Tin Ceilings from American Tin Ceilings installing-a-tin-ceiling-pg1

Tin Ceilings from American Tin Ceilings installing-a-tin-ceiling-pg1

Canada

How to install a tin ceiling

Victorian elegance that transforms a roomand hides cracking plaster.

by Mac Wentz | Jun 01 ’98 | Courtesy of Home Service Publications, Inc

Some friends of mine recently installed a tin ceiling as part of an expensive (and stressful) kitchen remodeling project. At first they were skeptical about tin. The materials for the tin ceiling they wanted came to about $4 per sq. ft. (plywood included). Considering that they could install drywall for less than 30 per sq. ft. $4 seemed outrageous.

But now that the project is done, they say their tin ceiling was a bargain. It draws more praise from visitors than the prefinished oak flooring, the maple cabinets or the solid-surface countertop, each of which cost more than twice as much as the ceiling. And they like the way the shiny surface brightens the room. If my friends have one complaint, it’s that the tin reflects sound, sometimes making their kitchen a noisy place.

Tin ceilingsmade by stamping patterns into thin sheets of steelhave been around since the mid-1800s and reached the peak of their popularity about a century ago. Victorian-era homeowners liked the way tin dressed up their otherwise boring ceilings and permanently solved their cracking plaster problems.

Tin ceilings are being installed today for the same reasons. Most modern homes lack the ornate decor and high ceilings to accommodate large, deep tin patterns, but more subtle designs fit comfortably into homes with 8-ft. ceilings. Tin ceilings are most often installed in kitchens, but I’ve also seen them look great in living rooms, dining rooms and bathrooms.

WHAT IT TAKES

Installing a tin ceiling takes a lot more time than a simple drywall ceiling. From plywood preparation to final painting, two of us worked three full days on our 200-sq.-ft. ceiling. We spent about half that time driving hundreds of little nails up into the plywood and complaining about our sore arms.

Stiff muscles aside, most of the project was simple, something any midlevel do-it-yourselfer could handle. To install the plywood (Photo 1) and ceiling panels (Photo 3), we needed only a few tools (hammer, chalk line, circular saw, drill, aviation snips) and the basic know-how to use them.

The frustrating part of installing our tin ceiling was fitting the corners of the cornice (Photos 7 and 8). We spent hours trimming and retrimming, tryingwithout much luckto make them fit together tightly. Then we found a better way: We made a big miter box from plywood and cut the corner pieces with a reciprocating saw (Photo 6). We still had to do a bit of trimming with aviation snips after cutting the cornice in the miter box, but we got near-perfect results.

Fig. A. Layout Plans for a Tin Ceiling

PLANNING THE LAYOUT

Planning a tin ceiling is a complex process requiring lots of careful measurementsand concentration as you put all the measurements together.

Tin ceilings have three basic components: field panels, which cover most of the ceiling; cornice, whichlike wood crown moldingcovers the corner where the walls and ceiling meet; and filler, which forms a border between the field and cornice.

Tin ceiling materials are sold almost exclusively by mail, so begin by requesting a catalog from the suppliers listed in the Buyer’s Guide (p. 36). When you’ve chosen the field pattern and cornice you want, carefully measure the dimensions of your room and make a scale drawing on graph paper (see Fig. A). Each square on the paper should represent 6 in. since tin ceiling patterns repeat in 6-in. increments (every 6, 12 or 24 in.). NOTE: When you request a catalog, ask about design services. Some suppliers will guide you through the layout process.

Next, draw a line inside the perimeter of your room sketch to represent the projection of the cornice, the distance it projects onto the ceiling from the corner where the wall and ceiling meet. Cornices can project 12 in. or more, but in rooms with 8-ft. ceilings, cornices with projections of 6 in. or less look best. Ours had a projection of 4-3/8 in.

Now you’re ready to sketch out the field, the area covered by the field panels. The panels are 24-1/2 in. wide and 48-1/2 in. long, and overlap one another by 1/2 in. So your field will always have a measurement that ends with 1/2 in. (8 ft. 6-1/2 in. x 15 ft. 1/2 in. for instance). The field panels can be cut wherever the pattern repeats. So, for example, a field pattern like ours, which repeats every 6 in. could be cut to 6-1/2, 12-1/2 and 18-1/2 in. lengths or widths.

But even when cut, chances are the field panels won’t fit perfectly into the area between the four cornices. And that’s where filler panels come in. Filler panels have small, subtle patterns so they can be cut to any width without looking awkward. In addition to covering the leftover space between the field and cornice, they create a transition where walls aren’t at 90- degree angles. For appearance, you can make the filler wider or narrower by adjusting the size of the field. But your filler most likely won’t be a consistent width around the perimeter of the room. On the north and south sides of the room, it may be 10 in. wide, for example, while on the east and west it may be 11-1/2 in. wide.

Don’t forget to consider lighting when planning your ceiling. This is the perfect time to add or move fixtures; you can hack up the ceiling to run cables without having to patch the holes. But you must position light fixtures carefully if you want them centered on the tin’s pattern.

