Removing a Popcorn Ceiling

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Removing a Popcorn Ceiling diy



This very ordinary guest bedroom seems to have everything the average guest is looking for…a tv remote, an alarm clock, a bed with pillows, a fan..but it has one thing no guest would want….popcorn ceilings.  OK, maybe they aren’t that bad, and if guests are looking for a free comfortable room, the popcorn could possibly be overlooked.  Maybe it could be overlooked, depending on how soft that bed is.  OK, the bed is kind of hard, therefore, the popcorn can not be overlooked, it will have to go.


Removing a Popcorn ceiling, diy


This was not my first time removing popcorn.  I’ve already tackled the living room , den , master bedroom  and bath, so I knew what I was getting myself into.  A mess.  So, if you are into diy, and you probably are since you are reading my post, I know you can do it.  It’s a messy job but someone has got to do it.

Removing a Popcorn ceiling, diy

After tackling 3 of my rooms, I read somewhere that popcorn can contain asbestos.  This was not the time to be telling me that.  Apparently asbestos was used in popcorn ceilings up until 1978 when it was banned by The Clean Air Act, however, they also said that it could have been used for a couple of years afterwards until contractors used up their supply of asbestos.  So, if you think you have asbestos in your ceiling, you may need to have it tested and/or removed by a professional. Asbestos was later replaced with styrofoam to create the  bumpy texture.

Having told you a little history of the popcorn ceiling, my house was built in the mid 80’s so hopefully we are good to go.

Removing a Popcorn ceiling, diy

First thing you will need to do is assemble your supplies.  A ladder, rag , big drop cloth (the bigger the better), a 4 or 5 inch scraper and a tank sprayer.  You could use a handheld squirt bottle, but let me tell you from experience, your finger will get mighty sore after just one room. A nice cheap tank sprayer can be found in the garden aisle for about $10.

Clean  your room out as best you can or shove the furniture to one side of the room.  Take the pictures and mirrors off the wall too, just do it, you’ll thank me later.  That popcorn goes everywhere.

You may want to do a test swatch to see if your popcorn comes down easily, maybe in a closet.  That will give you a good idea whether you want to tackle the entire room, because once you start…

Lay out the dropcloth cause it’s time to spray.  You’ll want to get that popcorn really moist, a few passes of the water spray ought to do it.  Now let it sit for a few minutes.

Removing a Popcorn ceiling, diy

Start scraping.  Holding your scraper fairly flat to the surface, scrape away.  If the popcorn is damp enough it should come off in fairly large sections.  If it feels dry, squirt again. Be careful with your scraper, any gouges into the ceiling can be fixed, but of course less is better.

Removing a Popcorn ceiling, diy

Once you get going, the process goes fairly quickly.  This room took only a couple of hours.

Removing a Popcorn ceiling, diy

Then there was the cleanup, that also took a couple of hours.

Removing a Popcorn ceiling, diy

If it does not come off all the way on the first go round, go over it again.  You have to get all the popcorn off, not the drywall spackle, you’ll be able to tell the difference when you get going. Any little bits of popcorn will make your ceiling look bumpy when painted. Small bits of leftover popcorn can even be washed off with a wet rag.

Removing a Popcorn ceiling, diy

The popcorn is water soluble, so any plaster that drips down the wall or gets onto your floor can we wiped down with a wet rag.

Removing a Popcorn ceiling, diy


Of course, this is obvious…..take off your shoes if you walk into other parts of the house. Ooops. That stuff sticks  like crazy to shoes…and go back to the previous step, floors can be wiped down.

To finish off, lightly spackle any cracks, holes, notches and sand with fine sand paper.

You’ll probably need 2 coats of paint since you’re down to bare drywall.   On to the next room!

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