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How to Remove Popcorn Ceilings

calander Feb 17 , 2020 user-icon Nash Painting

Does your home or business still feature popcorn ceilings? While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this bumpy design choice, it’s undoubtedly outdated. More importantly, though, if your popcorn ceilings date back to the 80s or even further, they might harbor asbestos. So, whether you want to update your interior’s look, make it safer, or simply get it up to code (or all three), it’s high time to remove those popcorn ceilings.

But before you break out your tools, know that proper popcorn ceiling removal isn’t as easy as just scraping off the material. A lot of preparation is involved to maximize safety, minimize mess, and prepare your ceiling for a new coat of paint. Let’s discuss how to remove popcorn ceilings the right way.

It Starts with Inspection

As previously mentioned, popcorn ceilings installed before the 1990s may contain asbestos. Removing a popcorn ceiling with asbestos is a serious health hazard, so it’s important to cover your bases and have the texture professionally inspected before moving forward. If you’re hiring a ceiling painting and removal company to get rid of your popcorn ceilings, see if they’re certified to inspect them for asbestos to save some time and money. If asbestos is found, you’ll need to hire an asbestos abatement specialist to do the job safely.

Prepare As You Would for Interior Painting

If your ceilings do not contain asbestos, you or your contractors are clear to move forward with the removal process. You’ll want to properly prepare the space just as interior painting contractors do before painting a room. This means taking out furniture and decorative features, laying down and securing drop cloths (enough to cover the entire floor), and covering surfaces you want to protect (in this case walls, fixtures, windows, etc.). Taking the time to prepare your interior will ensure that the dust from the ceiling doesn’t end up on your surfaces. It’s also a good idea to open up some windows so the ceiling dust can exit the property rather than linger and reduce the room’s air quality.

Gear Up

Next, make sure your or your local painters/removal contractor is equipped with the proper safety gear and tools for the job. You’ll need a facemask or respirator to protect your lungs, and safety goggles to keep dust out of your eyes. In addition to the proper safety wear, you’ll also want to have a sturdy ladder that allows you to reach the ceiling, as well as a popcorn ceiling scraper, extension pole, putty knife, and spray bottle filled with warm water and a small amount of dish soap.

Wet the Ceiling

This step is optional, but wetting the ceiling can make it easier to remove the popcorn texture. Spray the ceiling with the warm water and dish soap mentioned above and then let it rest for about 20 minutes to allow for thorough absorption.

Scrape Away

Now, it’s time to actually start removing the popcorn ceiling material with your scraper (attached to the extension pole). Smaller sections near corners, edges, and around fixtures should be carefully scraped with a small putty knife. There will be plenty of dust and debris as your scrape, but it will either land on your drop cloths and plastic coverings or get sent out the window (see how important proper prep is?).

Sand, Repair, and Paint

No matter what you think of popcorn ceilings, they do a good job of hiding surface imperfections. So, after all of the texture has been removed, your ceiling will reveal all of its problems. Plus, parts of your ceiling might get scraped during the removal process. The final step, then, is to fix up these flaws using drywall finishes. Once these repairs have dried, sand your ceiling until it’s smooth. Then, you can commence painting your ceilings to make them look brand new.

Removing your popcorn ceilings takes some effort, but the results are worth it, especially if you take your time and prepare accordingly. If you need help scraping away those ceilings and/or applying a new coat of paint, hire the Nashville painting company that does it all. To learn more about Nash Painting, our services, and our values, call us at (615) 829-6858 today!