IMPORTANT: Electrical boxes in the ceiling must be flush with the 1/2-in. plywood that will cover the ceiling. Install new boxes so that they protrude 1/2 in. from the existing ceiling. Existing boxes can be lowered 1/2 in. or extended with mud rings (available in the electrical aisle at home centers).

ORDERING YOUR CEILING

Using your graph-paper sketch, you can determine exactly how many pieces of cornice, filler and field panels you’ll need. Still, it’s a good idea to order at least one extra of each piece to allow for mistakes. NOTE: You can’t cut a field panel exactly in halfyou must cut it on one side of the row of buttons that run down the center of the panel. So for estimating purposes, any panel that will be cut to half-size or larger must be counted as a full panel.

TIP: Some panels are available in 8-ft. lengths, but we recommend the 4-ft. versions. They’re easier to handle and you’re less likely to bend and kink them.

Filler panels come in two versions: Some have an overlapping bead that fits over the upper edge of the cornice (Photo 9); others have no bead. If you choose the no-bead filler, order nosing, a narrow decorative strip that hides the seam between the cornice and filler.

The W. F. Norman Co. makes one-piece inside and outside miters (corner pieces) to match some of its cornice patterns. If you choose one of these patterns and buy the one-piece corners ($9 to $13 each), you can skip the steps shown in Photos 6 through 8. But we don’t recommend buying precut parts for inside and outside corners that some other manufacturers offer. You can get better results yourself by using a plywood miter box (Photo 6).

Finally, your order may include decorative cone-head nails. If not, use flat-headed common nails: 1 in. for the ceiling, 1-1/2 in. for the lower edge of the cornice.

PREPARING THE CEILING

A layer of 1/2-in. CDX plywood screwed to the ceiling is the best base for tin, whether the existing ceiling is plaster or drywall, in good shape or bad.

Fig. B. Plywood Miter Box

Before you attach the plywood, locate all the joists and studs and mark their centers with a chalk line (Photo 2). To find the framing behind drywall, use an electronic stud finder ($10 to $40). Not all stud finders work well through plaster, so you may have to find framing by driving a nail through the plaster repeatedly until you hit wood. TIP: If your tin ceiling is part of a major remodeling project that requires tearing into walls, place 2×4 blocking between the studs to provide a continuous nailing surface for the lower edge of the cornice.

There are a couple of rare situations that require a grid of 1×2 or 2×2 furring strips, rather than plywood, to be screwed to the ceiling: The first involves tin patterns that protrude toward the ceiling rather than down into the room. Furring strips provide a recess for deep concave patterns.

Canada

How to install a tin ceiling

Victorian elegance that transforms a roomand hides cracking plaster.

by Mac Wentz | Jun 01 ’98 | Courtesy of Home Service Publications, Inc

Some friends of mine recently installed a tin ceiling as part of an expensive (and stressful) kitchen remodeling project. At first they were skeptical about tin. The materials for the tin ceiling they wanted came to about $4 per sq. ft. (plywood included). Considering that they could install drywall for less than 30 per sq. ft. $4 seemed outrageous.

But now that the project is done, they say their tin ceiling was a bargain. It draws more praise from visitors than the prefinished oak flooring, the maple cabinets or the solid-surface countertop, each of which cost more than twice as much as the ceiling. And they like the way the shiny surface brightens the room. If my friends have one complaint, it’s that the tin reflects sound, sometimes making their kitchen a noisy place.

Tin ceilingsmade by stamping patterns into thin sheets of steelhave been around since the mid-1800s and reached the peak of their popularity about a century ago. Victorian-era homeowners liked the way tin dressed up their otherwise boring ceilings and permanently solved their cracking plaster problems.

Tin ceilings are being installed today for the same reasons. Most modern homes lack the ornate decor and high ceilings to accommodate large, deep tin patterns, but more subtle designs fit comfortably into homes with 8-ft. ceilings. Tin ceilings are most often installed in kitchens, but I’ve also seen them look great in living rooms, dining rooms and bathrooms.

WHAT IT TAKES

Installing a tin ceiling takes a lot more time than a simple drywall ceiling. From plywood preparation to final painting, two of us worked three full days on our 200-sq.-ft. ceiling. We spent about half that time driving hundreds of little nails up into the plywood and complaining about our sore arms.

Stiff muscles aside, most of the project was simple, something any midlevel do-it-yourselfer could handle. To install the plywood (Photo 1) and ceiling panels (Photo 3), we needed only a few tools (hammer, chalk line, circular saw, drill, aviation snips) and the basic know-how to use them.

Tin Ceilings from American Tin Ceilings installing-a-tin-ceiling-pg1

The frustrating part of installing our tin ceiling was fitting the corners of the cornice (Photos 7 and 8). We spent hours trimming and retrimming, tryingwithout much luckto make them fit together tightly. Then we found a better way: We made a big miter box from plywood and cut the corner pieces with a reciprocating saw (Photo 6). We still had to do a bit of trimming with aviation snips after cutting the cornice in the miter box, but we got near-perfect results.

