When and How to Remove Popcorn Ceilings

Removing a popcorn ceiling can be a daunting task. It requires specific tools and preparation and can be a messy job if you’re not prepared.  This blog post will talk about when and how to remove popcorn ceilings from your home so you are prepared for those times when this becomes necessary. We’ll also cover some of the hidden issues that may exist with the drywall under the surface of the popcorn, as well as what steps need to be taken after removing them.

Removing Popcorn Ceiling-11 Tips to Do It - Imagination Waffle

Popcorn ceilings have long had a reputation for being dated and not attractive. Although they were all the rage in terms of ceiling finishes in the 50s into the 80s, tastes and interior design have moved on.

When To Remove Popcorn Ceilings

Popcorn ceiling removal is usually requested around the time of a real estate transaction.  When a home is sold the new owners typically want to upgrade the house and bring it more in line with their own modern tastes.

Other times, it’s the seller who is preparing to sell the house that requests to have the popcorn texture removed.  It is well known that popcorn ceilings can lower the selling price of a home, since it can deter potential buyers.

It is recommended that you remove your popcorn ceilings when they are crumbling, dingy or stained.  Once the ceiling starts crumbling, it is a sign that it is starting to deteriorate and will likely continue shedding more texture.  If there are any stains, it is best to remove the ceiling texture.  This is because applying water or any other liquid cleaning solution will activate the plaster and the ceiling will be compromised.

Determine if Asbestos is Present

Before you remove your popcorn ceiling, it’s important to understand whether or not there is asbestos in your popcorn ceiling.  If the house was built or the popcorn texture applied before 1978, there is likely asbestos in the ceiling.  It’s important to note that the asbestos is not dangerous unless the ceiling texture starts to shed or crumble.  This releases the asbestos fibers found in the spray on material.  You can easily get a test kit or call a contractor to come in to determine whether or not there is asbestos.

Once this is determined, it’s time to do a bit of leg work to get the process started.  The article will list some common issues that are found during the popcorn ceiling removal process and what should be done about them.

Process for Removing Popcorn Ceiling

First,  it’s a good idea to prepare the area. This means removing all furniture, painting, wall hangings and more.  You will be working with water, so make sure all outlets are covered.  The best way to protect your floors, walls and the entire area is to cover all walls with plastic and to put down strong plastic sheets or tarps to protect the floors.

Next, remove the popcorn ceiling.  This can be done with a variety of tools, including scrapers, sponges and more. You will use water to  break down the material into slurry for easier removal.  Spraying water on the popcorn ceiling makes it easier to remove by scraping.  It is critical that you are careful while scraping to ensure you don’t cause damage to the drywall underneath.

The final step is finishing the drywall that is now exposed.  Oftentimes, the drywall underneath is in need of a patch or two.  When the ceiling is removed, it’s likely that there are some holes in the drywall and these need to be repaired before you start painting.  Drywall repair kits can usually cover most problems but if not then a drywall contractor should come out to assess what needs to be done and how much it’ll cost to have the work professionally done. If you move ahead and do it on your own, be sure to sand down the drywall and apply primer, paint and then plaster before you cover it with tape. At this point, you can prepare the ceiling for painting.

Now, keep in mind that the drywall underneath may need extensive repair work.  Sometimes the popcorn ceiling texture was applied to hide the imperfect ceiling drywall work that was done when the house was built.

Sometimes, you will find that the drywall underneath has sustained water damage from a leak and needs to be replaced.  If so, take time to understand where the water came from so that it doesn’t cause further damage.

Removing popcorn ceilings is a great way to update your home and increase the value as well.  It can be a challenging task for those with no experience but with careful planning can be accomplished in just a few short days.