Get Rid of The Popcorn Ceiling

Posted in: DIY | Painting

Popcorn Ceiling Removal

There’s little that dates a home more than a popcorn ceiling. The gravely, textured surface so popular in the ’80s is nothing more than an eye-sore to most modern homeowners.

And to add insult to injury, like so much ugly old wallpaper, it is not easy to get rid of. It’s like the ’70s and ’80s dropped their derelict brother in our lives.  And we’re left with an undesirable design style that we can’t get rid of all that  easily.

Popcorn ceilings not only date your home, they trap dust and gunk and are impossible to clean.  Getting rid of them is, indeed, a chore but it can be done by the DIY-er with a little patience and persistence.

But first before you evict the eyesore you’ve got to determine if asbestos is present. And if the home was built before 1979, it’s likely it is. Asbestos was widely used in construction until the early ’80s when it was banned due to health hazards it posed like cancer and respiratory disease.

It’s such bad stuff that it’s actually illegal to remove it improperly. And with a popcorn ceiling, you can’t even paint over it as using a roller over the gritty textured surface is likely to release as asbestos into the air.

What you must first do is test the ceiling for asbestos. There are local labs that will perform these tests for a song. And while an eyesore is an eyesore, your health is more important.  Get the ceiling tested and if it turns out that there is asbestos, you have got to either cover it with another spay on texture, trapping it or hire a professional asbestos abatement company to safely remove it from your home. And if you’re thinking resale in a few years, option two is a good investment. Once you know you have asbestos present, you’ve got to disclose in any real estate deal.

Now if your test does not show asbestos (and it’s often a good idea to test multiple spots on the ceiling), you’re in business.

The first thing you should do is clear the room. You’ll be glad you did. This is messy work. Shut off power to the lighting fixtures in the room at the breaker. Remove the lighting fixtures and cap and cover all exposed wiring. You’ll be wetting the surface and will want to avoid electric shock.

Guard the walls and floor with drop cloths and get yourself a nice large spray bottle filled with luke warm water. Moisten the surface with a light spray of water and scrape the “popcorn” with a wide blade putty knife.

It will take persistence but alternating your spray and scrape routine will get you to the finish nicely. Allow the ceiling to dry overnight and make repairs to any imperfections in the surface with joint compound, sanding to a nice even surface.

And with that you’ve pulled your ceiling kicking an screaming into the 21at century.

If you are looking for a Handyman Company in the Chicago area, please call Punch List at 773-935-7727 or click here to fill out our online request form


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