Fig. A. Layout Plans for a Tin Ceiling

PLANNING THE LAYOUT

Planning a tin ceiling is a complex process requiring lots of careful measurementsand concentration as you put all the measurements together.

Tin ceilings have three basic components: field panels, which cover most of the ceiling; cornice, whichlike wood crown moldingcovers the corner where the walls and ceiling meet; and filler, which forms a border between the field and cornice.

Tin ceiling materials are sold almost exclusively by mail, so begin by requesting a catalog from the suppliers listed in the Buyer’s Guide (p. 36). When you’ve chosen the field pattern and cornice you want, carefully measure the dimensions of your room and make a scale drawing on graph paper (see Fig. A). Each square on the paper should represent 6 in. since tin ceiling patterns repeat in 6-in. increments (every 6, 12 or 24 in.). NOTE: When you request a catalog, ask about design services. Some suppliers will guide you through the layout process.

Next, draw a line inside the perimeter of your room sketch to represent the projection of the cornice, the distance it projects onto the ceiling from the corner where the wall and ceiling meet. Cornices can project 12 in. or more, but in rooms with 8-ft. ceilings, cornices with projections of 6 in. or less look best. Ours had a projection of 4-3/8 in.

Now you’re ready to sketch out the field, the area covered by the field panels. The panels are 24-1/2 in. wide and 48-1/2 in. long, and overlap one another by 1/2 in. So your field will always have a measurement that ends with 1/2 in. (8 ft. 6-1/2 in. x 15 ft. 1/2 in. for instance). The field panels can be cut wherever the pattern repeats. So, for example, a field pattern like ours, which repeats every 6 in. could be cut to 6-1/2, 12-1/2 and 18-1/2 in. lengths or widths.

But even when cut, chances are the field panels won’t fit perfectly into the area between the four cornices. And that’s where filler panels come in. Filler panels have small, subtle patterns so they can be cut to any width without looking awkward. In addition to covering the leftover space between the field and cornice, they create a transition where walls aren’t at 90- degree angles. For appearance, you can make the filler wider or narrower by adjusting the size of the field. But your filler most likely won’t be a consistent width around the perimeter of the room. On the north and south sides of the room, it may be 10 in. wide, for example, while on the east and west it may be 11-1/2 in. wide.

Don’t forget to consider lighting when planning your ceiling. This is the perfect time to add or move fixtures; you can hack up the ceiling to run cables without having to patch the holes. But you must position light fixtures carefully if you want them centered on the tin’s pattern.

IMPORTANT: Electrical boxes in the ceiling must be flush with the 1/2-in. plywood that will cover the ceiling. Install new boxes so that they protrude 1/2 in. from the existing ceiling. Existing boxes can be lowered 1/2 in. or extended with mud rings (available in the electrical aisle at home centers).

ORDERING YOUR CEILING

Using your graph-paper sketch, you can determine exactly how many pieces of cornice, filler and field panels you’ll need. Still, it’s a good idea to order at least one extra of each piece to allow for mistakes. NOTE: You can’t cut a field panel exactly in halfyou must cut it on one side of the row of buttons that run down the center of the panel. So for estimating purposes, any panel that will be cut to half-size or larger must be counted as a full panel.

TIP: Some panels are available in 8-ft. lengths, but we recommend the 4-ft. versions. They’re easier to handle and you’re less likely to bend and kink them.

Filler panels come in two versions: Some have an overlapping bead that fits over the upper edge of the cornice (Photo 9); others have no bead. If you choose the no-bead filler, order nosing, a narrow decorative strip that hides the seam between the cornice and filler.

The W. F. Norman Co. makes one-piece inside and outside miters (corner pieces) to match some of its cornice patterns. If you choose one of these patterns and buy the one-piece corners ($9 to $13 each), you can skip the steps shown in Photos 6 through 8. But we don’t recommend buying precut parts for inside and outside corners that some other manufacturers offer. You can get better results yourself by using a plywood miter box (Photo 6).

Finally, your order may include decorative cone-head nails. If not, use flat-headed common nails: 1 in. for the ceiling, 1-1/2 in. for the lower edge of the cornice.

PREPARING THE CEILING

A layer of 1/2-in. CDX plywood screwed to the ceiling is the best base for tin, whether the existing ceiling is plaster or drywall, in good shape or bad.

Fig. B. Plywood Miter Box

Before you attach the plywood, locate all the joists and studs and mark their centers with a chalk line (Photo 2). To find the framing behind drywall, use an electronic stud finder ($10 to $40). Not all stud finders work well through plaster, so you may have to find framing by driving a nail through the plaster repeatedly until you hit wood. TIP: If your tin ceiling is part of a major remodeling project that requires tearing into walls, place 2×4 blocking between the studs to provide a continuous nailing surface for the lower edge of the cornice.

There are a couple of rare situations that require a grid of 1×2 or 2×2 furring strips, rather than plywood, to be screwed to the ceiling: The first involves tin patterns that protrude toward the ceiling rather than down into the room. Furring strips provide a recess for deep concave patterns.


Leave a Reply