Can I paint my popcorn ceiling?

Jeanie Eurich
by Jeanie Eurich

I have been painting my walls and notice that my ceiling looks yellowish. Can I paint this ceiling as well? I'm up for any ideas icon

  39 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Dec 11, 2016

    The ceiling should have been painted first. You will now have to use painters type to separate from the walls . Vacuum the ceiling ,prime and then paint.

  • Cindy Hagemann Cindy Hagemann on Dec 11, 2016

    You can paint it but it would be better to remove the texture and paint the sheet rock underneath.

  • Jillianhaley Jillianhaley on Dec 11, 2016

    You can paint it if you want to. If there are stains make sure you use a stain blocking primer first over those areas and use a split sponge roller - they sell them at hardware stores specifically for this purpose - and don't go over one area too many times as it may pull the texture off. I have done this myself in the past and it really is not too different than painting a regular wall. Good luck.

  • William William on Dec 11, 2016

    I've painted my popcorn ceiling several times through the years. Just use a thick nap roller, at least 1/2" nap. If you have stains, paint with a stain blocking primer. Someday I plan to get rid of it, but I won't be removing it. Way to messy. I'll just cover it up with 1/4" drywall.

  • C Crow C Crow on Dec 12, 2016

    Ditto William's comments about how to paint and use a longer nap roller. I never could understand why so many people dislike the popcorn textured ceilings! Best wishes.

  • Jpy11082745 Jpy11082745 on Dec 12, 2016

    Make sure you use drop cloths and heavy nap roller, don't remove drop cloths until complete dry

  • Sherrie Sherrie on Dec 12, 2016

    They have special rollers for pop corn ceilings it is thicker and has a split in it! I found mine at Lowe's. Here is what I found doing it. Over roll over it once when it is dry you can roll over it again. Throw down paint covers because some of it will come off it is a little more messy! I did q rent house it came out great but once I rolled over it I let it dry before I tried again. Great luck!

  • Cat7020850 Cat7020850 on Dec 12, 2016

    I used a metal upholstery vacuum head on my Kirby and raked it across the ceiling in sections to knock off most of the easy stuff. The vacuum sucks up most of the dust and then the larger pieces vacuum off the floor. You are left with a textured ceiling that is much easier to paint. I never primed , just painted with a thicker napped roller. Only do one pass in one direction, touch up after it has had several hours to dry. You will have to edge with a brush with taping off walls depending on how neatly you use a brush. I usually use a one inch wide as it doesn't hold excess paint and easier to manage. It is a major job no matter how you do it.

  • Jean Jean on Dec 12, 2016

    Once painted, it is very difficult to remove the popcorn if you decided to. I used a wallpaper scraper (the kind with an arched handle) to scrape off the popcorn. Lots of drop cloths, very little pressure. It took longer to move the ladder than to scrape. Don't aim for perfection, aim to get the actual popcorns off. Afterwards I swept the ceiling and painted using mat paint. Looked like a modern finish. In the room that I had previously painted it took twice as long and looked half as good.

  • Joann Joann on Dec 12, 2016

    Yes. The popcorn ceiling can be painted. Use a thick roller brush and a good quality paint. The people at the paint store can recommend the paint you need. I have pained my ceiling a number of times so I know it can be done. I used the paint that is blue when applies and then turns white. That way I did not miss any areas. Its easier than you think also.

  • Lea Swenson Lea Swenson on Dec 12, 2016

    Having painted several, it is far easier to use a sprayer but you really need to protect walls and floors and everything else! Having said that, with the proper roller and paint, it can be done quite simply. Though it is not fun! If the ceiling is quite yellow, using white paint will be fine as opposed to the one that changes color as it dries. Nothing worse than thinking you did a great job and then seeing misses later! Be sure to use a good coating of paint each time and not over roll to pull the popcorn off.

  • Lisa Larchyk Lisa Larchyk on Dec 12, 2016

    Yes, but be prepared as the popcorn texture really soaks up the paint!!

  • Breck Trekker Breck Trekker on Dec 12, 2016

    No mention if it is latex or oil based paint?

