Why Are Ceiling Tiles So Expensive? (The Average Cost)

Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Barry Gray

why are ceiling tiles so expensive

Ceilings are often seen as an afterthought when decorating one’s home, but you can greatly improve the room and create a beautiful atmosphere and aesthetic with the correct ceiling. Why are ceiling tiles so expensive?

Ceiling tiles are so expensive because of a few factors. The material, the quality of the material, the size of the room, as well as the overall installation and cost of labor will be the most significant factors that play into the cost of your ceiling tiles.

Using decorative ceiling tiles provides you with unlimited options to make your home seem more like home. Let’s delft into some of the reasons why ceiling tiles will cost you a bit more, and what you can expect these costs to be!

Why Ceiling Tiles Can Be So Expensive

installing ceiling tile

Two of the biggest factors that will cause your costs to fluctuate would be the quality of your material, as well as the overall size of the room. You can expect the labor to install your ceiling tiles to cost you anywhere between $2.00 and $5.00 per square foot.

Your labor costs will also depend heavily on the size of the job and your location.

When deciding on installing ceiling tiles, your first priority should be to pick out a material for your ceiling. The type of material you prefer will give you different features, which all come at different price ranges.

There are four main materials used for a ceiling tile project that will impact your ceiling tile cost. You can pick ceiling tiles that range from textured, patterned, and smooth.

Secondly, you would want to think about grid rails for your ceiling tiles, which can vary from $3.00 to $25.00 per square footage.

Your ceiling tiles are only half of your suspended ceilings, and you can not forget about the grid that is needed for the second part.

The grid is not the same as the grid rails, and they are known as a T-bar system that attaches to the wall in order to hold your ceiling tiles in their place.

Your ceiling tiles’ cost can go up between $1.50 to $2.25 per square foot when you purchase the grid rails. Unfortunately, this does not include the labor costs, and you will need to add at least $35.00 to $80.00 per hour for your contractor’s pricing when they come to install them.

Lastly, if you want to add any insulating tiles, rail covers, or lighting to your room, you will have to add those costs to your existing ceiling tile costs.

Different Ceiling Tiles And Expected Total Costs

ceiling tiles and expected total cost

Needless to say, there are many different types of ceiling tiles, and along with them come different ways to install them. Let’s take a look at what the pros charge for and why they charge what they charge!

The professionals will generally charge you for their time (labor) plus the materials they are going to need for the job. Hiring professionals to install a ceiling grid system will set you back between $2.50 and $5 per square foot, including both labor and laying the tiles into the grid system.

Again, these costs will fluctuate depending on the difficulty of the ceiling. This includes things like the number of light fixtures that need to be worked around and the number of corners in the room.

For example, a 400 square footage room will cost you between $1,000 and $2,000. It would be good to note that this cost will not include the cost of the ceiling tiles or the grid system itself.

There are many ceiling tile kits at numerous home improvement stores. These kits are generally sold to cover up to 64 square feet, and it includes all of the necessary components!

You can expect these kits to cost between $1.20 and $1.80 per square footage, so then, a 400 square foot room will set you back between $480 and $720 for gid materials.

Metal Ceiling Tile Substrates

metal ceiling tiles

There are some cases where your costs can go above and beyond your wildest dreams. In this case, it’s called metal ceiling tiles! If you decide to install metal tiles, such as copper or tin, directly to your ceiling, you will need to attach a furring or plywood substrate to the ceiling first and then staple the tiles to the plywood.

Usually, metal ceiling tiles are much too heavy to be installed directly to the ceiling. The weight of the tiles will pull the nails out of plaster or drywall. Suppose you decide to hire a professional to install your metal ceiling tiles, including supplying the materials for installing the plywood substrate.

In that case, you can expect the costs to be between $2.50 and $5.50 per square foot. Your price will depend on the details of your ceiling, such as the light fixtures, corners involved, crown molding, as well as the number of tiles that need to be trimmed.

Therefore, a 400 square footage room will then cost you between $1,000 and $2,200, being $200 more expensive than standard ceiling tiles. Please note that this estimated price does not include the tiles and moldings. Tile and molding costs will be detailed later in the tiling project.

Your cost for metal ceiling tiles will be much higher than your standard tiling jobs, but this is ultimately because of the price of the materials you will be using. You will need more durable materials, which sadly comes at a more significant cost.


It comes as no surprise that the bigger your ceiling is, the higher your ceiling tiles’ cost will go. It would be good to note that a smaller ceiling can cost you more than a bigger ceiling if it is more complex. If you have any wires or pipes in the way of the installation process, you will have to pay additional costs to rewire the house.

You may even need to repair or modify the main ceiling to make sure it can support the weight of your ceiling tiles. Ceiling tiles are a beautiful and modern option when it comes to renovating your house, even if it comes at an expensive cost!

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Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.