Choosing the best bathroom ceiling tiles involves both selecting the best tiles for use in a bathroom and the best tiles for use with the rest of the décor in a particular bathroom. Bathrooms require construction materials that are much more tolerant of extremes in moisture and temperature than do other rooms in a typical house. Many, but not all, varieties of ceiling tiles function well in bathrooms.
Some of the most common types of ceiling tiles should never be used in bathrooms, or at least in bathrooms with baths or showers. Tiles made of open cell foam, which are often used in drop ceilings, are a very poor choice for bathroom ceiling tiles. The foam material itself will not be damaged by exposure to heat and moisture but will collect and hold water, allowing mold to grow. Other ceiling tiles made from fibrous materials will also allow mold to grow and will suffer structural damage or discoloration from exposure to moisture.
Plastic bathroom ceiling tiles are a better choice. These tiles are typically made from durable poly-vinyl chloride (PVC), which is rated for use outside and can easily stand up to moisture and temperature conditions in a typical bathroom. To prevent water from seeping between them, these tiles need to be installed correctly. Once in place, however, PVC bathroom ceiling tiles are durable and waterproof. Higher-quality PVC tiles tend to be both thicker and sturdier than less expensive tiles and are the best choice for use in bathrooms, where a sagging joint can lead to water damage.
Metal ceiling tiles can be a good choice for use in bathrooms as well, although not all metals perform equally well. A metal that rusts or corrodes easily is a poor choice for use in a bathroom. Aluminum ceiling tiles, however, perform well and are impervious to moisture damage. Higher-quality metal tiles will be thicker, sturdier, and may be stamped with more intricate patterns.
Ceramic tiles can also be used as bathroom ceiling tiles. They were often installed on the ceilings of shower stalls up to the postwar era of home construction. If installed correctly, ceramic tile is nearly impervious to wear and moisture and can be cleaned fairly easily. Even very basic subway-style tile, which is quite inexpensive, can be both attractive and eminently functional. More elaborate tile installations may feature mosaics or patterns for additional visual appeal.
Any bathroom ceiling tiles should be chosen to match both the current and future décor of a bathroom. If more extensive remodeling is planned in the near future, then matching the future décor should be a higher priority. As a general rule, using style elements from the same architectural period helps to tie a bathroom together. Subway tile on the ceiling blends well with a retro 1940s bathroom, whereas stamped metal bathroom ceiling tiles might be a better choice for a restored Victorian bathroom.