Say Goodbye to Popcorn Ceiling: Step-by-Step Removal Guide

In the mid-20th century, popcorn ceilings were popular, especially in bedrooms. This coarse, corrugated fabric was used extensively in new homes from the 1950s through the 1980s for its unique sound-insulating abilities and knack for masking ceiling imperfections.  

However, these textured ceilings can make a room dark due to their lack of light reflection and are often considered aesthetically unsatisfactory by many homeowners.

Fortunately, removing texture from popcorn isn’t as daunting as it sounds, though a bit messy and tedious. However, the improved look and brighter mood of your room after renovation is worth it.

+Step 1: Preparation & Precaution

Fortunately, removing texture from popcorn isn’t as daunting as it sounds, though a bit messy and tedious. However, the improved look and brighter mood of your room after renovation is worth it.

+Step 1: Preparation & Precaution

Before diving into the project, be sure to have your popcorn ceiling tested by an EPA-accredited lab. If your home was built before 1982, the roof fabric may contain asbestos. If asbestos is detected, it is safest to hire a licensed professional who specializes in handling hazardous materials. If the fabric is asbestos-free, feel free to remove it yourself. However, remember to turn off the electricity in the room before you begin, as this is a water-based procedure.

+Step 2: Protect and prepare the room

Understand that removing a popcorn ceiling is a complex business. However, proper preparation can significantly reduce post-project cleanup. Start by removing all the furniture and covering the room’s floor and the bottom of the walls (about 16 inches) with heavy-duty plastic wrap, securing it with duct tape.

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Don’t forget to protect the upper walls, too. Glue around the perimeter of the room, just below the ceiling, and secure with additional tape. You may need to remove any ceiling fixtures such as fans, moldings, or pendant lights to ensure a smoother operation.

+Step 3: Spray, wait, scrub

Divide the ceiling into manageable 4-square-foot sections. Using a garden sprayer, carefully drench the first section and let it soak for 10-15 minutes. Put on safety gear – a dust mask and goggles – and then climb a ladder to get to the wet area. Hold the putty knife at a 30-degree angle from the ceiling, and begin scraping the texture of the popcorn away. Continue this cycle of spraying, waiting, and scraping, working one section at a time until you have covered the entire room.

+Step 4: Prime, Paint and Finish

Continue until you have scraped the texture of the popcorn all over the ceiling, revealing the bottom surface of the drywall. Once this is done, you may want to paint the ceiling and give it a new look. Since you’ve already protected the room with plastic sheeting, this should be a breeze. Remember to remove the chips only after the final topcoat has completely dried. Also reinstall any devices you removed and restore power to the room.

Step back now and enjoy the transformation! A room will instantly feel brighter and more modern without a popcorn ceiling. Enjoy your new space !

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