Asked on May 12, 2016

How to repair a popcorn ceilings that had water damage.

Water damage to our ceilings that are popcorn texture. How do I repair or paint a popcorn texture ceiling?
  24 answers
  • Patti Lowery Murphy Patti Lowery Murphy on May 13, 2016
    Kilz brand paint / primer has a ceiling spray paint (in a can) that works great for stains. The can is designed to spray 'up' instead of how regular spray paint cans are designed for spraying. I recently used it to cover hideous stains caused from water damage.
  • Jim Saurman Jim Saurman on May 13, 2016
    In addition to what Patti said, they also have "popcorn in a can" that you can spray in order to match the existing popcorn. Try it out on scrapwood first, it takes a bit of practice to get it to do what you want.
  • Lumaie Lumaie on May 13, 2016
    Is it stained or actually damaged? Kilz and paint for one. For the other? If you are lucky, your popcorn is unsealed. Then you can heavily mist the entire ceiling with water, let it soak in slightly and scrape the entire surface to bare drywall. At that point, you can refinish it as a flat surface, in a texture or repop it (that requires a professional most times.) Every popcorn finish is different because everyone who applies it has a different technique. Matching it with a spray can is not always successful. Good luck.
  • on May 13, 2016
    lumaie is absolutely correct ! I would have it removed. First though have it tested for asbestos. It is a messy but relatively easy job to remove popcorn. We add a 1/2 cup of white vinegar to our water in the spray bottle.
  • Leslie Hess Quigley Leslie Hess Quigley on May 13, 2016
    Any house built become the mid seventies will have asbestos and that needs a special kind of take down. Built after that is ok.
  • MN Mom MN Mom on May 13, 2016
    Whatever you do, be aware that any amount of moisture is no friend to this type of ceiling. Good luck!
  • Helen Bouslaugh Helen Bouslaugh on May 13, 2016
    Okay, maybe you do not want to go to the trouble of taking your popcorn off, I know I waited until I had the time to do the whole house. But for a repair, Kilz has a spray for popcorn ceiling repair. When we had a water leak, once repaired, I had to contend with the ceiling repair: Orchard Hardware had this can, like a hairspray can. I took it home, sprayed it, and easy peasy, looked great. Since ceiling was white, I did not even have to paint. If you paint popcorn, it can be a bear to remove later, so be careful of painting if you do not have to. By the way, I love my home without the popcorn - 10 years later.
  • Lisa Gage Lisa Gage on May 14, 2016
    I did drywall for years and always hated that stuff. Scrap it all in garbage. So hard to repair and never matches. Also so so difficult to paint. Not worth it and look so much cleaner without it. Good luck with what you decide. Still hate ceilings after many years not in drywall.
  • Katherine Katherine on May 14, 2016
    There is a product that comes in a spray can that applies texture. I just used it in a bathroom "situation" in our rental.
  • Daw3000588 Daw3000588 on May 14, 2016
    Helen Bouslaugh knows what she is talking about. Avoid painting popcorn ceiling. Sometimes it even comes off on paint roller. After painting if you want to remove it sometimes takes the paper off of drywall and it has to be replaced.
    • See 1 previous
    • Sue Fletcher Foley Sue Fletcher Foley on May 14, 2016
      @Mary A. Gaidelis Hi. You are working hard out there. I'm interested as I've got a ceiling that has water damage too. Is it really hard to scrape it? I have painters coming, but it doesn't sound like that is a good idea. It's a real challenge, and you are really persisting - way to go!
  • Terri Hendricks Terri Hendricks on May 14, 2016
    I had the same problem in our dinning room. I found a product on Pinterest. Styrofoam ceiling tiles. They are lightweight and do a great cover up job. Easy to install too. Good luck with your project.
  • Mary Mary on May 14, 2016
    I had this problem when my bathroom vanity began leaking and right below the bathroom is my dining room, which has a popcorn ceiling. Make sure that every layer of primer, texture, and paint are thoroughly dry before putting on additional coats. I used a hair dryer on low setting on the texture because it was taking forever to dry. I let it dry for 24 hours or more before putting on 2nd or 3rd coats. You'll need: * a putty knife to take off the wet area of the ceiling. I have several sizes of these, which are nice if you have to do corners. Just buy the cheap ones. Scroll down to see them at this link. * a can of Kilz : it's a primer for water damaged sheet rock/plaster. It's expensive but after using it to cover the water stains, which may take several coats of Kilz, you can just store it until you paint a different room, and then use it before putting on a colored paint, it acts as an excellent primer. LINK: * next you'll need Popcorn Ceiling Texture. I've used both the spray in a can, and the Premix Popcorn Patch in a plastic tub. With the Patch in a tub, I put some in a paint roller pan, added a bit of water because it was to thick and clumpy, then used a paint roller to dip into the pan and rolled it onto the ceiling. If you put it on and it's got too big of pieces, just keep rolling over it until it's the size you need to match the rest of the ceiling. Basically it's a thin paint with lots of bits of plaster in it, so the more you roll, the smaller the bits of plaster become. I had to put on 3 coats in the corners. LINK: * a can of paint, a paint pan, paint roller, small brush for corners, and plastic paint tarp for the floor. Buy the cheap $1.98 ones, then you can throw them away, or use them to cover stuff in the garage or basement. I had to re-paint the entire ceiling after patching it. Scroll down here to see the cheap ones. This may sound like it's a hell of a job to do, oh hell, it is. NO, I'm joking LOL I did an area in the corner about 30 inches by 24 inches and it took a week to do because everything needed to be really dry before going on to additional steps. If you have to put on several coats of texture, I would recommend that after the first coating, let it dry, then PAINT IT, the color of your ceiling, then let it dry, and then put on more of the texture. I'm saying that because I waited like 30 hours for the first coat to dry, and as I was applying the 2nd coat of texture, I was just rolling off the first coat, even thou it was dry to the touch. No one can see where I patched the ceiling, and I'm proud of how it turned out.
  • Regina Bennett Regina Bennett on May 14, 2016
    If it's just a stain, try mixing half bleach and half water in a spray bottle. Spray the stain. If the stain is dark, you may have to spray several times but let it dry in between sprays. The stain will disappear.
  • Marge Marge on May 15, 2016
  • Lisa Gage Lisa Gage on May 15, 2016
    After that job you will hate that stuff forever like me! No longer do drywall but always warn about it. Good luck and happy painting!
  • Mary Kay White Mary Kay White on May 16, 2016
    I agree with Regina about the bleach (I learned this from the handyman in an apartment I lived in a while back). I think he used straight bleach, but watch out for drips on your clothes, furniture, or rugs. It worked great and I've been using it ever since when the need presented itself.
  • Jeri  tyler Jeri tyler on May 17, 2016
    We had a water leak on our popcorn ceiling. After fixing the leak, I found a spray can called "Kilz Up-Shot" at a HomeDepot. It sprays up (surprise!) and completely covered the stain. We had no drip or worry with bleach. At first it was a little whiter than the rest of the ceiling, but soon blended in. Our ceiling is very high and it reached it well.
  • Sandi Reynolds Sandi Reynolds on May 23, 2016
    Mary go to ace hardware,Lowes or homedepot and get a can of "Kilz Upshot". Best thing e v e r !!
  • Kar9875594 Kar9875594 on Jan 24, 2017

