How to remove popcorn ceiling tips and tricks that will save you time and money. Get all the little details complete with step by step pictures.
How to remove popcorn ceiling – when you search for this term, you can be easily inundated with loads and loads of information…
So many tips and tricks out there… and fancy equipment…
When you are doing it for the first time, you can get overwhelmed!
That’s where we were!
And this is where the room was…
Check out the full new house tour before we started making any changes!
We got rid of that pink carpet and the built-in and it already looked so much better and bigger…
Time to tackle that popcorn ceiling…
First thing’s first –
Test for asbestos!
Before you start anything you need to find out whether or not your ceiling could contain asbestos.
If your house was built prior or around 1978, your ceiling could contain asbestos. You SHOULD get it checked for asbestos before proceeding.
Our house was built in 1965, but we got a report from the previous owner that we were clear. He had removed popcorn ceiling in the rest of the home. This was the only room left.
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Equipment needed for removing popcorn ceiling –
- 6″ Putty Knife or a wider one.
- Spray bottle/Tank Sprayer – depending on the area you are removing. We used a spray bottle but really really should have got a tank sprayer.
- Plastic sheets and Painters tape
- Spray Sock
- Safety glasses – you need these – trust me!
- Shoe covers
Preparing to remove popcorn ceiling –
- Cover your walls and floor in plastic sheets using the painter’s tape. You won’t regret it! We only covered the floor since we were going to be removing texture anyway… big mistake! We had to later wipe down dried up residue from all the walls – NOT fun! Also, the sheet makes it easy to simply roll it up and dump it!
- Remove any light fixtures and cover up the vents.
- Wear your protective gear. The most important thing is the respirator because you don’t want to be breathing in any of that stuff… even though it might be free of asbestos.
- Spray sock to cover your face and hair… seriously, you DO NOT want that in your hair!
- The big huge safety glasses that are sealed from all sides… things will be falling from above you… regular safety glasses are open on the sides and stuff can easily get through into your eyes… ask me how I know!
- Shoe covers – because you don’t want to walk around in that big huge mess on the floor sticking to your regular shoes!
Popcorn ceiling removal –
We tried a few different methods to remove the popcorn ceiling based on our internet research. Below is what worked best.
I will talk about the other methods and their drawbacks at the bottom of this article.
- Spray and soak the popcorn ceiling. Patience is key here! You need it to be completely soaked. If it well soaked, it will come off like butter. If it is not, it will be very frustrating to scrape! We learned this the hard way of course! Also, we started with a spray bottle which was way too small for a 10 x 12 room and we had to refill it every 5 minutes! Should have got a tank sprayer!
- Use a wide putty knife to scrape off the wet popcorn ceiling. If it is well soaked, this will be super quick and easy!
- Make sure you get rid of all the residual white stuff… everything has to go!
- Re-spray and scrape any leftover residue!
I hope you remembered to put that tarp on the wall and floors because the walls will look like above and the floor will look like this!
What does it look like after removing popcorn ceiling –
You will have lots of scrapes thanks to your putty knife.
If you soaked it well before scraping off the popcorn ceiling, you will probably only have light scrapes.
We had pretty deep scrapes in the corner we started at because we didn’t soak the ceiling long enough. We need to fix all of those before painting.
Material needed to prepare the ceiling for paint –
Preparing the ceiling to paint after removing popcorn ceiling –
Step 1 – Sand any scraps you caused to the drywall using a drywall sanding sponge.
Sanding Tip – Sand perpendicular to the direction of the scratch. If you go in the direction of the scratch, you will only make it worse.
This is what our ceiling looked like after sanding. So much better already. But we still have the deeper scratches to fill in.
If you listened to my advice and soaked it well, go on step 3. If not, you will need step 2.Step 2 – Add a coat of primer to the ceiling. This helps really see which scratched need to be filled with drywall compound. The HomeRight EZ -twist paint stick is perfect for this. I only had to refill paint one time for my 10 x 12 room.
Step 3 – Use a drywall compound and fill in any scratches. We pretty much found it easier and more efficient to simply apply compound across large areas and cover lots of scratches in one go.
That’s it! The nasty popcorn ceiling has met its end. The ceiling is ready for paint!
We don’t have any more popcorn ceiling in the house anymore!
Now let’s get back to the other ways of removing popcorn ceiling and why we didn’t use them
- Using a popcorn ceiling remover – This was so tempting to use since you can attach a bag underneath to catch the residue. Nope. Didn’t really catch much. Also, it was just impossible to use it at the angle we needed for scraping.
- Removing popcorn ceiling with a shopvac – We attached the putty knife to the end of the shop vac nozzle and scraped. While it did suck in a lot of it, it also started clogging the insides of the hose because of its mushy nature.
Ultimately, we ended up doing it the good old fashioned way and it worked like a charm!
The room has come a VERY long way today – the wall texture has been removed, the wall and ceiling have been painted, the floors have been refinished…
Did I mention it’s going to be the kid’s room? Think lots of colors!
I can’t wait to show you what it looks like now!
Catch a few glimpses on my Instagram!
Or stay tuned… the full reveal is coming in a couple of weeks!
Have you removed Popcorn ceiling? Share your experiences and tips!