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9 Common Types of Ceiling Tiles (With Pictures)

Installation of ceiling tiles made of polystyrene

If you want to install ceiling tiles in your home or business, there are quite a few options to pick from. With so many choices, though, the last thing that you want is to get the wrong type and only realize it after the fact or to not know that a certain option was out there before deciding on one.

So, highlighted here are nine of the most common types of ceiling tiles out there today. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages to consider.

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The 9 Types of Ceiling Tiles

1. Acoustical Ceiling Tiles

acoustic ceiling tiles
Image Credit: Andrew Angelov, Shutterstock
Durability: High
Cost: High

If you work in a busy office space or want sound insulation in your ceilings, acoustical ceiling tiles are exactly what you want. There are many designs to pick from, but all acoustical tiles share one key characteristic; They do a great job of absorbing sound.

They’re the go-to choice for those who want a soundproof room, and there are plenty of applications where that’s a good idea. They are pricier than typical ceiling tiles, but they also tend to last longer.

2. Powder-Coated Ceiling Tiles

ceiling tiles in an office
Image Credit: Alexey V Smirnov, Shutterstock
Durability: High
Cost: Moderate

Powder-coated ceiling tiles come in all kinds of shapes and colors. The powder-coating refers to the paint design. Instead of someone hand painting the tiles or leaving them unpainted, powder-coated ceiling tiles get their finish from a spray gun that applies a uniform finish throughout. It’s the most common way that a tile gets its color. These are not the lowest-cost tile option out there, but they’re durable and far more affordable than hand-painted tiles.

3. Plastic Ceiling Tiles

Plastic Ceiling Tiles
Image Credit: Radovan1, Shutterstock
Durability: Low
Cost: Low

Plastic ceiling tiles are among the most affordable options out there. While they’re not the most stylish looking or the most readily available, if you’re on a tight budget, they’re an ideal option.

They’re not as durable as ceramic, tin, or aluminum ceiling tiles, but they hold up better than Styrofoam tiles. Still, they can’t handle much contact, they don’t do much for noise reduction, and they don’t look quite as nice as many other ceiling tile options.

4. Tin Ceiling Tiles

tin ceiling tiles
Image Credit: Faux tin ceiling tile #106 Antique Copper, Talissa Decor, Flickr, CC BY 2.0
Duralbility: High
Cost: High

While tin ceiling tiles used to be extremely prevalent and popular, today, it’s more about the tin look than the actual material. While you can find actual tin tiles out there, most varieties today use aluminum, copper, or brass.

Tin tiles are more difficult to install than typical ceiling tiles, and they cost significantly more. But they’re also extremely durable, and if you do happen to damage one, it’s often repairable.

You’ll spend more during the initial purchase and installation, but once they’re up, you shouldn’t need to worry about replacing them again.

5. Luminous Ceiling Tiles

Luminous Ceiling Tiles
Image Credit: Golosniak Andrii, Shutterstock
Durability: High
Cost: High

If you check out certain high-end office buildings, there’s a good chance that you can spot at least a few luminous ceiling tiles. When the lights are off, you can typically see the light behind a luminous ceiling tile, but it’s not completely see-through.

But when you turn on the lights, it looks like the entire ceiling tile is glowing, which is how it gets the luminous name. These tiles are more expensive than Styrofoam, tin, or cork ceiling tiles, but they also look far better and typically last far longer.

6. Cork Ceiling Tiles

Cork Ceiling Tiles
Image Credit: Pond Thananat, Shutterstock
Durability: Low
Cost: Low

While cork ceiling tiles aren’t common in residential settings, they’re fairly standard in warehouse-style buildings. They are extremely affordable and more durable than Styrofoam.

This durability and low cost make them popular for those who don’t care too much about how the ceiling looks, don’t want to spend much money, and don’t want to worry about the ceiling tiles again after they’re up. This is common in warehouses and other workplaces, but less so in residential buildings.

7. Aluminum Ceiling Tiles

Aluminum Ceiling Tiles
Image By: Luis Quintero, Pexels
Durability: High
Cost: High

While many tin ceiling tiles actually use aluminum, there are aluminum ceiling tiles too. They often have a more rustic metal appearance.

The initial installation is a bit expensive and they’re not easy to install, but once they’re up, they last an extremely long time. They’re also fire resistant, which is a big deal if you’re ever unfortunate enough to have a fire break out in your home.

8. PVC Ceiling Tiles

PVC Ceiling Tiles
Image By: Jatuporn Chainiramitkul, Shutterstock
Durability: Moderate
Cost: Moderate

PVC ceiling tiles are types of plastic ceiling tiles, but these are quite thick and typically durable. Compared to some other ceiling tile options, they’re more expensive, but compared to tin or aluminum, they’re more affordable.

There are also quite a few style options, and as long as no one touches the tiles, it’s near impossible to tell that they’re actually plastic. They won’t last quite as long as some of the premium options, but they’ll last far longer than materials like Styrofoam or cork.

9. Styrofoam Ceiling Tiles

Styrofoam Ceiling Tiles
Image By: KrimKate, Shutterstock
Durability: Low
Cost: Low

There are low-cost ceiling tiles and then there are Styrofoam ceiling tiles. These don’t cost much and are extremely common in drop ceilings. However, even moving around these tiles can cause them to fall apart a bit.

But while they’re not the most durable, if you leave them in place, they do a decent job of noise reduction. This paired with their extremely low cost is why they’re among the most prevalent ceiling tiles out there today.

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Now that you know more about the most popular and common ceiling tiles out there, you should be able to identify the exact type that you’re looking at the next time that you’re out and about.

If you’re seeking ceiling tiles for your home or business, you now know what’s out there, so you just have to start comparing styles and prices to find exactly what you want!

Featured Image Credit:, Shutterstock


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