How do i remove popcorn texture from vaulted ceilings?

by Annalee

I have three rooms with vaulted ceilings and I am trying to decide if I want to remove the popcorn ceiling or cover with tiles, with a texture board. I need some guidance on how to begin this project?

These ceilings are at least 18 feet at the highest point.
  9 answers
  • Mar28044296 Mar28044296 on Aug 11, 2018

    Spray with water bottle and scrap off with wide putty knife.

  • Pee33925977 Pee33925977 on Aug 11, 2018

    Personally, I would hire a professional! That's really high and if you are not used to doing all the neck cranking skyward work and ladderwork--you can hurt yourself! There is a product you can purchase and place upon the ceiling (be sure to put down plastic, something like bizqueen--sorry don't know how to spell it, to catch all the drippings when they come down. The process is: apply popcorn removal liquid, wait for it to work, then scrap off the popcorn and throw it away. GOOD LUCK (better you than me on this one).

  • Cathy Dillon Cathy Dillon on Aug 11, 2018

    I have two rooms with a simple peak of a cathedral ceiling, it is hard work just to paint using an 8' ladder. and some sort of extension on the roller.

    Scraping off any popcorn stuff i have never done, but it is going to be a huge mess. Also, to paint, I don't have to be that close to every inch of the ceiling, but scraping by hand you need to be right there quite close. That means even more trips up and down to move the ladder so you can reach. I put some of my painting "supplies" on a 6' ladder so i would not have to go all the way up and down. Another thing about moving the ladder is reaching the corners. The 8' ladder needs a LOT of space for the legs and the closest you can get to the corner is either on a lower rung or reaching back from the top ( I know you're not supposed to stand on the very top) .

    I'm not sure i understand your photo? which way is up and how tall the ceiling is? With whatever step ladder you own how far can you reach? That would be the biggest consideration for me: is could i really reach the ceiling ?

    I would probably just paint over it!

  • Dwp7470b Dwp7470b on Aug 12, 2018

    I presume you mean with no mess? And no sore neck for the next 9 to 14 days?

    Sorry to say, no means exists that is not messy nor hard on the neck.

    Sorta Been here, done: 'plasterboard restoration', [the end result was that I went with a Texture Paint on the ceiling, because I did not use the method A.2, below, as it was not popcorn ceiling but instead cracked everywhere plasterboards. I used instead method A.1 with Spackle everywhere and it became too uneven for my liking, so I finished it off with Texture Paint, to hide unevenness, if I had to do it over again, I would Use method A.2 and Texture it anyway]

    All I gotta say is: Wow. Big Job.

    The least messy has two very involved steps:

    A. To conserve on the Materials used in B, you either:

    1. get a wood block [remnant from any 2×4] and a rubber mallot to gently 'crunch off' as much of the Popcorn Ceiling as you can.


    2. Wrap a bit of Sheet Aluminum around a Paint Roller on an Extension, use pressure enough to accomplish same 'Crunch off' as 1, to per discretion coat and crunch simultane with a Texture Paint [or Salt Paint] that is thick enough to grab the 'Crunch Off'

    Either must do to result a maximum of 1/16 to 1/32 of texture or protrusion, before proceding to B.

    B. You need to coat with a Texture paint, or Salt-Paint or paint with Texture additive or Plaster, anytime you undo the Popcorn to some detextured option.

    Whether you are texturing, salt-painting or detexturing to Texture or Smooth you must either:

    1. Select a Texture you may like with a leather roller, or

    2.A Create detexture as much as you can, by the use of a standard upholstery grade leather attached to the Aluminum Wraparound, on the roller used in step A.

    2.B Smooth out a detexture with a Metal Roller.

    Neither of these 5 potential methods [by the combined methods available by A×B + B.2.B] are ever going to result as professional looking results as:

    C. Climb a ladder to scrape and sand off the popcorn ceiling to a smooth detexture with a Razor Blade and a Power Sander

    D. Go to A.2

    E. Go to B.2.B

    And thus is Because of the fact A is not as good a prep as C, but A.2 can use to reduce the # of hours you spend on a ladder doing C as Prep for B.1 and B.2.

    Which is to say:

    1. Smooth is not a Singlephase Single-pass Process.

    2. Detexture or Texture is in itself a Multipass Process.

    3. No method is easy.

    4. No method is mess free.

    5. The least messy option is the catch and crunch option of A.2 which sometimes, by God, smooths rather than textures and all you gotta do is let it dry and then use a thick paint to cover it.

    It is more Complicated than a Historical Renovation job of putting New Plaster over old Plasterboard.

    Often, you will find that the popcorn does not crunch off, but instead: Crunches in, [Hence why A.2 can save work and Materials]

    It is best to test if it crunches in, to see if A.2 might be the best option before Estimating Job Cost.

    Where it does crunch in alot, 95% you may only need Spackle Handy, Often, tou yourself on a latter.

    Crunch in that much is rare.

