"fixing" a textured ceiling

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Old 08-02-07, 02:28 PM
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"fixing" a textured ceiling

Looking for ideas on "fixing" a textured ceiling. Just moved into a house built about 1965. The ceiling in the living/dining room has a really awful looking texture. On top of the general bad look there are a number of what were probably patch jobs or really poor prep of the surface before adding the texture.

The good news is I just had it texted for asbestos and none found.

I'm thinking of scrapping off the texture, leveling out the indents and repairing the bubble spots. Then I'm thinking about painting on a texture since I know I will not get the ceiling smooth.

I'm thinking the easiest and most likely to hide defects is to use one of the roller covers that looks like loose string. I have no idea what the end result of using this type of roller is so I'd like to here from anyone that has tried this.

Also, I'm not sure if best to use ceiling paint and add the texture mixture (not sand) or just use a diluted pail of sheetrock mud.

Also, is it best to use a thin first coat and then a heavier second?

I put up three pics of example problem areas even though it just looks bad in general.
http://public.fotki.com/MarcCindy/ceiling-pics/inconsistent.html

Thanks.
 
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Old 08-02-07, 04:35 PM
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The pics helped until seeing them I thought you had a popcorn ceiling

I couldn't tell for sure but your original texture may have been rolled on, or maybe a heavy sprayed orange peel Ideally you would scrape and sand the ceiling, then skim coat it and either leave it slick or retexture.

I seldom add paint to texture. Thinning down j/c is usually the most cost effective way to make most textures. I haven't rolled the type of texture you are describing in over 30 yrs. You have to pay a lot of attention to how you roll it on so it will all be uniform. About the only texture I'll roll is for a stomp ceiling. Basically you thin the j/c to the neighbor hood of paint consistency, roll it on and the use a round brush or a crowfoot brush to stomp in the design. Heavier mud = heavier texture, thinner = lighter texture.

I only apply texture once unless for whatever reason it didn't achieve the required look, paint when dry.
 
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Old 08-02-07, 06:18 PM
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uniform texture look

Thanks marksr.

My big concern is that the ceiling will not be uniform. I could live with a less desirable pattern if it were uniform across the rooms. Any suggestions for what works best for a uniform look?
 
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Old 08-03-07, 06:09 AM
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IMO spraying texture is the easiest way to get a uniform texture but it does require the use of a hopper gun and air compressor [they can be rented] 2nd easist would be to roll on the mud and stomp the texture. When just rolling on the mud you need to do the finish rolling in a uniform direction. If it looks decent while wet it should ok when dry.
 
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Old 08-03-07, 03:31 PM
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This is a shot in the dark, but I spend a sizable amount of effort trying to get into the heads of a contractor who put something up 40 yrs. ago and figure out how he did it.

What your ceiling reminds me of is the following:

Drywall mud, very slightly thinned, troweled onto the ceiling. Then while still wet, roll a DRY 1" nap roller over the area in random directions. Fairly thick drywall mud will not stick to the roller nap but you will leave the texture of the roller in the mud.

You can test this on some scrap cardboard and compare to what you have.

Let us know if it matches and we will talk you through feathering the patch out and blending into the existing ceiling. If it works, beats the heck out of a full replacement (which is a big job to get a good uniform look).
 
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Old 08-03-07, 05:47 PM
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Bubbles in the texture

I started to scrape off the texture by wetting an area and then gently scrapping. While I only did a little bit for starters it appears to be a job I can do on the whole ceiling.

Taking a closer look at the ceiling revealed a number of slight bubbles a couple of inches in diameter. I was thinking this was due to a previous roof leak and I need to patch these. There was a crack in one of the bubbles so I peeled it back. I was able to easily peel off a section about 6 X 12 inches which revealed a nice clean smooth painted ceiling that showed no damage. Apparently whatever they did didn't stick very well to the ceiling. I'm guessing this texture was applied years after the house was built.

