Have you ever dealt with Popcorn Ceilings?
Emily Hurley
February 13, 2014 in Design Dilemma
Have you had to deal with popcorn ceilings in your home before? Did you work with them or did you go to the trouble of removing them?

Share your experience! (photos encouraged)

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hayleydaniels
We have a popcorn ceiling, and have talked about changing it for 20 years, but haven't gotten around to it. There's probably asbestos in it so we don't want to just scrap it off with one of the scrappers you can get at the hardware store as the dust is what is dangerous. We might at some point get it wet, and see if we can break it off that way.

At some point you have to deal with the home for what it is just like dressing the body you have, not the body you wish you had....
February 13, 2014 at 1:42PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
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mkritt
We had popcorn ceilings in our house when we moved in. One day I decided to paint the ceiling in the hallway, not realizing that you are not supposed to roll back and forth with that kind of ceiling. It just started falling off. I was yelling OMG, OMG, as I just rolled faster and faster haha! I ended up removing it all, and the hallway looked so much taller and cleaner.

After that I sent my kids off to school and tackled a room a day. It was a mess, I didn't know about asbestos then, but possible lung cancer aside, I love, love the way my ceilings look. The most exhausting was the cathedral ceiling in the great room, but I just did it in sections. It's been over 15 years now.
February 13, 2014 at 2:12PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
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lauren11
We have swirled plaster ceilings, so similar problem except hopefully without the asbestos. Wondering how easy it is to get rid of them.
February 14, 2014 at 9:09AM      Thanked by Emily Hurley
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Richard Long
Right out of high school I worked for a painter and drywall guy. We did several houses in popcorn, back then there was no asbestos in our mix. BTW I graduated in 1973. As for removing it we would wet it down with water let set 15 min or so and just scrapped it with trowels. You should remember that popcorn can really hide a poor job of hanging ceiling so you need to be prepared to do work on seams nail holes etc. It will even hide an uneven ceiling.
February 14, 2014 at 9:39AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
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Bestwall Plastering Inc
In regard to the swirled ceilings just re skim them in a veneer plaster,
February 14, 2014 at 10:02AM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
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robbiepettus
Working on removing from upstairs bedrooms currently. Not that bad. Using a garden sprayer with warm water to wet the ceilings, then scraping the popcorn.
February 14, 2014 at 4:11PM        Thanked by Emily Hurley
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PRO
Boerne Kitchens and Baths
We have removed a lot of popcorn ceilings. Really just dampen the popcorn and scrape. Depending on the age of the home it may contain asbestos and necessary precautions must be taken. It is a huge mess but it really improves the look of the house tremendously and is well worth the effort. It becomes more difficult if it has been painted over.
February 14, 2014 at 4:22PM     
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Cancork Floor Inc.
Yep. Hate them. If I have a say, I will not have them...they limit what can be done and if a patch is necessary (for what ever reason) it is almost impossible to get a perfect match (although I found someone in my city who managed a 99% match).
February 14, 2014 at 4:52PM     
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lefty47
HI -- We have re- dry walled most of our ceilings and some yet to go. I don't hate stippled ceilings and if they are not damaged they look fine to me . They are just on the current hate hit list trend , and soon it will be something else to hate . The reason we are covering with new drywall is because our stippled ceilings had been painted years ago so cannot be scraped off . We painted them when we bought the house over 25 years ago . They were so brown from former owners smoking . Stippled ceilings were not hated then .
February 14, 2014 at 5:10PM     
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londonlucy
I removed it from 2 of 3 bedrooms - it was easy but a lot of work. I too just sprayed a little and scraped into a dishpan to try to minimize the mess. I did not know about asbestos until l read these posts. I have popcorn ceilings in other rooms but they have been painted. I haven't looked up how to remove that but l will be. I do not like the popcorn ceiling and will be sure to add it my list of no-no's should l ever move again.
February 15, 2014 at 11:32AM     
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Shuler Architecture
All the time. I have them tested for asbestos first and then scrapped, bagged and disposed of properly. Then skim coat with a level 4 or 5 smooth wall. Looks brand new when we are done.
February 15, 2014 at 11:40AM     
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lefty47
HI -- @londonlucy - You cannot scrape off the stipple if it has been painted , you will have to just cover it with new dry wall .
February 15, 2014 at 12:18PM     
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ezint
Every ceiling in my house had popcorn.. It is so simple to remove. Just spray with vinegar and water....wait 5 minutes (this is very important and then scrape away. I have good luck with a wide putty knife and a dust pan.. Also if you are clearing up to crown moulding be sure to score next to the moulding with a box cutter blade. If it is drywall to drywall don't cut it as there will be tape there. Go gently over the tape. Had to reglue some of it. It really is an easy thing to do yourself.
February 15, 2014 at 12:53PM     
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cabingirl13
Need to get rid of this in about half of our house....hate popcorn ceilings.....I refer to it as the butt ugly "cottage cheese" ceiling!
