How to Install Tin Ceiling Tiles as a Backsplash

Installing tin ceiling tiles as a backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom can add beautiful vintage flair. Tin tiles have a timeless, ornamental look that really stands out. Follow these steps to install tin ceiling tiles on your wall to create a gorgeous focal point.

Planning Your Tin Tile Backsplash

Before starting your project, you’ll need to make some design decisions:

Choose Your Tin Tiles

  • Tin ceiling tiles come in different patterns and finishes. Common options include:
  • Embossed tiles with decorative shapes and designs
  • Flat tiles with a smooth, non-textured surface
  • Tiles with painted or metallic finishes
  • Consider the color and style that will work best with your existing decor.
  • Measure the backsplash area to determine how many full tiles and border/trim pieces you’ll need. Allow for a little extra.

Pick a Lighting Fixture

  • Tin tiles have a mirrored surface that beautifully reflects light.
  • Add sconces or pendant lighting above the backsplash to create a glittering accent wall.
  • Make sure any fixtures will have enough clearance between the tiles and lighting.

Gather Your Materials

  • Tin ceiling tiles
  • Tin tile trim and border pieces
  • Construction adhesive
  • Finishing nails
  • Hammer
  • Caulk and caulk gun
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Stud finder
  • Protective gear – gloves, goggles, mask
  • Rags
  • Pencil

Preparing the Backsplash Area

Take time to properly prep your backsplash space before installing tin tiles:

  • Remove any old backsplash materials already on the wall down to the bare drywall or plaster.
  • Clean and sand the wall surface so tiles will adhere firmly.
  • Fill any holes or imperfections with drywall compound. Let dry completely.
  • Use a stud finder to mark where wall studs are located. Tiles will be nailed into the studs.
  • Outline the backsplash installation area with painter’s tape.

Measuring and Cutting Tin Tiles

Carefully measure and cut your tin tiles to fit:

  • Lay out tiles in the installation area to determine sizing needed.
  • Measure and mark tiles to be cut. Remember to account for border and trim pieces in your measurements.
  • Cut tiles one at a time using tin snips. Follow your cut lines carefully.
  • File any rough edges smooth.
  • Dry fit all cut tiles and border/trim sections before final installation. Make any adjustments.

Installing the Tin Tile Backsplash

Now you’re ready to securely install the tin tiles using these steps:

  • Apply a generous bead of construction adhesive along the top of the wall, just below where the upper tiles will sit.
  • Press the first row of tiles into the adhesive firmly. Nail through the tile into the wall studs with finishing nails.
  • Continue adhering rows of tiles, nailing into studs. Nail border trim pieces in the same manner.
  • If needed, use shims between tiles and wall to level any uneven areas as you go. Remove later.
  • Let adhesive fully cure for 24-48 hours after installing the last tile.
  • Apply caulk between tiles and along edges for a seamless look. Smooth with a wet finger.
  • Wipe away any excess adhesive or caulk with a rag.

Finishing Touches

The final details will complete your stunning new tin tile backsplash:

  • Polish and shine the tin tiles using a specialty metal cleaner or very fine steel wool.
  • Seal tiles with a metal sealer to prevent tarnishing or oxidation over time.
  • Install your lighting fixture centered above the backsplash. Aim downlights directly at the tin tiles to accentuate them.
  • Stand back and admire the vintage 1920s flair your tin ceiling tile backsplash adds to your space! Enjoy.

FAQs About Installing Tin Tile Backsplashes

What type of adhesive should I use?

Use heavy duty construction adhesive made specifically for metal. Liquid Nails and Loctite Ultra Gel Control are both great options.

What should I seal the tiles with?

Use a sealant formulated for metal like Rust-Oleum High Performance Protective Enamel. It will maintain the tiles’ shine and prevent oxidation.

Can tin tiles get wet?

Yes, tin tiles are durable enough for backsplashes behind sinks or stoves. Just properly caulk edges and seal tiles to keep moisture out of seams.

How do I cut tin tiles?

The easiest way is using aviation snips. Measure carefully and cut slowly and firmly along outlines. File away any rough metal edges.

Can I install tin tiles over existing ceramic tile?

It’s not recommended. Remove old backsplash tiles first to allow tin tiles to adhere solidly to the wall surface behind them.

How close should pendant lights be to tin tiles?

Leave at least 3 inches between pendant bulbs and your tin backsplash. This prevents scorching or marks on the reflective tiles over time.


Installing a tin ceiling tile backsplash creates vintage flair with a relatively easy DIY project. Carefully planning the design, prepping the space, cutting the tin tiles accurately, and securely adhering them to your wall will result in a stunning focal point that stands out. Just be sure to polish, seal and accentuate your new tin tile backsplash to make it shine.