Tin Ceiling FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the actual size of your tin panels?

All of our tin ceiling panels measure 24" x 24" and cover 4 sq. ft. The Nail-Up panels are 24" + a 1/4" nail rail. Our Drop-In panels are 23 3/4" x 23 3/4" and fit all standard 15/16" grids with a 2'x2' (24" x 24") suspension system.

What size patterns do you offer?

We offer 6", 12" and 24" patterns within the 24" x 24" format. 6" pattern tiles repeat 16 times per panel, 12" patterns repeat 4 times per tin panel.

What types of tin panels do you offer?

We offer three different types of tin ceiling panels that differ based upon the installation application:

  • Snap LockTM: Our patented panel type is the only tin ceiling tile system in the world that can be installed over drywall, plaster or popcorn directly with screws.
  • Nail-Up: Requires a wood substrate for installation (plywood, furring strips, joists).
  • Drop-In: Used in standard 2' x 2' suspended ceiling grid systems with 15/16" wide rails. We also offer an acoustical version of our Drop-In tiles that are microperformated for sound performance.

What patterns are available in Snap LockTM?

Snap LockTM tiles are available in all patterns except #9, #15, #33 and #34.

What are the general specifications of your tin ceiling panels?

Our tin ceiling tiles are the original .010 gauge tin-plated steel in the authentic 2' x 2' size representative of genuine "Turn of the Century" tin. They are made from 25% recycled steel, with a 100% virgin coating.

What is the proper maintenance for the finished panels?

The effects of ultraviolet light, pollution, dirt, grime, and salt deposits can all accumulate on our powder coated finishes over time. If you notice any of this, be sure to remove any residue to extend the life of your finished tiles. To clean, all you need is a mild soap and water. Carefully remove any loose debris with a wet sponge. Use a soft, non-abrasive brush or cloth, and a mild household detergent to remove dust, salt and other deposits. Rinse off with clean, fresh water.

Detergents that recommend the use of gloves should be avoided as this is a good indication that the detergent is harsh and, therefore, unsuitable for cleaning the powder coating. Although some strong solvents are recommended for removing sealants or other building residues, these may be harmful to the extended life of the powder coating. The damage may not be immediately visible and may take up to twelve months to appear. If paint splashes, sealants or other residue need to be removed, use either Methylated Spirits, Turpentine or White Spirits.

Your materials are superior to your competitors', yet your prices are less. How can this be?

We pride ourselves on offering authentic representations of the original tin ceiling panels from the 1800s. We only use real tin plated steel, not anodized aluminum, poly alloy or plastic. Our .010 (31 gauge) metal thickness is the same gauge used in turn of the century tin ceilings. We can sell a superior product for less than our competitors because we are both the manufacturer and distributor. There are no middlemen, no markups and since our website is a virtual storefront, we can minimize overhead and operating costs, all savings which we pass on to the consumer.

What are 'Unfinished' tin ceiling tiles?

Our unfinished tin is just that, raw tin plated steel that looks similar to a light brushed nickel. It is beautiful by itself, but we do recommend finishing it with at least a clear polyurethane coating as a protectant.

What is the fire rating of your tin ceiling panels?

Click here to view a fire rating report courtesy of the United States Testing Company, Inc. This report will generally satisfy building inspectors' requests.

Do you offer any accessories to accent your tin panels?

Yes, we sell crown molding, flat molding, j channel molding, and filler in all of our colors. We also offer matching switch plates and outlet covers.

What are your prices?

Our tin panel prices vary by color and installation type. Check out our cost calculator on the product pages after selecting an installation type.

Do you ship samples?

Yes, sample packs include six-inch tin color swatches showcasing our beautiful powder coat finishes. Single panels can also be purchased for design and embossment sampling ($5 per pattern sample).

Can I return a sample if I don't like it?

Ceiling purchases over $500 can be credited for one sample pack, upon request. Full panel samples in original condition can be returned for a credit once a ceiling of over $500 is purchased.

Do you have a printed brochure you can mail me?

We have both residential and commercial brochures with information about the different tin ceiling panels and installation methods which may be useful to give consumers, designers and architects a better idea of what it is we offer. We are happy to mail appropriate brochures and samples upon request.

How long will it take to receive my order?

Orders are all processed the same day. An 'in stock' item (which includes only “Unfinished” tin materials) will typically ship in 1-2 days plus 3-5 business days for ground shipping. Standard colors (Non-Artisan) will take up to 2 weeks to ship. Hand finished Artisan colors will not be received for up to 4 weeks. Although we make every effort to expedite each shipment, we cannot guarantee delivery dates. If you are quoted a delivery date at the time of sale, that quote cannot be guaranteed, unless you expedite the order which will incur a rush charge. Regardless, we receive several orders per week from consumers who have been waiting three months or more for product ordered from our competitors. So, even under the most stressed production conditions we still lead the industry in price, service and on-time shipping.

Can I install Snap LockTM into a plaster ceiling?

Snap LockTM tiles can be anchored directly into a drywall ceiling with #6 drywall screws, and generally, this installation method can be applied to plaster ceilings as well, although, you will want to use metal plaster screws.

Can I use your product for a kitchen wall backsplash?

Yes, pressed tin is becoming very popular for kitchen backsplashes. A Nail-Up panel is required for wall applications and 6” repeating patterns are recommended. Installation is easy, simply cut and glue the tiles to the wall with an adhesive like Liquid Nails. If you want to finish the look with molding, we recommend our J Channel Molding or a wood molding of your choosing. Snap LockTM tiles are intended for ceiling installations only and are therefore not recommended for backsplashes.

What do you suggest for small rooms?

