In the middle of the nineteenth century, tin celings began to become fashionable in The United States. Decorative plaster ceilings were commonly used by wealthy Europeans, but in America, this was not a practical solution, despite the great beauty of plaster ceilings. The tin ceiling was Americas middle-class equivalent to European plaster ceilings. Mass production of tin ceiling tiles was very easy at that time.
Tin was light in weight, easy to stamp with intricate detail, and easy to work with – in many ways superior to plaster – for many Americans it was the material of choice. So, in the middle of the nineteenth century, lots of ceilings in hotels, businesses and homes were covered with embossed tin panels.
In the early twentieth century interest in tin ceilings waned, as other materials became more prevalent. But the late twentieth century saw a surge of interest in renovation architecture which put tin ceilings back in the limelight, and many vendors started producing faux tin and real tin tiles for renovating old buildings and decorating new ones.
The decorative plaster ceilings which were so popular amongst wealthy Europeans, despite their great beauty, had several disadvantages for Americans – they were difficult to ship and took a long time to mold. They were also very difficult to apply to unfinished ceilings. Tin tiles were much cheaper to use, with their suitability for fine-detailed work and ease of installation.
Tiin tiles were also mildew and moisture resistant and had good sound-absorbency qualities, and had the potential to last much longer than drywall or plaster could. When it came to installation, the square panels were light and easy to handle, and the tin panels could be nailed into wood.
In the eighteen-nineties the popularity of tin ceilings reached its peak – after which a less ornate effect became fashionable, and much of the tin ornamentation was covered with drywall or acoustic drop ceiling tiles. The tables were turned several decades later, as people developed nostalgia for the grandeur of the past, and many people removed the coverings from old tin ceilings to reveal the splendour below.
Most tin ceilings were found to be remarkably well preserved. A certain amount of stripping, mending or repainting was usually called for, but most of the tin ceilings restored in this way had withstood the passage of time much better than anyone could have foretold.
Nowadays, there are online merchants who produce tin tiles in a range of traditional designs, to meet the growing interest in both restoring original tin ceilings, and creating new ones. There is a good supply of custom designs to suit more contemporary architecture, as well as silver, copper and antiqued finishes to feed the nostalgia for the American Victorian era.
Some people like the original metal look of their tin ceilings, while others prefer to paint the tiles to capture the appearance of plaster. Whether you opt to paint the tin or not, the results look simply stunning! There are also merchants who supply faux tin drop in tiles, as well as real tin ones. These have even more advantages over their metal counterparts – these 24 x 24″ tiles are cheaper and lighter, and can be dropped into a grid system or glued to a flat surface. And, most importantly of all, they look wonderful!
Lewis Mcdonald loves historic tin ceilings and is skilled at installing and repairing real tin and faux tin ceilings. To learn more click here: faux tin ceiling tiles,
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