Different ceiling in basement? Popcorn

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  #1  
Old 04-26-19, 05:58 AM
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Different ceiling in basement? Popcorn

Not sure if this is the correct area but it seemed the most appropriate.

Over the course of a few months I scraped popcorn off of the ceiling in 3 bedrooms on our second floor (~600sf total) last year using the spray and trowel method, and it was a fairly easy job and we are very happy with the final result.

Now I'm trying doing the ceiling in the basement and I'm getting a very different result. It's not coming out smooth at all and I'm definitely getting it appropriately wet. As you can see in the attached picture, there is a patch on the right side that is very smooth and what I expect when doing this task, then near the middle of the photo it doesn't look very good, and on the upper left of the photo, it barely looks like I've even run the trowel over it, but I have.

I find it weird that it's so inconsistent, normally I'd be open to the idea that I'm using a poor technique, but the fact that I've done 3 different rooms without issue suggests that there is something different here, and that i've found patches that come out very smooth right after gliding through a rough patch seems odd.

I will note that my basement does appear to have been finished by a rookie contractor at some point (or cheap or amateur) so maybe the ceiling is made differently somehow? One theory I have is that the popcorn was painted, and perhaps they missed painting the spot that came out smooth? and the level of success in other portions of the ceiling depend on how thick the paint is? maybe?

I tried adding a generous amount of vinegar to the spray, but it's really not changing anything, any other ideas?

I tried sanding down some patches using my random orbital sander, but it's pretty useless for this application. Would a belt sander get the job done if I can find one light enough to hold up there? I'm open to any ideas!
 
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Last edited by Shredder1; 04-26-19 at 05:59 AM. Reason: fixed: "Upper left"
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  #2  
Old 04-26-19, 06:32 AM
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Painted popcorn is a lot harder to remove! Before I'd resort to a belt sander I'd just skim coat the ceiling.
 
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Old 04-26-19, 06:43 AM
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The biggest problem right now is it's still QUITE textured in some spots (even if I double back to the area with more spray and a second run with the trowel). So I think I need to find a way to to get it more consistently smooth first.
 
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Old 04-26-19, 06:53 AM
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When the popcorn doesn't want to wet scrape off, I'll dry scrape to remove the high spots and then skim coat. It might take more than one coat of joint compound. IMO that is easier than fighting the texture trying to remove it.
 
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Old 04-26-19, 07:15 AM
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ok thanks. I'll see what happens if I try some dry passes and see if I can get a bit closer to an acceptable smoothness.
 
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Old 04-26-19, 09:34 AM
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I second the skim coat reply. If you wanted to scrape as much as you could, I would pole sand using a course screen sander and then try spraying and scraping again. Sand and repeat.

But if it's painted the only way to get a smooth ceiling is to skim it.
 
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