February 15, 2014 at 1:04PM     
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kzangger
9 years ago we purchased our first home and the main living area 23x16 had popcorn ceiling. It was the first thing we did to update our home. We used spray bottles filled with warm water and regular metal putty knives 5"-10" wide from the hardware store. We covered floor completely with cheap plastic drop cloth and taped it to the wall above baseboard. Very little dust as all scrapings were soft like mud and we rolled up the plastic and removed it right after completion. We primed and painted ceiling white - beautiful. Our friends had a whole house of popcorn and opted to pay someone $1500 to remove it all.
February 15, 2014 at 4:07PM     
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bella_djordjevski
We have it in one room and we are leaving it. We don't want to open up an asbestos issue. I think it is funny that they still sell it at Home Depot though.
February 15, 2014 at 4:28PM     
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PRO
Designer's Edge Kitchen & Bath
Asbestos has been removed from current products. It is vital to have the ceilings tested, you do not want to expose yourself, children or pets to the lung damaging fibers. This is serious stuff! Encasing the ceiling as stated before is another option. Drywall has been mentioned, but a painted bead-board ceiling can be installed in certain period homes or cottage homes and looks charming.
February 15, 2014 at 4:37PM     
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Sheri Wilson Fine Art
Painted my last POPCORN CEILING. Pain in the NECK! Only because like others feared asbestos. It is also a good excuse for my husband not to help remove it. Hah! As said, it is difficult to patch as well. And all the gimmicks and special rollers are impossible other than pain in the neck and carpel tunnel with hand brushing will refresh it relatively so. Forget the pink paint that dries white too. That is a ridiculous price to know where you begin and end. I have scraped off the bathroom ceilings using just the shower extension. I accidently discovered this while in the shower just how easy it did remove. :0 I used an old large umbrella tacked upside down to catch it all . Lefty47 in agreement with trends and as long is its clean and not damaged so leave it alone till it needs attention. I've entertained the expense of ceiling tiles that are quote the "trend". Cabingirl13 I'm with you on the cottage cheese! Kzangger has saved a lot of $ DIY. For $1500.00 I will remove all my popcorn ceilings tomorrow! (On 2nd thought?) Now, I want to pop some popcorn. Sorry no photos.
February 15, 2014 at 11:33PM     
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leesadb
How do you get a popcorn ceiling tested for asbestos?
February 16, 2014 at 1:36AM     
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Wendt Design Group
Do remember to test for asbestos before scrapping or altering the popcorn.
February 16, 2014 at 3:30AM   
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Wendt Design Group
Most large cities have environmental labs. If you call ahead they have instructions for handling and turning in samples. The results will take two to three days if processed locally.
February 16, 2014 at 3:32AM     
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refreshyourhome
Popcorn ceilings absorb the light and your room will look much brighter if you are able to remove them and have a smooth ceiling surface. The ceiling can be sprayed with water and scraped as long as the ceiling has not been painted. If it has been painted, it is going to be much more challenging. As said before, check out the content and be prepared for what you find under the popcorn.
The results are more than worth the hassle. It is like giving your ceiling a face lift!!!
February 16, 2014 at 6:43AM   
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jobyrc
I had popcorn ceiling. Removed it all in less than two days. Cover everything with sheets or cheap plastic tarps that painters use. It makes a huge mess but well worth it. I used a paint scraper and spray with water over difficult areas
February 16, 2014 at 6:59AM     
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ddelora
Hated the popcorn ceiling being a catchall for spider webs/dust stringers that stuck to it. Couldn't afford a professional. One day after work, I laid down some plastic, got a spray bottle filled with warm water, and a heavy-duty stainless steel SPATULA! Started in the hall, outside of the master bedroom. Figured if it was a disaster, at least company wouldn't see it from their perspective. After working all day, I would come home and spray/scrape. Took 1 week to do entire home - about 1,600 sq ft (wore no mask). This was about 15 years ago...haven't croaked yet from "asbestos exposure", so the hype and scare tactics hold minimal concern for me.

My husband knew someone who brought in a crew and put on a flat orange-peel to match the walls - for free. Love that it's gone! Would do it again, and again, and again. Oddly, there was something therapeutic about it...like working out, punching a bag, or...?
February 16, 2014 at 7:00AM     
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cboe
Instead of hauling away a heavy drop cloth of popcorn debris, one of us scraped the wetted ceiling while the other held, underneath, an upended metal garbage can LID to catch the falling popcorn. The handle on garbage can lid provided the hand hold needed to stabilize wetted popcorn debris as it cascaded into the lid. Multiple big, plastic, yard bags were used to hold the popcorn. Easier to drag a few big bags of wet popcorn to the front for garbage pick-up than one huge dropcloth of debris.
February 16, 2014 at 7:10AM     
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43littlegranny61
I just removed popcorn on all ceilings of a small home and it was a total mess. I used hot water and frabric softener and spayed on with pump sprayer. Leave it about 15 minutes to soften and if it doesn't scrape off in sheets, respray and leave another 15 minutes. If popcorn has been painted over it takes more sprays. It's a fine line between soaking the sheetrock and getting the right amount of water for easy removal. I then let ceilings dry for 48 hours, which had some water stains but no gouges or loose tape, and painted with an oil base paint. such as kilz to cover stains, then reapply light texture with a roller, light sand and paint as normal. P.S. This is a messy job and there was no furniture in our house. Lots and lots of time and work but I love my ceiling now. With two people, one spraying and one scraping, it goes much faster.
