Ceiling repair option help!

Old 03-17-17, 09:50 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: US
Posts: 2
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Question Ceiling repair option help!

Hey all,
I've been trying to work out the best way to go about repairing/updating the popcorn ceiling in my living and dining rooms. About 520 sq/ft total. As seen in the photos - there has already been some patchwork done and lost areas of texture, not to mention cracks and sections pulling away from ceiling. I believe the options left to me are:

1)Remove the failing portions of texture, and reapply more ugly patches

2)Scrape off the texture back to the primed ceiling and repair & skim what's uncovered - or hang sheetrock

3)Hang sheetrock over texture

4)Remove the ceiling entirely, exposing the joists and hang sheetrock

The particular issues I see:

- I have a very low overhead clearing stairwell on a staircase in the room (already problematic) with a railing that terminates in the ceiling. Hanging sheetrock over the texture exacerbates this problem.

- The house was built in the 20s and while I don't expect the popcorn to contain asbestos, I'm not certain. However, I have been told the primer above the texture does contain lead.

- If I open up the ceiling, I have a stronger suspicion of finding asbestos there.

I'd really appreciate any suggestions and advice over the above options, or anything that I haven't thought of. Apologies for the wall of text. Thanks!

Name:  20170314_214009_HDR.jpg
Views: 497
Size:  38.5 KB
Name:  20170314_215600_HDR.jpg
Views: 233
Size:  49.9 KB
Old 03-17-17, 10:54 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: California
Posts: 1,971
Received 53 Upvotes on 45 Posts
The age of the house would indicate a high likelihood that the ceilings are plaster probably over wood lath. The popcorn might have been applied to camoflage plaster cracks. The upside is that probably you can remove the popcorn with less damage to plaster than drywall. Wet it with a pump-up garden sprayer with non sudsy ammonia in it. If the popcorn has been painted wet an area about three feet by six feet and scrape it. You may not get it all so wet the first half of that area and let is soak while you do the next square then leapfrog like that until it is scraped. Cover the walls and floors very well so you can just collect all the scrapings and carry it out.
Then you have some options. You can repair the cracks and paint or you can put on a more contemporary knockdown texture or a stomp texture.
But be prepared for some serious crack repair.
You have some options there too but let us know what you find first.
I like the idea of new rock pretty well but are the joists adequate for the additional weight of a second layer?
I would try to avoid the mess of taking the whole lid down especially if it is plaster over wood lath. The dirt is unimaginable. Be lead safe.

Last edited by PJmax; 03-17-17 at 12:22 PM. Reason: removed un-needed remarks.
Old 03-17-17, 12:43 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 45,783
Received 871 Upvotes on 762 Posts
I don't remember for sure but asbestos popcorn was outlawed in the late 70's or early 80's. It's mainly only dangerous when it's a dry powder [where you can inhale it] Most of the asbestos popcorn was used in commercial settings but there was some crossover. Wetting the popcorn and containing the popcorn while damp eliminates most of the asbestos concern.

Lead would be a concern with any pre mid 70's paint although most lead based wall paints were phased out by the late 60's. Only way to know for sure it to test it. Lead is mainly dangerous in powder form [from sanding] or when ingested [mainly a child issue]

I'd scrape off the popcorn, repair the ceiling as needed then prime and paint. If you want texture - I like knockdown.
Old 03-17-17, 02:54 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: US
Posts: 2
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Thank you both for the quick and helpful responses!

I had been leaning toward removal of the popcorn and working with whatever I find behind it, though if the walls I've repaired in this house are any indication, the ceiling could be a mess.

The added weight of putting up sheetrock is a good point. I like the idea of a knockdown texture as that could help hide some unevenness if I'm not able to get a smooth finish in the space.

Feeling a bit more assured of my plans. Thanks again!

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: