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How to Paint Tin Ceiling Tiles

December 4, 2013

We offer a variety of finished tiles in over 80 powder-coated color combinations, but for those creative, crafty types who would like a completely custom look, unfinished tiles can be painted to suit your needs.

How to Paint Unfinished Tin Tiles

Our finished tin tiles are powder-coated which means they utilize a polyester resin that is baked onto the metal to make them strong enough to withstand the elements. If you purchase unfinished tiles, you must treat them before applying paint to achieve the same durability. Choose an oil-based primer which the paint will adhere to, being sure to select one with a rust inhibitor to prevent corrosion. If you simply want to leave the panels silver but add a clear coat to seal them, it is recommended to use an oil-based polyurethane suitable for metal. You can also add a powder finish yourself.

Painting Your Home to Match Our Tin Tiles

Depending on your installation, there are some instances when you may want to paint your surrounding home elements to match our tin tiles. In order to conceal nails, ceiling grids, light covers, vents, molding, and other eyesores, there are a variety of metallic spray paints that provide a very similar color palate. Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore specialize in metallics, as does Faux Effects International and Blue Pearl Paints. Some popular options include antique silver satin/gloss, aged pewter satin, antique gold, and antique burgundy. These typically already have some speckling in them to add an antique look, but to enhance the effect even further, go over the top coat with a can of Rustoleum Black Enamel.


Whiltewashing can be done on either finished or unfinished tiles, but we recommend starting with one of our powder-coated tiles that is sealed to protect against moisture. By starting with a finished tile, you can also choose an acrylic-based paint as a top coat, otherwise stick with an oil-based paint and primer (unless you are have stainless steel gloss or brushed satin nickel finishes). For either type of tile, you never want to use a latex-based paint. Brush the tin in crisscrossing overlapping strokes, the more random the better. The amount of coats and paint mixtures vary by tile type so it is recommended to read our painting section for more information.


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