February 16, 2014 at 7:11AM   
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Christalyn
I don't think anyone commented on what pop corn does for sound in a home. I have popcorn ceilings and my 1970's ranch has low ceilings. I tackled the carpet (son is allergic to dust mites) and replaced them with hard floors. Sound in the house started bouncing everywhere. It got worse when I took the popcorn off of the ceiling in the living room. It sounded like we where living in a warehouse. It really stopped felling like a home. I ended up putting the pop corn back in to dampen the sound, and got creative with fabrics (ones that would not breed dust mites). I think we leave sound out of design, and that is one of the senses also. It shouldn't just look good and feel good, it would sound good also.
February 16, 2014 at 8:05AM     
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Trisha Bowman
I "accidentally" removed some of this stuff from my bathroom. I was cleaning a wall with warm water and vinegar, the overspray got on the popcorn and it just kinda slid off! The area had definitely been painted, so maybe the secret is the vinegar. Most of the rough areas are where I got the drywall too wet and had to patch it. I will be doing the rest of the house as I have time.
February 16, 2014 at 8:47AM     
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mylifeeclectic
When I bought my home, I had a swirled plaster that I, not so affectionately, called "whipped cream" all over the walls AND barrel ceilings of my living, dining & hallway. It hadn't been dusted or re-painted in probably 30 years so black dust clung to it & the paint was a gross yellow-y beige. During my renovation, the workers were able to scrape it off with a huge spatula-like tool on a broom handle. Then they patched the cracked plaster & painted over that. It turned out amazing.
http://www.mylifeeclectic.com/2012/12/project-renovate-whipped-cream.html
February 16, 2014 at 8:50AM   
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annettejung
Years ago I bought a house with popcorn ceilings. I discovered it did have asbestos and chose to have it professionally removed. I had to move all my furniture to the garage and move out of the house. It was tented and I wasn't allowed back in until the air quality of the house tested clean. It was pricey, but I am so glad I did it. I didn't have to worry about the kids disturbing the ceiling, and when I sold the house I had no issues with disclosure.
February 16, 2014 at 8:56AM     
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ravensmom13
ok..."popcorn" ceilings were "in" in the late 1950's, early 1960's....that makes them "Mid-Century Modern"...........WHY....WHY would you want to get rid of them if you LOVE, LOVE this period of style???? IT'S A MATTER OF TASTE !!! We have them in every room of our "Mid-Century Modern" ranch home, and it was a BUYING point for US, as someone stayed "true" to the origin of the home, instead of following some decorator's "trendy" ideas...which we all know change every few years!!! ( stainless steel appliances are ALREADY falling out of favor as more and more people realize the upkeep involved in keeping them looking good-and NOW decorators are suggesting WHITE is now in...LOL ) Unless you are a complete slob, or encounter a huge amount of soot from a fireplace not properly vented, they are NOT difficult to keep clean. Of course, like ALL the postings here on HOUZZ, this is just MY OPINION...YOU live in YOUR home...do what makes YOU happy while living there!!
February 16, 2014 at 9:06AM     
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barbaraof
Just did a kitchen remodel and asbestos inspector told me that the drywall "mud" still sold at Home Depot that is made in Mexico contains...... asbestos. Job security for the asbestos testing business and licensed removal businesses, right? A contractor friend says one way to avoid disturbing any asbestos is to install thinnest sheets of new dry wall directly over the old popcorn, then tape and mud (using USA-made mud) and voila! No popcorn and the asbestos never gets airborne, which is the problem with disturbing/removing it. Popcorn ceilings indicate, to me, drywallers who do lousy seams and are a cheesy attempt to hide their lack of finishing skills. Do not waste one minute thinking that it's not worth the cost of getting rid of popcorn ceilings. They date a house in a really bad way. It's the first thing you should do to add value and spruce up a place.
February 16, 2014 at 9:20AM     
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Jo
My husband removed them in this house. They were done to hide cracks in plaster. He knew he'd been exposed to asbestos in his job working on high rises so he did it alone w/o my help. He'd seal off the room with visquine plastic, windows and doors shut. He wore a disposable haz-mat type of coverall and respirator. All previous instructions of wetting ceiling down are accurate. It's mostly important to try to protect yourself and to dispose of the stuff properly. And yes you will need to do a new skim coat on the ceiling or replace it. a lot of work but worth it.
February 16, 2014 at 9:29AM     
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Ellen Horn
I don't think popcorn ceilings were ever "in". My parents built a house in the 50's with smooth ceilings. The popcorn ceilings were just a way to hide shoddy workmanship and cover up mistakes. They were not meant to be a decorative feature. I vowed to never buy a house with these ceilings, as they are a pet peeve of mine, as are any textured ceilings. They are a total dealbreaker for me.
