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Tin Ceiling Installation Instructions


Please wear heavy duty gloves and take safety precautions to protect yourself.

Tin Ceiling Terminology

Tin Ceiling Terminology
  • The

    Field Panel (Plate)

    is the design of the main panel in the room. This panel may cover the entire ceiling or be centered in the room, as shown in the sketch above.
  • A


    strip may be used to enhance the appearance of the ceiling. It is installed between the Field Panels and the Filler Panel.
  • The

    Filler Panel

    is a panel with a simple over-all design such as a "hammered" or "dimpled" pattern. This panel is used to center the Field Panel in the room.
  • The


    is applied to the corner of the wall and ceiling. It can be one of our metal cornices or one of your own choice such as wood.

Tin Finish

All finishes except tin (unfinished steel) do not require any treatment and are ready for installation. Oil and dirt should be removed from unfinished metal sheets by applying paint thinner. Unfinished metal sheets should be either clear coated or painted for protection against rusting.

Lay-In Applications

Lay-in panels are simply installed by dropping them flat into the standard suspended grid system.

Nail-Up Applications

Nail-up panels must be attached to a firm leveled substrate such as wood to hold nails or screws firmly in place (drywall and plaster are not strong enough). Wood substrate could be provided by installing ½" thick plywood or 1" x 2" furring stripes.

  1. Copy ceiling panel lay-out plan onto the ceiling by striking chalk lines from the center of the room.
  2. Start installation from center of room by lining up center panel against chalk lines and advance toward the perimeter of the room:
    1. Accurately line up center panel and nail middle dimple.
    2. Working from center panel outward, place each panel under or over the proceeding panel. Assure panel is properly lined with chalk lines and nail overlapping seams every 6 inches on outer dimples. Nail middle dimples every 12 inches.
    3. Filler panel lay-outs (only):
      1. When approaching last row of panels on each side of the room, do not nail the perimeter edge in order to slide filler panels underneath.
      2. Filler panels should be cut at least one inch wider than the required width in order to slide them under the field panel, flat molding, and/or cornice.
    4. Flat moldings (only):
      1. Place flat moldings over filler and field panels, assuring the molding's dimples line and overlap the field panel dimples. Nail molding every 6 inches on dimples.
      2. For corners, miter flat molding at 45° and allow corners to overlap ½".
  3. Install cornices after ceiling panels (field/filler) panels have been installed:
    1. Strike a straight leveled chalk line onto the walls.
    2. Line up bottom edge of cornice with chalk line and overlap cornices on dimples, nailing dimples every 6 inches on the wall and ceiling.
    3. For inside corners, cope and overlap cornices. For outside corners, miter cornices.
  4. Seal seams by gently tapping them with a small wood block or the head of a wide-angled chisel. Clear caulking of seams could help fill in the gaps, if any. Caulk before final coat of paint or clear coating.

Cutting Panels

To cut panels or cornices use a set of tin snips, paper cutter, or metal shears.

To create openings for light fixtures, vents or outlets use tin snips or use a chisel to tap them out.

You may purchase tin snips in our accessories section.


Please wear heavy duty gloves and take safety precautions to protect yourself.