The "Dreaded" Popcorn ceiling

Old 10-15-10, 01:56 PM
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The "Dreaded" Popcorn ceiling

I just recently purchased a home with the original "Popcorn" ceilings. I have heard this is one messy ordeal to remove. What are the proper steps in doing this for the average "Handy" person.
Old 10-15-10, 02:48 PM
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It's not so much an ordeal as it is messy. I removed popcorn from every room in my house. I was leery about what I would find underneath. I've heard lots of tales about popcorn being used to cover a crappy drywall job.

What I discovered was that the ceilings are as smooth as a baby's behind. We were going to texture coat the ceiling but they looked so good we just primed and painted.

Buy a couple of cheap plastic drop cloths. Remove all the furniture and cover the floor. I also covered the windows with plastic.
Use a spray bottle full of water to soften the popcorn a bit. It will turn to sludge as it comes off - hence the mess - but it will come off a lot easier than if it were dry. I used a plastic scraper instead of metal. I found it was less likely to gouge the drywall. I rounded the edges just a bit after I scored the drywall a couple of times.

It's also a good idea to have some spackle or drywall compound handy to fix any scrapes. I suggest the DWC.

I allowed a day per room and I'm not exactly a speed demon. Not my favorite job, but it's mostly just elbow grease and cleanup.
Old 10-15-10, 04:32 PM
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Yep, easy job, just messy
Old 11-07-10, 07:21 AM
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Wayne gave some great tips, obviously from experience.

I am in the process of removing the popcorn'ed ceilings and have found a helpful tool in the process. Homax makes a 12" scraper with a bag attachment for about $18. It can be attached to a telescoping pole with standard threads. I did the first couple rooms with a regular scraper and then three with the homax scraper, while it still is incredibly messy, it speeds up the clean-up.

It is an easy process but very easy, good luck!
Old 11-07-10, 07:26 AM
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Yep removing it is fairly easy and actually quite satisfying. Kind of like removing wallpaper when it's being cooperative!

HOWEVER, if the person who applied the popcorn/textured ceiling mixed primer into the mud mix while applying it becomes a complete and utter nightmare. A guy I work with always does this so that the ceiling can be repainted using a roller as opposed to having to respray.
Old 11-07-10, 10:30 AM
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It's fairly common for the texture guy to add white paint/primer to his mix. It's a cheap way to gain coverage and lessen the need for the ceiling to be painted. It still should be primed and painted but if the builder doesn't want to pay for the ceiling to be painted........

Popcorn texture can be painted by a rolling even if there wasn't any paint added. The main thing is not to get the ceiling too wet with paint. This means rolling 1 quick coat, if you miss a spot it's best to wait until the paint dries and then touch those areas up. Another option is to coat the popcorn with an oil base primer first - then the latex can't disolve the texture. Moisture will deteriorate most unpainted textures. That's why popcorn almost always fails in bath rms and rooms where windows/doors are left open. While paint added to the texture helps, it doesn't stop moisture from damaging the texture.

Paint mixed with the texture shouldn't affect removal. Painted popcorn is harder to remove but if you scrape first and then wet the remaining texture, the water can get behind the texture allowing it to be scraped off.

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