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Beadboard or Pressed Tin Tiles?


Ok, decision time. HELP!

We’re going to go wainscoting in the bathroom. It’s going to be white. Originally, it was going to be 8′ sheets of beadboard because it’s cheap and easy, and looks pretty good. Then I saw this magazine photo of a bathroom with tin tile used as wainscoting, and I pretty much fell in love.

I can’t find the exact photo online anywhere to steal, but basically the look is:
Pressed Tin Tile as Wainscoting

Sorry about the grainy off-kilter photo, but you get the idea.

The tile we are looking at is this one, from Architectural Depot:
Pressed Tin Tile
We have original pressed tin in various random places throughout the house. It’s the backsplash in our kitchen (salvaged from the old kitchen ceiling, cleaned up, and painted black). It’s on the pantry ceiling, still original and never touched. It’s used as wainscoting in our hallway, and we have a bunch saved from the stairwell walls that we’re going to put back up when the upstairs is ready for finish materials. So it’s kind of a theme, and one I am wholeheartedly fond of.

The beadboard would look something like this:

Beadboard wainscoting

Still very cool, very “historic” looking.
I am hesitant to barrel ahead with the tin because of the additional costs. It’s about twice as expensive to do tin tile, and it’ll be a little more work. (You can read about the installation process here.) So, dear readers, help me clear the mental clutter. Should I stick with our original idea, or is tin tile super cool and worth a little splurge? Will I regret skimping out on it when the bathroom is all done, since the cost difference is a drop in the bucket compared to the total cost of the project? Or am I getting way too carried away with this bathroom design?

PS – Thanks to you guys, I’ve decided on green for the bathroom and I am mulling over the fabric countertop idea.  And Beth, I got a third shower curtain, thanks for the heads up! This bathroom is really a team effort ;)

Comments, Thoughts, and Feedback

Jocelyn had this to say on 01.04.07:

I guess I’m more of a traditionalist so I’d go for the wainscotting. I do think it’s a neat look though and would make your bathroom more unique. Just my 2 cents.

p.s. I missed your color selection process, but I think your final decision is really nice.

Patricia W. had this to say on 01.04.07:

This is my 2 cents.

Tin rusts. You will be putting it in a bathroom that gets steamy and wet, a lot.

I know with upkeep/maintenance it shouldn’t rot but that’s just my take on it.

There are alternatives to tin. I’ve seen some polymer/plastic tin-look tiles. I don’t know if these are very nice or sturdy enough for a wall but it’s just a thought.

I do think the tin is gorgeous but I’m partial to beadboard.

Chelsea had this to say on 01.04.07:

I would definately go with the splurge, otherwise you might regret it for years to come. I LOVE beadboard, we’ve done it in two of our bathrooms so far…but that was before I heard of this idea!
Would you use salvaged tin, or new tin for this? I know in my area you can get the salvaged stuff at a fairly reasonable price.
Good luck!

Trissa had this to say on 01.04.07:

Hmmm…. difficult decision. I like the look of the tin tiles as well, but my gut says the wainscotting does seem more traditional. I’d see if you could find out how well the tin held up. Does it dent easily? I don’t think the moisture would be a problem when it is painted, otherwise there would be problems with tin ceilings as steam rises, etc. but I could be wrong. I’ll stay tuned to see what you decide!

sally had this to say on 01.04.07:

I am with you as I love both materials…but as some of the others have posted, I would stay away from the tin simply because metal does rust. In the long run I think you would be much happier with the wainscotte.

I have worked with the sheet goods you are planning to use. It easy to work with
Takes paint so easy and looks great. You might consider running it at a 4 foot height rather than 3.

I did a 4′ hieght down a 30′ long hallway with door openings on each side. Rather than rip down the panelling I used it to cover over the yuck. Added detail top trim and 6″bottom baseboard w/cao detail molding. Primed everything and love the look. Now I have to decide the colors. you’re not alone. LOL Have fun

gary had this to say on 01.04.07:

Pressed tin nowadays is usually aluminum so rust isn’t an issue. We got ours from M-Boss, Inc. Since you are looking for texture, consider “Lincrusta” wallpaper. It may be more affordable than tin tiles. Lowes and Home Depot can special order lincrusta for you. I’m sure if you google the word you will find some interesting stuff. I hate to add to the confusion by giving you a third option but what are friends for?

Paul had this to say on 01.05.07:

Yeah, I’d also be concerned about what the moisture might do to the tin. Personally I prefer tin on ceilings rather than walls–the pattern just seems too busy on walls–and would go with the beadboard. Either way, though, your bathroom will be pretty snazzy.

Eilis had this to say on 01.05.07:

I think the tin would go really well with the tub!

B had this to say on 01.05.07:

I like vote for the bead board on the walls.
I have seen that tin looking embossed wallpaper and was considering it for my kitchen ceiling. It’s a lot cheaper than the tin tiles and probably much eaiser to put up.

Mindy had this to say on 01.05.07:

Ok, general opinion seems to be that tin would be a little too fancy and possibly hard to maintain. After some deep thinking, I have to agree. All those little ridges and bumps would probably collect some nasty gunk in them over time from the steam and our ever-present dust. Wainscoting would be pretty, and is easier to install and maintain. Not to mention hella cheaper.

I do love lincrusta, Gary, and I have thought about using it somewhere in the house – but I was worried about how durable it would be. Seems like it could get gouged up pretty easily, especially in a room like the master bath. I’ve never actually used it though, so I am just basing this on the imaginary lincrusta in my head. No real data or experience to support my theory!

Kristin had this to say on 01.05.07:

I’m weighing in late to say either idea would look fabulous. I haven’t found a use for tin tiles yet. This reminds me I need to think of one!

Julie had this to say on 02.05.07:

Love the tin for a very small bathroom otherwise, I think it will look too busy. Have seen it used as a backsplash in kitchens to good effect. Beadboard gets my vote. Good luck!

Debolina had this to say on 04.18.11:

Did you ever find the product in your original photo and if so did you learn how to paint it? I have a similar product in my house but I am having trouble figuring out how to paint it.

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