Removing Your Popcorn Ceiling

Over the past few years, home improvement and do-it-yourself shows have absolutely exploded in popularity. Many trends and design fashions have appeared as a result of real-estate related programming. At the same time, many enemies of style have also been born and one of those enemies is the infamously unattractive and dated popcorn ceiling. 

Just say no to this faux finish headache!

Just say no to this faux finish headache!

The quick makeovers displayed on these programs have many homeowners placing local contractors on speed-dial. However, there are plenty of homeowners out there who like to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. This article is for those who are tired of looking at their popcorn ceilings and want nothing more than to look up and see a surface as smooth as ice.

So how does one get rid of their popcorn ceilings without creating a disaster area in the process and horribly scarring their ceiling for life? Trelora has easy answers for the ambitious homeowner. 

Toxic Test 

It should be like a no-brainer that removing this spray-on ceiling treatment will be an incredibly messy job. All necessary precautions should be taken beforehand. The first, and most important thing once must do, is test their ceiling for asbestos. If the home (and material within) is over 35 years old there is a chance it could be toxic and dangerous. Considering the process is messy and dusty beyond words, making sure the ceiling is asbestos-free will make sure that the lungs of those around the renovation will also remain asbestos-free. 

Room Prep

This job is dirty. Extremely and unforgivingly dirty. After removing every last item from the room, make sure to cover all surfaces in plastic sheets in an effort to keep dust contained. Otherwise, it will look as if a blizzard passed through your living room. This is a part of the project that should be taken very seriously. If not, dust will wedge itself into every nook and cranny of the house and will stick around for ages.

Spray Down

Using a garden sprayer or even a mist bottle, spray the ceiling with water evenly to let the ceiling texture get nice and wet. Let the water soak for 10-15 minutes so the popcorn gets relatively saturated and softens. Your ceiling doesn't need to be completely soaked, just damp, and the process shouldn't take more than a few minutes depending on the size of the surface space. The softer the popcorn, the easier it will be to remove in the next step. 


Here comes the fun! Use a large putty knife or ceiling texture scraper and start working those muscles. This is when the popcorn will start popping. With every swipe of the arm and scrape of the ceiling, the texture will become smoother. Scrape evenly throughout the entire ceiling and save the corners and moldings for a small putty knife. The process will leave the scraper feeling like they hit the gym without stretching. 

The whole process can be done relatively quickly and with little to no experience. Aside from the satisfaction felt from accomplishing an overdue upgrade, the room where the popcorn ceiling used to be will look larger and cleaner. Houses are like people and deserve fashion updates. Most people wouldn't let their friends walk around in an outfit from the 60s or 70s outside of a themed party. They should have the same respect for their homes.