Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Tin Ceiling Quote

For the uninitiated, a tin ceiling is made up of several parts. Basically, you have the panels that cover most of the ceiling. These panels come in 2’X2’ sections and have a design pressed in to them. If your room is not an even numbered of feet wide and long you need filler pieces at the edges. These filler pieces may have a design in them, but they can be cut down to fill any gap and still look good. After that you have nosing and cornices to cover the gaps where the field meets the filler and where the filler meets the wall. All of these pieces come in 4-foot lengths. You can also do center medallions.

In my case I got lucky. The room is 8’4” wide and 10’6” long. I will use 20 panels to fill most of the ceiling and then a cornice to cover the gap where the panels meet the wall. I won’t need filler or nosing. So I went to 2 sites to get prices. Brian Greer Tin Ceilings and American Tin Ceiling. Both sites have their positives and their negatives.

Brian Greer Tin Ceilings is a better site, I thought. It is well laid out and easy to navigate. The problem is they don’t have pricing on the site. You must use a web form and submit a request for a quote. I wanted to be able to try out different finishes and designs and play around with the numbers at the same time. You can’t do this. They offer a number of different finishes but they don’t go in to a lot of detail about them. The one powder coat finish is white {Yawn}. They also offer unfinished tin.

The American Tin Ceiling site I found confusing and difficult to navigate. Once I got the hang of it I could get the information I wanted, but I still found it awkward to use. On the plus side, they list prices. This includes close-outs and specials. All of their finishes are different colored powder coats except for unfinished tin.

The finish is very important because tin ceilings can rust if they are not finished properly. If you get unfinished tin you must paint both sides before installation. Powder coated finishes won’t rust, so all of American Tin Ceiling finishes are good. The one quote I got from Brian Greer Tin Ceilings that wasn’t unfinished or white powder coat was “Pewter Plated and Lacquered”. I’m sure this would be a good finish, but it ain’t cheap.

Here is the design I like. Both sites have many designs and many of them are the same on both sites.

The American Tin Ceiling – Antique Silver

4.5-inch cornice (This would also be in Antique Silver)

So here are the numbers…

Brian Greer Tin Ceilings
Unfinished Tin
$9.00 per panel
$10.00 per cornice
$398.00 delivered

White Powder Coated
$14.00 per panel
$15.00 per cornice
$548.00 delivered

Pewter Plated & Lacquered
$29.00 per panel
$32.00 per cornice
$1018.00 delivered

American Tin Ceiling
Unfinished Tin
$8.00 per panel
$12.00 per cornice

Antique Silver Powder Coat
$16.00 a panel
$14.00 a cornice
$578.00 Delivered

I’m leaning towards The American Tin Ceiling Antique Silver Powder Coat


amanda said...

Greg, we have that design in white (maybe antique white?) in our basement, and have the powder coated silver in our basement bathroom. If you would like to see pictures please send me an email and I'll dig some out for you. We went suspended b/c we spent about a year rewiring and replumbing the basement and first floor and wanted to be able to get back in there if we needed to, but you should be able to get the general effect.

Brooklyn Row House said...

Evening, Greg. These guys are a couple of miles from me in Brooklyn. It's where I bought the tin for my restaurant's and my kitchen ceiling.

Brooklyn Row House said...

Oops: accidentally saved when I pasted the link:

Greg said...


I'd love to see pictures. There is an email address near the top, in the left sidebar.


Thanks, I'll check them out. I know Vandykes sells tin ceilings and there was a guy on Ebay a few years ago that also sold it.

Bones said...

You may have thought of this already, but with such a large price discrepancy...have you tried calling BGTC and asking them why their product is $400 more than a competitors?

Oh? Groovy design.

Diane Macrae said...

Greg, I uploaded photos of our ceiling in my blog's album:

I'm trying to remember all the reasons we ended up with this configuration. If I would have blogged about it at the time, that wouldn't be a problem, but I didn't.

