Popcorn may be great during a movie, but popcorn ceilings in a home you’re trying to sell (or trying to buy) is not so entertaining.
What are popcorn ceilings?
Popcorn ceilings, also known as an acoustic ceiling, is a spray- or paint-generated treatment found in older residential homes.
Extremely pervasive in the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s, for its low price and easy-to-apply process, popcorn ceilings often included asbestos, a common element found in paint and textured compounds installed in home ceilings prior to 1980, when it was banned, for safety reasons, by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Aside from the safety issue, these old-school ceilings are often deemed by home contractors, real estate professionals and many buyers as a low-quality product – one that can negatively impact a home values.
How to Remove a Popcorn Ceiling
Once it’s determined that there is no asbestos in your popcorn ceiling, you can start preparing to remove the ceiling yourself.
Start with the right tools for the job. You’ll need two-to-three-millimeter plastic sheeting to cover the walls, along with plenty of six-millimeter plastic sheeting to cover the floor.
You’ll also need rosin paper, a putty knife, cloth rags, duct tape and drywall tape, dishwashing liquid, a spray bottle, a scraper, a dust mask, protective work clothing and eye safety glasses.
Next, take the following steps to remove a popcorn ceiling:
Step 1: Room Preparation
After the room is cleared of furniture, take your plastic drop sheets and cover the floor and the walls. The plastic sheets are preferable to canvas covers as water will soak through the canvass and may damage your floors.
Step 2: Remove lighting fixtures and fans
It’s tough to work around ceiling fans and light fixtures, so it’s best to remove them.
Step 3: Spray the ceiling with water
Take your spray bottle and add water and dishwasher liquid (about two tablespoons should do the trick) and pump the mixture onto the ceiling as a mist, spreading it evenly and gently across the ceiling in small four-feet-by-six-feet increments. Give the mixture 10-15 minutes to dry and ensure the popcorn ceiling has softened the ceiling substance to the point where it can be easily scraped off. Note that if the ceiling is painted it might be best to bring a professional in to “dry scrape” the ceiling, which is a more complex and time-consuming process.
Step 4: Start scraping
Take your scraping tool (putty knife) – one with a wide blade is best, to cover more ground – and carefully scrape the popcorn substance off of the ceiling. Scrape it softly enough so you don’t damage the drywall underneath, but firmly enough to scrape the substance away. If the popcorn substance doesn’t come off easily, wet the specific area, wait 15 minutes, and try again. A putty knife should be used to scrape hard-to-get-to places like ceiling corners and corners.
Step 5: Remove nails & Debris
Remove or hammer in any protruding nails and seal them with joint compound. Then sand the ceiling after it dries out. Be careful not to sand the ceiling with rough sand paper. Try using 220 or 120 grit sand paper. Use a Shop-Vac to remove any excess water and loose debris before removing the plastic sheets protecting the room.
Step 6: Consider hiring a local contractor close to Boca Raton, FL
When you hire a professional to do the job, your work is generally done and your popcorn ceiling is removed. You won’t have to deal with the mess or sore shoulders from the job. You will likely need to clear the room, although contractors will do it for you – at an additional cost. Before hiring a professional, always check references. Also, meet the contractor first to make sure you are comfortable with them.