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How to Cover Popcorn Ceiling Without Removing It

How to Cover Popcorn Ceiling Without Removing It

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People who own homes sporting the old and rather dated popcorn ceiling may be looking for ways to make their ceiling look a little more modern.

After all, not only are popcorn ceilings, not the most aesthetically pleasing ceiling decor out there, but they are also known to lower the market value of a home, thanks to their dated look.

While most people wonder what to do after removing the popcorn ceiling to make the ceiling look new and fresh, others wonder if there is a way to simply cover the popcorn ceiling up without having to go through the removal process.

Why Bother Covering Popcorn Ceiling?

Why Bother Covering Popcorn Ceiling?

Choosing to simply cover your popcorn ceiling (otherwise known as textured ceiling) as opposed to removing it entirely could help you save a lot of time and money in the long run.

After all, the removal process of a popcorn ceiling is very time consuming, and can also become costly when you think about the materials needed if you choose to do it yourself, or the costs incurred from hiring a professional crew to handle the job.

Removing popcorn ceilings entirely can even be dangerous depending on the age of your home, as most homes manufactured before 1978 had popcorn ceilings that contained asbestos, a known carcinogen outlawed for residential use because of the known lung diseases it could cause, including cancer.

This is why it is so important to make sure you test for asbestos when even thinking about removing a textured ceiling.

So, why bother removing it at all? Wouldn’t simply covering it up with something else achieve the same effect? The easy answer here is yes because in the majority of cases (largely dependent on how your home is built) you can cover that popcorn ceiling right up with something that looks tons better.

What Can Be Used to Cover Popcorn Ceiling?

What Can Be Used to Cover Popcorn Ceiling

If you choose to cover your popcorn ceiling up instead of going through the removal process, you’ll be happy to know you’ll have several affordable and time-saving options to make your ceiling look brand new, without having to remove anything.

You can choose from options such as ceiling panels, ceiling planks, wooden beadboard, metal tiles, texture and paint, and more. With most of these options, you can simply install them right over the existing popcorn ceiling in a project that could be finished in a weekend without having to hire any outside help.

Consider These Options to Cover the Popcorn

Here are some simple ways you can cover up your popcorn ceiling. Each of these options is quite affordable and with a little help from a family member or friend, could easily be handled as a weekend project or even finished up in one afternoon:

1. Simply texture and paint the ceiling 

To hide your popcorn ceiling with a simple texture and paint job, you can use a spray texture to spray onto the ceiling in small blotches, and then flatten them out with a drywall knife. You can also choose “slap brush” texture, which involves applying your texture with a paint roller, then going over it with a coat of ceiling paint. 

2. Ceiling tiles

Ceiling tiles are a simple and very affordable option for covering up popcorn ceiling. If you’d rather not mess with texturing, tiles provide a very attractive alternative.

You have a few options here, as well. You can either suspend metal or use a PVC grid to hang the tiles from, or you can purchase special ceiling tiles that be glued or even screwed right onto the ceiling.

3. Wooden ceiling planks

Who doesn’t love the look of natural beauty provided by a wooden ceiling? Wooden ceiling planks (or tongue and groove paneling) are another stylish and affordable option for covering up the popcorn ceiling in your home and are quite simple to install, as well.

This option can be heavier than the ceiling tiles mentioned above, so you’ll have to make sure you screw your wooden ceiling planks right into the joints of the ceiling. For added personalization, you can always paint the wood if you so choose.

There are several of these different types of wood to choose from, as well, from rustic looking wood to the minimalism of the European design.

As you can see, you have several different and easy to install options when it comes to finding a great material with which to cover up your popcorn ceiling. In no time at all, you can go from those dated popcorn flakes on the ceiling to one that looks fresh, new, beautiful, and welcoming.

Unlike the drab, bland look of popcorn ceiling, these options also give you lots of room to personalize your style and make your ceiling match your tastes.

Whether you choose to hang tiles or wooden planks, or just texture and paint right over the popcorn ceiling, these are great options to avoid having to go through the mess (and eventual cleanup) of completely removing your popcorn ceiling completely.

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4. A Few Handy Tips

Covering up your popcorn ceiling can be an exciting project to work on, knowing that when you’re finished, you’ll have something brand new to enjoy looking at the minute you walk into your home. There are, however, a few useful tips you should keep in mind to make the process even easier for you.

