Snap Lock



Ideal for applications such as hotels, bars, restaurants, retail stores, lobby areas, and private residences.

Features & Benefits

  • Material: T1 grade tin-plated steel
  • Size: 24" x 24"
  • Thickness: 0.010"
  • Fire Rating: ASTM E 84-03b
  • Patterns: Over 30 patterns
  • Colors: Over 50 colors
  • Made in USA


  • Used on plaster, drywall, cement or popcorn ceilings.
  • No plywood required.
  • No adhesive required.
  • Screws directly into ceiling drywall.
  • Each tile interlocks to the next using our patented flange system.
  • You must start in a corner and install one row at a time.
  • Leaves a nice butting seam and no visible fasteners.
  • Patented design

Cross Section View

Single Panel View (2' x 2')

Multiple Panel View (4' x 4')

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Installation General Info

Snap Lock is a tongue & groove type installation. You will need to start in a corner and install one row at a time. They key to installation is not to make the joints too tight. Leave approximately 1/16” of space at the joint, where the focus is on making everything square. If the joints are too tight, then the squares will get out of alignment.

Ceiling Components

A tin ceiling is comprised of two primary components and two optional components. The primary components are the tin ceiling panels and the crown molding. Optional components are flat molding/rope molding and filler. These components are generally used when the design layout requires it.


There are a variety of layout possibilities with tin, including the use of molding, filler panels, and more. You can view all of the different possibilities to create unique and dramatic ceilings on our website at

Tools & Materials

See your project installation instructions for the specific materials list for your project type.

Tin panels: American Tin Ceilings has three types of panels depending upon the type of installation: Nail- Up is used for traditional applications on a wood substrate, and for all backsplash, wall, and wainscoting projects (use adhesive instead of nails for these applications). Snap Lock is used for installation over drywall or popcorn ceilings. Drop-In panels are used with standard 2' x 2' systems that have 15/16" grid widths.

Crown/Flat Molding: Matching tin molding is available from American Tin Ceilings. Wood molding can be purchased at a local hardware store.

Construction adhesive: Loctite® Power Grab® (Backplash, Wall and Project applications)

Caulking: DAP silicone latex painter's caulk (for Nail-Up and Snap Lock application types)

Touch-up paint: carries a selection of touch-up paints. If you prefer, your local hardware store or automotive paint supplier may be able to match if provided with a sample.

Tools (Depending upon installation type): Ladders / Scaffolding / Drill / Tin snips / Metal shears Guillotine cutter / Hammers / Nail gun / Chalk line / Tape measure


No water-based products can be used directly on the metal tiles or molding; however, you can use an oil-based primer. Once the tiles have been primed, you are able to use a paint of your choice. Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore also offer DTM (direct-to-metal) paints. The DTM paints can be painted directly on the metal and will eliminate the need to use a primer.

Clear Coat: No water-based paint can be used directly on the metal. The best choices are an oil-based polyurethane or a lacquer.

Cutting Tin

Metal shears / Tin snips: These tools can be purchased at

Guillotine paper cutters: Heavy-duty tabletop paper cutters similar to those used in schools and office environments. Every job requires cutting of varying lengths. We carry the Martin Yale 'Premiere' Cutter at manufacture cost.

RotoZip tool: Great for can lights and applications that require circular cuts.

Fixtures & Vents

Light fixtures, chandeliers, recessed lighting, vents, etc., can easily be accommodated by tin ceiling panels.

  1. Remove the fixture
  2. Trace the fixture perimeter onto the tin panel
  3. Cut out traced area with tin snips
  4. Install cut tin on ceiling
  5. Re-install fixture over installed tin
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Ceiling Installation

Tools/Supplies Required

  • Ladder or scaffolding
  • Tape measure
  • Putty knife
  • Drill
  • 1/2” drill bit
  • Aviation shears
  • Chalk box
  • Fine point Sharpie
  • Paint sticks (for shims)
  • Straight edge
  • Cordless screw gun
  • #6 drywall screws
  • Hammer
  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves

Filler Installation for Ceilings (Optional)

The most common tin ceiling layout uses no filler and merely trims the panel flush wall to wall. However, filler is required for certain applications. Filler is generally used with:

  • Patterns with a deep profile depth that do not accomodate cropping
  • For design layouts specifying filler

Cut the filler to fit into the coverage area. When finishing a perimeter, cut the filler panels so that the edges will butt flush against the wall.

Install the filler by coating the backside with Loctite® Power Grab® or a similar adhesive and position it in place.

Once positioned, nail the filler panel into the substrate, placing one nail every 6 inches around the perimeter of the filler panel. Overlap adjacent filler panels by 1/4" utilizing the nail rail.

Flat molding is often used to transition between filler and panels, and will hide any unsightly seams.

Filler for Snap Lock, Nail-Up and Backsplash applications will require the use of the F1-N or F2-N filler panels. These will have a nail rail on the perimeter of the panel. For Drop-In applications, the F1-D and F2-D are required and do not have a nail rail.

Installation Steps

  1. Your starting point on the ceiling can be any corner of the room.
  2. Measure the width of your tile and add a 1/2” to 3/4” to your measurement.
  3. Mark the ceiling with the measurement from Step #2 in the corner of your room.
  4. Repeat Steps #1 - #3 on an opposite corner but NOT a diagonal corner to your first measurement.
  5. Snap a chalk line from those two measuring points. This will provide the proper alignment for your panels.
  6. Attach the first ceiling panel to the corner of the ceiling with the male flanges facing the wall, allowing a 1/2” space from the wall (use #6 drywall screws that are 1 1/4” in length to attach the panel to the ceiling). This insures that the panels remain straight, even in rooms that are not perfectly square. Install your first panel as squarely as possible. Start with the male flange facing the wall so that the screw plate on the female flange is always exposed as you progress. In most cases when installing a 24” pattern, filler panels will be needed because of the deep profile embossment of the panels. For example, if your room is 11’ x 13’, you would install your field panels in a 10’ x 12’ area in the center of the room and then install 12” of filler panels around the perimeter. This creates a uniform look and allows your molding to sit flush with the ceiling, as it is overlapping the filler panels.
  7. After installing your first row, snap a chalk line for the second row at 24 1/8”. Slip the male flange into the female flange on the second row, making sure before attachment to leave no more than a 1/16” gap between the two. You may find it helpful to have a putty knife handy to open the female flange. Note: If you try to force your panels too tight, the corners will eventually form a gap and you will have no way to keep your pattern aligned. Continue to work your way across the ceiling in rows until you reach the end of the room, as well as the opposing wall.
  8. If you have light fixtures you will need to lay them out on the back of the ceiling panel as you reach them. Measure from the edge of your ceiling tile and mark out your ceiling fixture placement. Drill a hole in the center of the layout, then use tin snips to cut away the material. You can do this by either cutting at 90 degrees to the lay out mark, then cutting the perimeter mark out, or by cutting a spiral to your layout mark (cutting in a circle). You can now install your beauty rings for the lights.
  9. When approaching the perimeter of your room you will have to cut the female flange off. You will need to shim this partial panel using a paint stick before screwing it to the ceiling. This will prevent the tile from being pulled too tight to the ceiling, creating a gap.
  10. Now you are ready to install the crown molding.


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