Amber Foster
Amber Foster
  • Hometalker
  • Durant, OK

How to Remove Popcorn Ceilings

11 Materials
$75
3 Hours
Medium

Time to get rid of those dirty, dingy, outdated popcorn ceilings!
how to remove popcorn ceilings
Let's say good-bye to those popcorn ceilings! The first step before you begin make sure you have your ceiling texture tested for asbestos. Asbestos is harmful when exposure occurs
how to remove popcorn ceilings
Next, you want to be sure to cover EVERYTHING with plastic.  Don't skimp on this step or you will be sorry later.  Imagine your toddler children having a mud fight in whatever room your in.  That's whats about to happen, so prepare accordingly. Remove or tape off any fixtures.  Turn off power if a power fixture is present, because you will be spraying water all over the ceiling.
how to remove popcorn ceilings
Third, take a pump sprayer and spray down a small section of the ceiling with hot water.  Let in soak in a minute or so, then spray it again.  You then can begin using a metal or plastic scraper to start scraping away the popcorn.  Be sure to wear eye protection.  It will get in your eyes if you don't.
how to remove popcorn ceilings
After you have wet and scraped each section of the ceiling go back over it wiping it down clean with a wet rag or a mop.  You want to be sure and remove as much of the remaining dust as possible.  Paint won't stick to dust.
how to remove popcorn ceilings
Now, you may notice a few imperfections in the ceiling.  You can use sheet rock repair to smooth these out with a little scraper tool.  You can sand when dry if necessary, but I have yet to find that necessary.
how to remove popcorn ceilings
Allow the ceiling to dry completely.  It usually dries pretty quickly, maybe 30 minutes time and then you are ready to start priming.  Priming is absolutely necessary.  The paint itself will not adhere well directly to the sheet rock.  If you aren't going to also be painting the walls you may want to tape them off or go around with a brush first.  I will be repainting these walls so I'm just rolling it on.
how to remove popcorn ceilings
Allow your primer to dry completely and then you are ready to apply the ceiling paint.  Roll it on and you are done.  Except for cleaning up your mess.  That's always the worst part!
how to remove popcorn ceilings
I know it's hard to see a huge transformation of the texture from pictures, but if you have this stuff in your house now, you know what a difference it makes to have it gone! lol

Find me on facebook to see more room transformations www.facebook.com/amberfostercreativity
Here is a video of the full process from start to finish.
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Amber Foster

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 7 questions
  • RaeRae
    on Aug 15, 2018

    I have popcorn ceilings throughout my first floor. In the kitchen there is some water damage from the bathroom above. I don't mind my ceilings (& it would be too much of a project to remove all of it), could I use this technique to just remove the damaged parts? This is old damage from years ago, before I purchased the house. The initial problem was resolved, but the damage to the ceiling was not repaired. Then could I just patch the damaged area? The tricky part is my popcorn ceiling has a circular, sort of floral pattern....see picture. Thank you!

    • Wendy Macqueen
      on Aug 15, 2018

      I was just going to answer that, and tell her it wasn't popcorn, lol. My husband and I are retired sheetrock finishers.


  • Luz Rodriguez
    on Aug 15, 2018

    Where or how do you get testing for asbestos?

    • Samantha Dreux
      on Aug 22, 2018

      Your gonna still what to wear a good mask even if not esbatos or not. The dust alone whether or not isn’t really good for you to breath I have done a scrape off ceiling before

  • Amy Bayne
    on Aug 15, 2018

    Will watering the popcorn still work if there are layers of paint on it?

    • Marian Matthews Chiara
      on Aug 22, 2018

      I find vinegar in the water pulls the popcorn painted surface in sheets. I’d thick paint you can use the wallpaper puncture roller on the surface and it cleans it up quickly.

Join the conversation

2 of 39 comments
  • Victoria
    on Sep 23, 2018

    You have not seen disaster popcorn ceiling until you have seen what i live with at my apartment. On a daily basis pieces just drop from the ceiling all over my living room. I have scraped off sections 4 times now and every time i get better. I cannot do the whole ceiling due to chronic back pain and osteoarthritis. But when i do it...what a nightmare. I figure eventually i will get it all and im painting the ceiling and not consulting landlord first. They are not going to fix it.

  • Nicole Ischar Graninger
    on Sep 23, 2018

    Great tutorial. Having done this multiple times. I recently read a trick that I kick myself for not knowing in the past. Use a grinder or a sander to round off the corners of your putty knife. No matter how careful you are those sharp edges find a way of digging in at times. So much better when your corners are rounded like dimes.

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