If you intend to choose the painting option to cover up your popcorn ceiling, you will want to make sure you do it the right way to ensure there are no annoying flakes peeling off and making a mess of your floor.

When painting, to make sure you avoid this mess, consider laying down some drop cloths on the floor to catch any popcorn bits that might flake off the ceiling during the texturing and painting process.

You should also make sure to simply paint in one direction, instead of rolling the paint back and forth. Repetitive back and forth motions from the paint roller could result in quite a bit of the popcorn material coming loose.

Frequently Asked Questions

With all of this new information in mind about covering up your popcorn ceiling, it wouldn’t come as a shock to learn you might have some questions. Here are some questions frequently asked about covering up popcorn ceilings, so see if your question has already been answered:

How do I discover if my popcorn textured ceiling is painted?

Here are the methods in which you can discover if your popcorn textured wall is painted or not. If you run your hand on the popcorn texture and it doesn’t flake off, it has been painted. You can also apply a little water on a selected part of the ceiling using a sprayer or sponge.

The popcorn ceiling has not been painted if the water you applied soaks into it. If the water doesn’t soak (beads up) then the ceiling has been painted. 

What is the best removal method to popcorn ceiling?

Grab a spray bottle, fill it with warm water, and then spray a little part of the ceiling. Allow it to sit for about twenty minutes. Avoid applying too much water on the popcorn coating to prevent the underlying drywall surface from water damage. 

Does popcorn ceiling removal cause a great mess?

The popcorn removal process doesn’t really cause a mess. We ensure your furniture and other valuables are covered and protected. We then drop plastic sheets from the ceiling to cocoon the room. We then apply water to the ceiling and remove the popcorn ceiling. 

What method can I use to hide my popcorn ceiling without removing it?

This is the best solution for those having an ugly ceiling. Just cover the entire mess with a new layer of drywall. This might be the easiest way to obtain the best outcome.

What can I use to hide a popcorn ceiling?

There are fiber-board planks such as prepared ceiling planks, which are specially made to solve this problem. The planks are placed on the metal channels, which are positioned on the old ceiling and are screwed to the ceiling beams. The Easy Up grid system from Armstrong is one of the popular products for this. 

What is the cheapest method available to cover a popcorn ceiling?

Using planks was discovered during one of our works to be the best coverage for a popcorn ceiling when redesigning a dormer bedroom. The planks we used were reasonably cheap as they cost about $1 per sq-ft. 

How do I quickly remove the popcorn ceiling?

Mist the ceiling with a pump sprayer you use in your garden to have an easy and dust-free scraping when removing your popcorn ceiling. Then leave it to soak for at least fifteen minutes before you start scrapping. Keep the mist light in order to avoid risking water damage to the drywall or joint tape. 

What is the duration of scrapping popcorn ceilings?

If you hire a professional to perform the traditional scraping, removal and resurfacing your ceilings, it may take around 20 hours to perform the removal and replacement of your 500sq-ft popcorn ceiling. 

How do I paint on a popcorn ceiling?

Paint in one path and stop. Avoid rolling back and forth as the popcorn starts to peel when it becomes wet. If you are staining, spray or roll the stained section, use the same color you are using to paint the wall, and leave completely dry before you paint the whole ceiling. 

What kind of paint roller should I use for my popcorn ceiling?

If you choose to paint over your popcorn ceiling, make sure you use a foam roller. These are specifically designed for use with popcorn ceilings, textured walls, and stucco. Foam rollers won’t crush the popcorn texture and will evenly roll the paint over the ceiling’s surface.

Can the popcorn ceiling be covered by drywall?

Popcorn ceilings should be covered with lighter materials such as paint, paneling, or planks. One option to consider is gypsum board paneling, a material that is very similar to drywall, but much lighter and easier for the ceiling to support.

Is it better to spray or roll popcorn ceiling paint?

Popcorn ceiling is well known for breaking off if the painting process is not handled with care. With that said, if the ceiling has never been painted before, then spray painting it is probably the best option. It is also a quicker task to handle than roller painting the entire ceiling.


Popcorn ceilings are well known for looking dated and even lowering the values of the homes they find themselves in. When you’re ready to bring your home into the modern age and give it a hip new look without having to worry about entirely removing the popcorn ceiling, consider going with one of these options to cover the texture up, giving your ceiling a brand new lease on life.

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