Cover Ceiling Tiles, 6 Things You Should Know

When it comes to your ceiling, you ideally want it to look as nice as the rest of the room. However, some ceiling tiles are not as aesthetically pleasing as you may like, so you’d prefer to cover them. 

Covering Ceiling Tiles 

Unfortunately, ceiling tiles are stylistically a little hit or miss. However, if you truly hate the appearance of your ceiling tiles, you have a few options for covering them up. Here are some ideas to get you started. 

  • Place wallpaper over the ceiling tiles to recreate the entire look and make your room more suited to your style. 
  • Install drywall and paint over it. 
  • Cover the ceiling with drapes of fabric.
  • Add beadboard panels to the ceiling. This works especially well for ceilings with texture.  

These are my suggestions, but there are other things you can do to cover up ceiling tiles. Let’s take a closer look at your options, including what you should avoid. 

Covering Drop Ceiling Tiles

Covering drop ceiling tiles can be tricky because they aren’t usually made with sturdy materials, so you must be careful and avoid adding too much weight. 

For example, plaster can be pretty heavy, so people who use plaster to cover their ceilings often suffer significant damage

Instead, I recommend covering your drop ceiling tiles with plywood, wallpaper, or some other kind of wood paneling. This may seem like a big undertaking, but this simple fix can greatly enhance the look of your room and won’t cause your ceiling tiles any damage. 

Covering Ceiling Tiles With Plaster

Covering unbecoming ceiling tiles with plaster is not unheard of, but I don’t recommend it. 

The tiles usually can’t hold up plaster because they can be quite heavy, so you may end up with a hole in your ceiling if you’re not careful. 

Additionally, covering ceiling tiles with plaster can even be a fire hazard. Ultimately, it is far better to remove the ceiling tiles and replace them instead of covering them with plaster.   

Plaster is relatively heavy, especially compared to some of the most popular materials used for ceiling tiles. Therefore, the plaster will likely start pulling the tiles down, damaging the tiles and making your ceiling appear droopy. 

Overall, I recommend removing the ceiling tiles first. However, if you don’t want to remove them and insist on plastering over them, you can, as long as they’re not made of polystyrene and if you reinforce them first. 

You can reinforce ceiling tiles by screwing the tiles into the ceiling. This way, the plaster won’t weigh the ceiling down and cause damage. Still, I recommend using lightweight plaster if you decide to go this route; better safe than sorry!  

Can You Cover Polystyrene Ceiling Tiles With Plaster?

If you decide to forego my advice and cover ceiling tiles with plaster, fine. But you should never cover your ceiling tiles with plaster if they are polystyrene.

Polystyrene is the most common material for ceilings because of its insulation properties and ease of maintenance, but one disadvantage of this material is that it is highly flammable. If it does catch on fire, the gas is toxic to humans because it releases carbon monoxide. 

Because of its flammability, you should avoid adding heat to the polystyrene at all costs. Adding a layer of plaster increases the temperature, which increases the risk of the polystyrene catching on fire. It is far better for your health and safety to remove the ceiling tiles completely and replace them.

If you decide to remove your polystyrene ceiling tiles, I highly suggest recycling them. Polystyrene is a promising recyclable material, as it can be recycled by mechanical, chemical, and thermal means.    

Covering Ceiling Tiles With Skim Coat

A skim coat is one of the most popular options for covering ceiling tiles. 

Skim coat is a level-five drywall finish that you can apply by hand or paint roller. Skim coating is a popular option because it gets the ceiling nice and smooth so you can go over it again with paint or texture or simply to disguise any ugliness. 

However, a skim coat isn’t always the best option for covering ceiling tiles, especially if the ceiling is textured. The skim coat is extremely thin, so it won’t cover the texture super effectively. 

Even if your ceiling isn’t textured, the skim coat can add weight to the ceiling that it might not be able to handle if it is weak or old. 

Using a skim coat to cover ceiling tiles has many of the same problems as using plaster. Therefore, you’re better off removing the ceiling tiles rather than covering them. 

Covering Ceiling Tiles With Texture

If your ceiling tiles have texture, such as popcorn ceilings, you face a more significant challenge because it isn’t as easy to disguise that texture. 

One of my favorite ways to cover a textured ceiling is to cover it with beadboard. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Mark the ceiling joists with painter’s tape.  
  2. Measure your ceiling to determine how long you need your beadboard panels. If you need to trim them, do so. Additionally, if you need to cut any to make space for a lighting fixture, do that now. 
  3. Apply liquid nails to the back of the beadboard and press it into the ceiling. My favorite liquid nail adhesive is this Liquid Nails Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive from because it can bond even the heaviest materials and is water-resistant, durable, and flexible. I also appreciate that you can use it with various materials, including beadboard, plywood, brick veneer, corkboard, and cement backerboard. 
  4. Nail the boards into place with a nail gun. 
  5. Fill in any gaps with wall spackle and caulk.  

You can also cover textured ceilings with drywall, although you may need the assistance of professional contractors’ assistance.

Finally, you can use plywood to cover textured ceilings. Using plywood is similar to installing beadboard, though you may need more than one person because plywood panels are typically larger than beadboard panels.  

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