How to Install Glue-Up Ceiling Tiles

Glue-up Ceiling Tiles Ceilume's 0.030" thick Signature Ceiling Tiles can be mounted directly to an existing ceiling surface using adhesive. They are easy to install, clean, and maintain, and create the look of a tin, wood, or plaster ceiling at a fraction of the cost.

Check building codes as required.

Tools Required

Surface Types and Methods of Installation

Before You Begin

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. Decide and illustrate how to best create an even border around the perimeter of your room.

Using your map and 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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Apply a perimeter and center bead of ceiling tile adhesive to the backside of your ceiling tile (1/8" to 3/16" is a good bead width). 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 your adhesive, remember it isn't how much adhesive you use, but that you use 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 place 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 the tile firmly into place.

Once your first ceiling tile is installed, begin placing adjacent tiles. Your second ceiling tile should be placed directly against the first. Seams between tiles may vary slightly, so do not butt the tiles together with force, simply slide them into place. All joints will be covered with decorative or smooth strips in the final phase of installation; do not worry about any small gaps between your tiles.

Border Tiles

In all likelihood, your ceiling will have some less than full-size areas, usually around the perimeter of your room. Border tiles have been designed with a minimum relief pattern that lends itself to trimming and installing in these smaller areas.

Simply measure from the edge of an installed tile to the wall and cut your border tiles to size with scissors or snips. Apply a perimeter bead of ceiling tile adhesive to the backside of the trimmed tile. Position it with the cut edge toward the wall, about 1/4" offset from its final position and lightly press it to the ceiling. Then slide it into place, 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 the tile firmly into place.

Repeat 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.

Clean Your Ceiling Tiles

To ensure good adhesion, your ceiling tiles must be perfectly clean and dry! Thoroughly clean and remove contaminants (like grit, dust, or grease). Dust and oil can accumulate during construction and remodels, so even freshly installed ceiling tiles should be cleaned before you apply your strips.

Install Your Decorative or Smooth Strips

Before you begin...

"Dry fit" your first decorative or smooth strip by placing the beginning of the strip over the intersection of four ceiling tiles, and its length over the joint between two adjacent tiles. If installing decorative strips, center the "dot end" of the strip over the intersection. Trim to length if necessary.

Peel off the backing of your strip to expose the adhesive. Line the strip up as before and press firmly into place. Press hard and evenly over the full surface of the strip to ensure that the adhesive forms a firm bond with the tiles.

Butt the next strip directly against the end of the first. If you are installing decorative strips, pay close attention to the repeating dot-dash pattern; the dot on your second strip will land over the next intersection of four ceiling tiles.

Install all of the strips running in one direction, and then finish by installing the set of strips that run perpendicular to the first, trimming as necessary. If installing decorative strips, you'll need to trim the dot off the end of each strip in this second set in order to keep the dot-dash pattern consistent.


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


Ceilume's ceiling tiles, panels, tape, and strips require no special cleaning agents - just wipe them down with a soft, damp rag. Small, stubborn spots can be handled with an all-purpose cleaner.

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.

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

We Are Here to Help!

We hope that the information above is clear and provides the answers to any questions you may have along the way, but if it does not, please do not hesitate to contact us directly for help.

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