tin ceiling panels made from copper
Photo: Mark Weiss
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Alternatives to Metal

Mineral Fiber: Made of recycled newspapers, mineral wool, and starch, these embossed 1-by-1-foot tongue-and-groove tiles go up with staples shot into furring strips, or with adhesive if the ceiling is smooth enough. Can be painted to resemble metal. Better than metal at absorbing sound; not recommended for wet areas, such as bathrooms. Less than $2 per square foot.

Mineral fiber shown: TinTile No. 1240, TinLook ceiling tiles, about $1.60 per square foot; available from Armstrong

PVC: At just a couple of ounces per square foot, these 2-by-2-foot molded-plastic panels weigh next to nothing. Glue them up or place them in a drop-ceiling grid. They're impervious to moisture and can be painted. Not suitable for high-heat areas, such as a backsplash behind a stove. Starting at about $1 per square foot.

PVC shown: No. 210 in antique copper, about $2.25 per square foot; available from Decorative Ceiling Tiles
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