5 Steps to Remove Painted Popcorn Ceiling

Remove painted popcorn ceiling

The prevalence of asbestos fibers in popcorn ceilings, as shown by research, sparked a wave of tension in the minds of homeowners who had their ceilings covered up with the popcorn spray.

Getting rid of popcorn ceiling is one thing the homeowners get particularly worried about if their house dates back to the 1970s or 1980s. One way can be to conceal the popcorn texture and the other method is to remove the popcorn ceiling once and for all.

Popcorn ceiling

For popcorn ceilings, you may have two types; one that has a painted popcorn texture and the other one that only has the sprayed texture with no paint coat atop. This article can serve as a guide as to how to remove painted popcorn ceiling and we are pretty sure reading this will help subside the stress shaking you up.

Get Your Ceiling Tested for the Presence of Asbestos!

The removal of popcorn ceiling becomes a matter of health concern when your ceiling contains asbestos. However, if doesn’t contain asbestos fibers, it is benign and you may or may not have it removed.

So, you might be thinking that how to test your ceiling for the presence of asbestos? The answer is pretty simple. Let some professional come at your place, collect a sample of your ceiling and get it tested in the laboratory for the presence of asbestos. If the test results are positive, you will need to remove your popcorn ceiling.

Scarping Painted Popcorn Ceiling

If your popcorn ceiling has no additional paint coat over the texture, it will be easy to scrap it off. This is because the textured mud itself is water-soluble and will loosen up and come off easily. However, if the popcorn texture is painted, it will not be so easy to remove it. This is because the paint coat will act as a sealant while you try to get rid of it.

The following steps can be followed for an efficient job of removing painted popcorn ceiling.

  1. Cover the Furniture and Walls

The first step before you begin removing the popcorn texture is to either move your furniture out of the room or cover it in plastic sheets. This will prevent them from catching the dusty texture as it falls off during scraping.

Covering furniture with plastic sheets

Similarly, use a plastic tape to cover the edges of the walls and if you have a carpeted floor, make sure you roll plastic sheets over it too, so it doesn’t become a hub of dirt once your removal work is done.

  1. Break the Paint by Spraying Vinegar Mixed with Water


If your popcorn ceiling is not painted, spraying only water will suffice to loosen the texture. However, with a paint coat applied, there will be a barrier while you begin scarping the texture off. Therefore, for painted popcorn ceilings, take a spray bottle and add one part vinegar to ten parts water in it. The vinegar will help break the paint coat and let water soak the nodules to make them soft and loose.

Test a patch of ceiling surface by spraying the diluted vinegar over it and let the ceiling absorb it. If the ceiling doesn’t immediately turn grey, it will confirm the presence of a paint coat over the popcorn texture.

  1. Scrap the Texture Using Putty Knife

Use a putty knife with ample coverage to scrap the popcorn texture. You will need to apply slightly more pressure to detach it. Repeat the same for the entire ceiling surface and keep scraping and spraying unless the surface underlying the popcorn ceiling gets exposed. Let the ceiling dry out if it seems damp.

Scraping of popcorn ceiling

  1. Remove Surface Imperfections

It is probable that while you perform the scraping job, some part of the ceiling gets damaged or dented. For this, use a joint compound or dry wall compound in areas where you see such imperfections. Level the surface imperfections by sanding the exposed area.

  1. Apply a Fresh Paint Coat

When you room interior gets fully dried with the surface irregularities levelled up, apply a fresh coat of paint to give your ceiling a new life. You can go for any hue to compliment you room interior or you can keep is as simple and elegant as a white coat of paint.

Fresh paint coat on ceiling

Safety Tips on the Go!

  • While you scrap the texture, make sure you collect the chippings side by side instead of letting them fall on the ground.
  • Wear a mask for your safety so that you don’t inhale any stranded airborne asbestos particle.
  • Also wear safety glasses because scraping the popcorn texture can lead to particles entering your eyes.


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