ARTICLE - Painting Your Drop Ceiling Tiles

Item# PaintingYourDropCeilingTiles

ARTICLE - Painting Your Drop Ceiling Tiles

Painting Your Drop Ceiling Tiles

May 14, 2015

Drop Ceiling Tiles tend to yellow with time and look dinghy from age and water stains. Painting your ceiling is a low cost investment that immediately brightens your showroom. Bright and clean showrooms encourage new customers to visit your location and retain existing customers.

The question is do you paint your drop ceiling or do you replace the panels? If you have a room that is 12' x 20' (30 - 2' x 4' basic panels) your cost to replace the ceiling panels would be $215 (current Lowes price). They sell in packs of 16. A gallon of paint cost around $55 (inc. shipping) and should cover most drop ceiling tiles in the above mentioned sized area. Of course you may need tape, etc, but many dealers have these extra items already available. The savings for painting existing tiles can be substantial over tile replacement. If the panels are cracked, broken or missing…you have no choice but to replace the panels.

Considerations if you are repainting existing ceiling tiles:

Existing Ceiling Tile Panel Texture: Flat Texture…Roll it. Rigid or Sandy Texture….Roll or Spray. If Rough surface…Spray it.

Paint the tiles in place or remove the tiles? Painting the tiles/grids in place is the fastest solution. However, rolling a drop ceiling in place is difficult as the panels tend to move plus the grid surface varies from tile surface. Spraying with a Wagner type sprayer is the best solution for painting in place but you must cover/mask everything….and have a sprayer available.

If removing the tiles you can then roll the panels. Depending on the surface, it can be tedious. But rolling allows you to push the paint into crevices. Rolling takes longer but may be more manageable. Keep tiles flat when painting or they may warp. It may be necessary to mark panels to return them to the same place. Use a medium to heavy nap roller for the tiles. Use a fine nap roller on the metal grids.

Painting Advice: Remember, the tiles can be fragile. Handle with care. Always brush dust off the panels prior to painting. An old dry paint brush will work great for this. If rolling, don't put too much pressure on the roller…strive for even coat. Clean metal pieces with thinner or other solvent then lightly scuff surface with fine sandpaper to insure paint adhesion. Use a small mini paint roller when painting grids. Use a brush on grids that are right at the wall, protect wall with masking tape.

NOTE: Spray painting grids from an aerosol can is difficult and creates an overspray mess.

What Paint? Zinsser tech support recommends using their roll on Primer/Sealer Stain Killer, White product on ceiling tiles/grids. This is a one coat product that can be used as a primer/finish coat. Coverage varies but figure about 350 sq ft/gal. is the most comprehensive and current information resource available for the independent Tire Dealer wishing to upgrade and improve their showroom. Contact us at for more information.

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