Acoustical tile ceiling make over
October 9, 2006 3:36 PM   Subscribe

DIY.filter: I have a converted attic with acoustical tiles attached to the ceiling. Does anyone have any thoughts on mudding over them or covering them up with something to update the look?

As part of an all-around renovation of my upstairs converted attic (approx 500 sq ft) I would like to update the look of the ugly acoustical tile that is currently on the ceiling. I would like to leave it up there and just cover it up with something for several reasons, Possible asbestos hazard if I try to remove it, save on demo time, and maybe save on material costs (if i don't have to hang drywall). One thought I had was just mudding over the whole ceiling. Does anyone know if this will work? Will it hold, is there a bigger risk of cracking? What other cost-effective ideas are out there?
posted by retro88 to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't think any cover of acoustic tiles works very well -- they disintegrate too easily. Painting over them is a bad fire hazard, and mud won't stick properly. You need to rip them off, unfortunately.
posted by anadem at 4:09 PM on October 9, 2006

No idea if the tiles will hold up to the added weight of mud but assuming it's not a suspended ceiling and the tiles are affixed to the ceiling with adhesive, you could cover them with tin ceiling panels.
posted by jamaro at 4:11 PM on October 9, 2006

We bought a vintage (1974) doublewide mobile home with really ugly, waterstained ceiling tiles. Had a drywaller put in a nice, new, flat 'ceiling' right over (er, under, I guess) the tiles. It barely lowered the ceiling height and looks a million times better.
posted by Savannah at 4:31 PM on October 9, 2006

Are the glue-up or suspended tiles? (glue-up tiles are usually 12"x12" with a bunch of tightly-spaced holes. Suspended tiles are 24"x24" or 24"x48" with a roughish texture, laid into a metal T-bar grid that is suspended from the ceiling)

If they are glue-up, I think you should have no problem direct-applying a gypsum board or other ceiling over them. If they are suspended, I don't think so.
posted by misterbrandt at 4:37 PM on October 9, 2006

How about putting drywall right over them?
posted by drmarcj at 4:40 PM on October 9, 2006

if i were really cheap, and i am, i might think about buying a bucket of that really light weight spackling paste and see if you can jigger some super simple solution...
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 5:02 PM on October 9, 2006

About the coolest, totally flat ceiling I've seen was made of cotton sail canvas on a stretcher frame the size of the room. You don't list the size of the space that you're working in, but it's likely you can find or sew canvas to fit. It will shrink and flatten as the paint dries. It's fast and easy. The one caveat is that it can be dinged and dented, and isn't as easy to spackle as drywall.
posted by vers at 5:21 PM on October 9, 2006

Response by poster: Well, to answer a few questions, They are not the suspended type, they are probably glued. It is an attic so there flat and angled parts to the ceiling. The tiles themselves are about 24 x 12" with beveled edges. They have already been painted once.

Vers, i didn't quite follow the sail canvas idea, but it sounds intersting, do you have any examples on the net of that you know of...
posted by retro88 at 7:51 PM on October 9, 2006

Just paint 'em. Nobody looks up.
posted by selfmedicating at 5:00 AM on October 10, 2006

Several of the 'glue-up' type tiles I've seen are actually interlocking edge-stapled. I'd pull one down in a closet, corner or some other inconspicuous place to find out - If that's the case, they'll come down easy - Pull them off and take the staples out with plyers. You're probably better off with them removed if you want to put up drywall.

I'd avoid the light-weight spackling paste idea, personally. IME, that stuff has problems with porous substrates - First season change, the substrate expands/contracts and it starts developing hairline cracks at the joints.
posted by Orb2069 at 7:15 AM on October 10, 2006

Slap some cork liner on 'em, maybe. Failing that, you could staple up some lightweight fabric (you'll need to work out a detail that covers the staples.) I don't think another layer of paint would necessarily be a huge fire hazard, either. What makes you think they're asbestos laden? You can test that for about $20 if you want to take them down, but want to be sure.
posted by DenOfSizer at 7:54 AM on October 10, 2006

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