    Far as Mess Prevention and Clean-up...

    Putting plastic over furniture as many other respondents suggest, is not enough nor responsible.

    The dust, can destroy any good fabric on a sofa.

    You can end up Salt-Painting fine wood furniture.

    So, Before you even begin, you are advised to:

    I. Move Any Furniture that you intend to keep and have no intention to Salt-Paint Out of the Room and Out of the Way, and

    II. Put plastic on all your Window Panes, Frames and Door Frames and Woodwork.

    III. Secure Cardboard or paper of a heavy bond, [or newspaper no fewer than 6 pages] are Taped to the Floor, if atall you intend to keep your floor.

    IV. Prepare 20 rags, and 2 Buckets:

    A. one for rinse with Water, that you change often.

    B. the second with a Heavy Concentration of Lestoil, Pine Sol or Ajax Liquid, and Dishwashing Liquid and H2O to Wipe down the Walls, And Floor, to safeguard places where it may be of very quick action or immediate need to wipe fast.

    V. Unless you have a Helper, You might want to buy a stepper to get in shape and prepare yourself physically for: Better than 300 trips up and down the ladder.

    In Summary

    It is easier to take up Karate...

    Have you considered: Do something else that pays, to use that money to pay someone else?

    Unless Cruch and Catch works for you, This is certainly by no means a small undertaking.

    Even putting the popcorn onto such a large height in The first place, [although you shoulda went textured as it is easier to detexture textured to smooth] was not atall a small undertaking.

    Smoothing is Nonuple the Undertaking than that job was.

    Detexturing Popcorn to a Texture is at least Double the undertaking of popcorn ceiling.

    Big Job. Weeks of work ahead of you!

    More Power to you!

    If it were I, I would detexture to a textured paint rather than detexture to smooth right away.


    Possibly, if you persuaded fate that you liked it ALOT, and just wanted to Give a flat texture paint a try, fate might let you win this one with attempts at detextured semi-popcorned result a more smooth result than you expected.

    Other reasons why?

    Recuperative medicine of a Break...

    Let it settle for 6 weeks.

    The neck might Fall off if you don't...

    Or worst: Future descendants might bear a Giraffe, who knows?

    Even Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel on his back...

    'It is betta to painta da ceiling on da back, dan to winda uppa on da back in da hospitale or da grave' -- Michelangelo, day 1, 40 times, to all inquirers who thought he was asleep, and asked 'you awake up there'.

    Besides, You might like or get accustomed To the texture paint and be done with it, in a third of the time and a third of the expense and effort.

    [Especially if Crunch and Catch works for you].

    You might not too.

    But even if you don't like it, [anything is better than popcorn ceiling] it has had ample time to dry and settle before you start smoothing it with Texture Paint and an Aluminum or Metal Roller.

    Anyways you look at it, you have at least 6 days between coats or layers.

    If you don't crunch it down, you are talking 6 maybe 8 coats before you even get around to the topcoat [flat].

    You may as well try Crunch and Catch.

  • Reo33875684 Reo33875684 on Aug 12, 2018

    Here is a video on how to simply remove a "popcorn" ceiling. If it is vaulted you can attach (Duct Tape) a 6" drywall knife to a painters "extension Pole" and a ladder. The key to easy removal is wetting it down.

  • Elaine DiAntonio Elaine DiAntonio on Aug 12, 2018

    I hear you about popcorn ceilings! Actually, there are very nice products that can be purchased to cover them. I hope to do that one day (after overcoming one obstacle...HUSBAND WHO SAYS "THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THESE POPCORN CEILINGS!" Obviously the man's good taste ends with me! LOL Good Luck!

  • LaRue LaRue on Aug 12, 2018

    While removing old wallpaper that required a steam wallpaper remover our popcorn ceilings came off very easily, with very little scraping. We were very surprised at how easy it turned out to be, however we were not doing vaulted ceilings. You will need to cover your floor with a good drop cloth so that it can be rolled up and all the mess taken out. Good luck!

  • Yarnmiss Yarnmiss on Aug 13, 2018

    we had ours sanded, then the balance of "ceiling" was stripped off using a variety of flat like tools. I like the idea of steam taking it off, a lot less work to that one. thanks for that Rue

  • Blaire Simpson Oslander Blaire Simpson Oslander on Aug 15, 2018

    I think the best method if you really want to do it yourself is to wet the popcorn so that it is more than damp and scrape it off. The moisture will help with the dust and mess. You'll have to experiment in a small area as to how much water to apply. If you don't want to deal with it, you can apply a thin sheetrock (it comes in 1/4" thickness) layer, then tape it, etc.

    Depending on how much you have to do, and how agile you are, you'll have to decide on DIY or hire the work. Remember, you don't have to do it all at one time, you can take a room at a time, recover, then tackle the next room. Paint can come when you have time. You can also take the time if you're doing a room at a time to install crown moulding! Yippee!