What's the best way to remove a popcorn ceiling?

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AND complete the ceiling

  4 answers
  • William William on Jul 02, 2017
    How to Remove a Popcorn Textured or Acoustic Ceiling

    Check for Asbestos

    Take a small sample of the ceiling material and send it to an EPA certified testing lab before you begin. If your ceiling contains Asbestos, you will need to have a certified asbestos removal contractor do the job for you.

    Turn Electricity Off and Remove Light Fitting/s

    Since you’ll be using a lot of water in this project, first be sure to turn of the electricity and check it with a circuit tester. Remove all furniture and ceiling light fittings.

    Cover the Floor with Plastic Sheeting

    Tape small pieces of plastic over each electrical outlet and cover the floor with heavy duty plastic floor sheeting, extending it up the walls a foot or so.

    Cover the Walls with Plastic Sheeting

    Run painter’s tape along the upper edge of the walls then cover the entire wall with plastic sheeting, taping the top edge to the tape already there. Roll out a layer of resin paper on the floor.

    Wet the Ceiling

    Using a garden sprayer, wet the ceiling, working in 4 to 5 square feet areas at a time, wetting the ceiling thoroughly, but being careful not to over-wet it.

    Scrape the Popcorn Material off the Ceiling

    Round off the corners of a joint knife (to prevent gouges) and use it to scrape off the popcorn ceiling. If you run into any hard scraping areas, apply a little more water, wait and then try again.

    Unroll Second Layer of Resin Paper and Finish Scraping

    Unroll another layer of resin paper directly on top of ceiling debris and continue scraping ceiling. When all material has been scraped off, take down plastic sheeting from walls, roll up wet paper and plastic on floor and place all into a large garbage bag.

    Re-cover any Bare Joints Using Joint Compound and Joint Tape

    Mix joint compound in a tray and apply along the joint lines. Dip joint tape into water, squeeze of excess and use a putty knife to press the tape into the joint compound. Smooth off excess.

    Fill any Eroded Nail Holes

    Use two thin applications of joint compound to bring holes flush with the wallboard.

    Sand the Ceiling

    Use a sanding pad on the end of a long pole to sand off any high ridges.

    Finish Your Ceiling

    Fill any low spots with another coat or two of joint compound, sanding in between coats. Prime the ceiling using a primer that says “for wallboard”. Your ceiling is then ready for you to paint or texture as you like.

    • Kks7523367 Kks7523367 on Jul 03, 2017
      Thank you, William! I especially appreciate your advice on how to finish the ceiling (prepping for painting).
  • Kim Kim on Jul 03, 2017
    First you need to determine whether it is asbestos or not. Wet a small area and scrape some into a bag to be tested. If it is Asbestos you need to hire the professionals. If not, use a clean, never used poison sprayer filled with water. Saturate the ceiling and scrape down.
    *You will want to empty room and protect floors. Super messy job!
    : )
    • Kks7523367 Kks7523367 on Jul 03, 2017
      Thank you for your commen, Kim! I figured it would be a messy job but I'm really tired of looking at that ceiling so I'm going to try.
  • Evelyn Yearby Evelyn Yearby on Jul 03, 2017
    A spray bottle or pump sprayer with wam water. Using a wide putty knife, it will come off clean. If it has not been taped and floated, you will need to do that. Prime and you are ready to finish it out. That was how we did it.
    • Kks7523367 Kks7523367 on Jul 03, 2017
      Thank you, Evelyn! I'm crossing my fingers that the process won't be too difficult but I'm ready to try it.
  • K. K. on Jul 03, 2017
    If it's old and never been painted, just cover everything with plastic or some kind of drop cloth. Using a large putty knife, just start scraping (a 4 inch or more wide in metal is very helpful ).
    If a smooth surface is desired, you will need to sand and possibly fill holes based on how the contractor installed the sheet rock/drywall. If you run into stubborn spots spray it with warm water from any squirt bottle you have around the house. Some say a couple drops of liquid dish soap in the water is helpful.
    If it has been painted and hopefully only once you should be able to spray it down with warm/hot lightly soapy water. (the idea behind the soap is that it helps the water penetrate easier). Scrape away. Be sure to protect your belongings and floors.
    Hudson sprayers(or anything like it) are great at getting the water on the ceiling without wearing your hands out with a hand held squirt bottle.
    Unfortunately if it has many layers of paint on it your best bet is to get 1/4" thick sheet rock/drywall and cover it up. Along with taping and mudding the seams.
    I pray you will be able to do this quickly and easily. The first time I did this I asked a friend to help. Thankfully the ceiling had never been painted. We just used metal putty knives and scraped , it only took 2-3 hours including sanding the rough spots. It went well for us.
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