How to Remove a Popcorn Ceiling

To attempt popcorn ceiling removal, some safety precautions need to be taken into consideration first. One of these is that some textures that were used before the 1980s may contain asbestos, so it is a good idea before beginning to have a small amount of the ceiling texture tested prior to beginning your project.

The EPA website can be checked for this. Any material containing over 1% of asbestos, by law, requires professional removal; below this level, make sure you wear an appropriate respirator and clothing.

Another problem when removing a popcorn ceiling is where the textured material has been painted over. A paint stripper may be needed for breaking down the paint barrier. You can work this out by spraying a small section with water. If it soaks in, then the ceiling hasn’t been painted.

The next step in popcorn ceiling removal is the equipment you will need. This will include appropriate clothing, a respirator or dust mask, eye protection, hair covering, plastic sheeting, rags for wiping, painters tape, drywall joint tape and compound, liquid dishwashing soap, a pump-up sprayer, a very wide scraper, about 6″ or more, a putty knife and a mesh sanding pad.

To begin, cover all the electrical outlets with waterproof plastic and painter’s tape, remove any furniture and cover the walls and floor with the plastic sheeting and also turn the power off and cover any vents, etc.

You are now ready to start your popcorn ceiling removal. Take a look at four tips that will help with the removal of the popcorn ceiling and also prevent unwanted damage to the ceiling from the removal process.

  1. Hot Water in a Spray Bottle

Popcorn ceiling, when dry, is one of the hardest elements to scrap off; it can take a lot of strength and endurance for even the smallest room. Try using warm water in a spray bottle to saturate the area you want to remove the popcorn ceiling from; once large wet portions of the popcorn ceiling can be very easily removed with even a plastic scrapper. The wet solution can be very hard to remove from flooring; therefore, you should place a large plastic sheet down to catch the scrapings.

  1. Use a Plastic Scraper

Although a metal scraper makes removing the popcorn ceiling almost effortless when wet, it also has large potential to make dents in the ceiling. Plastic scrapers work nearly as well as metal scrapers; they also do not make dents nearly as easy. The reason chipping is such a problem is that making the repairs to those chipped spots before repainting can be a huge inconvenience.

  1. Seal All Doorways and Windowsills

The dust that is produced from the falling popcorn ceiling pieces can become immense and very messy. The biggest problem that I have encountered in the past was all the dust from the popcorn ceiling finding its way all around the house; in order to prevent this, I would suggest taping some plastic wrap to windowsills and doorways to make cleanup much easier. Taking the extra time to protect the floor, furniture, and windowsills can make the difference between an easy cleanup and a messy long, expensive cleanup.

  1. Wear a Heavy Duty Dust mask, plastic gloves, and a Hairnet

Wearing a hairnet and a dust mask may seem silly however the dust from the popcorn ceiling can irritate the lungs and make it hard to breathe. The hairnet will help keep your hair clean from the falling debris that would otherwise take a long time of scrubbing to get out. The cleaner you stay during the removal, the easier it will be to scrape more off; the popcorn ceiling residue can plaster your hands as well and weigh them down. I would suggest purchasing multiple pairs of disposable plastic gloves.

Try not to put too much water on the drywall as this may cause damage to the surface. To finish up, fix any screws or nails that are visible, cover them afterward with the drywall compound, replace damaged drywall tape and repair any affected joints with the drywall compound. Allow this to dry, then apply a light sanding to finish up.

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