February 16, 2014 at 9:41AM     
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Sheri Wilson Fine Art
The Popcorn History of our 1950's said Ranchburger Cover Up : Our discoveries (after closing on the house!!) previous owners covered up the cracks - applied Popcorn Ceiling. Cracked walls - stuccoed them. Stucco + Popcorn Ceiling Cover Up to cover up the mess on the virgin hardwood floors - cover it up with shag carpet. Doors don't close - saw them off too short! How is that for a popcorn clean up story?! Ellen Horn ~ talk about "hiding shoddy workmanship".
February 16, 2014 at 10:39AM   
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midmodfan
We have popcorn ceilings in our 1983 Florida home. I already see myself standing on a rolling scaffold, scraping the high sloped ceilings. Ugh! If whitewashed tongue & groove wasn't so expensive, I'd rather cover the whole thing up.
February 16, 2014 at 11:24AM   
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maryrw
We have popcorn ceilings throughout. At first prior to purchasing I hated them but now they don't bother me at all. Plus we have really high cathedral ceilings to its not as noticeable to me. I don't think we will change them.
February 16, 2014 at 11:56AM     
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Genevieve
Yes we had one in our other house and i didn't like it ,It was done to cover up a lousy job on taping and sanding .Very hard to paint too.
February 16, 2014 at 12:04PM     
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Debra Milam
We bought our house 10 years ago and all the ceilings are popcorn. I painted them all. Later a handy man came in to do some of the work I couldn't diy, noticed the paint and said " You can't paint popcorn it will all fall off." I said "Well I did and it didn't.". His reply " You better love yellow cause you well never be able to paint it again." Glad I didn't know that before I painted it. I painted with abandon, even changed my mind about the color and painted it again. It has a coat of primer, a coat of way too dark yellow and 2 or 3 coats of pale yellow. lol
February 16, 2014 at 12:07PM   
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beverlynn
My house was built in 2008 and every room in the house has popcorn ceilings. I can take them or leave them. The house had all of my "must haves." I was not going to sacrifice those must haves for the ceiling. Besides, the minute I walked in this house, I knew it was "the one!"
February 16, 2014 at 12:38PM   
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Nancy Sloop
Our 1982 ranch had popcorn ceilings throughout (even in the garage!) and we scraped and removed all except the garage (we stored all the furniture there until we were done). Didn't even THINK about asbestos. Uh-oh.
February 16, 2014 at 12:38PM   
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danel3223
Our popcorn ceilings had started to peel in every room and were so difficult to repair. They were thirty years old and the house is in a climate close to the ocean.
So we spoke with a contractor who covered them all with new ceiling dry wall and then painted. It looks so nice compared to that cracking, peeling, and falling popcorn. By the way the dry wall comes in a thin and standard thickness.
February 16, 2014 at 12:44PM     
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Elizabeth Woodfield
We had popcorn ceilings in our family home which we sold last summer. Before selling, we had all the ceilings scraped, primed, and then painted. It was a huge mess while it was being done, but afterwards, it was well worth the hassle. (We hired someone to do the work. They did a good job and cleaned up each day after themselves.) I WILL NEVER again buy a home with popcorn ceilings. No only do they absorb the light, they are also dirty dust magnets. Yuck! Whoever thought of that for ceilings needs to stick their head in a bucketful of old popcorn (asbestos-free, of course)!
February 16, 2014 at 12:51PM   
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pat2
Yep...we got'em. Came with our 1970's ranch. Should have removed them before moving in....but time didn't allow it. Previous owners were smokers so we just sprayed them with primer and paint. They are nice and white ... but still popcorn :-( . After doing tons of remodeling and adding crown molding, husband says no way is he removing them. So they are here to stay. Let's just say ... we have a lot of texture in our in our decor !!
February 16, 2014 at 12:58PM     
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lknicastro
Just removed popcorn texture from several rooms and used this special scraper from Menards. It's wide and you attach a plastic bag to the scraper to catch are the particles. Worked well, but it is still quite an undertaking.

"Designed for removing unwanted "popcorn" ceiling texture. A typical 10 feet x 10 feet ceiling can be completed in 30 minutes or less. Unique bag attachment captures texture as it is scraped away by the 10" blade.

Removes "popcorn" acoustic ceiling texture
Special design prevents gouging of ceiling surface
Connects to standard threaded extension pole
Home » Painting Tools » Scrapers
Homax 6100 - Scraper - Ceiling Texture

Homax 6100 - Scraper - Ceiling Texture
Model Number: 6100 | Menards® SKU: 5592840
http://www.menards.com/main/paint/painting-tools/scrapers/homax-6100-scraper-ceiling-texture/p-1473938-c-8084.htm
February 16, 2014 at 1:18PM     
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smg
If you're worried about asbestos, you should be able to get it tested for less than $100. I was worried about this with my ceilings, googled for a place nearby (in live in Austin) and found a lab 20 minutes away, dropped off a peice of the ceiling, results back in just a few days (no asbestos!). Popcorn ceilings suck. If suspicion of asbestos is what's holding you back, just bite the bullet and get it tested and put your mind at ease (or find out that, indeed, the popcorn is there to stay).
