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What Are the Different Types of Ceiling Tiles?

Did you know one of the easiest ways to give your house or office a new look is by changing up the ceiling? Known as 'the fifth wall,' the ceiling is often overlooked in decorating plans, but decorative ceiling tiles are a major trend!

Gone are the days of yellowed, styrofoam ceiling panels.

Current design trends offer modern ceiling tiles to refresh any room. You won't need to undertake a major renovation for a fresh look, either! Read on to learn about the major types of ceiling tiles and what works best for your decorating needs.

What Are Ceiling Tiles?

Sometimes called ceiling panels, these tiles are what the name suggests. Made of lightweight materials, they cover the drywall or installation of the ceiling. While some ceiling tiles provide acoustic benefits or some type of insulation, most are used for aesthetic purposes.

Decorative ceiling tiles come as drop tiles or suspension tiles. The difference in the application gives a distinct look to each type of ceiling tile. They are available in various thicknesses, colors, and patterns to fit any design theme.

Common Types of Ceiling Tiles

Choosing ceiling tiles that are right for your space depends on what their main purpose is. Are you mostly looking to dampen the sound or enhance the look of a room? There are four common types of ceiling tiles to explore for your needs.

Tin Ceiling Panels

While tin was common back in the day, most modern 'tin' panels get made from aluminum or copper. This adds an elegant and historical look to any room, especially a stately, formal library or dining room. Tin ceiling tiles are nailed up, with a slight overlap to create a seamless installation.

Tin panels are on the expensive side and may not work best in humid environments.

Acoustic Ceiling Tiles

These are good ceiling tiles for rooms that require acoustic improvements. Loud environments, like offices or commercial stores, often use these types of ceiling tiles to make the space feel smaller and less noisy. Most acoustic tiles get made of fiberglass.

Installation is often done using the drop ceiling method. Professional installation is required for proper insulating and acoustic benefits.

PVC Ceiling Tiles

The best ceiling tiles for the average space come made of lightweight and durable plastic. Ceiling tiles made from PVC come in a variety of both stylish retro and modern designs. Affordable and easy to care for, you can install PVC panels yourself without having to outsource for professional services.

This material is available in 3D ceiling tiles that give a unique, geometrical presentation to any room. Cheap, drop ceiling tiles provide a high-quality and expensive look despite being more affordable than similar luxury copper versions. Plus, PVC is fully recyclable which is important when it comes to future renovations.

Cork Ceiling Panels

Cork is a nice option for those seeking a natural-material look. Like PVC ceiling tiles, cork is also water-resistant. Cork ceiling panels provide acoustic benefits but are more costly than fiberglass or plastic tiles.

Because of the material, this style is best installed with the help of professionals.

Best Ceiling Tiles For the Stylish Room

There were many downsides to old-fashioned ceiling tiles. Old styrofoam or fiberglass panels faded, they looked unfinished, and they were hard to install. They also provided no fire protection or water resistance.

Modern, PVC ceiling tiles offer easy installation with no hazardous dust falling into the air. They are waterproof and are fire certified. The best part of modern ceiling tiles is the versatility and selection of design.

If you have an old acoustic tile ceiling, it's often possible to install a PVC 24x24 grid tile under the acoustic tile, with the acoustic tile placed directly on top, or placed at an angle on top of the grid T-bar.  This prevents you from needing to dispose of a large number of materials and maintain the level of soundproofing your current ceiling has.

Choosing ceiling tiles that offer great design adaptability is important for a long-term investment. High-quality, modern ceiling tiles can be painted when you want to switch up your current design themes.

Adaptable ceiling tiles get installed either face up, face down, or rotated in any direction. This gives the most versatility for the overall, finished pattern on the ceiling. The pattern of the design helps sets the tone and mood of the room.

Installation Methods of Decorative Ceiling Tiles

Some decorative ceiling tiles get installed directly onto the drywall ceiling. These types of ceiling tiles include tin and cork. Some PVC tiles can also get installed directly onto the main ceiling, but the preferred method is a suspension or drop-method.

Suspension ceilings get installed with a metal grid that holds the panels in place. This grid lowers the ceiling and hides wires, pipes, and beams, and allows easy access to them. Suspending with a drop-down ceiling provides insulation and soundproofing by creating more space for an insulating layer.

There are three main installation systems for these types of ceiling tiles:

  • Clip-In: A metal grid that uses u-shaped clips to hold the tiles
  • Hook-On: These are best for when the grid remains hidden
  • Lay-In: The tiles 'lay' on the suspension tracks

The type of system your ceiling needs depends on the type of ceiling tiles you've chosen. All have their benefits!

Shop Stylish Modern Ceiling Tiles Today

Now that you've done your research, you know that the best types of ceiling tiles are ones that provide a versatile and stylish look for any room. At Brutal Ceilings, we take our inspiration (and our name) from Eastern European Modernism design theories. Our tiles provide affordable and high-quality ceilings to enhance the look of any space.

Check out the Brutal Ceiling online shop to see how your space gets transformed with a modern look. And, contact us today for a free consult to get started on your ideal ceiling!

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How to Choose the Best Ceiling Tiles for Your Home

Would you like to know how to choose the best ceiling tiles for your home? Read on to learn how to make the right choice.


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