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How To Paint A Ceiling After Removing Popcorn

How To Paint A Ceiling After Removing Popcorn

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If you live in an older home, then it’s quite likely that you have popcorn style ceilings. Those old-style ceilings are also referred to as “textured ceilings” or “cottage cheese ceilings”. In short, if your ceiling has some sort of paint-on or spray-on texture to it, then it likely has what is known as a popcorn ceiling.

Popcorn ceilings have a number of purposes. In many cases, they were sprayed or painted on because the drywall and mudding job wasn’t as good as it could have been. They’re purely aesthetic – there’s no practical purpose for them other than hiding the faults that the contractor made when they were working to build your home or adapting your ceiling during a renovation.

When you’re looking at painting the interior of your home yourself or hiring professional painting services to do the job, it’s likely that you have questions about popcorn ceilings, if you have them. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common questions that may arise and how you may want to deal with your popcorn ceilings in a manner that makes sense.

Does Removing Popcorn Ceiling Increase Home Value?

Does Removing Popcorn Ceiling Increase Home Value?

More often than not, any sort of renovation is going to be able to increase your home’s value. Even for something as simple as a new paint job, you could see the street value of your home going up a couple of hundred dollars.

So, it’s not surprising that removing a popcorn ceiling makes a really big difference if you’re trying to ensure that your home’s value increases over time. Popcorn ceilings are considered to be an “old school” thing – many modern-styled homes aren’t going to have them installed. So, if you get rid of those popcorn ceilings, people are going to consider your home to be much more up to date.

Also, if your popcorn ceilings are older, they may have traces of asbestos in them, which can bring along its own issues. Homes that still have asbestos in them can really have some issues when it comes to home value, and some states actually prohibit you from selling a home with asbestos in it. Be sure that you get the ceiling tested before you try to put your home on the market.

If your ceiling is not painted, then you can easily remove the popcorn ceiling by spraying water onto it and then scraping it off with a putty knife or ceiling scraper. Just put a drop cloth on the floor, spray some water on the ceiling and let it sit for about 20 minutes, and get scrapping. It’ll scrape right off and look nice and flat.

How Do You Get Rid of Popcorn Ceilings That Have Been Painted?

How Do You Get Rid of Popcorn Ceilings That Have Been Painted

Now, there are some extra steps involved when you need to get rid of a popcorn ceiling that has already been painted over before. It takes some extra time and muscle to make this happen, and you want to be sure that you do it completely and carefully as well.

The first thing that you need to do is to move the furniture out of the room with the popcorn ceiling. Put down drop cloths on the floor and make sure that your pets are going to be away from the room as you’re working. It’ll help to keep them and you as safe as possible.

Your next step is to go ahead and to make a vinegar mixture. Most experts recommend 2 parts vinegar to 10 parts water so that you don’t end up making your entire space smell like a pickling room when you’re done with it. Mix that up and then spray that on the ceiling, like you would if you had an unpainted ceiling. Allow it to sit for a half-hour or so.

The vinegar will help to break down the paint, which in turn will make it that much easier for the popcorn on your ceiling to come off as well. Don’t let it sit too long, however – it could end up hardening right back up, which can be problematic if you want to be sure that you can get everything off of the ceiling.

After the vinegar has eaten away at the paint and popcorn materials, you can get a large scraper pole and put your back into it. Scrape as much as you can and see how much comes off. Then, wait a bit, spray it with the vinegar mixture again, and repeat. After a few rotations of this, the entirety of the popcorn ceilings should come off and just leave the drywall (or whatever was underneath it) with little to no residue.

If the vinegar doesn’t seem to work, your best bet is to go ahead and get wallpaper stripper or paint stripper. Many of these products can be toxic, so be sure that you open up the windows in the room in question and that you close the door so that you can protect your family from the fumes while it’s eating away at the paint. Then, you can use the same scraping technique to be able to get everything off of the ceiling with ease.

How Do You Refinish A Popcorn Ceiling?

How Do You Refinish A Popcorn Ceiling

After you’re done removing popcorn ceiling, now it’s time to make it look as nice as you can. After you chip away all of the texture, you’re going to find that you’re left with a pretty rough-looking ceiling. It’s not going to be textured, and it’s going to look a little like the drywall that your home was built with (depending on how your home was built). So, what’s next?

After you get everything off, then it’s time to sand everything down. The intention here is to ensure that everything is as smooth as possible. You’re usually better off using a hand sander for this, but make sure that you’re wearing protective goggles so that you don’t get anything in your eyes. Once everything looks as smooth and even as it’s going to look, now it’s time to do whatever you want with the ceiling.

