Has anyone ever tried to put wallpaper over old spongy ceiling tiles?

by Karen
It is the old 12" tiles that was used in homes back in the 40's or 50's. The tiles are surrounded by a brownish edge.

  9 answers
  • Ken Ken on Dec 08, 2017

    I just cannot imagine that going well. Why not take the tiles down and repair the ceiling?

  • Kim Kim on Dec 08, 2017

    I don’t know about whether it will hold the wall paper but it very likely contains Asbestos. You don’t want to disturb it by using sandpaper, screws, or nails. Is it perfectly flat? You don’t want to try and wall paper over ridges and valleys.

    If it’s washable and flat I think its worth a try to wallpaper it. I’ve never attempted a ceiling with paper so hopefully someone with experience can give you some pointers.

    If it needs removed, you need to get it tested first. If it is asbestos you need to hire a professional asbestos removal company. They are not too expensive and disposing of asbestos incorrectly can get you time in prison.


  • William William on Dec 08, 2017

    Definitely agree with Kim and Ken is right. I can't see wallpaper gripping the tiles. The tiles would just absorb the moisture from the wallpaper and it would fail.

  • Mes28120126 Mes28120126 on Dec 08, 2017

    Replace it! Spongy tiles means it's probably been wet and it is shot! I'd sheetrock it.

    • Karen Karen on Dec 08, 2017

      No; it's not been wet; it's just the old type of tile, but you're probably right that it wouldn't grip the paper. That's what I was afraid of. Thanks!

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Dec 08, 2017

    Not a recommended practice

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jan 05, 2023

    No! Get someone to check if the ceiling has Polystyrene tiles or Fibreboard tiles etc. Get some quites to remove them (That should tell you what they are) and then decide if you want to do it yourself or have it done for you, or leave it as it is and just emulsion paint over them. To remove would be a messy job!

  • Mogie Mogie on Jan 05, 2023

    Have you taken any of the tiles down and looked at them closely?

    Sounds like the tile is wet.

    Wall paper won't adhere well to a wet surface.

    You need to fix what every caused the tile to become spongy first.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Mar 12, 2023

    We had our bathroom redone a few years back and the company used the ceiling tiles with fiberglass and that worked well until we had the whirlpool tub removed and a shower put in and a new ceiling fan installed over the shower. Now the tiles need replacing and we can no longer find the fiberglass tiles. The area for the tile depth only allows for 2", so we are limited. Seriously thinking about plastic squares, like they have over fluorescent light fixtures.

    Wallpaper would not hold well, but, it is a creative idea.

  • Pat Pat on Mar 12, 2023

    I painted my tiles white, They were sort of off white with brownish edges. Used roller on tiles and cut in brown edge with a brush. Looked so nice and clean. Used water based paint...not enamel.