Pro's and Cons of Plastic Ceiling Tiles

If you are considering a ceiling tile grid system for your basement, you’ll have lots of choices for design style, colors, and materials. One option you’ll have is plastic ceiling tiles (or PVC ceiling tiles) an alternative to traditional mineral fiber tiles. While plastic ceiling tiles may not be perfect for everyone, they just might be the right choice for your basement.

Before you decide, you should have a thorough understanding of the pros and cons of these materials. With the right information, you’ll be able to make a smart decision for your home.

Pros and Cons of Plastic Ceiling Tile


plastic PVC ceiling tiles

There are many advantages to using plastic ceiling tiles, but perhaps the best reason for using this type of material is the over-all longevity and cleanliness of the product.

Ceiling tiles are generally installed in basements, where moisture, dampness, and condensation from pipes can affect the tiles. With traditional mineral fiber tiles (the porous, brittle tiles you’re used to seeing) this moisture can cause ugly yellow staining. Plastic ceiling tiles, however, are water resistant, helping them retain an excellent appearance and structural quality. Because plastic tiles won’t absorb water, they can become harbingers for mildew, which is a serious concern for other types of ceiling tiles in damp basements.

Plastic PVC ceiling tiles are often cleaner to trim, cut, and adjust. They won’t leave a mess of dusty mineral fiber particles, giving you better results with installation and movement.

Compared to mineral fiber tiles and other types of ceiling tiles, plastic PVC ceiling tiles are much stronger and more durable. Say you’re installing a sound system in your basement and you need to run speaker wires from the entertainment center through the ceiling to the back of the room. When moving traditional ceiling tiles, you need to be very careful to not snap or damage the brittle material. If a piece breaks, you’re left with an unsightly hole until you can get to the store for a replacement. Plastic tiles are certainly not indestructible, but they are less likely to be damaged while handling.

PVC ceiling tilesCons


While plastic ceiling tiles sometimes seem like an obvious choice, there are some drawbacks that you should consider. First of all, there will typically be a higher upfront cost for plastic tiles. While the average ceiling tile runs about $2.00 to $3.00 for a 2x2-foot tile, a plastic PVC ceiling tile of the same size can cost around four-times as much. This higher upfront cost often turns people away from the product, even though it lasts longer and delivers easier access.

You should also be aware that there is less acoustical value from plastic ceiling tiles. Many people install ceiling tiles to create an acoustical barrier between the basement and the floors above. This can be for enhanced privacy or to create a home theater setting. It is also used in office spaces to enhance privacy and create better work environments. Either way, most mineral fiber board creates a strong barrier that limits noise from traveling between floors. Plastic ceiling tiles can help in your acoustics, but usually not as well as traditional tiles. 

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