How to Remove a Popcorn Ceiling

During the 1960′s and 1970′s popcorn ceilings were a popular design. But nowadays many do not like the look of popcorn ceilings and want to remove them. Removing popcorn ceilings is not difficult but can take time and get messy. They also may contain asbestos so you have to be careful.

If you want to remove the popcorn from the ceiling the first thing to do is see if it has asbestos. Not all popcorn ceilings have asbestos.

Here is how to check if your popcorn ceiling has asbestos

Get a spray bottle with water and moisten about four different small areas of the ceiling. Now scrape about a one square inch patch from each of the areas into individual plastic bags using a putty knife. You can have these samples tested at a lab to see if your popcorn ceiling contains asbestos. Important: If your popcorn ceiling does contain asbestos than do not remove it yourself. You should either have a professional do it or cover the asbestos with a brand new drywall ceiling.

Removing the Popcorn Ceiling if there is no asbestos:

* If possible remove the furniture form the room. You can also cover the furniture with sheets of waterproof plastic. Also, to protect the floor, spread plastic sheets or tarpaulins.

* Make sure you wear a long sleeved shirt, a hat, and make sure you cover your eyes with protection, such as safety goggles.

* Get a spray bottle and moisten an area that is around 3 square feet. You can also use a long nap ceiling paint roller that is dipped in water for this step. Basically you are trying to make the popcorn soft by wetting it so that you can easily scrape it off.

* Once the popcorn on the ceiling has become soft use a 8“ or 10“ taping knife and scrape the popcorn off the ceiling. You can move across the ceiling scraping all the popcorn until it is all removed.

* Now that the popcorn is removed you can sand the ceiling and then paint it. You may have to spackle some sections of the ceiling, sometimes more than once, to make it so that the ceiling is smooth.


* By putting too much water on the popcorn it may cause water spots on the underlining drywall of the ceiling. Make sure not to use too much water as sometimes the water spots can look worse than the original popcorn ceiling.

* Make sure that you do not catch the corners of the taping knife, as you can make holes in the ceiling that have to be repaired.

Another method for removing the popcorn is to use a sander to remove the popcorn from the ceiling but it can be a much messier job as it creates a lot of drywall dust. This dust can spread quickly throughout your house so it may not be the best option.

Author: Jason Green