How to Remove a Popcorn Ceiling : Test Texture for Asbestos then Eliminate it and Re-Texture

Remove a Popcorn Ceiling
Michelle Tether
Written by Michelle Tether

How to Remove a Popcorn Ceiling

Sprayed popcorn ceilings became extremely popular in the ‘70s. Home building contractors enjoyed huge savings by spraying ceilings with a popcorn texture. Today, it’s fallen out of fashion. Homeowners want to remove their popcorn ceiling texture. Home builders are been going back to stomp and knockdown ceiling textures. Don’t jump into this project before reading this article.

Popcorn Ceiling

Popcorn Ceiling

Most Older Popcorn Texture Contains Asbestos

There is a very real risk involved if asbestos is an ingredient. Usually the older mixtures did include harmful levels of friable asbestos (will crumble under pressure, releasing asbestos fibers). Always get a sample tested by an asbestos testing laboratory. Always hire a professional asbestos abatement company if it tests positive. It’s just not worth getting mesothelioma.

Asbestos is particularly bad for smokers (the asbestos fibers stick to the tar), children, and pregnant women.

Tools and Materials

  • Ladder
  • Plastic sheets
  • Scraper
  • Pump-up sprayer
  • Hard hat, dust mask, and safety glasses

Prepare the Work Area

Remove all the furniture from the work area. Next, shut down heating and air conditioning. Remove air diffuser grills and flip the circuit breakers that control the ceiling fans, lights, and electrical outlets.

Remove any smoke alarms. Next, spread a layer of plastic on the floor. In larger rooms, overlap sheets without using tape. Hang sheet plastic in the doorways and case openings to keep any dust in this room and out of the others.

It’ll be necessary to use work lights and extension cords.

How to Remove a Popcorn Ceiling

How to Remove a Popcorn Ceiling by

Steps to Take if the Popcorn Ceiling isn’t Painted

If the popcorn ceiling hasn’t been painted, it will need to be sprayed down, section by section, with a water/liquid detergent mix using a pump-up sprayer. Use this ratio: one cup liquid detergent/five gallons tap water. Now spray the ceiling three times. The popcorn should be completely wet. This texture is very porous. It’ll absorb a surprising amount of water.

After fifteen minutes, climb the ladder and try to scrape a chunk off. It should come off easily. If not, spray it another time and test. When it falls off in clumps, start scraping the ceiling and guard against renegade clumps! Try not to gouge the sheetrock.

Steps to Take if the Popcorn Ceiling is Painted

If the popcorn ceiling is painted, it won’t absorb the water/liquid detergent mix. Proceed directly to scraping. Really try not to gouge the sheetrock. It’s going to be dusty, so use a respirator and safety glasses!

Wrap up the Demolition Debris

There’s going to be a lot of demolition debris, with or without the water. Bundle up the debris in the overlapped plastic. Tape the sheets closed and remove the bundles. As soon as the drywall is completely dry, do any drywall taping and floating. Apply the easy texture pattern of choice or use a texture tool. Finally, paint the ceiling and re-install everything!

About the author

Michelle Tether

Michelle Tether

I love everything home. I write as a passion for non profit about the things I love.