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How to Install Glue-Up Ceiling Tiles

Ceilume's 0.030" thick Signature Ceiling Tiles are the perfect tiles for glue-up installations (if we do say so ourselves). They are easy to install, clean, and maintain, and they create the look of a classic tin or plaster ceiling at a fraction of the cost.

Glue-Up or Staple-Up?

The answer to this question depends upon the tools you have available, the type and condition of your existing ceiling surface, and your personal preference. That being said, most customers ultimately decide to use adhesive and that is our recommended method of installation.

If you'd like to know more about the pros and cons of gluing/stapling, give us a call or drop us an email and we'll be happy to go over them with you.

Here's What You'll Need to Install Your Tiles

Surface Types and Methods of Installation

Before You Begin

Your installation surface (fancy term for "ceiling") needs to be smooth, clean, and dry.

It is also important to pre-test your materials before installing all of your ceiling tiles to ensure the best results for your particular installation.

Measure Twice, Glue Once

Map out your ceiling. Measure and mark all of your walls, hallways, closets, and doorways. Locate and draw any lights, heating vents, and ceiling-mount fixtures (these features will sometimes influence where you start your installation, where you place your tiles, and the look of your finished ceiling). Decide and illustrate how to best create an even border around the edges of your ceiling.

Taking into account the variables above, snap two chalk lines along your ceiling's midpoints, forming a cross in the center of your ceiling. Keep in mind that ceilings are rarely square, and chalk lines may need to be adjusted.

Break Out the Adhesive

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Make sure that your hands, work surfaces, and ceiling are all clean and dry. Dust and oils can affect the adherence of your ceiling tiles.

Apply a perimeter and pattern-appropriate center bead of adhesive to the backside of your tile (1/8" to 3/16" is a good bead width to shoot for). For a flat tile, a bead around the edge and a simple center pattern is all that is required. For a three-dimensional tile, an additional bead near the formed features will ensure a good bond.

As you are applying the adhesive, remember - it isn't how much adhesive you apply (using too much can work against you), but that you apply the right amount of adhesive in the right places.

Position your ceiling tile about 1/4" offset from your chalk lines and lightly press it to the ceiling. Then slide it into its final position directly against the chalk lines, allowing the adhesive to spread just a bit. Press and rub firmly over the glued areas, smoothing out any bumps in the glue and seating your ceiling tile firmly into place.

Once your first ceiling tile is installed, begin placing adjacent tiles. The second ceiling tile you install should be placed directly against the first. The seams between tiles may vary slightly, so do not butt (hehehe... we said "butt") the tiles together with force, simply slide them into place.

All joints will be covered with Decorative Strips in the final phase of installation; do not worry about any small gaps between your ceiling tiles.

Ceiling Tile Borders

In all likelihood, you will have some less than full-size tile areas around the perimeter of your room. Our border tiles have been designed with a minimum relief pattern that lends itself to trimming and installing in these edge trim areas.

Measure the distance from the edge of an installed tile to the wall and cut your border tile to size with scissors or Ceiling Tile Aviation Snips.

Apply a perimeter bead of adhesive to the backside of your edge trim tile. Position it with the cut edge toward the wall, 1/4" offset from its final position, and slide it into its final position. Press and rub firmly over the glued areas, smoothing out any bumps in the glue and seating your ceiling tile firmly into place.

Repeat this installation process with your remaining border tiles, proceeding from one adjacent tile to the next until your border is complete.

When finished, clean tools with warm water and paper towels while the ceiling tile adhesive is still wet. Dried material can be scraped or chipped off if needed.

Decorative Strips

Decorative Strips are 2' long, self-adhesive, and designed to cover the joints between your ceiling tiles. Each strip has a decorative pattern that begins with a dot and ends with a dash.

Before installing your Decorative Strips:

A few additional tips:

Dry-fit your first Decorative Strip by placing the dot at the beginning of the strip directly over the intersection of four ceiling tiles, and its length over the joint between two adjacent tiles. Trim to length if necessary.

Remove the backing on your strip, exposing the adhesive, line it up as before, and press firmly into place.

Butt the next strip directly against the end of the first, creating a repeating dot-dash pattern. The dot on your second strip will land over the next intersection of four ceiling tiles.

Install all of the Decorative Strips running in one direction, and then finish by installing the set of strips that run perpendicular to the first. In order to keep the dot-dash pattern consistent across the entirety of your ceiling, you'll need to trim the dot off of the end of each strip in this second set.


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All of our ceiling tiles, panels, and strips can be painted before or after installation.


Ceilume's ceiling tiles, panels, and strips require no special cleaning agents - just wipe them down with a soft, damp rag. There is no risk of water damage during cleaning, and there is no need for scheduled professional cleaning and resurfacing to prevent environmental and aesthetic problems. Small, stubborn spots can be handled with cleaners such as Formula 409®.

Do not use cleaners containing organic solvents or other aggressive ingredients as they may affect the surface appearance of your tiles. Examples of these types of cleaners include chlorine bleach, liquid grease remover, strong detergents, and nail polish remover.


Store upright in a single layer (no stacking) in a cool spot out of direct sunlight.

Guiding Principle #5: Be humorous. Even ceiling tiles can be entertaining.