One thing you might consider is using wood crown molding as we did. That cut the price down some. Also, field is cheaper than panels, so a design incorporating some field will save you money, and still look good. I can't remember what we paid for this ceiling, but it wasn't too unreasonable, in the area of about 400 bucks for the tin, I believe, although that was two years ago. We put this in in the spring of 2006.

This is plain tin. Its paintable, but it looked sort of cool when we got it up so we left it plain figuring we could paint it if it started looking bad or like it was degrading in any way, but it still looks as good as the day we put it up, so we haven't done a thing to it as of yet.

Greg said...


I think they do real plating instead of just paint or powder coating. Its a nice touch, but not in my budget.

Diane Macrae,

First: Gosh, I love your house. I see peoples names with comments and don't always make the connection to the house. When I went to your photo page I made the connection. Wow!

Its like you've been reading my mind. I am seriously considering a wood cornice. That makes up about a 3rd of the cost, but I can do a 1X3 wood for much cheaper.

Also, the room is 8'4 X 10'6'. The panels are 2'X2', which sounds like it could work with out doing a boarder. However, if there is some over lap I may end up with too wide of a cap at one end to cover with the 1X3 cornice.

This room is directly below the upstairs bathroom. That is the main reason for the powder coat. One over flowing toilet could cause problems for plain or even tin painted on one side.

If I painted it I would need to primer and paint both sides before installation. That seems like a lot of work at this point, not to mention added cost. The powder coat doubles the cost, but in this case I think it is the right way to go.

Diane Macrae said...

Of course, you have to suit yourself on the issue of powder coating, but when I researched tin ceilings, I decided it was overkill for an interior application. Tin is very durable and doesn't rust. Acid will oxidize it. Lots of roofs are made of tin and it stands up to weather for many years, so inside the house?

Here's my Exhibit A:

That's tin, installed on Yankee gutters in 1868. Notice the only place it failed is in the troughs, where it was destroyed by neglect - years of debris piled up there and the resulting acid from decaying pine needles ate through the tin. Everywhere else it is shiny and perfect after all these years.

Therefore, I'm not going to worry about tin inside the house.

Greg said...

An unfinished tin ceiling can rust - plain and simple. This is tin plated steel, not solid tin. You can be sure that the tin plating is very minimal as well.

From American Tin Ceiling web site...

"We highly recommend that unfinished panels be finished to prevent oxidation and rust. They can be painted or clear coated."

You will find a quote similar to this on all sites that make tin ceiling panels. If I had a leak in the bathroom above, or if the toilet over-flowed, the unfinished tin ceiling below would begin to rust and it would show at the seems.

Gary said...

I got our kitchen backsplash panels from M-Boss.

I think they use sheet aluminum instead of actual tin but if you plan on having a finish and I didn't tell you this then nobody would know! (Except me)

I wanted a metal finish so sprayed ours with a gloss clear coat and applied clear caulk at the overlaps.

Have fun installing them!

Greg said...


Yea, I looked at MBoss and a few other places as well. According their site, MBoss is tin plated steel as well. I think they all are. After looking at all of these places, the one thing that struck me is how similar they all are. They all have the same patterns and the prices for the unfinished panels is about the same.

I'm going with the powder coat, no question. It costs more, but it will be worth it in the long run. I'll be doing installation with a nail gun, so it shouldn't be too bad. Easier than plaster, that's for sure.

Greg said...

This is interesting, I went back to the MBoss site to look at their finishes. They have a really nice selection to chose from and some are on sale right now.

MBoss offers both tin plated steel, which must be finished, according to the site. They also offer aluminum panels. The steel panels are $6.50 (that is the lowest price I've seen) and the unfinished aluminum is $14.50 a panel. The aluminum comes clear coated, so you must have gotten the tin plated steel, Gary.

At $14.50 for the clear coated aluminum, that is almost the same price as the powder coated panel from American Tin Ceiling ($16.00).

MBoss panels with the higher end finishes are $23.50 each. These are the ones that are on sale.

Mick said...

Nail gun? But then you wont be able to use the original pointy headed nails... or do they do those on nail gun strips now?

Greg said...

Would it help if I said I made the nail gun myself?