They are cheap and easy to install and can hide many imperfections, but popcorn ceilings are also outdated and tend to look dirty after a few years. Removing a popcorn ceiling (also known as a “cheesy” or “acoustic” ceiling) can be cumbersome and time consuming, but the right methods and tools can help you complete this tedious task quickly. Read on to learn how to use unexpected tools to craft popcorn and apply brand new textures.
While many popcorn ceilings are less than 40 years old, ceilings installed before 1978 may contain asbestos fibers. These old ceilings should be checked for asbestos by an asbestos restoration specialist. If the test is positive, the popcorn texture must be removed by a certified asbestos restoration contractor. If there is no asbestos, it’s time to start!
As it lifts off the ceiling, the wet texture of the popcorn sticks to everything it touches. Minimize cleaning by cleaning rooms, covering walls with plastic wrap, and covering floors with disposable plastic rags. Remove any existing ceiling lights and use masking tape to cover outlets and electrical junction boxes. If there are ceiling lights in the room, turn off the power in the room using the switch before starting. You will want to wear old clothes that you can get rid of later; If you don’t have old shoes that you’re ready to throw away after you use them, put a pair of disposable shoe covers over your shoes.
Fill a garden spray bottle with warm water and spray the entire ceiling. Let the water soak in for about 15 minutes to soften the texture, then test in a small area with a spatula. If it comes off easily when scratched, it can be removed; if it sticks, spray again and check after 15 minutes.
Textures that are stained at some point may require up to an hour of spraying and testing to soak in enough to be removed. However, the wait is worth it: the texture of popcorn is made up of tiny balls of foam immersed in soluble compounds and often crumbles when dry; it is enough to run your fingers over it to remove some brittle fibers. Not only is a damp ceiling easier and faster to clean, it also keeps the air free of clutter.
First, scrape off a large strip of texture around the perimeter of the ceiling. This will save you from later hitting the drywall tape running along the ceiling and tearing it with a knife. To remove grain without leaving streaks (which can happen if the ceiling is too dry or your strokes are random and you’re missing smudges), continue working in an area of about four feet square. Continue spraying the ceiling as needed to keep the texture moist and easy to remove.
Hold the 6″ Black & Silver® Flexible Knuckle (available from hydestore.com; $12.16) at a 45 degree angle to the ceiling and apply light pressure to release the popcorn texture. It is easily removed if sufficiently impregnated. The flexible blade works particularly well here because it bends slightly to fit the ceiling surface, allowing you to remove texture without scratching the drywall underneath.
It’s pretty standard practice to scrape the wet grain off the sheet and let it fall onto the plastic napkin underneath. Then when you’re done, you can peel off the plastic wrap, roll it all up, and throw it in the trash.
However, if you’re working on stairs and have a large trash can or even a cardboard box underneath, you can use a second punch knife, such as HYDE’s 24″ MAXXGRIP PRO punch knife (available at hydestore.com; ), to import it into socket. While you’re scraping off a chunk of popcorn with one hand, keep a 24-inch popping knife ready with the other hand to catch it as it falls. You can then carefully place the wet texture into a basket or box. Note that this procedure cannot be used if you are standing on the floor with a knife attached to the pole, as you will need to hold the pole with both hands.
Use a drywall sander to sand away any remnants of the old popcorn texture, then apply a white ceiling primer.
Don’t worry if your ceiling is now transparent but not completely smooth. When ceilings are designed to be covered in popcorn texture, builders can feel comfortable cutting corners, such as using uneven drywall panels or poorly taped seams, knowing these flaws will be hidden. A coat of regular paint won’t cover up the problem, but a new texture (that doesn’t look dated) can make the ceiling look more inviting. One of the most attractive types of ceiling textures called “composite” offers a smooth and partially stippled look.
Mix drywall mix and water well until the consistency of a thick pancake batter. Then spread it out evenly on a spare piece of plywood or drywall as a trial run – creating a consistent and pleasing texture takes some practice, after all!
Let it dry for a few minutes, then smooth out the still damp textured tip with the 18″ or 24″ MAXXGRIP PRO Knockdown Knife (available at hydestore.com; starting at $24.44). Do not press, but barely touch the tip of the wet composition, leaving attractive bumps and peaks of the composition on the ceiling. For best results, keep the movements as light as a feather.
Once you’re confident that you can create nice textures on a test board, it’s a good idea to hire a helper. Your assistant can texture the ceiling with a sponge, or you can do it with a knockout knife. Try to work within four square feet from one side of the ceiling to the other. Be quick and don’t rest until the entire ceiling is done. You’ll want to keep the edges between sections moist for a smooth and professional finish.
This content is paid advertising created in collaboration with Hyde Tools. Facts and opinions taken from BobVila.com.
Post time: Aug-07-2023