Help! Popcorn ceiling and walls! Hate!!

How remove popcorn ceiling/walls? Do I have to drywall over everything? It was done to hide cracks from an old home.

Popcorn ceiling
Popcorn walls
Popcorn walls- yuck!
  26 answers
  • Sue Klinedinst Sue Klinedinst on Nov 20, 2014
    I have ceilings like this and I hate them. A coat of paint made them look a little better but I would a nice flat ceiling. I will be checking to see answers to this. Hopefully inexpensive answers.
    • See 1 previous
    • Shari Shari on Nov 21, 2014
      @Sue Klinedinst Although I've never needed to do this myself (no popcorn ceilings anywhere--thank goodness!), I've read tutorials and watched videos on YouTube on how it's done. It does not look hard to do at all, just EXTREMELY messy so some good prep work appears to be the key in keeping the mess to a minimum. Over on YouTube, you can find tons of video tutorials. I find it's always good to watch multiple videos to pick up different tips and tricks. Where most people dampen the popcorn with a garden sprayer first and then climb on a ladder to tediously scrape all the soften, gooey mess off onto the floor, this guy seems to have come up with a more ingenious (and cleaner) idea by hooking a scraper up to a shop vac. Makes me wonder if it is really as easy as he makes it look!
  • Lori T Lori T on Nov 21, 2014
    ..Get an empty spray bottle from hardware store , put hot water in it , keep a sink full of hot water to refill your bottle. get a putty knife from the hardware store. Start spraying the area , let sit and then scrape away. Oh by the way you might want to put plastic down first for easy cleanup
    • Gloria Duy Gloria Duy on Nov 21, 2014
      @Lori T That would work on popcorn, but this doesn't look like popcorn. This is textured plaster. Even if it is popcorn it has been painted over so won't come off easy.
  • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Nov 21, 2014
    What Lori T says...........but it might make it easier if you use a garden sprayer. I did my kitchen with a hand held sprayer and it got difficult squeezing the trigger all the time. And you definitely want to put plastic down before starting. It is VERY messy. Some of it contains asbestos too but keeping it wet, you should not have a problem with that. From what I understand trying to scrape it dry is where the asbestos could harm you.
    • See 2 previous
    • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Nov 21, 2014
      @Bob Weldon I agree Bob..........but who does she contact to see if there is asbestos in it? I took mine off the ceiling in my kitchen and I was told keeping it wet will solve the problem as the dust getting into your lungs is the real problem.
  • Stacy | BlakeHillHouse Stacy | BlakeHillHouse on Nov 21, 2014
    How old is your home? Does the texture cover plaster or drywall? I used a garden sprayer on our 1960's ranch. It worked great. Something to keep in mind is that it might contain Asbestos. Even after asbestos was banned, remaining product remained exempt for a few years. It was not banned until 1978 (I think!). So, do your safety research first. I still wouldn't hesitate to tackle the project, but I recommend some safety gear. Asbestos is most harmful when it is dry and can be breathed in. Keeping everything wet works great. Sanding also creates the dust which is harmful, and vacuuming can spread it around in the air. Lastly, the wet product sticks to everything! Shoe covers are helpful.
  • Stacy | BlakeHillHouse Stacy | BlakeHillHouse on Nov 21, 2014
    The wall texture is another beast altogether. It is a different product (likely), and it is painted. The best bet is to skim coat the entire wall with a new layer of mud that will fill the texture to make it flat. That would be most cost-effective, I think. You could put new thin sheets of a wall product over them, but it would still require taping and mudding, and that would cost more money and time.
  • Gloria Duy Gloria Duy on Nov 21, 2014
    This doesn't look like popcorn to me. I have had them and you could scrape it right off with a putty knife. If you wipe a broom across it does a bunch fall down? That is popcorn and you can scrape it. This looks like textured, which is plaster. Even if you somehow scraped it all off, which I doubt you could, you would have a cracked ceiling. Your best bet would be to hire someone, or do it yourself, but skim coat everything. If you do it yourself you at least should buy professional drywall tools.
  • Gloria Duy Gloria Duy on Nov 21, 2014
    Another, easier option that I have used is to mix plaster of Paris in hot water and stir. Add to latex paint and roll on. You essentially are making chalk paint, or thicker paint and it will mask the bumps somewhat. You could experiment on a wall.
  • Jerry Toombs Jerry Toombs on Nov 21, 2014
    Really and truly....the BEST way to remove it for us, go get a part time a bundle of bucks, go visit some far off resort while the hired professionals do their thing. That really is what we are going to do!! I have done this, ONCE!! NEVER again!!
    • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Nov 21, 2014
      @Jerry Toombs You are funny. For some things, hiring a professional is worth the money.
  • Laurie Rodriguez Laurie Rodriguez on Nov 21, 2014
    Were going to put bead board over ours.
  • Debra Peters Debra Peters on Nov 21, 2014
    I've used the hot water spray thing on walls and ceilings, painted and unpainted. Works on both. The spray just helps to loosen things up and it keeps the dust down. (I've done it with and without spray - definitely recommend spraying!) I also hauled our outside trashcan inside to catch the stuff falling - really helped in the after cleanup. :-)
  • Debbie Parker Debbie Parker on Nov 21, 2014