My current plans are to remove the texture and get the ceiling as smooth as I can. If it looks good then I may just keep it smooth. If not I'll rent a texture sprayer and give that a try. HD rents them for $60/day.

I'll post my results here but it may be a while since I'm going to wait for cooler days when I can turn off the A/C and open the windows when I scrape. It's too hot in upstate NY now.
 
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Old 08-04-07, 06:07 AM
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Just take your time removing the texture, you don't want to damage the drywall underneath. In a perfect world, the whole ceiling would scrape off easily, but expect the unexpected. If it was a smooth ceiling at one time, then obviously someone at some point had to repair something and thus the random texture pattern. My gut tells me that you may be opening up a Pandoras Box and find something undesirable that will give you pause. The collective will cross their fingers that this is not the case.

Move slowly, don't over scrape or rip the paper on the drywall, you will regret all the patching it will create. If the texture is straight drywall compound, you can get the stubborn spots off by rubbing with a moist sponge. It will rewet the drywall compound and you can then wipe it away.

Before you head off the HDepot to rent your texture sprayer (a neat toy of which I own one), mask off the entire room with plastic. The masking process will take longer than you think and you don't want to eat into precious rental time when the clock is ticking. Cover everything including the floor as there is a lot of overspray from these machines. Pick up come disposable shoe cover protectors for your feet or you WILL track texture all over the house.

Check back if you get to this stage and we will walk you through the texture sprayer procedures. Get the big floor sprayer model not the small handheld kind, its easier to control and moves the job along quickly.
 
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Old 08-04-07, 10:30 AM
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Looks, feels, and sounds like sand texture underneath

Thanks czizzi

It didn't take long to get my first unwelcome surprise. I started to scrape in another part of the room and there appears to be painted on sand texture underneath the drywall compound texture. At least that's what it looks, feels, and sounds like when I'm scraping. I suppose the good thing is that this makes it harder to damage the drywall. However, it makes for very hard scraping and it doesn't come out consistently smooth. Some spots are smooth where the drywall compound filled in the fine texture and other areas show the fine sand texture. What am not sure about is good the surface must be before spraying.

I suspect I'll find more surprises as I go. Big job so it will be a while before I'm ready to spray. I am planning to cover walls and floors as you suggest even though this is a whole room makeover where next is wall painting and then hardwood floor refinishing.
 
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Old 08-04-07, 12:27 PM
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Is the sand texture under joint compound? only in certain areas or all over?

You can loosen the sand texture by application of "popcorn ceiling texture remover" - It is a liquid that can be bought at Lowes and HDepot. It will soften the texture and you can easily scrape it off. Comes in a quart size plastic bottle. I think what you found is a roll on popcorn texture paint.
 
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Old 08-04-07, 02:02 PM
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Yes, the sand texture is under the joint compound. It makes for a real hard surface since I can put a lot of force on the scraper and not damage the drywall.

The sand texture is not over the whole ceiling but I can't tell yet how much. The small area where I peeled back a bubble of joint compound with my fingers did not have the sand texture. There's more bubbles so I expect I'll find the same thing in other parts of the room.

I'm going to get the remover you suggested ASAP and try it. More later.
 
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Old 08-04-07, 07:38 PM
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no "popcorn ceiling texture remover"

I went to both and neither HD or Lowes carries a "popcorn ceiling texture remover". I couldn't find it and no one knew anything about it. Perhaps it has a different name?
 
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Old 08-04-07, 09:37 PM
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HD and Lowe's no longer carry "popcorn ceiling texture remover". Really, this product was nothing more than a super concentration of "liquid dishwashing detergent". This formula (1/2 cup detergent to 3 gallons water) works great on popcorn ceilings, but I don't believe it will solve your problem.
 
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Old 08-05-07, 04:43 AM
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I did a repair job on someones botched skylight install 2 yrs ago. I had to cut back some drywall, install new, mud and tape on a rolled, texture paint popcorn (heavy sand) ceiling. I had to remove 18" of texture from the perimeter of the skylight to be able to feather my mud out. I used the popcorn ceiling texture remover to soften the paint and it peeled right off. After the seams and joints were taped and finished, I rolled on textured paint to blend it all back it.