February 16, 2014 at 1:21PM     
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donnadale54
We have a 1983 ranch/walk out. As we remodel each room the popcorn comes down on the main level. With our 8' ceilings and north facing rooms each room gets higher and brighter feeling! As I scrape the wetted up popcorn I am amazed at the 1 foot spider web chandeliers that are created. That is my favorite part of removal - knowing how clean my ceilings are becoming. Downstairs the popcorn is smaller & painted and can only be covered up or replaced with new drywall. I agree that the only reason it was used was to cover up poor workmanship. Both my parents & husbands parents had smooth ceilings in their 1950s houses.
February 16, 2014 at 1:22PM   
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Randy Foster
With painted popcorn, as long as it does not have asbestos, after covering floors and walls. Dry scrape the stryfoam "popcorn nubs" off and then soak the popcorn. It may take some time but those small areas will allow some moisture in so it will help to release the popcorn for easier removal
February 16, 2014 at 1:24PM   
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ejames4365
My 1960s finished basement has popcorn ceilings which are ugly but would be bearable except that my son is 6'5" and keeps scraping his head on the ceiling beams! Every time I see his poor scraped scalp, I swear I'm going to tackle the job....
February 16, 2014 at 1:44PM   
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Cory Shaull
I wonder what year they stopped using asbestos in the popcorn?
February 16, 2014 at 2:42PM     
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kwcmv
My husband and I bought a home and every room has a popcorn ceiling including the garage! I never noticed or had an opinion on them until I started reading Houzz and watching HGTV! We certainly didn't know that our ceilings had a name! I have no idea what the hoopla is about! I've even painted two of them. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why so many people dislike them! And quite honestly, we don't really care.
February 16, 2014 at 3:05PM     
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jbv
is popcorn ceiling the same as "starlight". Ours was sprayed on and has a bit of sparkle to it. It was done in the early '80's.
February 16, 2014 at 3:25PM   
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Ryan Basinger
My house was built in 1996 and has the popcorn/acoustic texture throughout with 10' and 12' ceilings and I LIKE THEM!!! They are way better than a plain flat ceiling and help with noise, plus they really help with hiding any hairline cracks that may occur with settling/movement of the house as it ages and due to the clay soil (I live in Texas...expansive/contracting soil problems and most houses end up having some sort of foundation issues). They are not hard to paint either, if you know what you're doing :-)
February 16, 2014 at 4:16PM     
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Evah Banova
We have it. We live in a trailer built in the 1980's I think. I really don't mind it, but I would like flat ceilings better. I decided to repaint the whole house last year and had no idea how hard it would be. But it's doable. It was an ugly yellowish before, now it's nice and white.
February 16, 2014 at 4:29PM   
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Heritage Texas Properties
Not sure if this has been said, but to test it, check with a lab in the area first. I believe you can wet a small area with water so it will come off in a solid form of wet texture, bag it and take to the lab. What you do not want is the texture in dust form falling from the ceiling. Hope this helps. The lab needs VERY LITTLE to test for asbestos.
February 16, 2014 at 5:43PM     
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coliptt
All our popcorn ceilings have been painted over. Professionally painted with a sprayer. I see no reason to remove them. They do provide sound dampening and after they are painted they seem to stay cleaner longer.
February 16, 2014 at 6:00PM     
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mrscrouse
We just bought a house--I didn't see it before we bought it--only saw it on internet realtor sites, then hubby looked at it when he had to attend training in the city we were moving to. We don't have popcorn--we have stalagtites in all of the ceilings in the whole house. They have bothered me since I first saw them--and I hope to remove them--at least in the rooms that I can do--definitely the kitchen, bedroom and living room. thanks for all of the helpful suggestions on removal. I also agree that it was used as a fast, inexpensive way to finish dry wall instead of the tough work of taping and bedding to perfection. Hubby is great at drywall finish work so if there are problems underneath he can deal with it as long as I don't gouge it too badly.
February 16, 2014 at 6:12PM   
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arteshouse
Hate, hate, hate popcorn ceilings. I removed the popcorn from my last house myself. I sprayed the ceiling with water using a fertilizer pump sprayer (cost app. $10.00, at the local home improvement store). I used a simple plastic or metal spatula to scrape off the popcorn. I covered my floors with cut open yard waste bags, they are thick and absorb water very well. (Don't use plastic sheets as they become very slippery.) A few days later, once the ceilings were completely dry again, I'd lightly sand the surface to even it all out. I also used drywall compound to even out the ceiling or patch, where needed. This is a very messy job. Ideally it should be done before you move in. Smooth ceilings make the rooms look clean and the ceilings higher.
February 16, 2014 at 6:23PM     
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Mamajo
Our condo was built in 1988, and had some kind of popcorn ceilings with points and heavy, spikey texture, it had sparkles & I swear some kind of glitter. It also had 24 years of thick cigarette smoke stains and dust. So did the walls and worn out carpet. We had our contractor handle the scraping along with everything else. No pics of that tho, it was beyond awful and stinky.
