Stamped Metal Ceilings Bring Back The Past Or Accent The Modern
Stamped metal ceilings were quite the rage beginning in the late 1800’s. Originally, they were intended as a less expensive way to replicate the ornate carved and cast plaster ceilings popular in Europe. Metal ceilings are still with us and in more varieties than ever.
For this 200-year-old home, they seemed to be the perfect enhancement to the dining room that was added 150 years ago.
Decide on the Tile Layout
The goal in coming up with a good layout beforehand is to ensure that the partial tiles around the perimeter of the room are uniform and balanced. In nearly every situation, installation begins at a point near the center of the room.
Install Furring Strips
The tiles will be attached with nails. The nails would not have adequate gripping power in wallboard or plaster, so we’ll need to add either a layer of plywood or narrow furring strips. We use the furring strips which are run perpendicular to the ceiling joists and attached with screws.
Shim To Create a Flat Nailing Surface
If the ceiling is not flat, and this one certainly is not, wooden shims are installed between the furring strips and the ceiling and adjusted until the furring strip surfaces are even. Either taut strings or a laser level can be used verify a flat surface.
Nail Up the Tiles
The tiles are overlapped, and at twelve-inch intervals, cone-head nails driven through the edges and into the furring strips or plywood. This part of the job is best done with two people.
Cut Tiles with Aviation Snips
Full tiles can be trimmed to size, notched to fit around corners and cut out for vents and electrical boxes using aviation snips. Metal tiles have sharp edges, so wear gloves when working with them.
Put Up Perimeter Tiles
Once all the full tiles are installed, partial tiles are cut to size using aviation snips and nailed into place around the edges of the ceiling.
Install Cornice Molding
Finally, the edges, where the ceiling meets the wall, are covered by decorative cornice molding which is also nailed in place.
How to install and Cut Real Copper Ceiling Tiles and Cornice
Speaker: Stamped metal ceilings designed to emulate European carved and molded plastic became very popular near the end of the 19th century that's when this 200 year old colonial home was getting a new dining room. Alice Pulliam the owner of the house has decided a metal ceiling would be a perfect addition to this room
Alice: It's one of the original homes in the town of Monroe. It was built in 1790 and we're actually standing in the addition that was put in. I believe it was about 1820 1840.
Speaker: The first step is to remove most of the furniture and decorative objects from the room and put down floor protection. This product is made just for that purpose. This is most definitely a two-person project and today Brian Tara will be giving me a hand. The ceiling tiles are two feet square. We need to lay them out so that the partial border tiles around the perimeter of the room are equal width on opposite walls. I've done this with a scale drawing but we confirm the measurements on the actual ceiling. To determine our starting point we, measure down the width of the border tile plus the width of several full tiles on one wall and make a mark. Then do the same on the opposite wall. We connect these marks by striking a chalk line across the ceiling. This process is repeated on the remaining two walls. The intersection of these two lines will be the point where we'll begin our installation. The metal tiles will be attached to one by three furring strips that must be installed perpendicular to the ceiling joists. Our next job is to locate those joists. In this case a stud finder set in deep scan mode does the trick. A magnet can also be used to locate joists by detecting screws or nails beneath the surface. This version makes a popping sound when it senses metal. As a last resort a series of small holes can be drilled until the bed encounters solid wood. A tape measure placed on the first joint will often reveal the location of others at 16 or 24 inch intervals. The joist locations are marked on the ceiling near the walls then connected by stretching a chalk line between them and snapping a line. We repeat this at 1 foot intervals.
We begin by installing furring strips around the perimeter of the room. Then put one every 12 inches across the ceiling screwing them into the joist we located and marked earlier. The furring strips have two purposes; to provide a secure nailing surface around the perimeter of each tile and to allow us to correct any irregularities in the ceiling. And in this nearly 200 year old room, we have some significant irregularities. The center of the ceiling dips nearly three inches. To flatten it out, we insert seams and blocks between the furring strips and the ceiling. We’re using a laser level to establish a reference line well it is possible to use strings to do this if the ceiling is dramatically uneven like this one purchasing or renting a laser level is well worth the investment. Now most likely your ceiling won't need anywhere near this much seaming. In fact it may not need any at all but this is a hundred and fifty year old house and the ceiling here has dropped three inches in the center. It’s time to start putting up the tiles. These are the ceiling tiles that we're going to be using.
