Whatever your perception of working with metal, cutting tin ceiling tiles can be easy. They are lightweight and respond well to the right tools. Because tin is a little more expensive than plaster, homeowners are sometimes reluctant to do the project on their own. Despite this reservation, it is extremely easy to make the cuts yourself.
How Do You Work With Tin Tiles?
Tin tiles often weigh less than two pounds each. It is important to note that they are not flimsy, nor do they bend when you make the cut. Always make sure you plan out your cuts in advance, preferably measuring twice. Make sure you account for corners, light fixtures, and sloping ceilings. While tin will not bend during cutting, it is flexible and might fold if you are rough with the tiles.
Here are a few methods that work best for making the cuts:
• Tin snips. These are also called tinner snips. They have very long handles with short blades, which makes it easier to force cuts. The jaws are wide and the blades are made from steel. This lets it slice through tin like cheese. You need a very steady hand to make a precise cut, and tin snips will tire out your forearm and wrist. This is a DIY project you might want to save for close cuts, like details around light fixtures
• Circular saw. Special blades are available for purchase at many hardware stores, specifically designed for cutting tin. Do not use a regular blade. Even with the right saw, you have to be careful not to force the blade or cut multiple tiles at the same time. This is a difficult method.
• Guillotine cutter. These look like the long-bladed cutters often seen in office buildings and schools. These are great for making straight cuts for the edge of the room and are much easier to use than any other hand-held tools.
If you feel confident installing the tile but do not want to cut them yourself, consider bringing the tiles to a local metal shop. Some auto body shops might be willing to do it, too. Most places cost around $0.50 per cut. This is a safer option, and by following the techniques recommended in this guide, you can end up with perfect designs.