How to Remove a Popcorn Ceiling

Nothing in a home screams welcome back to the 80’s as popcorn ceilings. Over the years, cracks, dirt and stains will accumulate on popcorn ceilings. To rid these, its often best to start from scratch as patching cracks or water stains on a popcorn ceiling is almost impossible.

Before you begin you need to first determine what the popcorn ceiling is made of as a small percentage of sprayed popcorn ceilings can contain asbestos. You can pick up a testing kit at you local hardware store or if you want a more thorough test, you can send out a sample to a lab. If the test results are clear, you can start removing the texture from the ceiling.

There are a few different ways to remove popcorn texture from a ceiling but the best way is to use the tool specifically designed for the job. A ceiling-texture scraper consists of a handle, blade and perhaps most importantly, a plastic bag. As you scrape the ceiling the bag catches most of the debris, making cleanup a lot easier.

Before starting, first remove all the furniture from the room and cover the flooring with tarps. This is especially important so that you protect your carpets and wood from grit. It is also important to have good lighting to help you see where you are working. Finally, eye protection and a mask are mandatory.

Start the job towards one corner of the room and work your way from one side to the other. Take your time and apply even pressure as you scrape the ceiling. Don’t overreach and don’t scrape right above your head as you will loose leverage. The popcorn will come off with ease once you have mastered this technique.

After you finish scraping you will notice that your ceiling is not smooth. During construction, contractors will apply only two coats of joint compound to drywall joints when the ceiling will have a popcorn finish. To make the finish smooth, you will need to sand the joints and apply a third coat of joint compound. Once the compound dries, lightly sand out any rough spots and repeat until the ceiling is completely smooth.

After the joints are smooth, wipe down the ceiling to remove any left over dust and apply a coat of quality primer. After the primer dries you will be ready to paint.

On a scale of one (easiest) to ten (hardest) I give this job a 4. Take your time and you will end up pleased with the results.

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