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What are the Different Types of Ceiling Tiles?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus

Ceiling tile is sold in many different materials, sizes and thicknesses and made to fasten directly to ceilings or fit into a grid system called a suspended or drop ceiling. Popular types include cork, tin, plastic and acoustical.

Acoustical ceiling tile reduces noise, as it has sound absorbent properties. Good acoustic tiles are made from spun mineral fibers or fiberglass blended with starch. Wood fiber isn't as desirable for acoustical tile as it doesn't usually wear well in humid conditions. White is the traditional color of acoustical tiles, but gray, blue and beige are also commonly available. Acoustical tile is a good choice for music rooms or homes with multiple living spaces, but different thicknesses and brands of acoustic tile have different levels of sound protection, so this should be purchased carefully.

Acoustic ceiling tiles reduce noise.
Acoustic ceiling tiles reduce noise.

Plastic ceiling tiles are sold in a large selection of different looks and they offer a great choice for those on a budget. This is made to be fire safe and some of these tiles have metallic finishes to give them the look of embossed tin tiles. These faux tin tiles are made from molded plastic and may have ornate flower patterns and/or crown molding-like borders. Other types of plastic tile include stone looks and different solid colors. Although they're inexpensive, plastic tiles provide good ceiling insulation.

Ceiling tile may be lightweight or heavyweight.
Ceiling tile may be lightweight or heavyweight.

Genuine tin ceiling tile is old-fashioned and often quite expensive, but is also very beautiful as it adds a shiny look to ceilings. Tin tiles can be difficult to cut, so proper tools should be used. Ceiling tile made from other metals such as steel, copper and brass is also sometimes referred to as tin tile. Metal tiles are often used in commercial as well as residential interiors.

Cork ceiling tiles are considered an eco-friendly choice as well as quite simple to install. They are available in waxed or un-waxed varieties. Waxing brings out the texture and color in cork as well as gives the tiles a shine, while unfinished cork tiles can add a naturally elegant look to ceilings. Cork insulation tile has good insulating qualities and these tiles are thick with a dark brown color.

Ceiling tile may be lightweight or heavyweight. Most can be cleaned with a damp cloth or vacuumed. Many suspended or drop ceilings take coffered tiles. Coffered types of drop tile stick out above the ceiling line. Filler tile is thin with a subtle texture as this type is made for cutting and filling in ceilings around the edges of other tiles.

Discussion Comments

@Rundocuri: I would suggest using metal ceiling tiles for your small room. Much like mirrors add a feeling of more space in an area with limited living space, reflective metal on a ceiling creates the same effect.

I have been considering ceiling tiles for a small room. Does anyone have suggestions on the best ceiling tiles for adding depth and the illusion of more space to a small area?

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    • Acoustic ceiling tiles reduce noise.
      By: Silvia Crisman
      Acoustic ceiling tiles reduce noise.
    • Ceiling tile may be lightweight or heavyweight.
      By: auremar
      Ceiling tile may be lightweight or heavyweight.