How to Remove a Popcorn Ceiling in A Few Simple Steps

Popcorn ceilings may have become outdated now but they were hugely popular during the ‘60s and ‘70s. They were used as quick fixes to hide chipped or broken ceilings that were made of plaster or drywall. Popcorn ceilings would cover the deformations pretty well and did not require any panting job afterward. 

However, popcorn ceilings have become outdated and are quite a nuisance as they can trap dust and cobwebs very easily. Some popcorn ceilings are made of asbestos which is a harmful substance and presents a health hazard. Most people now opt for removing a popcorn ceiling, adding some drywall material, and painting over it.

Encore Painting brings to you some easy and practical tips to remove the popcorn ceiling without much hassle. 

Gather The Tools You Will Need

For any interior home repair project, you first need to gather the requisite tools. Removing a popcorn ceiling does not require special tools and you will hopefully be able to find all the requisite tools at home. The essential tools needed for a popcorn removal project are:

  • Spraying bottle/can
  • Putty knife or drywall taping knife
  • Plastic sheets
  • Painter’s tape
  • Ladder
  • Safety goggles
  • Dust mask

Wet The Ceiling Before Scraping Away the Popcorn Texture

  • Wetting the popcorn weakens its adhesion to the roof. It is recommended to wet the ceiling with a garden sprayer before making an attempt to remove it. Wet a four-by-four foot area of the ceiling. Be moderate in your use of water. If you use too much water, the sheetrock which lies beneath the popcorn will get damaged making the popcorn removal process difficult to carry out. 

Wet a small section of the popcorn. Wait for 15 minutes for the water to be absorbed completely. To remove the small section of the popcorn, take a wide putty or drywall knife and run it along the edges of the ceiling to loosen the popcorn material.  The popcorn material may come off during your first attempt or you may have to repeat these few simple steps a couple of times. Repeat the same procedure for the entire ceiling. 

Don’t Forget The Protective Coverings

  • Any project that involves scraping and displacements is bound to make some mess. Removing a popcorn ceiling can be pretty messy as well. We recommend you to empty the room of all furniture and come prepared with a huge quantity of drop cloths and tarps. Lay the floors with plastic sheeting and attach some sheets on the wall with painter’s tape to protect them from getting splashes. 

Make sure to remove ceiling fans and other hanging fixtures. Caution should be taken regarding the exposed electrical boxes. Cover them with painter’s tape so that they remain protected from any water seeping in. Before starting the process of popcorn removal, shut down the HVAC system, and cut off the main power supply.

remove a popcorn ceiling yourself

Sand and Paint the Ceiling

  • After covering the floor and adjacent walls with plastic coverings, remove the popcorn one section by section. After the popcorn is removed, fix all existing damages to the ceiling such as holes or indentations. You can repair the holes by filling them with joint compound. To have a more smooth finish, cover the joints or screws with joint compound as well. 

After the ceiling has been repaired with joint compound, the next step is to sand the ceiling thoroughly. Apply fresh paint over the ceiling once the sanding dries. Apply another coat of paint on the ceiling after the first one dries for a smoother finish. Tada! you are done.

This information is brought to you by Encore Painting which is located in McKinney, Texas. 

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