Simple but loaded question...popcorn ceiling removal...is it worth it?

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Always wondering, is the hassle and mess of removing popcorn ceilings going to be worth it in the long run? I have a small condo that I am considering taking the removal plunge in. Ideas are appreciated!
  6 answers
  • Van19103281 Van19103281 on Jun 16, 2017
    we have removed popcorn from ceilings. In most cases we had to mud many places. I believe the purpose of popcorn ceilings was/is for cost savings. Easier to spray popcorn vs completing ceiling. The popcorn is easy to remove. Like I stated, it's the work you will have to do afterwards that isn't fun.
  • Carole Triplett Brooks Carole Triplett Brooks on Jun 16, 2017
    Hazards
    There are two potential problems that can turn removing a textured ceiling into a DIY nightmare:
    Asbestos: Acoustic texture manufactured before 1980 may contain asbestos and should be tested before being removed. While it doesn’t pose a health risk if left in place, removing a ceiling containing asbestos can stir up the fibers and cause them to become trapped in your lungs. More information about the dangers of Asbestos in Your Home can be found on the Environmental Protection Agency website.
    Painted Ceiling: Another potential problem that can make removing a popcorn ceiling much more difficult is if paint has been applied over the texture. This prevents the texture from absorbing water, which is necessary to loosen the material. While a painted textured ceiling can be removed, it usually requires the application of a chemical stripper to breakdown the paint barrier.
    To determine if either of these conditions applies to your ceiling, combine a few drops of liquid dishwashing soap with warm water in a hand sprayer. Lightly spray a small spot in an inconspicuous location, and wait a few minutes for it to absorb the water. If the water will not soak in, the ceiling has been painted. Otherwise, the texture should come off easily.

    Obtaining a sample of ceiling texture to test for asbestos.
    To test ceiling texture applied before 1980 for asbestos, use a putty knife to scrape a small amount into a sealable plastic bag. If you’re concerned about the possible health risks involved in taking the sample, a testing service can be hired to come out and take it for you.
    Send the sample to an approved testing service to see if it contains asbestos. To find a testing service in your area, contact the state environmental or health office. A directory of state offices can be found on the EPA website.
    If the material is found to contain over 1% asbestos then by law you can not remove it yourself and will need to contact a professional asbestos removal company or leave the ceiling as is. Even if it doesn’t contain asbestos, it’s important to wear an appropriate dust mask or respirator when removing the ceiling.

    Equipment
    To do the job you will need:
    Plastic sheeting (2-3 mil for walls, 6 mil for floors)
    Rosin paper
    Painter’s tape
    Rags
    Putty knife
    Pump up sprayer
    Liquid dishwashing soap
    6” or wider floor scraper
    Mesh sanding pad with handle
    Drywall joint compound
    Drywall joint tape
    Dust mask or respirator
    Coveralls
    Eye protection


    Cover electrical outlets with plastic before spraying ceiling

    Preparation
    Removing a textured ceiling is a messy job so good prep work is important to keep from damaging your walls or floor and to make clean up easier.
    Remove all furniture from the room.

    Turn off the heating or cooling system and close any vents. Ceiling vents should be removed and covered with plastic.

    Turn off the power to the room and remove any ceiling lights or paddle fans.

    Cover wall outlets and switches with plastic, sealing them with painter’s tape.

    Cover the floor with plastic, extending it a foot up the wall and attaching it with painter’s tape.

    Cover floor with plastic before spraying (with water) ceiling, and secure to walls with painter's tape.

    Run painter’s tape on the wall around the ceiling along the walls and attach the 2-3 mil plastic sheeting to it, overlapping the plastic along the bottom of the wall.
    To assist in clean up, cover the floor with rosin paper, overlapping the sheets and taping them together.

    Run painter's tape around the walls next to the ceiling, and attach plastic sheets to it.

    Getting It Down
    Be sure to wear a dust mask or respirator and safety glasses, and keep the part of the ceiling you are working on damp to reduce dust.

    Spraying textured ceiling.

    If your ceiling wasn’t painted, fill a pump up sprayer with warm water and add 2-3 tablespoons of dishwashing soap per gallon of water.

    Saturate a 4-6 foot square section of the ceiling with the solution. Wet it enough to loosen it, but not so much that it damages the drywall under the texture.

    Wait 15-20 minutes for the solution to be absorbed by the texture material.

    Use a floor scraper, or other wide bladed tool, to gently scrape away the popcorn texture. Be careful not to gouge the drywall or tear the drywall joint tape.

    If the texture proves difficult to remove, spray it again, wait a few minutes, and try again.

    Use a putty knife to remove any residual material as well as to get into the corners.

    Using a scraper to remove wet ceiling texture.

    Repairs and Finishing Touches
    You’ll probably need to do some drywall finishing to the ceiling after the texture has been removed, including:

    Hammer any visible nails or screws below the surface and cover them with joint compound.

    Replace any damaged drywall tape and smooth out the joints with joint compound.

    Once the repair work has dried, sand the ceiling with a long handled mesh sanding pad. Sand only to remove the high spots, as too much sanding will damage the ceiling.

    Sanding the ceiling with a long handled, drywall sanding pad.

    The final touch is to prime and paint the ceiling using latex ceiling paint.

    Good Luck.
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Jun 16, 2017
    browse through here and see what you think.http://www.hometalk.com/categories/remodeling-renovating/ceiling/popcorn-ceilings
  • Bgoncalves5670 Bgoncalves5670 on Jun 16, 2017
    My goodness I think you got sent a manual!! But as simple as an answer can get , "yes" it is worth it, wether you do it yourself or have it done. Because in today's market for resale value it ups the price. You can scrap it as smooth as you can and recover it with more sheet rock or bead board. Nice update to any room. There is a hometalk guide you can go to for help if you want.
  • Lo Lo on Jun 16, 2017
    I say it's worth it but it's messy! We've only done our bedroom and it looks a million times better. Make sure you have a shopvac. We actually duct taped a drywall mud scraper on the end of the hose so we could scrape and catch dust (not all of it but a lot) at the same time. I was the assistant pump sprayer. Making it damp is so much better than having dust particles flying everywhere. We learned that nugget halfway through. Good luck!
  • John Davis John Davis on Oct 03, 2019

    Why remove it? It doesn't bother me or make my place feel outdated. I moved into a an older townhouse a few years back that had really dingy popcorn ceilings. A coat of primer and a coat of paint made it look like new. I just have a room left with a few cracks in the ceiling but I will have those repaired and paint the ceiling after. My place was built in 1972 so I do not want to remove it because it may contain asbestos which is better left undisturbed.

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