Once I get going this morning, I will see if I can get a UPC number off the bottle in my shop (provided I still have it). I could have sworn I just bought some more not long ago for another job and ended up not needing it. If its there, I will forward the info.

Rainbird - I always thought those strippers for stuff like wallpaper was make out of fabric softner and water?
 
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Old 08-05-07, 05:40 AM
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I've been spraying on warm water mixed with liquid fabric softener (I think I read somewhere else about this). While it helps soften the joint compound for removal it doesn't seem to be doing much for the underlying fine grained sand texture. Here's a before/after pic. I'm using 1-1/2 and 3 inch stiff blades and applying a lot of force. I'm thinking this is smooth enough for spraying on popcorn but I have zero experience.
http://public.fotki.com/MarcCindy/ceiling-pics/before-after.html
 
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Old 08-05-07, 06:08 AM
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I usually just use water to aid in the removal of popcorn. I've never heard of popcorn remover. Fabric softner is used by some to aid in wallpaper remover. The main thing is towet the texture, softening it to make it easier to remove.

What type of popcorn do you intend to spray? fine, medium or coarse?
Popcorn can hide a variety of sins, the heavier it is applied the more it will hide. That isn't to say it will hide every defect - the better shape the ceiling is in, the better the texture will look.

Spraying texture is VERY messy! As czizzi mentioned, be sure to cover up what you need to, prior to spraying!
 
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Old 08-05-07, 06:27 AM
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Yep, got a whole quart in the shop - Homax - Popcorn Ceiling Texture Remover Solution - UPC 0-41072-08570-0. I couldn't get the website to upload for me but google homax.

I noticed a fairly ugly crack in you uploaded pic. Gonna have to tape and blend that.

Marksr - we keep calling it popcorn but harvx is battleing a rolled on texture. It's either a sand or a popcorn textured.
 
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Old 08-05-07, 11:13 AM
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I think the crack your noted was just the transition from scraped to not scraped. I haven't found any cracks - yet.

While doing some more scraping I did come across another small area (about 4 inches in diameter) where the underlying sand texture easily peeled off without wetting or scraping. I attached a pic showing the area that peeled back next to the area already scraped but the sand texture remained. No amount of wetting and scrapping seems to be able to get off the underlying sand texture except for this area. I'm thinking I'll need to fill the peeled back area with joint compound to get a consistent elevation with the sand texture.
http://public.fotki.com/MarcCindy/ceiling-pics/3peeledoffsand.html

I'm contemplating buying one of the cans of spray on popcorn patch and using this as a test . I'd just do a small area to see whether it looks good on top of my scraping or whether I need to get the ceiling smoother. Once good enough I'd rent the sprayer. What do you think.
 
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Old 08-05-07, 05:05 PM
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Scraping seldom gets it all, hard to get away from having to use sandpaper. Uneven areas need to be sanded or filled. Unpainted joint compound is a LOT easier to sand than paint!

Personally I don't like the aerosol cans of texture - too hard to get a consistent spray but realize that some diyers get good results with them. The dry bags of popcorn come in 3 types [fine,medium,coarse] all of which can be sprayed on lightly to heavy. More texture will hide defects better than a light texture.
 
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Old 08-07-07, 05:50 AM
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I'm still scraping away at the texture on the ceiling so it may be a while before I'm ready to patch and re-apply a texture. What I found works best for me is to wet an area (2' x 6') real good by spraying on water with a mixture of fabric softener or dishwasher detergent at least three times. Let it sit for about 15 minutes or so. Then I'm using a razor blade scraper. This gets the texture off real good but still leaves the underlying "sand" finish on 90% of the ceiling. I've gone through a few blades and not because they dull. I'm actually wearing away 1/4" or so which gets it too close to the blade holder.

In that 10% where the "sand" peels off I need to be careful not to damage the drywall paper.
 
