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Removing popcorn from ceilings



I have just purchased a house that has popcorn celings. My wife won't stand for it, and now I am looking into solutions for how to remove this.


What are my options? What equipment do i need? Is it something that most people would be able to do it themselves.


This is my first home, and i am a newbie at this 'do it yourself' thing. I'd like to do it, and want to know if this is something that can be performed by a one person. The area under consideration is 1350 sq ft.




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Posted 2010-11-29T05:33:39+0000  by arustgi arustgi

Hi Adi.


Wow, it sounds like you about to enter the addicting matrix of DIY.


   The good news about this project is that it is really simple to pull off. But I will caution you… it’s going to get messy. The secret to success will be the time spent in getting everything set up and prepared. I will walk you through every step of the way and we will work together as a team.


   There is a special tool that you will need to get a hold of called a Popcorn Texture Removal Tool. I am placing a picture with a link for you below. This tool will save you hours of frustration and help you get the job done in record time.  





Here are the steps:

  1. Remove as much as possible out of the area just below the ceiling. If anything must be left, then you can wrap with plastic and seal it at the bottom. Remove any window fixtures as well, i.e.. curtains, blinds, etc...
  2. Completely cover the floor with plastic and secure the edges with blue tape (either directly on the carpet or to the baseboards). Cover any built in cabinets, fireplace mantle, ceiling fans, etc… with plastic. Optional: completely cover all walls (floor to ceiling) and tape off room entries. We carry a box of plastic called Painter’s Plastic.                           
  3. Get a heavy duty spray bottle or pump up sprayer and fill it with clean warm water. You will want to spray a 3 x 3 Ft. section of the ceiling until it is soaked. Let it stand for a few minutes and then use your scraping tool to gently remove the wet section. If all goes as planned, then it should drop into the attached bag. Just repeat this process until you are finished.
  4. Let the ceiling dry overnight, and the next day lightly sand the ceiling using a Pole Sander.pole sander.jpgKeep in mind that at this point the ceiling may have quite a few “imperfections in it. That’s alright – we will fix that later. You may want to sweep up the floor a little bit now that the texture has dried, but try and leave the plastic down if possible.
  5. Now it is a good time to prime the surface and help prepare it for the paint. This will also give you the ability to see the imperfections a little better. Tip: When the primer has dried, place a hand held light up to the ceiling - shining at an angle across the surface. This will expose the imperfections and allow you to patch those areas with drywall compound or spackling. Use a 3 inch putty knife and slightly “over fill” each dip, ding or hole. After that is all dry (a few hours), sand it one more time.
  6. Now you are ready for paint! Usually flat white ceiling paint is what is recommended, but you can actually pick any color that suits you. Tip: try rolling the paint along the wall of the main window light source (not towards it). This will hide roller marks when the light illuminates the surface. *see below.



I know it sounds like a lot of trouble, but it’s very rewarding when you tackle something like this on your own and can say “I did it”. Plus it adds value to your investment.


Thanks for joining the community. Please share before and after pictures so we can all be a part of the fun.

Best Answer

Posted 2010-11-29T16:16:16+0000  by Kevin_HD_ATL

I started to chuckle about the wife not liking popcorn ceilings. They're the norm down in South Florida. The best thing anyone can do is get rid of the popcorn. 


Most popcorn texture is simply a powder mixed with water and sprayed on the ceiling using a texture gun. There are a couple problems you run into with popcorned ceilings. First, there's a good chance the ceiling was never finished, you'll be lucky if it was actually taped, mudded and sanded. Secondly, if you ever have water damage (aka a leak), matching the texture is almost impossible. 


So, on to the best thing for popcorn, REMOVAL!


Lots of plastic sheeting, EVERYWHERE! It's a dirty, nasty job. Next, get yourself a pump bug sprayer and put some warm water in it. You can use a paint roller to apply the water as well. Let it set for about 5-10 minutes. Now for the secret weapon from childhood, a trash can lid. If you can find one of the metal trash can lids we used to use as shields when we were kids, they work great. Hold that lid up under your scrapper upside down and catch the droppings that you generate with the scrapper recommended in the post above. Don't bother with the whole grocery bag attachment, it gets a bit awkward trying to scrape with the weight of the texture swinging beneath it. As you scrape a bit, just dump the waste into the trash can below you. When the trash can is about 1/3 to 1/2 full, empty it. With all the water, popcorn texture can get pretty heavy.


Keep in mind, the drywall on the ceiling is wet, you're going to damage it with the scrapper. After it has dried, use your joint compound and spackling (depending on the severity of the damaged area) to fix your problem areas. Sand it all nice and smooth (drywall screens work great, as they don't clog easily), prime and paint (or use a self-priming paint like Behr Ultra).


One additional thing I will mention. Sometimes when popcorn is applied, they will add paint to the water / powder mix. This helps with the adhesion of the popcorn to the ceiling. It also makes it harder to scrape off.

Posted 2010-11-30T03:34:50+0000  by Paul

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply.

Home Depot rocks!!

Posted 2010-12-02T07:06:57+0000  by arustgi
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