Salvaged Tin Ceiling All The Way From West Virginia!

Blog, Inventory | Posted on: August 30, 2019

Greetings Reuse Fans,

How about some tin… man?

We recently completed a salvage job in West Virginia where the owner had some tin ceiling in storage and some that needed to be removed before demolition. So we have a nice assortment of tin ceiling for your restoration or art project!

Our inventory features some different Greek Revival style panels used in a complete ceiling. Click an image below to view our inventory, or click here to check out all of our currently available tiles.

Tin was first used in interiors in the 1880s. It was the affordable way to emulate high end decorative plaster, in the same spirit that painted slate was used to emulate fancy marble mantels. In addition to the decorative flourish, tin ceiling also provided a degree of fire protection. This was especially important since in the late 1800s and early 1900s open flames were used for most of life’s basic necessities, like lighting, cooking, and heating. Tin ceiling tiles are actually pressed steel plated with tin to cut down on the rust, but as you will see with the tiles we have, the rust still finds a way. You can clean them up with a wire brush and some paint stripper to get down to the bare metal. A lot of old paint contains lead, and therefore sanding is not recommended. You could use steam, heat or paint remover, but check out how to do this safely before you begin. Once the paint has been removed, you can use denatured alcohol to wipe down the panels before repainting and/or sealing with a polyurethane. The bare metal will rust!

Here’s a helpful glossary of tile types:


The pieces that make up the majority of the ceiling. These can vary in size and style, from plain to ornate design.


Pieces that cover the area where the ceiling meets the wall. Similar to crown molding. These are usually more ornate than the field.


Pieces that have a cutout for a light fixture. Usually feature more ornate detail and embossed or raised design around the cutout.


Long, thin pieces that cover the seams between field tile. These can be ornate or a simple trim design.

In addition to using these on your ceiling, you can use them on your walls, as a back splash behind your kitchen stove and countertop, or simply frame one and put it on your wall. Check out our Pinterest page for more creative ideas!

Also, a reminder that CJ will be closed this Monday in observance of Labor Day. We’d like to thank all of our staff, partner organizations, shoppers, and donors for all of your hard work to keep reuse happening here in Pittsburgh.

Happy Labor Day!

Mike Gable

Executive Director