    Before you paint over oil paint or if you suspect it is oil-based and want to find out for sure, just do the following:

    Dip a white clean rag into a small amount of denatured alcohol. Rub it over a small area on the surface. If the paint does not come off, it is oil-based paint and you will need to prime the surface with a bonding primer before applying latex paint. The primer can be latex, but it has to be a product that is made to prepare the surface and help with adhesion and that says “bonding” on the label. When the primer coats are dry, you can then successfully use latex paint.

    Note:You can also use an oil-based primer to do this. Once it’s dry you can use latex paint over it. You just can’t use latex paint over oil paint.

    If the paint comes off, it is a water or latex-based paint and you can proceed by painting over the surface with any type of paint.

    2 light coats, are better than one heavy coat if you have the time just let it dry to the touch before second coat. The first coat acts as a primer second is a finishing coat!

    nap ( hair on roller) should be medium to long, before paint , Clean the ceiling of all dust, i place a vacuum brush on end of my vacuum and dip the bristles in a bowl of rubbing alcohol if it gets saturated with dust, preparation is key! Drop cloth everthing, tape is nice if wall is not to be painted. Paint edge( perimeter ) of ceiling FIRST, then roll ceiling, I would recommend a 6-8 foot extension handle for the roller( it is easier being on the ground to roll then on a ladder!) just watch out when doing the backstroke with handle not to hit anything! If affordable, use a 5 gallon plastic bucket and attached screen to hold your paint if on the ground. If latex is used clean up is easy and screen and bucket can be cleaned for your next project! I painted houses and universities during college ( work study job was painting the campus! So Commercial painters were my tutors! ) Merry Christmas!

  • Danielle Odin Danielle Odin on Dec 13, 2016

    Many popcorn ceilings contain asbestos so removing it is best left to a professional. You can paint it just use a longer nap roller and paint in multiple directions to catch all sides of the popcorn. Popcorn ceilings are used for better acoustics.

  • Delores Snellen Delores Snellen on Dec 13, 2016

    I use the paint that has a color to it and then when it dries it turns white That way you will know if you missed any spots while it is wet

  • Ellen Ellen on Dec 13, 2016

    Please be careful not to disturb the original material it may contain asbestos.

  • Vicki Vicki on Dec 14, 2016

    I have painted several times. First time, using the sponge roller that is recommended. I didn't like that for the next job and used a thick nap roller. The next time I took the mess down with the spray bottle method, drop clothes, mask and spatula. It does leave a roughed up finish. Get a box of premixed wall mud and retexture the finish with a wall papering stiff brush. A pretty finish that dries white. No need for further painting.

  • Vicki Vicki on Dec 14, 2016

    If you use a spray bottle of water and dampen, it comes off easier without the dust. Remember, anything before 1975? will more then likely have asbestos. A no no for DIY, so do at your own risk. You can also test with kits to be sure.

  • Iris Iris on Dec 14, 2016

    I suppose there are different kinds of popcorn ceilings. In our area, the type of coating is water sensitive. It has to be painted the first time with a paint intended for that purpose. If you use regular latex, the popcorn texture absorbs the liquid, then starts falling off the ceiling. Very ugly. If it has been painted with that specialty paint, it can later be painted with regular latex. I don't know what you have on your ceiling, but you might want to be cautious.

    Hope it turns out just beautiful for you!

  • B J  Alexis B J Alexis on Dec 14, 2016

    Make sure you use a high quality ceiling paint, I believe there is one that goes on lightly yellow so you can see the spots you missed but dries a pure white and use a roller designed for a rough surface. There are long poles designed for most rollers that will also save some neck strain. Good Luck.

  • Goldrushgal Goldrushgal on Dec 14, 2016

    There is special paint for popcorn ceilings that don't cause it to get soaked and fall off.

    • See 1 previous
    • Goldrushgal Goldrushgal on Dec 15, 2016

      Use a really good ceiling paint, one labeled for textured ceilings and stucco and a segmented roller made for popcorn ceilings, carefully roll in only one direction. And only go over once. If any starts to peel away stop and let dry or the whole thing will come off. Let dry and paint in opposite direction. There are some good "How to videos" on You Tube. Can get really messy. Prep is a must because paint splatters like crazy walls and everything in room needs to be covered in plastic. I have wanted to do mine in this house for years but it is so messy I just keep putting it off.

