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Popcorn ceilings, also known as textured ceilings, were all the rage in the mid-20th century for their unique appearance and noise-dampening qualities. However, in recent years, they’ve become more of an eyesore, leading many to consider removing them altogether. Yet, not everyone has the time, budget, or energy to tackle this daunting task. Instead, let’s dive into the various methods you can use to repair, patch, or even rejuvenate your popcorn ceiling without removing it completely.


Why Holes Appear in Your Ceiling

Before we dive into repair strategies, let’s consider the root causes of those pesky holes. Holes can develop in a textured ceiling for several reasons, including:

  • Water damage: Leaks from above can weaken the ceiling and cause holes.
  • Accidental impact: A stray basketball, a poorly aimed bottle, or furniture moving mishaps.
  • Pest infestation: Yes, mice can chew holes in ceilings, among other critters.
  • Aging and general wear: Time isn’t kind to popcorn ceilings; they can develop cracks and holes over time.


Fixing Holes in a Textured Ceiling

When it comes to repairing holes in a textured ceiling, a few key steps are essential:

  1. Identify the hole’s source: Before repairing, ensure there’s no underlying problem, like a water leak or pest infestation. Fix those first.
  2. Clean the area: Remove any loose or damaged ceiling material around the hole.
  3. Use a ceiling patching compound: For small holes, you can use polyfilla or another plaster-like compound to fill in the gap.
  4. Re-texture the patched area: This is the tricky part. You need to match the existing texture to maintain a consistent look. Consider using a spray-on texture or applying texture with a sponge or brush.
  5. Paint over the patch: Once the patch has dried and is textured to match, you can repaint it to blend with the rest of the ceiling.


Water-Damaged Textured Ceiling

Water damage is particularly concerning, as it can indicate ongoing issues. If your textured ceiling shows signs of water damage, here’s what you can do:

  • Dry the area: Ensure the ceiling is completely dry before repairing.
  • Remove damaged material: If parts of the ceiling are soft or sagging, carefully cut them away.
  • Patch and re-texture: Use a similar approach as above to fill the hole and reapply texture.
  • Check for mold: Water damage can lead to mold growth, so take precautions and ensure the area is free from mold before sealing it up.

Can You Plaster a Textured Ceiling?

Yes, you can plaster a textured ceiling, but it’s not the same as traditional smooth plastering. Applying plaster to a textured ceiling requires skill to maintain the existing texture. It’s more common to use spray-on texture or other texturing methods to cover and blend patches or damage.

Skim Coating and Plastering Techniques

Skim coating can give your textured ceiling a smoother finish without complete removal. This process involves applying a thin layer of joint compound to even out the surface. While it doesn’t fully remove the texture, it can make the ceiling appear more modern and less intrusive.

Plastering a textured ceiling can be done, but it requires a professional touch. If you’re looking to make significant changes to your ceiling’s texture, it’s best to consult a plastering expert or hire a ceiling repair service.

Repairing Popcorn Ceilings Without Removing Them

If you’re not ready to remove your popcorn ceiling, there are still ways to improve its appearance:

  • Patch and re-texture: As mentioned earlier, this involves filling holes and reapplying texture.
  • Add decorative elements: Consider adding crown molding or other ceiling decorations to draw attention away from the popcorn texture.
  • Repaint with care: A fresh coat of paint can make a significant difference. Be sure to use a paint that’s suitable for textured surfaces.
  • Install ceiling tiles: If you want to cover the popcorn ceiling without removing it, ceiling tiles are a great option.

Cost and Considerations

The cost of patching a hole in a textured ceiling varies depending on the size of the hole and the complexity of the texture. Simple patch jobs may cost under $100, while more extensive repairs can range into the hundreds. Professional services are recommended for large or complex repairs.


Whether you’re patching a small hole or dealing with water damage, the key to repairing a textured ceiling is patience and attention to detail. Matching textures can be challenging, but with the right tools and techniques, you can restore your ceiling to its former glory—or even give it a modern twist. Remember, when in doubt, don’t hesitate to consult with a professional. Good luck, and happy repairing!