Can I repaint a ceiling with sprayed on texture?


Hello Hometalkers!

Years ago we hired a man to spray texture on a drywalled ceiling. He mixed a texture material with our paint and sprayed it on. I supposed it's a small popcorn texture. It feels like very course sand and will scratch skin if we brush against it.

We've been told the ceiling cannot be repainted because rolling the paint on will pull off the texture. I've also been told it can be painted but not in the usual back and forth rolling method. It's been at least twenty years and I want to paint it with a standard ceiling white. Currently it is the same off-white as the walls.

Also, how do I safely clean this type of texture?

  18 answers
  • GrandmasHouseDIY GrandmasHouseDIY on Jan 05, 2022

    Hi Cj, I've painted that rough texture in the past and it is kind of a pain in the butt but totally doable. I used a really thick paint roller (the thickest available) and used A LOT of paint so I didn't have to press very hard. Yes, some of the texture did come off so I made sure to cover my floors really well. But that worked fine!

    • CJ CJ on Jan 05, 2022

      Thank you! I've been assuming a thick napped roller would be best. I don't like the texture but I don't want to risk knocking it off and making a lot more work for us.

      I love reading your posts about renovating your house, you are a strong and brave woman!

      Thanks again for the advice and warning

  • William William on Jan 05, 2022

    I've also painted texture ceilings. Just use a 1/2" to 3/4" nap roller. Load the roller with more paint than you would if you were painting a flat surface. Don't apply too much pressure. Let the roller do the job. Some texture may flake off. I really never have had any come off. I move out furniture that i can handle. Larger pieces I move to the center of the room. Cover the furniture and floor with plastic sheeting.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Jan 05, 2022

    Hi Cj,

    Here's how to clean your textured ceiling:

    Remove the Dust

    The first step is to remove all of the dust particles and spider webs that have been trapped between the texture bumps. Choose the tool that works best for you. Be sure that you have tools with handles long enough to reach the ceiling or a very sturdy step ladder.

    • Use a Vacuum: A vacuum with a long hose and its widest brush attachment is the best way to capture the dust and prevent it from spreading around the room.
    • Use a Broom: A soft-bristled broom works well to sweep away dust. Do not work too aggressively because you may remove more popcorn than you desire.
    • Use a Paint Roller and Duct Tape or a Sticky Lint Roller: If you don't have a long-handled sticky roller, wrap duct tape around a paint roller with the sticky side facing out. Roll it across the ceiling to trap dust. Change the tape frequently.

    Circulate Air to Speed Drying

    After cleaning or treating any stains, use circulating fans to dry the ceiling as quickly as possible. Do not go back to treat any stains again until the ceiling is completely dry. Too much moisture can cause the texture to disintegrate.

    To paint:

    Cut in Ceiling With Brush

    With the 2-inch brush, cut in all edges where the ceiling meets the walls. You can also apply painter's tape to the wall adjacent to the ceiling to help maintain clean, straight lines. Paint around ceiling lights and other obstructions

    Prepare to Roll Paint

    Shine the work light upward. Pour 2 to 3 gallons of paint into the 5-gallon bucket. Hang the roller screen from the side of the bucket on the inside. Screw the roller frame onto the extension pole and add the thick-nap roller cover. Dip the roller in the paint, then squeeze it out by rolling it on the roller screen.

    Roll out Paint

    Roll the paint onto the popcorn ceiling. Start along one edge and finish a section about 4-foot by 4-foot. Continue to an adjacent section and paint that. Make sure that the ceiling texture is fully covered, but it should not be too thick or dripping with paint.

    Add Second Coat

    Open windows, if possible, or turn on fans to promote airflow. Allow the paint to dry for at least two hours. Apply a second coat..


    • CJ CJ on Jan 05, 2022

      Thank you! These links contain a lot of helpful info!

  • Janice Janice on Jan 05, 2022

    I've also painted textured ceilings using the same process as already described by William and Grandma and had very little problem doing so. I've also removed texture but that's another story and much more work!

    • CJ CJ on Jan 05, 2022

      Thank you for your reply and comment about removal of the texture being more work, we've done so much work to our house in the last couple of years we don't want to create more work, we're just trying to finish refreshing the last couple of rooms and be done. (Retired couple here who are just tired of all the work!)

  • I repainted a popcorn ceiling years ago. I used a fluffy roller and rolled in one direction. It worked fine.

    • See 3 previous
    • Anytime. I'm retired too and can appreciate being tired from home upgrades!

  • Deb K Deb K on Jan 05, 2022

    Hi Cj, you sure can paint it, what you need is a really fluffy roller to apply the paint, or you can spray it on, hope this helps you out

  • Mogie Mogie on Jan 06, 2022

    Flat or matte is the traditional sheen for ceilings, since it reduces light bounce. If you need to protect your ceiling from moisture, though, use eggshell, satin, or semi-gloss paint sheens.

    Use a 3/4 inch nap since that is Best for textured ceilings, masonry, brick, stucco, and rough wood surfaces.

    Also a good idea to double the amount of paint since the uneven texture will require more then a flat ceiling.

    • CJ CJ on Jan 06, 2022

      Thank you Mogie! I will Probably use a basic flat, white ceiling paint for a"blank slate" for the next owner.

  • You might try a small section that's hidden using a very puffy roller, or dab some water on a small section to see what happens. Otherwise, you can likely use a paint sprayer to repaint it. Again, test if first.

    • CJ CJ on Jan 06, 2022

      Thanks Becky. We do have a paint sprayer but right now we are in a deep freeze here in Missouri and have no way to clean the sprayer after using it, the paint cannot be washed into our septic system.

  • Betsy Betsy on Jan 06, 2022

    Hi CJ: One thing you might try is to cover everything in the room with plastic and spray paint the ceiling. This way you don't get any roller fuzz, that you will surely see when you least expect it :) Just MHO

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Jan 06, 2022

    You can brush or spray paint. If you use a roller, it will most likely cause some of the texture to come off on the roller and it's a big mess.

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on Jan 07, 2022

    Yes you will need a thick fluffy roller bead to get in the groves

  • Dee Dee on Jan 08, 2022

    Yes you sure can. Get a thick roller and paint way, I have textured ceilings in my house and they have been painted many times. I do not like ceiling paint too thin, in my opinion. I use either eggshell or semi gloss paint. Used the semi gloss in the kitchen for easy cleaning. You can get the thicker rollers in the dollar store and then toss them when done.

  • CJ CJ on Jan 08, 2022

    Thank you, Dee!

  • Rymea Rymea on Jan 13, 2022

    We painted a popcorn ceiling once but all I can remember is that we spray painted it first to hold it together then did the final coat with a roller. Worked fine.

  • CJ CJ on Jan 13, 2022

    Thanks, Rymea! I think spraying is the best way to go.

  • Marty Ayers Marty Ayers on Jan 16, 2022

    We have repainted our popcorn ceilings ... use a roller with a thick knap... make sure you cover floors/carpets etc. There WILL be drips ! Some popcorn ceilings are applied over a primer and do not flake off as easily... for best results roll only one direction DO NOT WORK THE ROLLER BACK AND FORTH the way you would do on a wall. Start at one wall and roll all the way to the opposite wall... 1st coat roll front to back and let dry completely. 2nd coat ... roll left to right let dry... 3rd coat back to front... let dry... 4th coat right to left

    • CJ CJ on Jan 16, 2022

      Thank you Marty! You've given very clear instructions!