used on appliances and patio furniture. There will be certain applications where you may want or need to match our colors. These can include nail heads, ceiling grids, molding, can light covers, A/C vents, switch plates or to touch-up caulked areas. Some colors can be matched by simple faux painting techniques, but others you will need to match at your local painting or home center. All home or automotive paint stores have electronic color matching systems, which should get you very close. We have compiled the following suggestions to help, but if you are unsure, give us a call or contact a local paint specialist.

Touch up paint - Matching spray paint can be purchased at local hardware stores for touching up nails, cut edges or nicks/scratches. When you receive your panels, take one tile to a local hardware retailer and they can generally help you select the closest match. Alternatively, American Tin Ceilings has touchup spray paint available in select colors.

Painting Suspended Ceiling Grids to match your finished panels - If your finish is antiqued or misted, use a multi-coat technique. Apply the base hue, then spray a second layer to simulate the antique or misted finish. The second layer should be lightly sprayed from a distance to produce a subtle effect. A third clear coat can add a finishing touch.

Preparing Unfinished Tin Tiles

We recommend that unfinished panels be finished to prevent oxidation. They can be painted or clear coated.

If you plan to paint unfinished tiles, you must first treat them before applying paint. This requires a primer, which the paint will adhere to. Metal requires an 'oil-based' primer. When shopping, make sure you purchase one that has a rust inhibitor to avoid corrosion. Spray paints are almost always used when finishing metal.

Clear-Coat Unfinished Tin Tiles

If you plan to seal your unfinished metal panels yourself instead of purchasing a silver powder-coated tile from us, you can use a polyurethane suitable for metal. It is recommended to use a powder-coated finish for durability, however some projects require they be finished in the field. An oil based product must be used.

Caulk (Recommendations)

If you do need to caulk, a good silicone painter's caulk works best. Here are a few suggestions that work with our colors:

  • Bright White Satin / Bright White Gloss - Sherwin Williams 950-A White
  • Creamy White Satin - Sherwin Williams 950-A Dover White
  • DAP Painters Acrylic Latex Caulk

painting tin tiles

Faux Painting (Recommendations)

While we feel we offer the most authentic 'aged' Artisan panels available, you may choose to take on the project yourself. There are several beautiful metallic paints available in your local hardware store. Modern Masters has a good selection and are available through many Benjamin Moore dealers. Benjamin Moore also has their own line of metallic paints, as well as Sherwin Williams. Two additional companies for metallic paints are Faux Effects International Blue Pearl Paints. Both have extensive options and are more reasonably priced. You may find one of these colors to match very close for painting your grid, molding or any touch-up areas.

  • Antique Silver Satin / Antique Silver Gloss - These colors are essentially silver with a light speckled antiquing. Start out with a Rustoleum Silver spray paint.
  • Aged Pewter Satin - This color is essentially silver with a delicate black veining. This will not match exactly but the tone will be very close. Start out with a Rustoleum silver spray paint.
  • Antique Gold - This color is essentially gold with a light speckled antiquing. Start out with a Rustoleum Gold spray paint.

For all of these to mimic the speckled antiquing, use a can of Rustoleum Black Enamel after the topcoat has dried completely. Stand back approximately 16 to 18 inches and lightly dust your item to the desired amount of antiquing.

The Basics of Whitewashing Tin Ceilings

whitewashing tin ceilingsMany of our customers have a genuine artistic nature, and several of them have asked us how to whitewash our panels. It is recommended that you start with one of our powder-coated finishes so you are starting with a panel that is sealed and protected against moisture. Also, by using a finished panel, you can use an acrylic based paint as your topcoat.

If you use a finished panel other than stainless steel gloss or brushed satin nickel use acrylic paints (never latex):

  • Mix 1 part white paint with 5 parts faux finish glaze (available at Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore stores).
  • Dip a clean brush into the mixture and wipe off the excess. Pro tip: To get a softer, feathery effect, wipe the brush with a dry paper towel or cloth so the brush is drier.
  • Brush the tin in random overlapping, crisscrossing short strokes. The more random and the more you overlap, the better the result. Pro tip: Add a third coat for even more dimension by following the same steps above except make your paint mixture 1 part paint, 15 parts faux finish glaze.
  • To ensure a lasting finish, allow the panel to dry for 24 hours before using a clear coat (flat, satin or gloss) on top of your panel.

To whitewash unfinished tin:

  • You must use an oil-based primer and an oil-based paint.
  • Paint the panel with a white oil-based primer and allow it to dry for at least 24 hours.
  • Use a complimentary color (like light blue or yellow), allowing this coat to dry for at least 24 hours.
  • After the second coat is dry, you will need to paint over it with another coat of white, and allow this to dry for 24 hours.
  • When all three coats have dried, it's time to begin the whitewash treatment.
  • Take a rag and dip it in denatured alcohol to rub the tin. Pro tip: To get a shallow reveal rub lightly and to get a deep reveal, apply more pressure. The best finishes always vary between light and deep rubbing.
  • Remember to change rags when it gets tacky or sticky from too much paint accumulation.
  • To ensure a lasting finish, allow the panel to dry for at least 24 hours before putting a clear coat on top (flat, satin or gloss).

If you use stainless steel gloss or brushed satin nickel and want the metal to show:

  • Use the Finished tin procedure

If you use stainless steel gloss or brushed satin nickel and do not want the metal to show:

  • Follow the Unfinished tin procedure