Removing Popcorn Ceilings

I live in a manufactured (double-wide) home. I want to remove the popcorn ceilings and paint them. I've seen remodel projects on HGTV, etc., but they never seem to explain the process. Do any of you have the directions?


February 10, 20090 found this helpful

My understanding is that spraying water on it will soften it and allow it to be scraped away. If it is oil based paint though it might be more difficult. But you just have to take it more slowly and get a start to it any way you can and then spray the edge of the popcorn, not the actual surface, thus getting water UNDER the surface of the oil based paint. Messy messy job and not at all easy on the arms and neck. You are to be commended to even start. Sometimes the popcorn is there for a good reason, i.e. a bad drywalling job in the first place. Putting up firring strips and then a thin and therefore light in weight wallboard to begin anew is not a bad idea. Good luck!

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February 10, 20090 found this helpful

On Sell This House on A&E, they sprayed water on it and the popcorn came right off. They used a wide putty knife to take it off. they started with a hand-held spray bottle of water, but in the end the homeowner got the hose and sprayed the water on the ceiling with the hose. It was much quicker that way. Of course, they had plastic drop cloths over all the walls and the floors.

good luck,

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February 9, 2009 Flag
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How do I remove a popcorn ceiling that was painted with semi gloss paint?

Kellie from San Diego, CA


Removing Texture from Popcorn Ceilings

Professional painters scrape the "popcorn" down, then resurface or re-smooth the ceiling. It is a lot of messy work but if you want to do it, I would go to an established paint store (not a place like Lowe's) and ask for directions and recommendations on products you will need. (07/13/2007)

By DownSouth

Removing Texture from Popcorn Ceilings

I don't know if it would work with semi-gloss paint, but we removed the popcorn texture from our kitchen ceiling painted with ceiling paint.


First, you need to clear everything out of the way and put down plastic, as it is messy!

Spray the ceiling with water. You can use a spray bottle, but it's hard on the hands. Or you can buy a NEW pump-style sprayer used to spray insecticides & stuff(get a new one, DON'T use one that has had chemicals in it!). Anyway, you want to get the texture wet, but not dripping wet-experiment, cause if you get it too wet, you'll damage the wallboard on the ceiling when you start scraping.

Then you just scrape the texture off with a paint scraper or the wide kind used to spread wallboard "mud".

After that, wipe the residue off with a damp rag & you are done.

Before you do it, be sure you don't want that stuff up there. The texture covers up the lines that are usually left after they 'tape & mud' the ceiling, it will really show up if you just paint over it. (07/14/2007)

By lyonpridej


Wat a job. My husband is a painter and he said to make sure that your popcorn does not contain any asbestos before you start to take it down. There is a certain way to do this and dispose of it properly. Usually it is popcorn that has been there for over 30 years. Please call your local Paint store to find out. (07/18/2007)

Removing Texture from Popcorn Ceilings

It's really easy. When we bought our house it was everywhere... so 80's! Just get a spray bottle with hot soapy water and really spray a lot in a certain area. wait a few minutes and start scraping. Then do another area. It is messy and time consuming but it'll work. Don't spend money on products, this work great. Make sure the water is always "hot" and soapy. Good Luck! (07/19/2007)

By Soly

Removing Texture from Popcorn Ceilings

We have the same problem. The people talking about spraying water on the ceiling don't understand that most popcorn is not painted. It's usually sprayed on an already painted ceiling. Once it's been over painted it's tough to remove. Scrapers don't work. Water doesn't work. I used a hot steamer to break up the paint first. Home Depot has recently been stocking these for paint stripping. I followed this by using a razor scraper like a painter would use to clean paint off glass to separate the paint from the ceiling. It peels the steamed paint popcorn mixture off like peeling an apple. Problem is that now you have a gouged ceiling as its impossible to not dig in with your razor scraper.

Additionally the popcorn was used as an alternative to a good finishing job, meaning your seams will probably show. A lot of people don't know it, but sheet rock begins dropping in thickness closer to the edges. This is to compensate for the taping at the seams. Problem is that your mud job was probably not done thoroughly and this drop in thickness will show upon painting.

You will have to now buy the thinnest drywall skim coat mud possible, trowel it on both the gouges and over the seams For trowing the mud, use the widest disposable mud trowel (about a foot or more wide.) This will bridge the sheet rock where it is beveled. Now buy a sanding pole and sandpaper, then sand off. You may have to repeat this process. Then you can paint! This is unbelievably labor intensive. I did one room and am now looking for an alternative. Good Luck. (02/17/2008)

By Art

Removing Texture from Popcorn Ceilings

The issue as to whether yu have asbestos in your ceiling is very important. You don't want to end up with Mesothelioma (first symptoms are inability to spell and then a bad cough) because you ignored it. You can probably see the asbestos in it if you look closely or start calling professionals about this. If you have it you may want to just sheet rock over the cling and have it finished. Also, Armstrong is making some ceiling tiles that look like old stamped ceilings, or even planking that are made to go right over the popcorn. I may go this route myself as the Painted Popcorn seems to have no easy answer. "Cough Cough"

By Art

Removing Texture from Popcorn Ceilings

I tried and nothing work. My popcorn ceiling was seal with a oil base ceiling paint. Half came out due to too much moister from shower. The other half wouldn't budge. I don't have asbestos in mine. I ended up painting the other half with staple in the paint. It doesn't look good at all. I'm going to have to sand. Messy messy work. (03/12/2008)

By Carole

Removing Texture from Popcorn Ceilings

First, put up firring strips and ceiling tile. Fill/smooth seams with joint compound. Then paint etc. I did this 20 years ago over an awful ceiling and it's holding up well and takes repainting well. Or, put up new wall board or panelling. Anything seems easier than wetting and scraping above your head! (01/02/2009)

By Polly G

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In This Article
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Removing a Popcorn Ceiling
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