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Old 08-09-07, 05:56 AM
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Question Questions on patching

I just finished (6 days into the job) a first pass of removing the texture on the ceiling. Now I need to go back and patch a couple of areas as well as level/smooth out the surface where the "sand" texture came off. I'm still waffling in my mind whether to spray or roll on a texture.

1. Would I need to prep the surface any different if I'm rolling versus spraying?

2. I've got a couple areas to patch like in the attached picture. I need to scrape off more of the joint compound, better secure the drywall by adding some screws, and put down new tape (some came off). At least the drywall seems in good shape. I don't know what kinds of tapes are available but is there a recommeded kind for patching? What kind of joint compound is best?
http://public.fotki.com/MarcCindy/ceiling-pics/4tapepatchreqd.html

3. For the 10% of the the ceiling where I'm down to the actual drywall I need to level this out. After the first pass I went back to a small corner and spent several hours trying to remove all of the "sand" without success. I've got some small spots (1" diameter) and some large areas (a couple feet in diameter) that need to be filled. Do I use the same joint compound as in the patch above?

4. At what point in the repair process do I apply a primer coat? Is there a recommended kind of primer?

It's encouraging just to get off the ugly looking texture even though I know I've still got a lot of work ahead. Thanks.
 
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Old 08-09-07, 06:42 AM
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#1 - it depends on the texture used. A light texture needs a better/smoother surface than a heavy texture.

#2 - most any j/c will work. You can use either the regular paper tape or the self adhering 'sticky' tape. Paper tape is prefferred. The sticky tape is more diy friendly but it has a high failure rate. Covering the tape with a setting compound [durabond,easy sand] will increase the success rate.

#3 - yes

#4 - it depends on the texture used and if you plan to paint it. If you don't plan to paint the ceiling you need to prime prior to texture. Any water stains need to be coated with a solvent base primer. IMO [I'm a painter ] texture should always be painted - it helps to seal and protect the texture. Most any latex primer is fine, except for water stains.
 
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Old 08-09-07, 09:08 AM
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Harvx, if I were you I would not use popcorn texture but try to match the walls, like orange peel or whatever the walls are. It will take a little work to get the ceiling smooth enough for the finer texture but it will look much better and make your home more saleable. If you search this forum you will notice most people are removing the popcorn because it is nasty stuff.
 
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Old 08-10-07, 06:31 PM
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Question suede texture?

I picked up a box of Homax suede texture to try - this is the kind you mix with ceiling paint and roll on. Anyone have any experience with how well this looks and covers surface imperfections? It will be a couple of days before I try it since my patching will take a few coats and I need to let the j/c dry overnight between coats. I just applied the first coat to the problem areas.
 
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Old 08-11-07, 04:11 PM
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Don't count on a texture to hide anything. If the walls are not good then all you have is a crumby wall with texture on it. People who look at it will wonder who did it and what else are they trying to cover up.
 
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Old 08-13-07, 10:45 AM
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skim coat

Based on everything I've read it looks like the the best approach is for a smooth ceiling. So, I've hired a drywall person to put on a skim coat. I would have done it myself but it would have taken too long.

He put on the first coat of an estimated 3 or 4. The first coat showed some issues which hopefuly can be fixed with subsequent coats but he's not sure. There's some interaction with the j/c that is causing a lot of tiny 1/8" bubbles. There's also a few larger 1" bubbles. Let's see what tomorrow brings with the second coat.
 
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Old 08-17-07, 06:21 AM
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Smile Done

Finally done with the ceiling and it looks great - nice and smooth. It took several skim coats and power sanding between to get the job done. Also needed to remove and fill in many bubbles along the way.

As it turns out what I thought was a sand texture applied to the drywall was actually plaster on top of drywall. The texture was on top of the plaster. The texture came off OK but not the plaster.

Hiring someone worked out well for me in that I got what I wanted in a reasonable time plus I was able to work with him and learned a lot.

Thanks to all that responded to questions and comments. Now on to the walls and then the floor.
 
 

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