How to Change a Popcorn Ceiling to Flat or Textured


Popcorn ceilings were popular in the 1960s and '70s. They are a thick acoustical ceiling texture that often contain asbestos. Asbestos is dangerous when breathed in. Take a sample of the ceiling to a local EPA testing lab before beginning removal. If your sample comes back positive for asbestos, hire a professional to do the removal. Removal of popcorn ceilings is a dirty and time-consuming project. Covering your walls and furniture is necessary to prevent them from being damaged

Things You'll Need

  • Circuit tester
  • Plastic sheets
  • Scissors
  • Painter's tape
  • Newspaper
  • Rosin paper
  • Garden sprayer
  • 5-inch mudding knife
  • Primer
  • Paint tray
  • Paint roller
  • Dry texture
  • Bucket
  • Power mixer
  • Power texture sprayer
  • Turn off power to room from the main breaker box. Hold a circuit tester against each electrical outlet to make sure they are off. Spread a sheet of plastic over the floor. Cut rectangles of plastic with scissors and tape them over electrical outlets and light switches. Lift the edges of the floor plastic up the wall about 12 to 18 inches and tape it in place with painter's tape.

  • Tape off the walls about 1/4 inch lower than the ceiling with painter's tape. Lift sheets of plastic up to cover the walls. Hold the plastic sheets' top edges against the painter's tape. Place another strip of painter's tape over the top edges to hold the plastic sheets in place. Remove any light fixtures in the ceiling and stuff the hole with balled-up newspaper. Roll rosin paper across the floor.

  • Spray water onto a section of the ceiling with a garden sprayer. Use a 5-inch mudding knife to scrap the wet popcorn ceiling texture off the ceiling. Continue wetting sections and scraping them off until the entire ceiling is clear of the popcorn texture. Roll the rosin paper up and throw it away. Allow the ceiling to dry.

  • Pour primer into a paint tray. Use a paint roller to apply the primer to the ceiling. Allow the primer to completely dry. Stop here if you want a flat ceiling.

  • Pour dry texture into a bucket. Add water to the texture, following the manufacturer's directions. Stir the mixture using a power mixer. Wait 15 minutes and stir the mixture with the power mixer again.

  • Pour the mixture into a power texture sprayer's bucket. Lift the sprayer up to the ceiling and pull the trigger to dispense the texture. Spray the entire ceiling evenly as you slowly walk back and forth across the room. Allow the texture to dry according to the manufacturer's directions.

  • Remove the plastic covering the walls and floors. Pull the plastic rectangles off the electrical outlets and light switches. Remove the newspaper from the ceiling light fixtures and reinstall the fixtures. Restore electrical power to the room.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear protective eye wear and a face mask throughout this project.

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  • Photo Credit Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images
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