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What Are Ceiling Tiles Made Of? 8 Common Materials

ceiling tiles in an office

Having a modern home does not only entail a beautiful floor, stunning furniture, and an artistic wall but also includes a glamorous ceiling. A ceiling is used to hide structural elements like pipes and improve illumination, plus protect homeowners from exterior noises.

While it is clear there are tons of advantages to having a ceiling; complexities arise when choosing one. After careful consideration and deep research, we have narrowed it down to tiles being the best ceiling option. Read on to find out more about ceiling tiles and the materials they are commonly made of.

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The 8 Common Materials Ceiling Tiles Are Made Of

1. Expanded Polystyrene

Installation of ceiling tiles made of polystyrene
Photo Credit:, Shutterstock

Expanded polystyrene, or EPS for short, is a type of rigid foam insulation used in everything from construction to packaging. It’s made by combining polystyrene beads with a blowing agent that causes the beads to expand and create a foamy material. EPS has various benefits, including being lightweight, water-resistant, and durable. It’s also one of the most affordable ceiling panels.

The over 50 years of EPS’ existence have made the material synonymous with style and energy saving. It is used in most parts of the USA as an insulator, thus saving energy costs.

Most homeowners love how colorful and customizable the panels are. With glue, a box cutter, and a ladder, you’ll have an EPS ceiling ready for the brutal winter.

2. Gypsum

Gypsum is a sedimentary rock composed of calcium sulfate (CaSO4), mined as a fertilizer source of sulfuric acid and building materials.

In ceilings, gypsum’s fire and moisture resistance properties plus good acoustic features have made it a preferred material. To install the gypsum panels or boards, you must buy them as individual units. Each panel is usually 4×8 feet wide and comes in a customizable color.

Lastly, gypsum is one of the most environmentally friendly construction materials, occurring naturally and cheaply.

3. Fiberglass

Fiberglass is a very popular material for ceiling tiles. It has been around since the 1800s, and it was patented by Hermann Hammesfahr, a Prussian inventor, in 1890 in the USA. 42 years later, Games Slayter applied for a fiberglass mass production patent.

Fiberglass is a revolutionary material providing stunning ceilings in various colors and styles. Each panel is made by processing silica sand into nonwoven glass mesh that is then encapsulated by square or rectangular edges.

The material is highly appreciated at home for being lightweight and easy to install. In addition, fiberglass tiles are mold and mildew-resistant, making them a good choice for areas prone to moisture. And with the ability to absorb sound, you will never hear your upstairs neighbor wrestling with furniture on the floor after installing them.

4. Melamine Foam

From manufacturing kitchen utensils to creating ceiling panels, melamine foam is a lightweight, porous material with outstanding properties. Melamine tiles are made from melamine resin, a type of plastic with a honeycomb-like structure. This unique structure has insulation and soundproof properties—key features in a noisy neighborhood.

The tile is a popular choice in offices and schools due to its ease of cleaning and fire resistance. It has a melting point of over 640 degrees Fahrenheit.

Although tiles are somehow thinner and fragile, you have unlimited styles to select from.

5. Vinyl Composition Tile

Vinyl composition tile, or VCT, is a type of flooring and ceiling synthetic material made from vinyl and filler. It’s popular in commercial and residential settings because it’s durable and easy to clean. VCT comes in a variety of colors and patterns, so it is easy to find a style that complements your space.

Because it is available in many colors, you can easily change vinyl tiles without changing the room’s structure.

Price is also another advantage of vinyl ceilings. Compared to other tiles, vinyl composites offer a cheaper interior decor solution without compromising the outcomes.

6. MDF Tiles

MDF, or medium-density fiberboard, is a popular material for ceiling tiles. It is made of wood fibers glued together and then pressed into thin sheets. MDF is strong and durable, making it a good choice for areas where other tiles will not last long. Plus, it is easy to install and paint.

In addition to being solid and durable, MDF is available in many finishes. It’s available in solid colors such as white, black, brown, and gray, or semi-solid colors like cherry and birch. For an even more custom look, paint it to match your décor and bring light into your space. You’ll have fun creating your design from scratch—just make sure you use a high-quality primer before adding paint.

7. Marble Tiles

Marble is timeless, and elegant, and comes in different colors and exotic patterns. While marble is a durable material, it is porous and can stain easily. Additionally, marble tiles are one of the most expensive options. Pieces like Carrara marble are over $5 a square foot, although less conspicuous white ceiling tiles are cheap.

8. Ceramic Ceiling Tiles

These tiles are not different from floor tiles in terms of dimensions and how to install them. You only need T-braces scrapped from lumber pieces and mortar.

Start by scraping dirt off the ceiling, spreading a thin layer of mortar, and finally slotting the tile in place.

When buying ceiling tiles, you can choose glazed or unglazed tiles. Glazed tiles have a shiny luster thanks to the enamel or liquid glass layer applied to them. Unglazed, in contrast, are dull tiles subjected to heat without coating anything on the surface.

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There are several types of ceiling tiles on the market today. Each type of material has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. For instance, go for gypsum or ceramic tiles for a natural look at a low cost.

Vinyl, melamine, and polystyrene are cheap and lightweight but expensive to the environment, whereas marble is exotic but costly. So, your choices trickle down to cost, material purposes, and the nature of the ceiling.

Featured Photo Credit: Alexey V Smirnov, Shutterstock


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