How Much Does a Tin Ceiling Cost?

Typical Range:

$450 - $4,900

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated November 16, 2021

Written by HomeAdvisor.

Installing a tin ceiling will cost you a total of $1,900 on average, with a range between $450 and $4,900. The majority of the budget is spent on labor, and you may also pay for the tiles, grid materials, tools, and supplies for the project.

Tin ceilings are popular with homeowners who want to bring a bit of old-world charm into a modern home. A tin ceiling can add drama and flair to a room with its beautiful, intricate patterns and shiny metallic coatings. Request a quote from a ceiling tile and drop ceiling installer near you at the beginning of the project to help you understand the size and scope of the ceiling you can get for your budget. Here, we’ll discuss cost factors you need to know as you research if this ceiling type is right for your home and budget.

Average Cost for a Tin Ceiling

Average Cost$1,900
High Cost$4,900
Low Cost$450

Cost Per Square Foot

A tin ceiling costs $2 to $15 per square foot on average, including the tiles and the grid you’ll need to hang to drop in the tiles.

The grid railings cost $1 to $3 per square foot, while tin ceiling tiles range between $1 to $12 per square foot, with an average cost of $5.50 per square foot. These tiles are typically 2 feet by 2 feet or 2 feet by 4 feet each in size and are often sold in cases that cover a total of 20 to 48 square feet, although the tiles are sold individually sometimes. Custom sizes are also available from some manufacturers, though these will likely cost more.

Installation Costs

The labor cost to install a tin ceiling is $2 to $5 per square foot on average. Most of the cost to put in a tin ceiling comes from materials.

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Cost Factors

The cost of a tin ceiling can fluctuate depending on how it’s set up, the materials you choose, and the pro you hire.

Ceiling Size and Condition

At $5.50 per square foot on average, a 48-square-foot area costs $260 for the tiles. The larger the square footage, the more you’ll pay for tiles.

If the ceiling where you’re placing your tin tiles is in poor condition, there will be additional costs associated with fixing it before you can install the grid or the tin. For example, if the ceiling is cracked, sagging, has water damage, or has a mold problem, you’ll have to hire a local ceiling repair contractor or mold removal service near you before you start on the installation.

Homeowners pay a pro $60 to $90 per hour on average for ceiling repair costs and $10 to $25 per square foot for professional mold removal costs.

Panel Type

The tin panel type you select will factor into the overall cost of the project. These include pressed, punched, reclaimed, or faux tin panels. Drop ceiling panels are commonly constructed of not only tin, but also aluminum, copper, steel mineral fiber, foam, or PVC manufactured and coated to look like metal.

Genuine tin ceilings or artisan-designed tiles made from more expensive metals like copper cost on the higher end at over $10 per square foot, while foam tiles designed and painted to look like plaster or metal cost as little as $1 per square foot.

Tile Finish

Tin ceiling tiles can be purchased in various colors and painted or powder-coated to match your individual style preferences. Check the panel product details to see if you can alter the finish.

If you change the color rather than stick with the manufactured shade, you’ll have to purchase paint as well. The average paint gallon cost is $25 to $50 and covers 300 to 400 square feet, so you will likely need to buy at least one can of paint along with supplies like a roller, roller pan, and brush.

Tile Type

The cost of tin ceiling tiles is more dependent on the material and finish of the tiles rather than the type. Depending on the look you’re going for, there are three main types, including:

  • Snap-together: These connect like a puzzle.

  • Drop-in: These tiles are laid on top of a grid to fill in the spaces.

  • Nail-up: These attach to a grid using a nail gun.

Cost to Replace Tin Ceiling Tiles

A 2-feet-by-2-feet tin ceiling tile costs $4 to $15 on average but can go up to as much as $60 for more high-end materials and finishes. If you needed to replace an entire 48-square-foot tin ceiling, that would cost somewhere between $48 to $700 to purchase new tiles.

To keep a metal ceiling from rusting and needing replacement, you can apply rust-resistant paint to the tiles before installing them. However, if you want to keep your tiles in their original state, spray on a clear rust-resistant primer or use a wire brush or sander to remove any rust that does appear. Also, keep your home—especially the room with the metal ceiling—at a low humidity year-round. The ideal indoor humidity is 60% or below in the summer and 25% to 40% in the winter.

DIY vs. Hiring a Tin Ceiling Pro

Installing a tin ceiling is a fairly advanced project that may be challenging for the average homeowner to DIY. The process involves a lot of pre-planning, sketching, and taking measurements to ensure the grid and tiles fit the space perfectly.

DIY

If you choose this route, here’s a list of items you’ll need:

  • Measuring tape

  • Ladder

  • Sketch paper and pencil (or drafting software)

  • Nail gun

  • Nails

  • Drill

  • Screws

  • Lumber for the grid

  • Tin ceiling tiles

  • Paint (if desired)

After you get accurate measurements, the next step is to cut lumber to the appropriate sizes for the grid and prepare the tin tiles. If you want to paint the tiles a different color, this is the time to do that.

Once your materials are ready to attach to the ceiling, remove all attachments such as fans, smoke alarms, light fixtures, and vent covers. Then, secure a wood grid to the existing ceiling and attach the tiles to the grid using a nail gun.

Hiring a Pro

If you hire a professional ceiling installer to complete the tin ceiling installation, you’ll likely pay for the cost of materials plus labor. The average labor cost is $2 to $5 per square foot of ceiling, although not every contractor prices this way. Ask the pro you’re considering how their pricing structure works when you request a quote. In total, homeowners pay $450 to $4,900, at an average of $1,880 to have a drop ceiling installed by a pro.

A few factors dictating the cost of hiring a ceiling installer pro include:

  • Region where you live

  • Number of contractors helping with the installation

  • Years of experience

  • Size of the ceiling and time it takes to complete the installation

Whether you DIY or go with a pro, one way to save money is to purchase the ceiling tiles yourself rather than relying on the pro to source them. This way, you’ll be able to choose the style and design you like best, control spending, and not have to pay a pro for them. Once you measure the square footage of the space you want to fill, you can then look for a case of tiles that fit that square footage.

FAQs

Are tin ceilings expensive compared to drywall?

Yes, tin ceilings are more expensive than drywall and sheetrock. This is because the material used to make metal panels is more expensive to come by. The average drywall cost is $0.40 to $0.65 per square foot, while tin ceiling tiles are usually around $3 to $6 per square foot.

Are tin ceilings in style right now?

The modern farmhouse design trend is popular, featuring elements like metal and wrought iron, exposed or reclaimed wood, and contemporary elements that are nostalgic of a rustic country style. A metal ceiling complements this design for homeowners that prefer the modern farmhouse or farmhouse chic look.

What are the pros and cons of tin ceilings?

If a tin ceiling is a style you enjoy, there are typically more advantages than disadvantages.

Pros

  • Long-lasting

  • Doesn’t crack or peel over time like typical ceilings

  • Adds texture, drama, and luxury to a room

  • Doesn’t get mold or mildew

  • Fire-resistant in some cases

Cons

  • Expensive to purchase

  • Expensive to remove if you change your mind in the future

  • Requires regular upkeep and maintenance to avoid rusting

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