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Do Metal Tin Ceiling Tiles Rust & Are They Waterproof?

Whether you’re a homeowner who has (or thinking about installing) a tin tile backsplash or ceiling, you’ve probably wondered how the steel-plated tin holds up in areas that often can become steamy or damp.

If you’ve ever asked “do metal ceiling tiles rust. . . or worse yet, mold or mildew!?” or “wait, is tin tile waterproof?”, we’re going full steam ahead on answering some common questions on the topic of tin tiles and water/moisture. Hint: tin is super easy to clean (yes, even in bathrooms and kitchens).

Material Matters: Tin-Plated Steel is Moisture-Resistant

American Tin Ceilings uses only original .010 gauge tin-plated steel. We never use aluminum (known to oxidize) nor plastic or Styrofoam intimations that many tin tile competitors use. 

With the exception of raw Unfinished tin-plated steel ceiling/wall or backsplash tin tile options, all colored American Tin Ceilings tiles are sealed and covered with high-quality powder-coated finishes that are rust-resistant and custom formulated by industry leaders like Dupont and TCI. Unfinished panels can also be finished to prevent oxidation, as well as painted or clear coated.

The strength of the powder coating is what makes tin tile a perfect (and corrosion-resistant) material for high-humidity indoor or outdoor areas like kitchens, bathrooms, and even the outdoors—including coastal climate houses or businesses.

On the other extreme from cold and damp, tin tile is also highly heat-proof (even up to 1 hour fire rated)—so if you want a splash of embossed pattern and color behind an oven or other hot appliance areas, tin tile panels are a stylish and safe option that won’t result in unsightly burn spots or crinkles.

Polish Up: How to Keep Water- & Rust-Resistant Tin Tile Looking Good For Years

Yes, tin tile is highly resistant to rust, mold, and/or water damage, making it a stylish and sensible choice for bathrooms to kitchens. However, do keep in mind that this does not mean tin tile is 100% waterproof, rust-proof, or mold-proof. Like any metal, long durations of time and over-exposure to extreme heat, cold, or water (i.e., too many days of rain and stormy weather) can cause some potential wear, tear, or damage to tin. So how can you prevent this from happening? 

To help increase the rust-resistant power of tin over time, go ahead and brush, roll, or spray an extra coat of clear polyurethane finish/primer, followed by an oil-based coat of paint over your tin tile ceiling, wall, or backsplash. If your tin tile is outdoors, keep extreme weather conditions in mind and make sure tin is not directly exposed to frequent water or heavy bouts of sun. Also treat outdoor tin tile with a metal exterior paint or sealant.

Another alternative to adding extra power to water- and rust-resistant tin tile? Keep tin tiles watertight. At American Tin Ceilings, our specialized backsplash panels feature a nail rail that overlaps with other panels for extra-tight seams. We recommend that the tin panels be installed with liquid nails adhesive and then nailed down, as this combination provides the most watertight result. 

(Mildew & Mold-Free) Green Light: Tin Tile Is an H20/Moisture Go

While many homeowners may worry about metal tiles rusting or becoming water-damaged, American Tin Ceiling tiles have your ceilings and walls clean and covered (yes, even in humid rooms like kitchens and bathrooms).

Our permanent finish coating process makes each tin tile highly resistant to water, rust, cracks, peels, and many other common causes of corrosion. With a little soap and water cleanup and general humidity care, tin tiles will make a long-time historic statement in any space. 


Which tin tile pattern and finish color will you choose to make a (water-resistant) splash in your favorite home spaces? And when your project is finished, be sure to show and tag us on our social media pages!

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