  • Jeanie Eurich Jeanie Eurich on Dec 15, 2016

    What is it called?

  • Vik Vik on Dec 15, 2016

    All you need is oil based kilz. Have used it many times with good results.

  • Julie M. Julie M. on Dec 15, 2016

    Have done it more times than I care to remember. THICK nap roller and good flat or satin (I like satin) latex paint.

  • Patti Patti on Dec 15, 2016

    I'm with Julie...thick napped roller and latex paint. That said, it is VERY messy as some will come off if it's never been painted. May have spots left bare, but I only had an issue with that around a bathroom heater and they make touch up texture to repair that if needed. Once painted it is much harder to remove later if you decide to AND it soaks up paint like a sponge. I think it took about twice as much paint as a normal ceiling. It does improve the looks though and was worth it to me when I had dingy ceilings and didn't know about or have the time, skill and money to remove and repair.

  • Sophia,M.,McConnery Sophia,M.,McConnery on Dec 15, 2016

    Had the popcorn ceiling in the OLD house I lived in.Also had popcorn walls!Painting this is just the same as painting a regular wall.Prep,clean,base coat,and then paint!

  • Pat11183342 Pat11183342 on Dec 15, 2016

    Yellowish has to do with either the light bulbs in room or how much yellow pigment is in the paint.

    Yes you can paint in, paint specifically for ceilings tend to be thin paint if it's white.

    Spend the extra money and get a good primer and paint in one.

    From purple, light blue might be the easiest to cover with. Buy sample jars of colors and test it near light source and in in corners.

  • Pat11183342 Pat11183342 on Dec 15, 2016

    I'm a non smoker, could be from smokers also, that requires washing before painting or it will seep through.

    Tip, bring a different light bulb into room, shut off the Other. That will help you determine the reason.

  • Dixie Dixie on Dec 15, 2016

    After our ice storm in 2000, I saw alot of smoke damage from using candles, including scented ones which caused the problem, because we were heating our powerless house for 8 days with a gas fireplace in the popcorn ceilinged room. I used Zinzer primer and then 2 coats of ceiling white Sherwin Williams super paint. No pops came off and I'm still loving the sound reduction quality of the texture for my very noisy house 16 years later. good luck !

  • Con11891794 Con11891794 on Dec 16, 2016

    I just painted my son's bedroom ceiling. I used KILZ gray primer, went over it with two coats and it looks great. I used a 3/4" nap roller. The gray goes great with the blueberry color that is on the walls.

  • Becky Garrett Paynter Becky Garrett Paynter on Dec 16, 2016

    I have used regular ceiling paint and semi-gloss paint on our popcorn ceilings. Nothing came off and have not had any yellowing bleed through.

    One comment said to wash it first. How do you do that??

  • Suellen Hintz Suellen Hintz on Dec 16, 2016

    Years ago I helped a friend with upgrades in her house and we discovered we were unable to paint her popcorn with a roller but it did very well with a sprayer, two thin coats rather than one heavy soaking coat.

  • Bernadette Staal Bernadette Staal on Dec 16, 2016

    A very fluffy roller

  • Ma_pa_jackrabbit Ma_pa_jackrabbit on Dec 18, 2016

    Popcorn ceilings tend to soak up the paint if it is latex, water base. The painter we hired said oil was better as you have less chance of it falling off. He did a beautiful job and it lasted years. BTW ours had never been painted before that.

  • Gigi Gigi on Dec 24, 2016

    Just as a suggestion: Popcorn ceilings collect dust and are really dated. Google 'paneling a ceiling'. It's not as difficult or expensive as it sounds. Looks great!

  • Yes, you can. I've done it with a fluffy roller.

  • Mogie Mogie on Nov 05, 2022

    My dad had popcorn ceilings he couldn't afford to redo them. But he also repainted his and it did make them look cleaner at least.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Feb 26, 2023

    Yes you can. Go around the edges first with a brush and then fill in the rest using a long handled roller.