What is Popcorn Ceiling and How is it Applied?

What is popcorn ceiling?

When it comes to investing in home décor and interior, homeowners are always ready to walk an extra mile down their investment path. From fancy hangings to comfortable furniture, complementary paint hues, decorative ceilings and whatnot; the more you spend, the more your home speaks of its luxury.

Textured ceilings are also one way to elevate the look of your interior and it is not something that has emerged as a recent practice. Instead, people around a century ago used to go for texturing their drab ceilings to make them stand out. Even in contemporary finishing works, textured ceilings are considered a good-to-go-with option.

popcorn ceiling texture

This article will shed light on different types of textured ceilings you can go for and will specifically present details on popcorn ceilings, which is a textured ceiling type that we will discuss in a while.

popcorn ceilings

Textured Ceiling Types

  1. Smooth Ceiling

A smooth ceiling has a plain and even surface with no prominent texture imparted except for a paint coat that creates a levelled finish.

Smooth ceiling texture

  1. Orange Peel Ceiling

Orange peel ceiling texture is also a rough texture created by applying drywall mud on the ceiling and lightly flattening the area with a trowel or some other tool.

Orange peel texture

  1. Popcorn Ceiling

This type of ceiling texture is attained by adding vermiculite or polystyrene particles in drywall compound and the mixture is then sprayed on the ceiling surface. It creates a nodular texture, the bumps of which resemble popcorns, hence the name.

  1. Knockdown Ceiling

This texturing technique creates or a mottled or stucco-like finish. The popcorn mixture is sprayed on the ceiling surface and tapped or knocked down by applying pressure using a trowel or other tool.

Knockdown Ceiling

  1. Swirl Ceiling

A specialized brush is used to create swirls on the ceiling surface. The paint mixture is applied followed by moving the brush in swirls over the ceiling surface.

  1. Stomp Ceiling

This ceiling types creates a random pattern of ridges and summits over the ceiling surface by using any brush or sponge.

  1. Skip Trowel Ceiling

This texture involves creating a random pattern of smooth and uneven areas on the ceiling surface.

What is Meant by Popcorn Ceiling?

When you hear ‘popcorn ceilings’, we are pretty sure you envisage a ceiling type that has popcorns popping out of its surface. Well, you are pretty much right about it except for the fact that the popcorns in the picture are pseudo.

Popcorn ceilings, also called acoustic ceilings, were a preferred choice for a plethora of homeowners almost half a century ago. The texture was applied by ‘spray-on-texturing’ technique that intentionally imparted a bumpy and lumpy texture to the ceilings in the form of nodules protruding the ceiling surface creating an analogy with popcorns.

The primary purpose of going for a popcorn texture was cost and sound insulation. The ceiling texture is not just lightweight but also less costly in comparison to other textured ceilings. In addition, it also helps conceal any surface imperfection or unevenness on the ceiling.

Popcorn ceiling

What is Popcorn Ceiling Made of?

The specific ingredients that made up the popcorn spray usually varied depending upon the contractor homeowners hired for the job. However, a typical composition of the texture comprised polystyrene particles (in different grades such as fine, medium-coarse, and coarse grades), drywall compound (such as gypsum and water along with some additives) and some fibers (such as asbestos fibers, to impart durability).

The mixture of above ingredients was sprayed on the ceiling surface and the styrene particles were nimble to create small pop-outs on the ceiling surface, giving it a texture that resembled popcorns.

Coarse-textured popcorn ceiling

Everything was goof about this ceiling texture until late in the 1970s, it was researched that popcorn ceilings contained asbestos fibers which can potentially be damaging for the respiratory system if inhaled. This led to asbestos getting banned and asbestos popcorn ceilings getting scraped off.

However, some homeowners resorted to preserving their old house and still have one. If your house is one such place where a popcorn ceiling can be found, it is better if you get it tested for the presence of asbestos. If the ceiling does contain asbestos, it is best to get it removed or concealed by substitute methods.

Colored popcorn ceiling

Types of Popcorn Ceiling

The following are a few common types of popcorn ceilings:

  1. Traditional Popcorn Ceiling

Traditional popcorn ceiling is a simple one that has bumps over the ceiling surface and was the most common type that prevailed in the mid-twentieth century.

  1. Brushed Popcorn Ceiling

Brushed popcorn ceiling is one that is more subtle than a traditional texture. The bumps or pop-outs are made less pronounced by using a brush over the sprayed texture that levels off large irregularities.

  1. Swirl Popcorn Ceiling

A swirl texture can be imparted to your popcorn ceiling after the mixture has been sprayed. Using tools, a pattern is created that resembles swirls or combed lines.

  1. Knockdown Popcorn Ceiling

As the name indicates, knockdown popcorn ceilings are those in which the pop-outs are made less coarse or prominent by knocking the surface of ceiling with a trowel or other tool once the spray is applied. This makes the ceiling resemble a stucco-like appearance.

Knockdown Popcorn Ceiling

  1. Slapbrush Popcorn Ceiling

This ceiling texture involves creating a random pattern of ridges and peaks on the ceiling surface by using a broad brush.

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