Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Barry Gray
Wall panels can instantly transform any wall into a feature (or accent) wall, and you won’t be the first to wonder if they can do the same for ceilings. Although you do get specially made ceiling panels, there are just some amazing wall panels out there that you won’t find a ceiling counterpart for.
So, can you use wall panels on a ceiling? You can only use lightweight types of wall panels on a ceiling. The best panels to use are made from foam, PVC, vinyl, or plant fiber. Using heavier panels can result in the panels falling from the ceiling due to its weight.
In this article, I will talk a bit more about the types of panels that are best to use on a ceiling. I’ll also provide some links to awesome panels I found on Amazon that are perfect for a ceiling.
Types of Wall Panels for Ceilings
As mentioned above, not all wall panels are suitable for ceilings. This section will cover the different panel types that are suitable for a ceiling.
By far my favorite type of panel to work with! I love foam panels because they are super light, easy to work with, and so versatile.
Most foam panel products will have a “peel-and-stick” application. This means you don’t need to purchase any glue or special adhesive to install these panels. You won’t need any special hardware either. Once you get your panels, that’s basically all you’ll need.
Installation is pretty quick and easy. You simply peel off the cover film on the back of the foam panel, which should expose a super sticky surface. You then firmly press the sticky side to the desired area you wish to cover. It’s important that you first clean the area to ensure a smooth and dry surface for the panel’s sticky side to adhere to. Also, your surface should be relatively flat to guarantee the panel makes contact with the maximum surface area available.
That’s all there is to installation. And because foam panels are so light, you can have peace of mind knowing that they’ll hold.
I found a great foam panel option that you can try for your ceiling! This product has a great range of different styles that you can choose from – wood, brick, slate, and even dragon skin. The user reviews are excellent and you can check it out here on Amazon.
Keep in mind that some foam panels won’t have the peel-and-stick feature. This is especially true if you’re looking for acoustic foam panels – like this one (link to Amazon). These panels are more rigid and slightly heavier than regular foam panels, and will require additional adhesive tape or a strong adhesive spray or glue. But they are great at blocking out sound, particularly if you’re applying them to a ceiling on a lower level of your house / apartment.
PVC and Vinyl Panels
I already wrote an article about the use of vinyl flooring on a ceiling. Even though the article is about vinyl flooring, the same principles and installation methods will apply for vinyl wall panels.
So, with that said, let’s move on to PVC wall panels…
PVC panels are lightweight, but super sturdy and solid at the same time. I love PVC panels because they are generally easy to work with. With just a little care and effort, the finished result will look absolutely stunning (and classy).
The most popular styles of PVC wall panels will feature 3D patterns. Some patterns are fairly soft and subtle, while others are proud. Some are organized and others look very random. The random patterns look especially great when the light hits them, producing tiny shadows on the ceiling.
I found a great PVC wall panel on Amazon that’s a perfect example for ceiling use. I personally love the random pattern, as it reminds me somewhat of choppy clouds in the sky. Check out the great user reviews of this panel on Amazon.
Installation of PVC panels is relatively easy to do, even if you’re not that handy around the house. Most installations are done with adhesive, but I find that you can get a much easier and cleaner process by using a power stapler or brad nailer.
You can also paint over PVC panels if you want to. Although I will admit that the standard white color of PVC looks best, some do prefer mixing things up a bit. That’s the beauty of it – the choice is yours!
Plant Fiber Panels
If you’re a strong environment-friendly individual, then maybe a plant-fiber based product will be your favorite option. Plant-fiber technology and products have come a long way in recent years, and they’ve proven not only environment friendly, but also aesthetically pleasing.
A while back I saw an initiative to start building homes in some parts of the globe with bricks made up of hemp fibers. I thought this was pretty cool and a leap forward to sustainable living. Now, it’s great to see more commercial products adapting to sustainable living, and wall panels are among those products.
I had a look at some of the plant-fiber wall panels available, and I’m quite impressed. They look just like regular foam panels. Installation takes much longer than its foam counterpart, and that’s mainly because the majority of plant-fiber panels are not peel-and-stick applications.
You will need to buy a strong adhesive for most plant fiber panels. And it will take time applying the adhesive to each panel. I can only imagine how long this will take to apply to an entire ceiling. I saw in one of the Amazon reviews that someone took 12 hours to install these plant fiber panels on a 100 square-foot wall (9 square meters). They did however admit that the results were beautiful.
Plan Your Layout
To achieve the best results possible, I highly recommend you plan the layout first. Most people tend to just start from one corner of a ceiling and then work their way across the entire ceiling.
Although there’s technically nothing wrong with this approach, it could leave an asymmetrical or uneven finish, which could be unappealing to some.
Look up at your ceiling right now and imagine yourself starting with 20″ x 20″ (500mm x 500mm) square panels at one corner of your ceiling. Then picture yourself applying one panel at a time, in a horizontal direction, until you reach the opposite corner of the ceiling. Chances are you’ll likely have to cut or trim the last panel to fit, right? This is what I mean by an asymmetrical or uneven finish.
I get sad when people put so much effort into a project, only to have regret afterwards. So I suggest you find the midpoint of your ceiling, and then use that as your starting point. This could of course result in more effort as you might need to cut and trim panels on all sides of your ceiling, but I feel the finished result will be so much better this way!
If you’re not sure how to find the midpoint of your ceiling, then check out step 2 of the installation section in this article I wrote.
I hope this article was informative and helped you decide whether or not you’d want to use wall panels for your next ceiling makeover. I don’t see why not, I think it will look great.
Keep in mind that muscle fatigue is a real thing, especially when spending long periods of time on a ladder, and with your arms raised. If you’re working alone then remember it’s okay to take breaks and work in short sprints rather than forcing yourself to get it all done in one shot.
Or better yet, invite a friend over to help you out and treat them to a warm pizza once the work is done!