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How to Remove Popcorn Ceiling

How to Remove Popcorn Ceiling
Popcorn ceilings look unsightly when they become old and get damaged due to patches. In these cases their removal becomes a necessity. This article will guide you with the simple steps on how to remove popcorn ceiling.
Mayuri Kulkarni
Popcorn ceilings were popular during 1960s. However, these days, they are not so much in trend as not many people like them. Removing popcorn ceiling is an easy, but messy, job as it contains asbestos, which can cause health problems. For this reason, one should always ensure whether the ceiling contains asbestos before removing it.
How to Check Whether the Popcorn Ceiling Contains Asbestos
Use a spray bottle or a pump sprayer that contains water. Spray some water on four different small portions of the ceiling. Scrape out the small patches of these moistened portions with the help of a putty knife and put these samples into separate polythene bags. Send these samples to the lab to verify if the ceiling contains asbestos.
Steps to Remove Popcorn Ceiling
If your popcorn ceiling does not contain asbestos, you can remove it by yourself. The equipment you will require for the same are given below:
  • Spray bottle or pump sprayer
  • Masking or plastic papers
  • Safety goggles
  • Trowel or wall scraper or putty knife
  • Ladder
Following are the steps you will have to follow for removing the ceiling:
  • Preparation:
    There are a lot of tasks that you need to do before starting the actual removal of the popcorn ceiling. Given below are some of the prerequisites:
    1. Shift all the furniture of the room to another room.
    2. Ensure that all the power supplies of the room are switched off.
    3. Cover the walls with a 2-inch thick plastic sheet and the floor with masking or contractor's paper.
    4. If there are any fan and light fixtures on the ceiling, remove them.
    5. To ensure safety, cover the electricity outlets with duct tapes.
  • Moistening:
    Once you are done with all the preparatory steps, you can start with spraying water on the ceiling. You can use a spray bottle or a garden pump sprayer for the same. Do not wet all the ceiling at once. Instead, work with sections of the ceiling (5 feet by 5 feet area recommended). See that you do not over-wet the ceiling. Water will help loosen the adhesive bond, and the scraping process will be easy.
  • Scraping:
    Wait for 15 minutes after spraying water and let the water get soaked properly into the ceiling. Before you start the removal of popcorn ceiling, wear a goggle and a mask. Use a ladder to reach the ceiling. Ensure that you use a standard mask that is usually used for paint removal and has filters. Scrape the ceiling with the help of a trowel, scraper, or knife. See that you do not damage the seam while scraping the ceiling. Scrape it lightly and drag your tool along the popcorn. Scraping becomes easier if the air in the room is dry, as against when it contains moisture. Similarly, remove the popcorn from the remaining part of the ceiling.
  • Repairing the New Ceiling:
    Once you finish off with the removal of popcorn from every part of ceiling, sand the ceiling using a pole sander. Repair the minor damages due to scraping. Fill the patches and rough spots created during sanding or scraping. Apply skin coats of joint compound to fill in the low spots, if any. Apply prime coats and paint the ceiling with required color scheme that will match the walls. Now, clean all the mess and roll up the contractor's paper laid on the floor. Remove the plastic sheets from the wall very carefully.
So, popcorn ceiling removal is not difficult and you have to devote just a day for it. However, it is important that you ensure whether there is asbestos in it.
NOTE: It is strictly recommended that if your popcorn ceiling contains asbestos, you should hand over the task of removing it to a professional.
Old wall scraper for construction
painter painting ceiling with paint roller