ornamental metalwork

Tin Ceilings for Ornamenting Public Spaces

Embossed tin ceilings provide restaurants, commercial and other public buildings with richly ornamented surfaces at an affordable price.

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Tin ceilings are one of those vintage products that aren't a "reproduction." Tin ceilings came into use in the late 19th century -- and have been in continual production ever since. Thus, you can think of them as "survivals" rather than "reproductions." Even though the shorthand name for embossed stamped metal sheets is "tin ceiling," from the very beginning the material was also frequently used on the walls of restaurants, stores, offices, hotels and other public spaces -- as well as the ceilings. The reason for the product's initial popularity was the same in 1890 as it is today: economy. Tin ceilings provide a lot of visual bang for the buck.

From the start, tin-ceiling sheets were widely used in the same two basic applications as they are used today: (1) Plaster repair and (2) New construction. If a plaster ceiling is heavily damaged, often it's far more economical to cover the ceiling with a veneer of embossed metal than to re-create the original in wet plaster. In new construction, tin ceilings impart an authentic period look at reasonable cost. The advent of tin-ceiling panels that adapt to standard lay-in grids has vastly increased use of the material in commercial applications.

Another of the material's attractions is the vast array of finishes possible. Clear lacquer coatings can be applied to embossed sheets that come with a copper, brass or other metal plating for a contemporary high-tech look. At the opposite end of the finishing options are glazes, which can make a tin ceiling look like marble, embossed leather and a wide variety of fantasy finishes.

With the vast array of tin ceiling patterns available today, you can restore or replicate the most elaborate ceiling created in the 18th or 19th century. And, for new construction, you can give the client an authentic period look at a cost that won't bust the budget.

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