    Thanks for all the replies, going to try the bleach solution first, if it fails will go with the other ideas.

  • Frank Frank on Apr 05, 2017

    There's a GREAT product which you can buy on, I've used it. You simply peal and stick, it really is that easy.

  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Apr 07, 2017

    I'd make sure the source of the water problem has been resolved first before doing anything. How damaged was the ceiling? Is it sagging? How long has it been and is it thoroughly dry? If everything checks out okay, then go with the Kilz2 primer (water based) spray can and then the popcorn texture spray also water based. Lightly spray the area, let dry, repeat if necessary. Do not saturate, it will only make things worse. Popcorn ceilings can be painted, but challenging for sure. Best of luck. Here's a thought: bead board the entire ceiling!

  • Lucy Marie Bernier Lucy Marie Bernier on Apr 08, 2017

    Like Lisa said it won't match. They have this particular tool . Like a rectangle shape. In which a regular bag can catch the popcorn scraped off. Spray lightly and scrap and catch bag. If you try to match it . It will look like this great maintenance worker job like this !!!!

  • Belinda Droll Belinda Droll on Sep 14, 2019

    might want to c heck you tube--once I saw a video of a man who took a canister vacuum and put a scraper in front of it--as he scraped off the popcorn ceiling, it went immediately into the vac hose. Looked doable.

  • FC FC on Feb 12, 2020

    There is an easier way to repair a popcorn ceiling, simply Prep - Peel - Press. No mixing, no spraying and hardly any mess. It's Self Adhesive and matches the existing texture pretty well and its paint ready if needed. Check it out at