February 16, 2014 at 6:28PM   
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Rb Redmond
We have popcorn ceilings, like them and can't figure out why people make such a fuss over them. Reminds me of people who insist on stainless steel appliances, then admit they don't even cook. Such foolishness and drama, over nearly nothing at all. smh
February 16, 2014 at 8:04PM     
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christianrb
The first thing I did when I purchased my house was remove the popcorn ceilings. It made the ceiling look so much taller. It also made the whole look way more modern. Best decision ever! I did it all myself too! It was so easy! I think you can have it tested for asbestos.
February 16, 2014 at 9:04PM     
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Rosemary Hughes
I've tried scraping popcorn ceilings. Never again the best idea I've seen is to cover the popcorn ceiling with one eighth thick plasterboard. Compared to scraping and the mess that creates adding a thin layer of wallboard would use a lot less of a pro's time and so cost a lot less.
February 16, 2014 at 9:40PM     
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Darzy
We had popcorn ceilings and scraped off with water (messy). A sheetrock guy sprayed and "knocked down" texture to match the walls. Way better. We did it 15 years ago.
February 16, 2014 at 10:02PM   
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Darzy
If you've lived with popcorn ceiling for many years and it hasn't bothered you, don't bother! You can paint and it's not a horrible thing to have popcorn ceilings.
February 16, 2014 at 10:03PM   
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Rosemary Hughes
Rb Redmond Our house was built in 1986. Popcorn ceilings were standard in the houses. If I had known what a hassle popcorn ceilings would be, I would have had the ceilings just painted. I'm not interested in up to date looks. Most of the wallpaper in our house is original and if I could find the same paper. I'd use it again. I hate that almost all of the walls have enough dings and scrapes that I've got to do something. I did not use papers that were country themed, grass cloth, prints or use borders everywhere. All those things were popular at the time. My ceilings still shed whenever I clean them. We have had water damage on small areas of the ceilings and my son managed to fall from the attic through the ceiling. Every patch is noticeably different in color. For many of us popcorn ceilings are not trivial. They make upkeep more difficult and our homes less enjoyable,
February 16, 2014 at 10:06PM     
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tootoovintagemarket
We had an older house with pop corn ceilings. We had them removed by a professional......amazingly all the rooms looked bigger after the removal!
February 16, 2014 at 10:22PM     
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llswink
If your ceilings are tall enough, then just have them recovered with new wallboard. We did that to our popcorn ceilings in the dining room kitchen area of our home in California and it was wonderful. No hassle, no big mess, and the ceilings were beautiful!

Previously, we had someone come in and scrape the living room and hallway ceilings. Nightmare! The mess, the extra work to repair the old plaster, simply a nightmare!
February 17, 2014 at 9:27AM   
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sandra14k
My problem is that who ever did our ceilings before we lived here, used a broom or something of the sort to make a design which is not very eye appealing at all! One room is the broom method, one room is a poor effort at some fanning which is not at all symmetrical, and the other room makes no sense at all in the design. Its been put on very thin and I'm not sure yet if it has been painted. What a nightmare!!! If worse comes to worse, looks like new drywall ceilings. Not something I payed attention to while house hunting, but it sure will be at the top of my priority list should I ever find myself leaving this place!!
February 17, 2014 at 11:19AM   
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Nancy Travisinteriors
I had it removed before I moved in. It's messy. But he did my whole place in a day. They use water and scrape off. I suggest you get a pro. It may have to be tested. How old is house? But so worth the money. It looks amazing. Remember you have to texture and paint ceiling. Also hire a pro. Just worth it.
February 17, 2014 at 12:21PM     
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llaroche2910
We had some popcorn ceilings done when we built our house in 1975. Of course I`ve painted them a few times over the years, but they don`t bother me at all. The only thing that bothers me now is the thought that there might be asbestos in them. I'm sure my hubby has no idea.
February 17, 2014 at 12:45PM   
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Judy
My house has popcorn ceilings but the 2 bedroom ceilings are vaulted and the living area ceiling is 15 ft high so I just tell myself to not look up and not think about it. I would love to have it removed but it makes such a huge mess, if I had noticed it I would have had it removed before I moved in that's the best time to do it when the house is empty, but I didn't maybe some day if I take a long vacation and get it done while I'm gone and have a crew come in and clean before I return.
February 17, 2014 at 1:11PM   
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grandmanet
We are in the process of remodeling - new floors, new countertops, etc. We also removed a partial wall, which involved moving some pipes. We took drywall off the ceiling for that work. We had sort of decided to put up MORE popcorn over the new drywall, rather than trying to get the old popcorn down. About 15 years ago we painted over the popcorn, and thought it would be horrible to get down. The good news is that it is coming off easy!! Just spraying really well and letting it soak in, and it's coming down. I think we will go ahead and hold off on the flooring work for a few days and get all the popcorn down. What a mess this will be. Hope we are making the right decision!!!
