Removing Texture from Walls

The walls in my (very old) house have a "popcorn" type texture on them, as does the ceiling. It is covered with many old coats of paint. What can I do to remove the texture? I've tried sanding, but went through 10 sheets of sandpaper and only managed to smooth a section approx. 2 ft. by 2 ft.. The paint just coats the sandpaper. Please help.


By Eviltwin617 from Houston, TX

April 23, 20090 found this helpful

Here are some hjelpful links I found on this subject. ... om+walls&ei=UTF-8&fr=hp-pvnb Robyn

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April 24, 20090 found this helpful

Try this method; cover your floor with a drop cloth or plastic. Spray the ceiling with water using a plain old spray bottle and let it soak up for a short time. Then use a wide putty knife and scrape it off. No dust this way.

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April 24, 20090 found this helpful

Yes, you'll have to saturate the ceiling with water first & let it sit, then re-saturate it again. I'd recommend buying a garden sprayer. They are under $15 & are easier to use than a spray bottle because you can spray upside down.

You should have the ceiling tested for asbestos. So don't sand before you know! But when it's wet & you scrape it off there is little risk. (but if it dries. Asbestos can go everywhere!) The pros came in in hazard suits to remove our ceiling popcorn! This is one messy job!

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April 27, 20090 found this helpful

What a mess you have on your hands. Please be sure and protect your lungs while you are doing this, wear a face mask and go outside often to get some fresh air. It wouldn't hurt to place a box fan in a window, blowing this outside as you work. I would get some plastic and cover your doorways and any electronics, furniture. You can staple the plastic around the doorways to seal off the room, you can fill in the little holes from the staples with wood filler when you are done. Or use masking tape to mask off the plastic around the door jambs.

I'm sure that all that old paint has hardened the popcorn texture. Usually when a room has a heavy texture like that, they are hiding blemishes. You are going to have a huge amount of work on your hands even after you get the texture scraped off. You will need to smooth out your walls and seams with drywall mud. I was going to recommend a floor scraper. But to be honest with you, this is what I would do. You say it's a older home anyway. I would gut the room, tear all of the sheet rock down, believe it or not, but it would really be less work and less mess to replace the old sheet rock.

You also need to inspect the wiring and the plumbing that is running through the walls. Recently my Mother-In-Laws home started springing leaks all through the house because the home is 35 years old and the copper is breaking down inside the walls. Drywall is 10.00 a sheet at Home Depot. Figure out how many sheets it would take to do your room and consider the work of trying to get that old popcorn down. Another good reason to replace the drywall is insulation. I would re-insulate the room, that will save on air conditioning and heating.

My husband and I do this type of work, we have a drywall and paint company. But we are located in Port O'Connor, where the fishing is great, I wish you well and please, once more, protect your lungs

Cheryl/ aka Stormy Seas

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April 27, 20090 found this helpful

I had popcorn ceilings. This is what I found out. Old popcorn ceilings often have asbestos in them & if they are fiddled with, some of the asbestos can break off. Asbestos the size of a nickel causes major problems. My husband has asbestosis from asbestos exposure. It is slowly killing him. You can have the ceiling tested. I chose to have my ceilings painted over. The painters were aware of the problems. Good luck with this. Please take care.

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April 27, 20090 found this helpful

Thanks everybody for all your tips. I've done some further research into my house. Turns out the house burned nearly to the ground in the early 80's, and was gutted and rebuilt, so I don't imagine I'm going to have any problems with asbestos. I guess if i didn't paint so often, maybe there wouldn't be so many layers of paint. (I've lived here 6 years and have probably painted every room once a year.)

I'm not too concerned with the ceilings, mainly the walls - as any time you put pictures on them or furniture against them, you end up scraping off bits of paint/texture medium and having little white polka dots all over the walls every time you re-arrange. I was just hoping to smooth down the walls to avoid this problem. (I'm kind of a "fiddler" -- I like to re-arrange my furniture fairly often.)

I am going to try the floor scraper/water bottle technique and see how it goes. I've done some taping and re-mudding before and it worked out fairly well. I know I can't afford to re-sheetrock the whole room, so I'll just do what I can and live with the results.

Thanks again, and if it turns out well, maybe I'll post some pics!

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April 27, 20090 found this helpful

I think what you need to do it dampen the ceiling and scrape off the texture...slow & tedious. That type of ceiling was blown on. You will have to retexture after removal. Wear protective goggles & face mask. Be prepared for lots of dust from texture. Good luck.

Gale from Calif.

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