How to Remove Ceiling Texture

Certain types of texture were once quite popular, and textures such as the popcorn style of decades past were used to hide less than perfect ceilings. If the ceilings in your home are covered with thick texture that looks dated, remove the texture. You could hire a professional to do the job, but it would cost a small fortune considering the hours required, especially in a larger room. Although it is a lengthy job it is not technical or difficult. However, be prepared for the possibility of finding a flawed ceiling beneath the texture. Extensive filling, taping, mudding, and sanding may be required to restore the ceiling to a smooth finish.

Before Getting Started

If a textured ceiling has been painted, the following method of texture removal will not work. This method to remove texture is intended for unpainted ceilings only.

To protect eyes from falling ceiling texture, goggles are a must-have. Once the texture has been removed and the ceiling is dry, it will require sanding in preparation for painting. A face mask is recommended to prevent inhalation of dust particles.

Precautionary Statement

Older ceiling texture may contain asbestos. If you are unsure if the texture on your ceiling contains asbestos, while wearing a respirator, wet a small portion of the ceiling and scrap away a sample that can be tested in a lab. It is an inexpensive precaution and well worth the time before tackling a potentially dangerous job. If the textured material is found to contain an unsafe leval of asbestos, hire a professional trained in the proper removal of asbestos to complete the job.

Move it All Out Before you Remove Ceiling Texture

As previously stated, removing the texture from a ceiling is messy, and it is also very time-consuming. To lessen the mess it is important to remove as much furniture as possible from the room. Anything you cannot remove should be covered with protective plastic. It will take time and effort to prepare the room by moving out and protecting furnishings, but preparation is essential and will save a tremendous amount of cleanup time when the job is complete.

Protect Light Fixtures and Flooring

Do not forget to remove or cover light fixtures before getting started. If fixtures are too difficult to remove, cover them with plastic, and secure the plastic with masking tape. To protect a hanging chandelier, place it in a large trash bag, and secure the top of the bag with tape or twine. In addition, do not forget to turn off the lights at the breaker box. This will prevent the lights from heating the plastic should someone turn them on while wrapped.

Necessary Supplies to Remove Ceiling Texture

To remove ceiling texture you will need a large spray bottle, liquid dishwashing liquid, and a scrapper with a wide blade. You will also need spackling compound to fill in any nicks created during the scraping process. In addition you will require 100-grit sandpaper to smooth out the finish. You really do not need many supplies to remove ceiling texture, and almost anyone can accomplish this task, but it may take several hours to finish the job.


Begin by filling the spray bottle with warm water, and add a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Start in a corner of the room, and spray the ceiling texture to thoroughly moisten it. Allow the soapy water to soak in and soften the material, and finish a small area before moving on to the next.

After the ceiling texture sufficiently softens, spray an adjacent section, and start scraping the first area while being careful not to gouge the drywall beneath. By the time you are finished scraping the first area, the texture in the adjacent area will be sufficiently softened. Repeat this process until all of the ceiling texture has been removed.

Allow the area to dry for at least eight hours or overnight before preparing the ceiling for painting. After the ceiling dries completely, fill in any lines or gouges with spackling. After the spackling dries, sand the entire ceiling smooth using 100-grit sandpaper.

Lastly, cover the ceiling with high-hiding primer while following product label instructions. After the primer has dried, paint the ceiling in a color of your choice. Keep in mind that paint will not hide nicks and blemishes. Preparing the ceiling before painting is the only way to ensure a smooth professional looking appearance.

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