This house definitely didn’t come with my favorite kind of popcorn. I’m a huge popcorn fan. Just not THIS kind of popcorn. It was in every room. On every ceiling. Even in the closets. The popcorn ceilings had to go!
You know exactly what I’m talking about don’t you. The popcorn ceilings (or cottage cheese) was popular for many many years. And here’s a warning……if the ceiling was applied before 1979 it probably contains asbestos. That’s an important little tidbit to know if you’re thinking of removing it. Asbestos is NOT something to mess with. Get the professionals for this job.
In my case our house was built in 1990 and did not contain asbestos. My house had the popcorn texture that had the little styrofoam balls in it. Thank the Lord! Removing the popcorn ceilings was MY DIY project since Eric was a little busy dealing with the black mold. You can read about that here.
Since we were gutting most of the house and all of our belongings were currently in storage, now was the perfect time to scrape off all of the popcorn ceiling texture.
Tools for Removing Popcorn Ceilings
- plastic for draping the walls – I prefer .5 mil plastic
- tarps for the floors – (unless you are getting new flooring)
- garden pump-up sprayer – 2 gallon size
- 6″ putty knife
- safety glasses
- old ballcap
- ladder or scaffolding
This is a messy, sloppy, wet project! You can’t say I didn’t warn you. And the slop gets on everything in the room.
Since I was planning on repainting all of the walls, I did not drape them with plastic. But, unless you don’t mind painting, tape large sheets of plastic to all of the walls. Tape it just below the ceiling line. Make sure the plastic goes all the way to the floor. You’ll thank me for this later.
Also, since I had torn all of the carpeting out of our fixer upper, I didn’t care about getting the mess on the sub-floors. But you? Yea, cover them with large plastic tarps. You don’t want the water soaking through a cloth drape cloth. You’ll thank me for this too.
And one more thing……..you’re thinking that you don’t need a garden sprayer. You’re thinking that you’ll save money (less than $20) and you’ll use the hand held spray bottle that you picked up at Home Depot for $2. Believe me, you’ll want the pump-up sprayer. Unless you don’t want to use your hand for the next couple of days. Trust me on this! Yes, I did try using the spray bottle……bad move! lol
Once you’ve protected every surface of the room, except for the ceiling, you’re ready to get to work. Fill the sprayer with warm water. Spray the ceiling until it’s dripping. Seriously. That’s why you want to wear the old baseball cap; the one you don’t care if you ever wear again. Now spray the ceiling again, cause you probably didn’t get it wet enough to start with.
Here’s the hardest part……let it sit for 10 – 15 minutes. I mean it! You want the water to do the hard work for you. You want to spray enough water for it to really soak into the texture. I never wait long enough. If you don’t get it wet enough or let it sit to absorb the water the texture doesn’t come off cleanly.
Now, climb up on the ladder or scaffolding (or old chair! lol). Use the 6″ putty knife and scrape the texture off. Think of it as scraping frost off your windshield with long smooth strokes. If the texture is wet enough, the stuff will come right off. Well…..it’s more like…..Plop! Plop! Plop! What if it’s not coming off easily? You guessed it…… use more water. Be careful to not get the putty knife under the sheetrock seam tape. You want the tape to stay in place on the ceiling.
Don’t be surprised if the ceiling isn’t perfect when you’re done. It was never perfect. That’s why the texture was applied in the first place. There may (and probably will) need to have some repair work done. (Or not!)
Once you’ve removed all the popcorn, you can take down the plastic from the walls. Unless you’re going to prime and paint the ceiling tomorrow. Then you might want to leave it up. When it came time to clean up the floors, I used an old broom and a snow shovel. If you used tarps, you can fold them up, drag them out of the house and hose them off.
Now go take a shower. You’ve earned it.
Oh, and my favorite kind of popcorn?……caramel.