Asked on Apr 24, 2015

Horrible 12 x 12 ceiling tile

by Erin
I need your help fellow hometalkers! We are remodeling our house. We have those horrible 70s 12 x 12 tile ceilings all throughout the house. I'm not up for ripping them all down and starting over. I need some creative suggestions. Thank you!
  13 answers
  • Moxie Moxie on Apr 24, 2015
    You could make a faux coffered celing with new drywall and wood trim (trim at joints means no drywall finishing : )) but still alot of could sray texture them...paint them. ...stencil them and work squares into the thoughts good luck!
    • Erin Erin on Apr 26, 2015
      @Moxie I'm liking the idea of thin drywall and wood trim. That's the main reason I didn't want to drywall~~the thought of finishing the seams on a ceiling makes me cringe! :) maybe could just find where the studs run and chalkline to make sure we drilling into wood
  • Joyce Keplinger Joyce Keplinger on Apr 24, 2015
    I don't believe you'll be happy with anything but removing them and dry walling. Take one room at a time so it won't be such a daunting job. Do the others as you can. Good Luck.
  • Cindy Carley Cindy Carley on Apr 24, 2015
    Both of the comments above are great ideas. If it was ours I'd paint and maybe in different rooms add some type of small wood beams. Lots of hard work ahead, but it will look great once you decide which way to go and it's completed!! ~ Have a great day!!
  • Kerry Kerry on Apr 25, 2015
    You could drywall right over the existing tiles, but you have to locate the studs and use longer drywall screws. Those tiles will soak up paint like crazy, so if you elect to paint, make the first coat a sealer.
  • Linda Linda on Apr 25, 2015
    Make sure if removing that they do not contain any asbestos...
    • Erin Erin on Apr 26, 2015
      @Linda that was actually our concern with just ripping them down, I have no idea if there is asbestos in them or not.
  • Joyce Keplinger Joyce Keplinger on Apr 25, 2015
    Good point Linda, also I assumed that the tiles were on a metal grid. If they are maybe, just maybe the drywall above the tiles aren't in that bad of condition and some minor repair and paint will solve the problem.
    • Erin Erin on Apr 26, 2015
      @Joyce Keplinger They aren't in a grid, it's hard to explain, but there are little tabs that stick out of the side of each one and they kind of slide together, there isn't anything above them just the rafters/insulation.
  • Dawn Chapman Dawn Chapman on Apr 25, 2015
    i have those tiles on my ceilings too! the tiles are attached directly to the ceiling plaster with some horrible black adhesive (5 globs of glue on each tile) the tile came off easily enough, but the glue had to be scraped off. the dining room is done, but i haven't gotten up the 'gumption' to do the livingroom. anyway, my thoughts are putting up 1/4" board or drywall just to cover the tiles and then put up 1 by 4's to make a gridded ceiling. good luck!
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Apr 26, 2015
    If the tiles just click in on a metal grid, they should not present any problem even if there is asbestos. Asbestos is a prob if the tile has to be broken up. Even then, you can soak with water first - it is the airborne fibres that are the problem. Might have to take them to a special depot for disposal. I'd check the surface under them. May be quite ok with a bit of patching with drywall compound.
  • The Chirping Frog The Chirping Frog on Apr 26, 2015
    I have painted them before and they turned out great. They do soak up the paint but they looked really nice.
  • Dover Point Designs Dover Point Designs on Apr 26, 2015
    I haven't seen the picture of what you have to know if it is what I am thinking it is, but if it is the interlocking - kind of soft - pressed fiber type of 12x12's, then I have added a nice large crown around the ceiling, spackled and caulked it all in tight, and then painted the tiles with two different colors in a checkerboard pattern. You can then choose one of the two colors to paint the crown, or add a third for unique contrast. Everyone has loved the result. If you use paint with the primer included in it, it won't soak up as fast. PS...I suggest only matte or flat sheen to your paint.
    • Erin Erin on Apr 27, 2015
      I have tried to post a pic a thousand times and it keeps erroring on me :-( but that is exactly what they are
  • Joyce Keplinger Joyce Keplinger on Apr 27, 2015
    If you paint them and don't like it, you're only out the cost of paint and energy. Sounds like it's worth a try. If you don't like it then the only answer is to remove and drywall. Flat paint is always suggested for a ceiling to hide imperfections.
  • Monica Waltrip Gumm Monica Waltrip Gumm on Jan 08, 2017

    I have the same tiles... there is no grid, just glued. Wonder if anything would stick to that stuff, drywall mud would be great then I could make it look like rough plaster.. havent tried it cause the tiles are some kind of paper product.

  • Samuel Smith Samuel Smith on Feb 18, 2020

    Had those horrible 12x12 fiberboard panels in a previous home. Two methods I used to update: (1) plaster then paint, and (2) just paint. On main floors, I used a light drywall mud and 12” trowel to make a smooth surface. Took A LOT of work and several layers to build up a smooth surface, but turned out nicely in the end. In the basement, I sealed with Zinsser 1-2-3 then painted with latex ceiling paint. Wasn’t the Same smooth finish as on the main floor, but looked nice enough. The sealer filled some of the smaller holes and seams—but NOT all of them. Same with quality latex. I thought about applying a knockdown spray On main floors. Wish I had, as it would have saved a fair amount of time and come out just as nice.