Popcorn ceilings. Don’t you just love them! 😉 Kidding of course. We were unlucky enough to have popcorn ceilings throughout our house and I wanted to get rid of them in the worst way. So while we were updating our main floor, one of the first things we tackled was removing the popcorn ceiling. It was not as bad as I thought it would be actually, just a little messy. We are now in the process of renovating a room upstairs and we decided to do it a little differently this time around. So I am going to share with you 2 ways to remove popcorn ceilings in your home.
First though, a word of caution. Some popcorn ceilings were made with asbestos. You should take care to find out if your ceiling contains asbestos, and if so find another way to tackle that job. We found out that the time frame our home was made, it did not contain asbestos so off we went.
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For this method you will need:
- Garden/Fertilizer sprayer
- 6” putty knife
- 12” Mud pan
- Disposable drop cloths
- Drywall Hand Sander
When we started renovating our main floor, I was not blogging yet so unfortunately we do not have many pictures of the process. However it is pretty easy to explain. I wanted to have smooth ceilings so we knew we were going to have to remove it all. We did some research online and saw that the best way to remove the popcorn was to get the ceiling wet before scraping it.
We bought a new fertilizer sprayer to spray the ceiling, they are fairly inexpensive. Actually we already had one but it had been used with fertilizer already and we did not want to take the chance with using that. We knew that we would use it again for the upstairs anyway (well at least we thought that at the time…lol).
Mr. Wonderful did the hard work while I stayed on the floor and “assisted”. I will have you know that is a very important job! 😉 He sprayed the ceiling first to get it wet, working in smaller sections, about 3’ x 3’. He would saturate it pretty well. The ceiling would drip water and also drop some of the loose wet texture once in awhile so make sure you have your floors (and anything else you don’t want texture on) covered with drop cloths. In the kitchen we have laminate flooring so we did not cover it, I would just clean it up as we went along so we did not track it all over.
We let the water “soak in” for 3 minutes before starting to scrape. Attempting to keep the waiting time to a minimum, Mr. Wonderful would spray the next area so that the 3 minutes would go by while he was scraping the currently prepared section. Mr. W got a pretty good rhythm going once he got started, but advises that you get your process figured out before getting too far ahead of yourself.
Scraping went along easily using the 6 inch putty knife and a mud pan. Hold the mud pan just below the area you are scraping and the scrapings fall directly into the pan. We had seen tools that had a putty knife with a piece to attach a garbage bag. In our opinion this is not a viable option with wetting the ceiling as the weight of the scrapings would get too heavy. Even after doing the scraping with Method 2 we still think it would not be worth the hassle.
After all the scraping was done, the ceilings were looking pretty good! It was amazing how much it brightened up the room. You don’t realize how dingy the ceiling looks until you take off the popcorn! It also made the ceilings seem taller, I am not sure why but it did. Since we were not adding texture and wanted a smooth ceiling, we had to sand them smooth. Using a drywall sander, Mr. W lightly sanded the whole ceiling. After he was done with the sanding, we checked over the ceiling with a flashlight shining across of the surface to look for any areas that still needed to be smoothed out. Anal much? Lol. I have to say that the effort was worth it though, they look amazing!!
We put a rag on a broom and brushed the ceilings to get the dust off and then applied the first coat of primer/paint. The ceiling soaked this up pretty well. The second coat really made everything look great! We used a paint that we got at Menards that was a primer and paint in one. It was color matched to Benjamin Moore’s Simply White in a flat finish. You want to use flat finish for the ceiling so the light does not reflect off it as well and it hides the flaws better. Just in case we missed a spot in all that sanding! 🙂 Here are some pictures of the finished ceiling. The only texture on there now is what came from the paint roller. These were also taken after we painted and put in recessed lighting.
For this method you will need:
When we started to think about renovating this current room, we decided to try a different route to removing the popcorn ceilings. Mr. Wonderful thought this idea would work and it sounded A LOT easier than Method 1. This method would leave us with more of a knock down or orange peel texture. Here is a before shot of the popcorn ceiling.
We again used plastic drop cloths to cover the floor. They make for easy cleanup!
Mr. W took a 3 inch putty knife and started to scrape the texture off without wetting it this time. Since we were not wanting a smooth finish, he only was scraping off the spiky parts.
Here is a picture showing the right half scraped and the left half not scraped. It is hard to see in the picture and it was hard to tell at this point how it was going to look because the scraped part had dark marks all over it from the putty knife.
After he finished the scraping, he used the drywall sander and lightly sanded the ceiling. We had a fan blowing out the window and Mr. W wore a breathing mask as we were not sure how much dust this was going to create. It really wasn’t too bad on the dust part although I would still recommend the mask. You don’t want to be breathing in any dust!
We painted two coats of primer/paint again, same kind & color we used in method 1. Here is a picture of the finished project. Next we will be sharing how we lit this room up! We got rid of that lovely light (#sarcasm) in the middle of the room and installed recessed lighting. The room is so much brighter now!
In retrospect, it was soooooo much easier and only took about 30 minutes to do the room (excluding the painting). Also I like the look of the texture on the ceiling and it is definitely more forgiving than a smooth ceiling.. When the lights are on, you cannot really see the texture though. This picture shows a closeup of the textured ceiling.
If you are contemplating removing your popcorn ceilings, I would say go for it! It makes such a difference in your room. Like I mentioned, it looks much brighter and gives the illusion of taller ceilings! Here is a side by side comparison of the room we just did and the hallway that has to be done yet. Much better, right? Of course the lighting in the room is better but you can see how much brighter it looks! If you are wondering what is on the ceiling in the room, that is a monorail track that runs around the room. You will see that in a future post. 🙂
Just one other side note, our popcorn ceilings were not painted luckily. I have read that is not such an easy process if you have painted popcorn ceilings. However, method 2 would be an option you could do if you have painted ceilings. Do you feel inspired? Let me know if you have any questions.