They're embossed solid copper chemically treated to have a patina that gives them a pleasing aged look. We restrike our intersecting lines on top of the furring strips. Position the corner of the first tile on the cross mark and nail it up. These cone head nails are copper coated and designed especially for metal ceilings. The tiles are intended to overlap and conceal the joints. Some of the edges though will remain exposed orienting the exposed edges so they face away from a room's main doorway will make them less noticeable. Re striking our chalk lines every two feet will give us an alignment guide as we work our way across the room. It's important to align the overlapping edges of adjacent tiles while at the same time making sure the outside edges line up with the guide lines. This is definitely a two-person job with one person aligning and holding and the other nailing. In fact at one point we added a third person to help hold the tiles in position using a makeshift support. What worked even better though were these spring-loaded poles typically used for dust barrier systems. Metal ceiling tiles especially the cut edges can be very sharp. Wearing gloves when working with this material is essential. Today we're working from stepladders. Although work platforms and rolling scaffolds can also be used. To cut the electrical box opening for the chandelier, we measure from the edges of the nearest aisles copy those dimensions to a full tile or a starter holes and cut the opening with a pair of snips.
With the full tiles in place, it's time to deal with the partial tiles around the room’s border. Here we measure from the edge of the last full tile to the wall. Transfer that measurement to a tile. Draw a line and cut using a pair of aviation snips. It’s not necessary to be overly precise here since the edges of the ceiling will be concealed behind cornice molding this is the cornice molding. That we'll be using around the perimeter of the ceiling. the cornice will add an impressive decorative touch to the room and conceal any gaps around the edge of the ceiling. It’s designed to be installed on a diagonal between the ceiling and wall. In this case the bottom edge of the cornice should be four and a half inches from the ceiling we'll measure down that distance and Mark the location with masking tape. The cornice sections overlap each other and are nailed into the perimeter furring strip on the ceiling and studs on the wall. Sections can be easily cut to length with aviation snips. Again be sure to orient the overlap away from doors and entryways so that it's less visible. In general it's usually best to deal with the corners first and then the straight runs. This room has both inside corners and outside corners. They’re handled a bit differently. Outside corners call for mitering while inside corners can best be handled with a coped joint. Apply some masking tape to the face of the molding to help make marquees more visible. For outside corners mark the locations of the bottom and top edges on the wall and ceiling either by drawing a line or using masking tape. Hold a section of cornice and position on the letting it extend several inches beyond the corner. Mark the bottom edge where it intersects the corner and the top edge where it crosses the tape or line. Using a straight edge connect both marks. Because of this moldings concave shape, it's necessary to tip the pen or pencil inward about 30 degrees. Then using a pair of aviation snips cut along the line. Do a test then trim is necessary until the two sections fit tightly. The outside corner cuts can also be made using a compound miter saw fitted with a metal cutting blade. This type of joint requires a combination of a miter cut and a bevel cut known as a compound miter. Putting the molding flat on the saw bed allows the cut to be made more cleanly and safely. In this case we fabricated a jig to hold the work piece securely in position.
For inside corners place masking tape on the ceiling and wall to mark the edges of the corners. Align a piece of molding with the tape edges and slide it fully into the corner. Mark the corner where it intersects the tape. Draw a line connecting the mark with the corner and cut along the line with aviation snips. Slip the straight end of a molding section fully into the corner and nail it in place. Test fit and trim the cut section until it fits properly. This section can also be used as a template for other outside corners. An inside quarter can also be cut on the compound miter saw using the same settings as for the outside corner. So what do you think?
Alice: It is absolutely gorgeous.
Speaker: It really changes this room doesn't it?
Alice: It's come... the room was just waiting for you to do this. it's unbelievable.
Speaker: So the section of the house what we're in right now is 200 years old
Alice: At least yes
Speaker: That ceiling truly goes with that feeling. [Outro]
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