How to Take Popcorn Texture Off the Ceiling

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Popcorn textured ceilings were most popular in the 1970s and 1980s but can also appear in newer homes. This bumpy ceiling treatment is easy to apply and inexpensive and often covers up blemishes on the ceiling. If you're ready to get rid of your popcorn ceiling, there's no need to call in the professionals. You, indeed even the novice do-it-yourselfer, can quickly remove a popcorn ceiling.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic sheeting
  • Painter's tape
  • Empty garden sprayer
  • 6-inch putty knife
  • Rags
  • Protect the area you are working in with plastic sheeting to make clean up easier. Lay the sheeting down on the floor, then tape it all along the walls using painter's tape. Cover electrical outlets with plastic sheeting and painter's tape. Turn off the electricity to the room you're working in.

  • Fill an empty garden sprayer with warm water. Use a ladder to reach the ceiling and spray a 5 square foot section with the water. Make sure the section is completely wet, but don't saturate it.

  • Scrape off the popcorn texture with a 6-inch putty knife. Apply pressure to get off the texture but don't press too hard or you risk damaging what's underneath.

  • Continue this process, wetting a 5 square foot section then scraping off the popcorn, until all of the texture is removed. Spray more water on any spots that are tough to remove.

  • Wipe down the ceiling with a damp rag to remove any residue.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your home was built in 1986 or before, or if you suspect the popcorn texture was applied in 1986 or prior, scrape off a small layer of the popcorn texture and send it to an EPA certified lab for testing. Don't scrape off the entire ceiling until you're sure it does not contain asbestos as this can be extremely harmful to your health.
  • Wear protective eyewear and a dust mask on your face to avoid breathing in the dust from the texture and to keep dust out of your eyes.

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