    We removed this in our home when we lived in Louisiana. It was a nightmare and took months to get it all off. We did the spray, getting soaking wet and scrap method. We tried a couple of products that were suppose to make it easier, they didn't. I would never do this again. It would actually keep me from buying another house if I saw popcorn ceilings. If you can afford to hire someone do so. If not be ready for a workout.
  • Judith Judith on Nov 21, 2014
    Before you start on the popcorn ceiling, go to Home depot or Lowes and buy a test kit to see if your ceiling has any Asbestos in it. Popcorn Ceilings put on before 1980 might have Asbestos in them. I seen it on an HGTV program. The test kit is about $8. you take scraping of the popcorn and mail it to the lab for testing, that is about $40. It takes about 2 weeks and they will e-mail you the results. Or you can call someone to test it but that could cost a couple hundred dollars. This test is very important because Asbestos can cause lung cancer. Also Home Depot has a great tool for removing the popcorn, and it has a bag attached to it for the droppings. Also always wear a mask.
  • Jen Jen on Nov 21, 2014
    Did EXACTLY this on our 1923 Craftsman...Wear a mask and protection (just in case) like they say..spray with warm water (we used a garden pump sprayer to make life easier) put down a tarp for easy pick up! And a scraper with a long handle if doing the ceiling! Painted or not it WILL come off! You might have to really spray it down.,but the results are SO worth it! Hate that stuff in older homes!
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Nov 21, 2014
    Think the first thing you have to determine is whether the finishes are popcorn. The wall, especially, does not look like it - more like plaster. I'd drywall over the ceiling either way. I've seen people recreate the plaster look on the walls and do a Tuscan/Italian finish. It would save you a major step if you wanted to do the painting to get the look. Otherwise, I would drywall over it. Asbestos fibres are most dangerous if they get air borne and you then breathe them in. If they are absolutely sopping wet, they don't get air borne. Disposal is problem. I'd just drywall.
  • Jerri Watts Jerri Watts on Nov 21, 2014
    I just took down one of my popcorn ceiling, I have a spray bottle that you usually put pesticides in and put water in it, spray an Area about 2 ft don't spray too much, and use s scraper and gently scrape, because its wet it won't be any dust. Make sure you cover the floor, and clean up as you go before it dries and again no dust.
  • Joeast Joeast on Nov 21, 2014
    In our last home, I knocked the loose stuff down. I mixed white latex paint into joint compound til it had a pudding like texture. Using a large, sturdy sponge, I scooped up some of the mixture and swirled it onto the ceiling, overlapping as I went along. Some places needed a light second coat, but overall it worked beautifully, and looked like a plasterer had done it. It still looked good almost 20 years later when we sold the house.
  • Ida Granny Ida Granny on Nov 21, 2014
    I did it by my self. I put a sanding head that I ordered by mail (Sorry don't know where from) on a battery operated type drill and sanded it off. Then I painted it. Yes it took awhile. But I really liked it when it was done. No more "snow'' on my bed.
  • Tina Staniszewski Tina Staniszewski on Nov 23, 2014
    I bought a pesticide sprayer filled it with hot water and, sprayed the popcorn. I let it soak in for 5-10 minutes and scraped it right off. If it's painted you might want to buy a cheap wallpaper scorer then spray with water as water won't perpetrate paint easily. I hope this helps, good luck!
  • Carol S. Carol S. on Nov 24, 2014
    Best way is to spray with water, let it soak in for a few minutes, then scrape. If you scrape the dry stuff, it will float everywhere (not pleasant if you don't have completely empty rooms as dust floats quickly through the house).
  • Jane Jane on Nov 24, 2014
    When my daughter bought a house someone had mixed sand and glitter into olive green paint and orange paint and painted the bathroom. It took 3 days for 3 of us using electric sanders to get the top half of the wall down to look like it was only slightly textured. Then we gave up and put wainscoting on the bottom. However, the popcorn ceiling in my sister's house was a much easier scrape job to get it to look like slightly textured ceiling. In one room we put up the fake tin ceiling tiles to hide the cracks. In another, hired a professional to put a "skim coat" on the ceiling.
  • OhSally OhSally on Jun 26, 2015
    Be sure and have it checked for asbestos before you try to remove it. My daughter's popcorn ceilings had asbestos and had to have a specially licensed person to remove it and they tented the entire house. You don't want asbestos flying around your home or your neighborhood...and could earn you a pretty big fine if you haven't had it checked prior to removal.
  • Rusta Rusta Rusta Rusta on May 16, 2017

    Stretch ceilings is the best way to cover your popcorn ceiling, if you need help let me know. 7868999682

  • Rusta Rusta Rusta Rusta on May 16, 2017

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  • Dee Dee on Aug 20, 2023

    Removing popcorn ceiling can be a labor-intensive process that is best left to a licensed professional to ensure safe removal. In some cases, there may be asbestos present in the ceiling, so it's always a good idea to consult with a pro before starting the project. Skim coating is likely the cheapest option for covering popcorn ceilings. A skim coat acts like a primer to give the ceiling a fresh, smooth surface for a new coat of paint.

    I have a friend who used white laminate flooring on her ceilings and it looks beautiful.