How to Paint Cardboard Ceiling Tiles

Today, ceiling tiles are made of several materials including recycled material, fiberglass, wood and metal. If you have old tiles on one or more of your ceilings, they're likely made of cardboard. Years ago, that was the commonly-used material. Cardboard ceiling tiles can become soiled and stained over time. To revive them, and make them look bright and white like new again, you can easily apply a coat of paint.

Set up a ladder so you can reach the ceiling tiles.

Things You'll Need

  • Dropcloth

  • Ladder

  • Wall paint

  • Paint roller

  • Paint pan

  • Old rags

Step 1

Spread a dropcloth out on the floor or on a clean surface outside. Set the ladder up underneath the ceiling tiles you're going to remove first. Climb up the ladder.

Step 2

Lift up on the first tile you want to remove, according to Painter Click. Turn it on its edge until you can slide it out of the suspended grid. Continue this step with the remaining tiles.

Step 3

Spread the cardboard ceiling tiles out on the dropcloth with their exposed sides (the sides you see when they're hung in the grid) facing up.

Step 4

Pour some wall paint into a pan. Dip and roll the paint roller into the pan; begin painting the cardboard ceiling tiles. Apply even coats to each tile, according to Painter Click. Don't paint the edges, just the exposed sides. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly before you reinstall the tiles into the ceiling grid, following the recommended drying time on the paint can.


If any of the cardboard ceiling tiles have water damage, apply a stain sealer before you paint.