5 Easy Steps to Removing Popcorn Ceiling

Was your house built before the 1990s? Does it have the always amazing (said sarcastically) popcorn ceilings that were ‘oh so popular’ with builders back in the day? If so and you hate looking at the ‘lumps and bumps’ as much as most of my clients, tune in here on how to REMOVE them in 5 easy steps!


1. Test for Asbestos Before You Begin.

Before you dive head first into this project, make sure you test for asbestos. Asbestos is a heat-resistant fibrous silicate mineral that can be woven into fabrics and is used for fire-resistant and insulating materials but it can also be very harmful for your health, specifically your lungs. If the test comes back negative, go ahead and proceed! If the test comes back positive, either have a professional licensed in asbestos abatement remove the texture or cover the entire ceiling with paneling or drywall. Basically, if it tests positive, it’s best to just leave it as-is.


2. Gather Your Tools.

Now that you’ve gotten through the negative asbestos test, you’re ready to start! On the positive side, this project doesn’t require any special tools or training. Here’s a breakdown of the items you’ll find useful:

  1. garden sprayer

  2. wide putty knife

  3. plastic sheeting or drop cloths

  4. painters tape

  5. ladder

  6. goggles

  7. dust mask


3. Protect The Walls, Floor, & Yourself.

Scraping the popcorn off is extremely messy so you’ll want to take a few extra minutes to prepare the space by removing all of the furniture, covering as much as possible (floors & walls) with drop cloths and tarps, take down any light fixtures and cover electrical boxes and outlets to ensure they don’t get any water damage. Also, on that note, since you’re dealing with spraying water, it’s also recommended to turn off the electricity in the room you’re working in.

Make sure you also prepare yourself by opening windows to get proper ventilation and cover yourself with goggles and a dust mask.


4. Spray & Scrape.

Once you’re prepped both physically and mentally (it’s going to be a long project!), you’re ready to officially get started! Start by spraying water on a small section (4 x 4 ft), as wet texture is easier to scrape than dry texture. Be careful not to soak it though because that can cause water damage on the sheetrock underneath. After wetting the ceiling and letting it sit for about 10 minutes, use the putty knife and gently start run it along the wet portion of the ceiling to get the feel for amount of pressure needed. Use this same method moving from section to section to complete the entire ceiling. Some areas may need a second round.


5. Sand, Prime, & Paint.

Since you already did the prep work of moving furniture, covering everything in tarps, etc. it only makes sense to finish the job by sanding, priming, and painting the newly scraped ceiling! If there’s any damage to the ceiling, such as gouges or damaged drywall tape, repair with joint compound before you start sanding. Once the paint is completed and dry, you are ready to put the room back together and start enjoying your newly smooth ceiling!


If you ever have any questions or would like suggestions on interior design, please reach out to me! I am always happy to help personally and also work with amazing interior designers! Kylie

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