How to easily remove popcorn ceiling DIY

When renovating an old home, you might find that it has this bumpy textured ceiling, known as a popcorn ceiling. Any popcorn ceiling installed before 1980 might contain asbestos. This is a toxic substance and a known cause of lung cancer. If the house is older than 1980, contact your local health department and ask about getting a sample tested before trying to remove it. 

One thing you will notice watching the video is the giant mess it can create. Use a drop cloth to protect the floor, and any other items you don’t want to find plaster dust on later. 

I find that old sheets work great as a drop cloth and can be shaken out after and saved for later. 

A great way to protect a mounted large screen TV is to use an old duvet cover. Slip the cover over the tv and try and cover as much of the wall mount as possible. 

Once everything has been protected you are ready to remove the popcorn ceiling! Here are a few tools you will need. 

Tools needed for removing a Popcorn ceiling

There are a lot of mixed recommendations on removing popcorn, some suggest your spray first then scrape. I prefer and recommend that you dry scrape and leave out the water spray step all together. I have tried this method and find it just leaves the dry wall underneath all soggy and didn’t really make the removal process any easier.

Cover your eyes and wear a mask to prevent pieces of popcorn or plaster debris from flying into your eyes, mouth or noes. Gloves will help provide a layer of protection as you might develop blisters or soreness in the palm of your hand after scraping for a while.

Use the sharp corner of the putty knife to get underneath the popcorn and begin lifting it up enough to slide the entire knife under. Once you have accomplished this you can begin scraping away!

After the popcorn ceiling has been removed, make sure to touch up any spot in the ceiling that may need some plaster or along the edge of the ceiling where you might have lifted up the ceiling tape. The key to a great finished ceiling is you want everything to be smooth.

I recommend cleaning up the popcorn before you move onto sanding, as the sanding will create a huge mess that will be easily vacuumed if all the large popcorn pieces have been removed first.

Sand using a ceiling sander to smooth out any of the plaster that existed beneath the popcorn so you have a smooth finish to paint. I recommend a simple hook and loop sander such a pole sander for this job. The sandpaper just sticks to the bottom and can be easily removed and replaced.

Once you are done sanding you are ready to paint ! I recommend this Behr stain blocking paint and primer ceiling paint. I have found you can use one coat of paint and get great results. It’s also easy to find and will cost you around $30 a gallon.

Happy Popcorn removal !