DIY: How to Remove a Popcorn Ceiling

To attempt popcorn ceiling removal some safety precaution need to be taken into consideration first. One of these is that some textures that were used before the 1980s may contain asbestos, so it is a good idea before beginning to have a small amount of the ceiling texture tested prior to beginning your project, the EPA website can be checked for this. Any material containing over 1% of asbestos, by law requires professional removal, below this level make sure you wear an appropriate respirator and clothing. Another problem, is where the textured material has been painted over, a paint stripper may be needed for breaking down the paint barrier. You can work this out by spraying a small section with water, if it soaks in then the ceiling hasn’t been painted.

The next step in popcorn ceiling removal is the equipment you will need. This will include appropriate clothing, a respirator or dust mask, eye protection, hair covering, plastic sheeting, rags for wiping, painters tape, drywall joint tape and compound, liquid dishwashing soap, a pump up sprayer, a very wide scraper about 6″ or more, a putty knife and a mesh sanding pad. To begin cover all the electrical outlets with waterproof plastic and painters tape, remove any furniture and cover the walls and floor with the plastic sheeting and also turn the power off and cover any vents etc.

You are now ready to start your popcorn ceiling removal. Put your safety gear on, and in a gallon of water mix 2 or 3 tablespoons of liquid dishwashing soap, then fill the pump up sprayer and spray sections of the ceiling. You will then need to wait about 15 to 20 minutes for it to penetrate. Then using the scraper work the texture off, being careful not to put gouge marks in the ceiling underneath. Re spray if it doesn’t want to come off and remove any extra residue with the putty knife. Try not to put too much water on drywall as this may cause damage to the surface. To finish up fix any screws or nails that are visible covering them afterwards with the drywall compound, replace damaged drywall tape and repair any affected joints with the drywall compound. Allow this to dry then apply a light sanding to finish up.

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