The rule of thumb is that any room smaller than 12' x 12' should use a 12" repeating pattern like #1, #2, #4, #5, #8, #16, #18 and #24 to give the illusion that it's larger than it is. If you have a 10' x 10' room using full 24" pattern panels, you will have only 25 patterns on the ceiling (100 sq. ft. divided by 4 sq.), whereas a 12" pattern will create 100 repeats. Areas smaller than 6' x 6' should use a 6" repeating pattern like #3, #19, #20, #21, or #30.

What do you suggest for a low ceiling?

Lighter color panels can help ceilings appear higher if you have dark walls, and the opposite is true if you have light walls. 6" or 12" repeating patterns will also make it appear bigger.

What do you suggest for a bathroom?

Bathroom ceilings are usually smaller and can be more dynamic with our Premium and Artisan designer colors combined with wallpaper or faux finished walls. Depending on the height of the ceiling, a 3" or 6" crown in metal or wood will work well. If you opt for a wood crown from your local hardware store, it can easily be painted to match the tin panel colors with off the shelf spray paints.

Is trim or molding necessary?

Neither are required, but a tin ceiling without crown molding is like a picture without a frame. Trimming out your ceiling is a very important part of the process. The tin ceiling panels often need to be cut to fit flush against the wall, and therefore trim should be applied to cover the edges. Even if you are using filler with a 24" pattern, you generally need trim. The only exception is when you already have crown molding installed. We manufacture metal crown in 2 ", 4", 6", and 8 " designs in all of our standard colors. You can also use a wood trim, which is readily available from your local lumber store. Wood trims can be color matched using off the shelf spray paints.

What is filler?

Filler panels are used as a border for your panels to help maintain visual consistency and transition between your main pattern and the outside edges of your ceiling. Patterned and hammered filler transitions from the edge of a 24" pattern to the wall, where the filler edge is then covered with trim. Imagine installing 24" pattern panels in a room that measures 15' x 17'. Cutting the last panels in half to fit the last foot of the wall would leave a visual inconsistency between the pattern and the trim. To avoid this, install 14' x 16' of 24" pattern panels from the center, then finish the remaining area with filler (2 runs of 14' and 2 runs of 16'). Our filler ships in 24" x 24" sheets and can easily be cut to any size with tin snips or a guillotine paper cutter. Mitering the corners on a 45-degree angle enhances the aesthetic.

What size crown molding do I need?

When you are measuring for trim, remember that crown molding projects out from the wall. The distance of the projection depends upon the width of your crown. Our 6" metal crown projects 4.5" from the wall to cover the panels. The projection of the crown is important when you have a ceiling panel layout that is not flush to the wall. For example, if your ceiling is 10' 3" by 12'3", you can easily install a 10' x 12' tin ceiling from the center out, leaving a 3" gap all the way around.

Is there an alternative to crown molding?

Shoe Molding is the most popular ceiling trim and is the easiest to work with. It adds a subtle touch to a beautiful tin ceiling. Shoe molding is 3/4" x 3/4" and is readily available from lumber stores for about 40 cents per linear foot. It works well in kitchens, baths, low ceilings or anywhere you want to avoid a bulky crown.

What if I have existing crown molding?

No problem...this is where filler comes in. Use a 24" or 12" pattern to layout the ceiling from center to the wall. If you have a 13' x 13' room, you will use a 12' x 12' repeating pattern. The remaining 6" around will be completed using filler, which is thin enough to fit under the lip of the existing crown molding. When installing Nail-Up panels, the filler edge can be placed directly underneath the edge of the tin panel. With Snap LockTM, the filler should be cut to the edge of the tin panel where the male flange meets the filler. Where the female flange meets the filler, the filler will slide into the flange space. Use Liquid Nails and a few brad nails to secure. Feel free to contact our design department to discuss any questions, concerns or challenges with your ceiling plan.

What if I want to return my product for a refund or exchange?

American Tin Ceilings allows returns on certain products up to seven days after delivery. Unfinished and standard color products are returnable minus a 25% restocking fee. The customer is responsible for return shipping costs. The product must return in new sellable condition and the customer must receive a return authorization within seven days of delivery. Premium and Artisan color products are not returnable due to the nature of color variance found in each production run.

What are your general policies?

Click here to read our general policies.

Your closeout finishes appear to be available in regular inventory. Is there a difference?

We develop our own high-end industrial powder coat finishes in-house. This means that our product goes through various iterations of development. Previous versions may be discontinued in place of the new improved versions. We archive all the leftover stock of previous versions of select powder coat finishes and sell them in our closeout section at a reduced price. They can no longer be matched to the current regular inventory and there are limited quantities available. Once this fixed quantity has been depleted, that specific discontinued finish can no longer be purchased.

What kind of nails should I use with the Nail-Up tin panels?

A pneumatic brad nailer with 18 gauge brad nails is the most common fastening method. These are readily available at your local home improvement center or hardware store. Decorative nails like cone-heads, dome-head finishing and upholstery nails are commonly used for manual applications but are a lot of work to install on an entire ceiling. After installation, the nails can be dabbed with matching paint to reduce their visibility.

Where can I purchase touch-up paint to match your beautiful powder coat finishes?

Bring one of your tin panels to a local hardware or auto paint retailer to acquire the closest match. Antiques will often require a multi-step finishing technique. First spray the base coat, then mist a black overspray to simulate the antiquing. Remember, metal finishing rules apply.

Do you sell light ring covers for recessed lights?

We do not sell the covers for recessed lights. We do however suggest that you paint the fixture that comes with the light when you purchase them from the store. Generally, complimentary spray paint is available from your local home center.