DIY Kitchen Tin Ceiling

I grew up around century-old homes. Living in Petrolia, ON I was surrounded by Victorian buildings and historical character. One of my favourites was always my grandparents’ home. A beautiful white Victorian home with a front wrap around porch and the most beautiful landscaping. When they decided to renovate their kitchen, they incorporated a tin ceiling. I think I was 10 years old at this time but for some reason, it stuck with me. I have ADORED tin ceilings ever since. They come in so many different patterns, colours, finishes and effects.
When I bought this house, I knew that I HAD to incorporate a tin ceiling somewhere. A nod to its century heritage, if you must. So you can imagine how ecstatic I was when my dad gifted me some retro-patterned tin tiles for Christmas! He bought them from Brian Greer’s Tin Ceilings located in Petersburg just outside of Waterloo. They are the world’s leading manufacturer of tin ceilings. Their extensive collection of tin ceiling products includes the largest collection of tin ceiling tiles, moldings, fillers and cornices available, and they have over 50 years experience in the metal industry. I personally went back into their showroom just to look around and had an extremely pleasant experience chatting them to learn about their business and the tin industry!
They were actually a custom-made pattern for a business that ended up returning them so were considered “scrap”. He got a wicked deal on them and I actually LOVE the retro pattern, so it was a win-win! I convinced myself that I had to use them in the kitchen (that I hadn’t started renovating yet) and they HAD to be black. 
Fast forward one year and finally started on my “Phase 1” kitchen refresh. A $250 refresh that I was going to work on for 30 days and thought was going to tie me over for a year or so until I could afford to gut the kitchen. Then I loved the refresh so much that I convinced myself to keep it at is and just continue with a Phase 2 and Phase 3 addition. At some point, I’ll write a blog post about the whole kitchen refresh! Included in Phase 2 was the tin ceiling project and it was definitely much more work than I originally expected.
My home is all lath and plaster (insert swear words here!) so in order to ensure that we had some good “meat” for the tin tiles to get anchored into, we had to skin the ceiling with plywood. We went up into the attic to determine where the ceiling joists were so that we could anchor some 1x3 slats into them from the kitchen. From there, we covered the ceiling with 5/8 inch thick plywood and anchored them into those new slats.
Before hanging the tiles, we had to install the exterior trimming. Typically, tin ceilings have a tin trim or crown molding but we opted out of that. First off, they’re expensive (#budgetreno) and secondly they’re much more vintage looking than I really wanted for the space. So instead, we wrapped the ceiling edges with 1x3 MDF trimming.
Now the ceiling was ready for tiles! First we determined where the center tile would need to go so that the existing ceiling light would sit in the middle of the pattern. We then worked our way out from there! We hung each of the tiles using short self-taping screws and since 4 tiles slightly overlapped with each other, the screw went through all 4 corners. We then used some flat headed nails to tap into random areas on the tiles that bubbled away from the ceiling. This helped keep the tiles super tight and flat against the ceiling. We did have to cut some tiles in order to fit them flush up against the trim but it was pretty easy – sharp scissors to the rescue!
Lastly, I had to caulk all of the edges to seal everything up. The edges were very sharp so I had to be extra cautious not to cut my finger when smoothing it out. Once it all dried, it was ready for paint. I hand painted the entire ceiling with a brush and needed some SERIOUS neck and shoulder massages after that! I used Sherwin Williams’ All Surface Enamel paint in matte finish and tinted to Tricorn Black. It only needed 2 coats (no primer necessary!) and it looks so fresh!
To cap it all off, I had my Dad install a beautiful copper+brass pendant light that was gifted to me by my friend’s family and an additional 4 pot lights for added light in the space. I was slightly nervous that the black ceiling might make the small space feel really cramped and dark… but it did the complete opposite! The dark ceiling is infinite and your eye perceives it as open space so it actually made the space feel a bit bigger! It is safe to say I am OBSESSED with this project and it’s definitely a show stopping feature of this kitchen renovation.


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