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How to Cover Stained Ceiling Tiles the DIY Way

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 1

So, you have limited cash and you want to cover stained ceiling tiles in your basement family room.  You have looked in the home improvement store, and almost any solution requires you to rip down those tiles and start again right?

Well you don't have to do that.  Maybe one day when your bank account looks a bit healthier, but for now you can work with those older style stained acoustic ceiling tiles.

Make sure they are not going to fall down.  The first step is to make sure they are in fact still stuck to the ceiling and are not falling down.  If you hae just purchased a new yet gently used home and it is from the 70s or 80s, chances are it has those ceiling tiles installed.  It was an affordable way to install a ceiling.

How to Cover Stained Ceiling Tiles

It can be a lot of work to take them down, so if you happen to notice they have stains on them, then don't dispair there are ways to cover these.

Don't assume ceiling paint will cover them, because it won't, those sneaky stains will work their way through and you will still see them, sometimes even worse than before.

Make sure what caused the stain is fixed - If these look like water stains, then you need to make sure that you don't have any leaks in the plumbing, but if you have been living in the house a while, and these stains look old and dry, chances are it was simply a spill on the floor above that worked its way to the basement ceiling a long time ago.  But make sure they are bone dry to the touch, or you may need to address a plumbing issue.

As a kid in my parents 50s house, it was all oak hardwood, that was waxed rather than varnished, and I remember spilling my drink.  The hardwood floor was cleaned up instantly, but a few days later we noticed it on the basement tiles in the ceiling below.  It didn't take much to get through the cracks of the hardwood.  Now most hardwoods are varnished and tighter, but still you must make sure and clean up spills right away.

You need to Kill the Stain - There is one product on the market that I can totally recommend.  It will always be on my painting supply shelf and that is BIN 123 Zinsser Primer.  This product is what is known as a stain killer.  It can do many things and should be in any DIY household. 

BIN 123 Zinsser Primer

To cover a stained ceiling tile, you simply open a can of this product.  (you can get it in spray but I prefer to brush this on the ceiling tiles) Make sure you stir it well, then simply paint this on the stained area.  Go row by row if you have a few stained tiles.

Zinsser 2004 "Bulls-eye" Primer Sealer and Stain Killer 1-2-3 Qt

Let it Dry Well - Leave it for at least a couple of hours or even better overnight.  So, you need to plan your project ahead of time.  If you want to spend Saturday working on this ceiling, then put some of the Zinsser on Friday night. 

Ceiling Paint - Get yourself a good quality ceiling paint (the type that doesn't drip and spray all over the place) you most likely have a brand of paint you like, so get the ceiling paint in this brand.  Using a edging brush, paint around the edges with the ceiling paint.  You will find it does not spread as far as painting on drywall, but you don't want to saturate it too much either.  Just a nice light coat.

Once you have gone around the edges with a paint brush, you can now use a roller, possibly on an extension pole to go over the rest of the ceiling.  Try not to push to hard on it, but still be somewhat firm to get the paint between the tiles.

Let it Dry for at least 1/2 a day if not more.  You don't want these tiles soaking wet and then try to put on a second coat.  You want them good and dry.

Second Coat - You will find the second coat of ceiling paint goes on quicker and fills in any mottled areas.  Your ceiling paint will have gone easily over the zinssered areas, and now your stains are gone.

By simply sealing those stains in with the right product, will save you hours and multiple coats of paint.  Painting a ceiling white just gives it that fresher look, especially in a basement where ceilings are not always that high. 

Now your ceiling looks fresh and as if you meant it to be that way. 

Cover Stained Ceiling tiles

 By covering the stained ceiling tiles, and then giving them a fresh coat of ceiling paint you will add years to your basement ceiling and except for the cost of the zinsser stain killer and your ceiling paint you now have more budget for those other things you wanted in the basement or the rest of your house!

Our first house had these ceiling tiles on every ceiling.  We just didn't have the budget to be ripping them out, so we worked with them with paint, and they turned out nice.  Cover the ceiling tile stains and your ceiling will actually be less noticeable.  With stains your eye is drawn to them.  Put more effort into your decor on the walls and floors and the ceiling won't even be a focal point.

You can get the BIN 123 Zinsser Primer at most paint and hardware stores.  The one I get is water clean up, but you can also get stronger ones depending on the job you are doing.

You can also get this product online at sites such as Amazon.  I use this product all the time.  It is also a good primer for walls that you are not sure whether they have oil or latex, as well as to cover very dark walls.  Saves you time and money.

 

 


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Comments

Feb 26, 2012 1:03pm
Derby
Thanks for the great article. I have some stained ceiling tiles in my basement and they've been driving me crazy. Now I know what to do!
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