Popcorn textured ceilings was a time-honored method of adding character to a ceiling or covering such imperfections as drywall taping inconsistencies—but not everyone loves the ridges and swirls of knock-down or the soft ripples of orange peel. Luckily, if you prefer flat surfaces, it is possible to get rid of an old textured finishs like popcorn, though this tends to be a messy, time-consuming project. Before you even put on your work clothes and pick up a scraper, you should get to know the two methods for how to remove popcorn texture from ceilings depending on whether or not your ceilings are painted. Call Drywall Specialist For A Free Popcorn Texture Removal Quote Today - Your NEXTDOOR, Near Me, A Hop Skip Jump Away!
- Popcorn texture that has never been painted can usually be removed with a soak-and-scrape process.
- Painted popcorn texture requires skimming the surface with drywall compound. Paint acts as a sealant against water, so soaking wouldn’t be effective very effective in softening the popcorn texture—we're better off covering up. The skimming process requires a fine touch, too, so you’ll need to be patient and allow a few hours, or more, per ceiling.
Your near me and we’re ready to roll up our sleeves, we’ve got the trainging to take your ceilings from textured to totally smooth. We will apply a level 5 finish, sand and touch up your ceilings, making them ready for primer and paint.
METHOD 1: We Soak and Scrape Unpainted Popcorn Texture
- To prep and protect the walls with 1 mil painters plastic.
We use plastic tarps to protect floors from wet drywall compound. We drape plastic all the way to the floor. We’ll clean and reuse of these tarps when we’re done.
- We then fill a pump sprayer with water and spray a portion of the ceiling evenly to soften the texture.
We may have to spray the area two or three times in order to saturate it sufficiently. We give it about 15 minutes of dwell time, then test the texture with a fingertip. When the popcorn texture is soft enough for you to rub it off all the way down to the drywall beneath, it’s time to scrape.
- We start with a 4'X4' area on the ceiling, scrape the softened popcorn texture then do another area.
We use 10-inch drywall taping knife. To remove popcorn texture without gouging the drywall, hold the blade approximately 30-degrees to the wall, and scrape in whatever motion feels most comfortable to you, using long slow strokes. If the knife meets resistance, stop; spray that area again and wait until the texture softens sufficiently.
- We continue spraying and scraping until we’ve removed all the texture.
It’s okay if thin smears remain on the wall; we’ll sand them off in the next step. Let the ceiling dry completely, which could take up to 24 hours, before proceeding.
- Sand the ceiling smooth using a drywall sanding pad, fitted with 100 grit drywall sanding screen.
Be sure to wear a dust mask because even small residual smears can create large amounts of drywall dust. It’s also a good idea to use a bright work light to illuminate the ceiling as you’re sanding so you can see tiny spots of compound. When your ceiling looks good under bright work lights, it will look amazing when it’s painted under normal light.
METHOD 2: Skim-Coat to Cover Up Painted Popcorn Texture
- Remove the crown molding from the ceiling.
Slipping a 2-inch steel putty knife behind the crown molding and gently prying it outward should do the trick. You may need to tap the head of the putty knife with a hammer to help wedge it between the crown mold and the ceiling in order to pry the crown molding off.
- We protect ourself and the rest of the room from falling wall texture.
We cover the floor with a canvas drop cloth (don’t use plastic as it can become slippery). Use 8'-wide (or wider) painter’s plastic to cover and protect walls. Wear protective eyewear and old clothing that you can discard when you’re done.
- Lightly sand the surface of the painted texture if the paint is glossy.
While the drywall compound you will be applying typically sticks very well to painted surfaces, it’s a good idea to smooth the surface as well as possible before floating and skim coating. In most cases, wall paint isn’t glossy and you’ll be able to skip this step.
- Wipe down the surface of the ceiling with clean damp rags.
This will remove any dust or dirt that might be on the ceiling, allowing you to start with a clean palette.
- We scoop approximately a half-gallon of premixed drywall compound into a five-gallon bucket and add water a little bit at a time.
Use a drill, fitted with a paddle bit, to blend the mixture until it reaches pancake batter consistency. Mix until it’s smooth and free of lumps. The actual amount you mix at one time isn’t as important as getting the right consistency. Once you get the hang of applying the compound, you may want to mix larger batches.
- We pour the thinned compound mixture into a large paint roller pan and roll it on the ceiling.
Saturate a thick-nap roller in the thinned compound and, using an extension pole if necessary, roll it evenly on the ceiling, starting at one side and working in two-foot-wide swaths. This is arduous and messy work—the roller will be heavy and compound will drip everywhere. Apply enough compound to generously cover the existing texture and smooth out the compound with a 12" mud knife.
- Note: It’s a good idea to recruit a helper at this point—one of you can roll the compound on the ceiling and the other can skim the surface smooth, as described in the next step.
- We smooth the wet popcorn texture with a 12-inch drywall taping knife, starting from one side of the area to the other.
Excess compound will build up on your knife as you go, so we hold a taping pan in our other hand and scrape the excess into the pan. Skimming is a learned technique, we develop the hand movement that works best for us as we go.
- We maintain a wet edge.
Just as in painting, you’ll get better results by not letting one swath of compound dry before you roll the next swath. Drywall compound has a tendency to harden and set if dry bits of compound come into contact with wet compound, so we work quickly, in no more than two-foot swaths, to keep from skimming wet compound over already dry areas.
- Note: We do not dump the excess compound you scrape from the ceiling back into our bucket of fresh compound. Dispose of it in another bucket and use only fresh compound as you skim.
- We let the compound dry completely, from 24 to 48 hours and, if necessary, apply a second skim coat.
Dry time will vary depending on the humidity in the room. A second coat is necessary on most textured ceilings to fill valleys and peaks of slap-brush texture, it will take a second coat to cover completely. If applying a second coat, do not sand between coats.
- We sand the completed ceiling smooth with drywall sanding sponges.
Using light pressure and sand in circles. We don’t use a drywall sanding pad because the surface is now 100 percent drywall compound, and the edges of a sanding pad are likely gouge and leave marks that will be visible under paint. Use bright work lights to illuminate the ceiling as you sand.
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