February 17, 2014 at 2:03PM     
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woodfever.net
I removed the popcorn ceiling in my dining room - what a mess. I would give my ability to get the ceiling totally smooth a b+, but flat white paint made it near impossible to see the imperfections. It was part of a much larger renovation of the ceiling and new crown molding. See what I did here... http://tinyurl.com/o3muqrg
February 17, 2014 at 4:23PM     
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bubbyofbb
Best way is to get a good drywall guy or painter or both who has been around awhile to give you an estimate - they can scrape them then paint or do what I did & get a very light spraytex texture (NOT like the popcorn texture - this one is very subtle) instead. If they are good they will take care of the mess as part of the cost. I couldn't afford to do it all at once so did main areas first few years ago - just redid kitchen now so just did that & bathroom & will eventually do bedrooms & ensuite when can afford it.
February 17, 2014 at 8:50PM   
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Wendt Design Group
Just remember to test the texture for asbestos before scraping.
February 17, 2014 at 9:00PM   
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notroh80
I had popcorn ceilings and absolutely HATED them! Fortunately they were not painted over, and the building was not that old, so I didn't have any asbestos concerns. Initially, I had hired a contractor to remove the popcorn. After getting some ridiculous quotes, I thought I was just going to have to live with it. One day, I just rubbed my fingers over the ceiling and noticed that the texture rubbed off! I ended up scraping them off with a paint removal tool. Soooo happy with the results!
February 17, 2014 at 10:30PM     
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Thos. Baker
After purchasing a vacation condo and preparing to remodel it, I commented to my contractor about a strange odor in the unit. His immediate recommendation was to remove the popcorn ceilings. He went on to explain that the texture of popcorn ceilings is a magnate for cooking odors and other odors that collect in a home. After doing an asbestos check, the crew got to work and spent the day scraping and removing all of it, By the end of the day, the odor was gone. Not only did the place smell clean and fresh, it actually felt more spacious!

Christi, on behalf of Thos. Baker
February 17, 2014 at 11:16PM     
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catz1
My husband (a contractor) and I have been discussing this issue for 10+ years (every since we purchased the home). He HATES them and feels they absolutely should be removed. I do not mind them. They provide good sound reduction (very important in a home with cathedral ceilings and ceramic tile floors) while covering up God knows what. Although I would prefer something else, I cannot justify the expense, work, horrible mess necessary to correct it. They do get cobwebby, I get the long handled duster thingie and knock them down (no biggie). In the scheme of things, I have many projects that take precedence. It's just a style of ceiling, one that really works very well. If they were damaged, I would replace them with something else. Really just don't believe in taking out something perfectly good that doesn't bother me because it's not the current style.
February 18, 2014 at 12:03AM     
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jenecho
Our first home not only had popcorn ceilings, but SPARKLES. Every single room had multicolour sparkles embedded in the popcorn in the ceiling. I spent weeks on a ladder with a spray bottle and a paint scraper. It was definitely worth it, but holy smokes it was a lot of work.
February 18, 2014 at 7:10AM     
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chloebud
Sparkles!? Ugh! Our old home had what I still call "cottage cheese" ceilings. That name always fit better than "popcorn" to me. We never removed the stuff and, fortunately, it didn't interfere with the sale of the house. Love the non-cottage cheese ceilings in our new home.
February 18, 2014 at 8:46AM   
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Sophie Barber
We have popcorn on all of our ceilings in our 1971 home, even the 15' high ones! It's horrible. But it came off pretty easily - spray it and it peels right off in sheets. We found Sheetrock underneath that's 40 years old but looks brand new!
February 18, 2014 at 10:03AM     
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Lorraine M
I truly hate popcorn ceiling!!! Especially if u have a leak and it leave a nice brown rings on the ceiling as a gift!.. Ugh.. I use the paint to match and lightly dabbed with artist brush very very carefully and leave it to dry before it falls off...and I sold my house..:)
February 18, 2014 at 12:54PM     
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roseglow3
I have popcorn ceilings throughout in my 1983 house. Tested the ceiling for asbestos (Cost $20) and found it was clear. Bought a 1 or 2 gallon sprayer (easier than a spray bottle) and sprayed the ceiling with mixture of vinegar and water to get very wet. Wait 10 minutes and bought a ceiling scrapper on a pole (easier to use) and it took about 30-45 minutes to remove it all. I am more put off by the mudding or skim coat to get the flat ceiling afterwards...way too much work. And if popcorn ceilings are a nightmare, try the old (built before 1900 and when records were kept here) farmhouse I had with chicken wire base and stucco plaster over it...the pattern of heavy "peaks" made it look like a mountain range all over and was a bear to dust, yet attracted spiders.....We went to remove it and a sledgehammer barely made a dent on a corner so we reversed, patched the corner and left it in place for 20 years.
February 18, 2014 at 11:23PM     
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grandmanet
This was a timely article. We are removing the popcorn ceilings THIS WEEK in our 1989 house! However, now what do we do? My husband and I don't agree. He thinks that the ceiling should still have some kind of texture added. I think that we should just leave the ceilings flat/plain. Thoughts??
