Popcorn Textured Ceilings – It’s Time for You to Go!

Removing popcorn texture from ceilings is not for the faint of heart and should be a task that is planned and prepared for well. Removing textured ceilings can be one of the messiest jobs that you have ever done. Having fun while doing this job is something I have never come across. At Drywall Repairman in Vancouver, we have removed many types of textured ceilings and have tried many methods to remove ceiling texture.

Basically, we have come up with two types of texture removal method – Wet removal and dry removal

Wet Texture Removal

Wet texture removal is exactly as it sounds. You wet the ceiling area down with a garden sprayer or an airless spray machine filled with water, allow to soak and then with a scraper, carefully scrape off the texture to the bare drywall. Sounds simple….right! Not so fast. There are many things to consider before you start any process. The first thing to consider is whether the ceiling has been painted. How many times has it been painted and with what type of paint has it been painted. Without getting into great detail, the reason you want to know this is because it will determine how difficult a job it will be to remove the texture. More paint equals a more stubborn removal process. If it’s unpainted it will usually peel off like butter and if you are careful with the your scraping technique…reducing damage to the drywall and therefore reducing the need for excessive filling and patching.

This is where you will have to decide whether you will use the dry or wet method of texture removal. If your textured ceiling has been painted with many layers of latex paint, you can still remove it by soaking it with water. You will most likely have to give it a few coats until an adequate amount of saturation has occurred. Once your painted texture has been saturated well (small sections at a time) then it will come off with an added amount of elbow grease. If this is the case with your ceiling, you will find that maintaining a clean and an almost “ready to paint ceiling” is almost impossible and you may even find that you are hacking your drywall to bits. Don’t go there! At this point you may start to consider the dry textured ceiling method.

Dry Texture Removal

Your textured ceiling may have been painted many times throughout the years and if completely removed, will look like you are removing a layered cake from your ceiling. A lot of the paper from the drywall will come off with it, in the most uneven way, leaving you with instant feelings of regret. If this is the case it may be better to try the dry method. What does this method entail?

The first thing you will need is a stiff scraper or even better a floor scraper with a hard bit of steel on the end. The wider the blade on the floor scraper the harder it will be to do the job right. You only need a scraper of a maximum of 6 inched wide for this job. Floor scrapers with thin wide blades will not do for this job. A floor scraper with a 6 inch thick bit of steel on the end is ideal. With a floor scraper you can do all of your scraping from the ground on and average 8 foot ceiling. The goal of this method is not to take all of the texture off. We just want to knock down most of the texture until we get an orange peel look. Hey this may even be good enough for you and you can get into painting almost straight away. If you are determined to remove all evidence then you will have to follow the next step.

At this point I am hesitant to say that you should now skim fill the ceiling with drywall compound, but this is exactly what you have to do. From one end of the ceiling to the other. Use “Taping” compound because it has the most glue in it and is a little harder than finishing drywall compound. Do not over fill or fill in a messy haphazard way imagining that you’re just going to sand your lumpy ceiling down. This will never happen. you will end up in a psych ward before you sand a ceiling down in that condition. Whatever you skim on…..skim off, just like the Karate Kid. You are only trying to fill the voids. Keep the filling smooth at all stages of the filling. You may have to give the ceiling another coat of filling compound in the same manner.

Now comes the fun part…..sanding (I’m kidding). Yes the inevitable sanding. There is no escaping it. You of coarse have a quality dust mask or respirator that you have been using throughout the whole process….right! Do this room by room creating a home made negative pressure system. What’s that I hear you say! It’s when the airflow is constantly blowing out of the room, never allowing the dust to migrate into the rest of the house. I could explain it, but here is a clip instead –” Creating Negative Pressure”

Painting and Finishing Your Ceiling

Once you have sanded your ceilings down then you simply prime with a good quality sealer and finish with a low quality ceiling paint. What! did you say low quality? Yep! The more expensive the “Ceiling Paint” (usually) the shinier it is and the lower quality the ceiling paint the flatter the sheen. You can usually tell by lifting the pail of paint. If it’s light then i usually contains more latex resin (it’s light) and if it’s heavy, then it usually contains more fillers like clay that subsequently gives it a flatter sheen.

There is much more to removing textured ceilings that has been discussed in this article and over the following months I will be getting into various aspects of texture removal and drywall repair.

I hope this article has helped a little. If you live in the lower mainland and feel that you want a professional company to remove your ceiling texture, then please give Stavros a call – 604.961.4923

PS. We are also Asbestos Abatement Certified