5 Easy Steps to Get Rid of Popcorn Ceilings

March 25, 2022


Popcorn ceilings were popular in the 70s in almost all residential homes, characterized by the rough texture. Individuals loved them since they seemed cheaper to install. This is because the owners just needed one coat of paint; there was no need to hide any imperfections before painting since the texture will patch all the holes and cracks.

Unfortunately, popcorn ceilings fell out of style since they attract a lot of dust and cobwebs, which may make your home unattractive. This is why homeowners are looking for ways to remove this kind of ceiling, which can be difficult and time-consuming.

So, if you have been thinking of getting rid of the popcorn ceiling but don’t know where to start, here are five easy steps you should follow.

Test for Asbestos

Most popcorn ceilings installed in the 80s contained asbestos, a fiber that irritates the lungs by causing scar lung tissue. Thus before trying to scrape off the ceiling, it is essential to take a sample and send it to your nearest health department for testing. This is because asbestos ceiling removal can be dangerous if you don’t take the necessary precautions. You will inhale the minerals, posing a health risk of getting lung cancer.

To be on the safe side, you can purchase sheetrock to encapsulate it or hire an asbestos contractor to assist you in getting rid of the popcorn ceiling.

Prepare the Room

After confirming your ceiling is asbestos-free, now you can get the room ready for scrapping work, which can get a bit messy. You can start by removing furniture to ensure free movement during working. Alternatively, you can cover the furnishings in plastic paper to avoid messing with water.

Moreover, cover the floor and walls to avoid leaving paint stains that may damage the beautiful patterns in place. Also, removing fixtures and fans is vital to ensure they don’t get covered with wet paint. And considering they are electrical; it is best to put them aside to avoid getting electrocuted.

Use painter’s tape to cover all the power outlets in the ceiling and make sure electricity has been switched off from the main fuse box.

Get Your Tools

Luckily, the removal of popcorn ceilings does not need any special tools that can cost you a lot of money. You may already have the necessary things to make your work easier. The essential tools for popcorn ceiling removal are:

  • A ladder for tall ceilings
  • Drop cloths to protect your walls and floors
  • A putty knife for scraping the ceiling
  • A painter’s tape for holding the plastic sheet
  • Plastic sheets to prevent damage to light fixtures, ceiling fans, and electrical outlets.
  • Sprayer to water the textured ceiling
  • A painter’s tape for holding the plastic sheet
  • Safety gears such as dust masks and goggles to avoid inhaling the paint or affecting your eyes
  • Joint compound to fill any dents left after scrapping
  • Sander to smoothen the ceiling after scraping

Wet the Ceiling With a Pump Sprayer

For easier scrapping and to avoid a lot of dust, use a sprayer to make the popcorn ceiling wet. Working In a small section is best because you water a large area at once. It might get dry before getting to that area, which will need another water respray, thus wasting a lot of time. Also, don’t over-water the ceiling since too much moisture can damage the sheetrock under the popcorn paint.

You should also wait for about 10-15 minutes before trying to scrape off the paint to ensure the ceiling is well soaked with water. This ensures the coat peels off easily without much pressure.

Start Scrapping

Now that the popcorn ceiling is already loose and ready for scrapping, take your putty knife and shove it slowly in long strokes. This will prevent your tool from gouging the drywall, making it hard for you to work on the popcorn ceiling. Also, you can scrape off the edge of your knife when it gets filled up with wet paint. Repeat the process of painting and scraping until all the popcorn texture has been removed.

Finally, since scrapping can leave a lot of dents on the ceiling, use a sander to smoothen out the texture. You can also repair holes and imperfections with a joint compound that you might reveal after removing the popcorn ceiling. This ensures you are left with an attractive roof that compliments your home.

Once all scrapping, sanding, and priming are done. You can use any paint of your choice that compliments your style. Then remove the plastic sheets, uncover your furniture, install your electrical fixtures and experience a smooth, beautiful ceiling.


Removing the outdated popcorn ceilings can turn out to be time-consuming if you have no idea where to start. However, following the above steps will ensure you are safe from any harmful substances such as asbestos found in the popcorn ceiling. Also, it will make your work easier and reduce the damage you might cause to your furniture. After you adhere to these tips, you will be able to enjoy a new ceiling look that gives your home that magic spark you’ve been looking for.

Carlos Diaz
I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.

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