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Most people can now fit their own ornate ceilings thereby saving big dollars on installation cost. Find out how to do it
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Use aluminum instead of tin.
An aluminum alloy has now been created to especially suit these beautiful art metal ceilings. Aluminum is a corrosion resistant, durable product which doesn’t rust, unlike steel which is used by some manufactures of pressed tin. The panels are still widely known as pressed tin even though they are not made from tin.
How do the panels attach to the ceiling?
The easiest way to install pressed tin is to firstly fix building ply to the old ceiling or walls and then nail the tin to the ply. Timber battens can be used but building ply makes the job much easier. It is best to remove existing cornice before the ply is fixed to the ceiling.Most reputable ceiling suppliers will offer detailed fitting instructions. If you lack experience in this area, you may prefer to employ someone with building experience. However, most metal ceilings are fitted by their owners. Fitting the ply to your existing ceiling is very much dependent on the type of ceiling you already have. Instructions on this aspect of the job are outside the scope of this article. If you are lucky enough to have timber ceilings then you can omit this step and nail straight on to the timber.
Finding the centre lines of the room.
When fitting your ceiling panels it is important to have them sitting square. Very few rooms are built truly square – even modern rooms. So, you need to find the centre of the ceiling and also the centre of the four edges of the ceiling. Draw clearly visible lines dividing the ceiling into equal halves and then quarters. You will start to lay your metal from the centre of the ceiling and then work out toward the edges. This method will ensure that any discrepancies in your ceiling are halved by the time you reach the edges of your room.
These fitting instructions assume that you have already painted your panels before installation begins. Painting them first is the easiest way to proceed – especially if you want the panels painted in fine detail. After drawing out your central line markings you must first attach your crown cornice. Most cornices have flanges along one side of their length which will later be covered up by the flat ceiling paneling. These flanges must be nailed to the plywood. The lower edge of the crown cornice is nailed to timber batten supports which are attached to the walls. Some manufacturers are now supplying aluminum strips which attach to the walls and then the cornice clips onto the aluminum strips. Ask your supplier for advice on installing their cornices.
Lay it out on the floor.
Before you attach the main ceiling paneling you should layout the panels on the floor to familiarize yourself with them and to get some useful practice for later on. When people walk into this room, from what direction do they see the ceiling? In order that the joins in the paneling are not visible you should lap the panels away from the main door into the room.
Tacking nails should be used initially until you are satisfied you have everything in its final position. Tacking nails are quite long and must only be partially nailed in so that they can be removed easily with pliers. When you are satisfied that everything is in the right spot then you can systematically remove the tacking nails and finish the job off with small nails. Details of which nails to use should be in the manufacturers fitting instructions. Start nailing the main paneling from the centre of the room out toward the edges remembering to be consistent with panel lapping. If you are using an all-over small pattern then you can continue to nail your panels right out to the cornices – trimming the outside panels so until they fit tightly up against the crown cornices. If you are using a larger design in your main panelling then you will need to stop well short of the cornices so that molding strips and border/filler panels can be fitted. Most of the larger designs require a border or filler strip around the edge, otherwise they don’t look so elegant when installed. Border or filler panels most usually have a small pattern on them which complements the larger main panels in the centre of the ceiling. If you require a border around your main panels then it will be worth consulting an expert to find out how wide the border should be. It is easy to upset the balance of your ceiling by having a border that is too wide or conversely too narrow. Ask your supplier for help on this topic. Please ensure you read your manufactures fitting instructions carefully after the main paneling is installed because certain parts of the ceiling must be nailed down in a particular order so that the ceiling is finished off professionally.
There are now delightful aluminum accessories which give a classy finish to ceilings. There are corner mitre attachments which hide any rough cutting in the area where the cornices are mitred. There are also rosettes to place at the junction of the molding strips.
If budget and ceiling height permit then you might consider installing an aluminum ceiling medallion. These are truly works of art. They are all cut out by hand and because of this, they are not particularly cheap items to buy. However, the effect they create is absolutely stunning.