Turning a Peeling Ceiling into an Appealing Ceiling

DIY & Save Money, Life / Thursday, March 29th, 2018

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This has been one of the longest, most inconvenient projects! We’ve been unable to use our kitchen for the past month!

Sometime in the past, our kitchen ceiling had more leaks than a lactating cow. This created waves and cracks in the plaster, which had loosened considerably. Rather than tear out and attempt to repair the plaster perfectly, we elected to use this project as an opportunity to add a tin ceiling. We still had to remove severely damaged plaster and level the surface with spackling where need be. We corrected the leak when we moved in — by adding a roof above the second story deck. This was an immediate repair but we neglected repairing the cosmetic damages until NOW!



We were faced with deciding on a ceiling material.  Honestly, due to a very limited budget and convenience of delivery, we went with PVC panels from Home Depot online. We chose a coffered egg-and-dart pattern with a wreath in the center. The tiles were 2′ X 2′ in an antique nickel finish. The product arrived a full week ahead of schedule, landing on our doorstep in just three days!


For the PVC panels, we originally used tin snips, but learned in quick order that the snips tended to crush and stretch the PVC. Large scissors worked well right up until the twentieth panel at which the PVC cracked a couple times, presumably because they had dulled.

Because we had to cut some diagonals around some angled cabinets, we elected to create cardstock templates to trial fit, which we then traced onto the backs of our ceiling panels. We used the same approach for cutting around the oblong shape of the light fixture. With more shallow ceiling panels, some light fixtures may mount directly over the panel. Because of the relief/depth of our panels and the placement of the fixture (which we didn’t want to relocate), we opted to fit the panels around the light fixture.

We hadn’t exactly planned to replace the light fixture, but the ugly round fluorescent one from outer space (and its alien glow) needed to be retired. For $40 at Lowe’s, we replaced it with a triad of pendant lights that we swagged over three work areas to serve as task lighting. Metal hooks painted to match the ceiling hung each pendant.

A handy hint when attempting to fit panels around odd shapes is to paint a thin band of metallic paint on the ceiling in the event that any of the ceiling edge may show. Overall, our cuts were pretty true, but the silver band took a little pressure off of perfection.


Buying adhesive was perhaps the biggest obstacle to getting started. For an overhead project in which you do not intend to staple or nail the object, a glue with instant grab would be ideal. Unfortunately, instant-grab adhesives between the two stores where I shopped never included plastic/PVC applications. Therefore, I had to elected to go with Pro Line Fast Grab Premium by Loctite, which was recommended by some manufacturers of plastic back splashes, etc. It was the spendiest of the adhesives at $7 per tube.

Let me just say, I’m not a fan. While the product does list PVC as a suitable material and bears “fast grab” in its name, it became readily apparent that this adhesive was not going to provide instant adhesion nor instant gratification. The label does suggest 24-hour bracing, which is obviously difficult to pull off on an overhead application. The requirement of bracing greatly slowed down our progress, as we had only so many methods of improvised, towering Jenga to hold up ceiling panels. An additional frustration is that the adhesive was extremely viscous and very, very difficult to squeeze with a caulk gun. As a solution, K-Rock came up with a clever solution by using a clamp to assist our grip.



Out of a combination of urgency and sheer panic, we decided to staple two edges of each panel that would be concealed by the surrounding panels. That left two edges that would rely on adhesive and some sort of creative bracing.  On occasion, stapling resulted in cracking around the staple, but never to a degree that the staple couldn’t support the panel.

In keeping with the tin theme, we added a couple faux-tin panels from Lowe’s to the back splash behind the stove.  We decided not to fight the liquid adhesive and used Gorilla tape which worked instantly. Woo! The deep, coffered style of the ceiling panels was not conducive to this location. Plus, the ceiling panels came with a warning to use only soap and water for cleaning (no chemicals). So, we chose a more resilient product that resembled the ceiling.



Overall, we are pretty pleased with the outcome of this renovation. The antique nickel ceiling tiles tie into the black stainless fridge, new back splash, and gray tones in the flooring and salvaged wood about the room. Given our blog cabin’s heritage, being built in 1902, the ceiling feels appropriate for that era.



Total Costs:
Light fixture: $40.00
3 Cool light bulbs: $15.00
uDecor Royal Ceiling Tile in Antique Nickel (40 sq. ft./case): 80 square feet $212.00
Nasty-hard to use glue: $21.00
Oven back splash: $45.00

So, what do you think?

6 Replies to “Turning a Peeling Ceiling into an Appealing Ceiling”

  1. Wow! Love the transformation. Great choice of the panels, it’s very classy to look at! Thanks for sharing ♥️ ♥️ By any chance you are interested on doing collaborations, you can check out the collaborations portal of Phlanx.com and connect with amazing brands!


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