February 18, 2014 at 11:29PM     
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roseglow3
grandmanet......I would leave the ceilings flat as they recede/make ceilings look higher without the unnecessary texture. Acoustical or Popcorn ceilings were placed as a cheap method to avoid taping and mudding blemishes, and it has NO acoustical abilities (An engineer told me that). Texure on a ceiling gets dirtier, or has spider webs more easily (even "Orange peel texture"). If you are hiring someone to do the texture it is just as easy to have the ceilings done by a drywaller (Skim coat OR mudded at seams and depressions). And I think you may be happier with the outcome...just make sure the drywaller does the job to your complete satisfaction for a smooth finish.

"Textured" ceilings (popcorn, orange peel) were invented by developers as a cheaper way to finish drywall. Only "special" textures (to replicate a finish like a faux finish, marbeling effect, etc) should be done in homes, not "developer textures"...it makes the home look cheaper too. Just my opinion.
February 19, 2014 at 1:05AM     
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Diane
Roseglow3-- Where did you send you sample to get it tested??
February 19, 2014 at 10:19PM   
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Wendt Design Group
an environmental lab in the city, we have several in Houston. I had my testing done in 1991, I took the samples and hand delivered these to a lab. You get the results in a few days.
February 19, 2014 at 10:27PM     
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Debbie Taylor
We are now popcorn free YEAH!! Such a mess, but so worth it. We figured we were going to replace the carpets, so this was the perfect time to do the ceilings. Didn't matter that the old carpets ended up getting a little messy, they are getting ripped out on Monday anyway. We did the ceilings, painted, added crown molding and new floor boards all through out the house... all this because the icemaker leaked and ruined a wall and carpeting... it's the domino effect LOL
February 25, 2014 at 11:30AM     
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ades12345
Little bit different but could someone link me to a thread about removing the paint that looks like someone mixed sand in? I don't know what it's called but don't want to start a duplicate thread. Thanks!
February 25, 2014 at 11:58AM   
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arteshouse
Sand what a disaster. THe previous owners added sand to the pain on the walls. I am faces with re-drywalling the walls or adding a skim coat to the walls-- expensive and messy.
February 25, 2014 at 12:13PM   
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roseglow3
Try a drywallers' flat wide mud trowel or scraper..You would have a lot of work to scrape every inch of the wall but save money in new drywall. Of course, by the time you scraped the sand off you might think new drywall was worth it. But , It (scraping) does depend on how much sane was added to the paint. On some finishes you can use an electric sander on them to smooth the drywall (such a "orange peel")
February 26, 2014 at 1:44AM   
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alisonheppell
Re skim if you must ,I dont mind them and there is a small portion of asbestos in them ,as we found after after a bathroom flood ,the insurance people sent along mobile showers outside ,and two men in white hazmat suits and masks ,they removed every last trace of dust ,etc then had a shower outside ,we
Looked like we had vermin!
February 26, 2014 at 1:57AM   
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alisonheppell
App its pre 1980in the uk,that the asbestos was in ,but lifes too short to scrape it,it was tested in advance by the same company,that removed it
February 26, 2014 at 2:01AM   
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arteshouse
Roseglow, I'll have to look at the wide trowel to skim coat. I tried scraping, sanding with an electric sander with no success.
February 26, 2014 at 4:26AM   
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PRO
Creative Painting, Restoration & Design
I have been asked during small faux finishing projects to also remove popcorn ceilings (in newer construction homes [no asbestos issues]). I found that putting down disposable drops, then spraying the ceiling surface with a pump garden sprayer filled with warm water makes the job (and cleanup) super easy. Yes, it is time consuming, but really finishes a room beautifully. I also like to use a 3-4" plaster knife/spatula for removal at a 20-30° angle...the popcorn easily comes off in strips. I also highly recommend a headlamp and head covering of some sort. Safety goggles also keep the particles out of your eyes.
May 26, 2014 at 11:03AM     
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Sheri Wilson Fine Art
Good & easy instructions. Now, if it were that simple without all the mess and carpel tunnel! hah.
May 26, 2014 at 11:08AM   
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roseglow3
I put a bit of vinegar in the water solution to soften the popcorn faster
June 4, 2014 at 11:01PM   
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iris054
Once you have removed the popcorn, there is an alternative to skim coating to perfection. Get rid of large lumps and dips but you don't have to make your ceiling perfect for this.

You can cover your ceilings with beadboard wallpaper or another paintable wallpaper. Several patterns are available, including some that look like the old tin ceilings as well as more modern patterns. You can find or order it through your local hardware store. Graham and Brown (online) has the best quality beadboard wallpaper (learned that online). I've used that to cover orange-peel textured walls directly and the texture didn't show through. It's not expensive, and it looks like real beadboard.

You'll need at least two people with two ladders to do this job. It also helps to have a person standing on the floor using a wide push broom to help hold the paper up as it is being applied.
June 21, 2014 at 4:19PM   
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