Some people will utilize a joint compound as a base so that they can make another type of texture on the ceiling. While popcorn ceilings are not “in” anymore, different textures and designs can help to give your home a bit more of a modern look. All you need to do is use a joint compound (which is water + gypsum powder that’s mixed into a paste-like mixture) as the base and go from there.

Another consideration is painting the ceiling. While you can paint a popcorn ceiling, it looks a lot better if you take the time to scrape it off first. So, when you’re done scraping, you can pick the type of paint that you want to put up there and paint it all in the traditional manner. Paint rollers make it very simple for you to deal with all of the steps of a DIY job yourself if that’s the sort of thing that you wish to do.

Once you get the popcorn off of your ceiling, you’ve basically got free run over what it is that you want to be able to do with it. You can talk to a painting pro from our team to see what they recommend, or you can do something on your own, depending on what it is that you may be looking for in the ceiling.

Do All Popcorn Ceilings Contain Asbestos?

Nope! If your popcorn ceilings were installed after 1977, then your ceiling does not have asbestos in it. So, more often than not, your ceiling is likely fine. The Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of asbestos in popcorn ceiling applications in 1977, and so nothing built after that even has a chance of having asbestos in the ceiling.

If your home was built before 1977 and there have not been any sort of renovations done in the home, then you may want to go ahead and get everything checked out.

A professional painter or home inspector can take a look at your home, give you ideas about what you need to do, and let you know if asbestos is any sort of concern.

They can also help you to find resources that can help you to move forward if there is asbestos and/or if there are other concerns with the ceiling.

Are you looking to get rid of that popcorn ceiling in your home? Maybe you want to give your ceiling a new paint job so that it matches the rest of your home?

No matter what sort of changes you’re looking for, Dallas Paints is here to give you a hand. Our team has taken care of a number of popcorn style ceilings and we can help you to determine what may be best in regards to your needs. Contact us today and we will do everything possible to ensure that you can get an appointment and get your new paint job scheduled today.

Pro Tips To Paint Your Ceiling After Removing Popcorn

Removing the popcorn from your ceiling and then painting can seem like a highly arduous task, but a few simple tips from the pros can help you greatly in simplifying the process. Here are some things you should keep in mind when getting ready to paint your ceiling after removing the popcorn:

Get rid of the residue leftover from the popcorn material

If you scraped the popcorn off of your ceiling, you may notice that there is a residue that is left behind. You will want to ensure that this is removed prior to painting the ceiling. You can get rid of this leftover residue by sanding it off with a sanding block or using a block sponge that has been dampened to remove it.

Prime the ceiling before beginning the painting process

Before you start painting, you should consider using a drywall sealer to prime the ceiling before you paint it. This can help you identify spots in the ceiling that may need to be patched, and can make painting a lot more efficient.

Texture the ceiling first

After removing the popcorn from the ceiling and sanding or skimming any potential problem areas, you will want to texture the ceiling before painting it. This can be done with a paintbrush, and some companies make combination texture and paint mixtures which even allow you to repaint later on with a different color if you choose.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you’ve gotten the popcorn material off of your ceiling and you’re ready to make it look snazzy with a new paint job, you may still have some questions before you get started. This is perfectly natural, so check out these commonly asked questions about painting after removing popcorn ceiling to see if your question has already been answered:

Is ceiling priming important after removing popcorn?

You need to properly sand the ceiling once you remove the popcorn and top off the bad seams and the dings. Priming the ceiling before painting will be a wise move. Painting on bare drywall will absorb the paint’s moisture and will not allow even distribution of the texture.

Do I need to move all of my furniture out of the house before I can scrape my ceilings?

No, we only request that customers remove breakables from the room we are working on. This includes lamps, knickknacks, and any item that is placed on shelves or tables that could be damaged by plastic. We prefer you to move your glass top furniture to another room. You can leave the rest of the furniture in their original position. Our guys will surely move out anything getting in their way.

Will our home’s value be increased after removing the Popcorn?

Probably, as it positions your home in a standard that supports a new trends. There is absolutely no way to figure out if the value of your home will increase after getting the popcorn removed. However, you stand a better chance of getting your home sold once you get rid of out-of-style and messy popcorn.

The United States News and World Report stated that the popcorn ceiling might not be a deal maker or breaker. But it may date and reduce the value of the house, causing the potential buyers to continue shopping.

How do I get to know the Square Footage of my Ceiling?

Just measure both the length and the width of the ceiling and multiply the two. Example: if the dimension of a standard bedroom is 12’ x 12,’when multiplied, the total square footage will be 144sq-ft. For Vaulted Ceilings, add 20%.

Is it possible to paint over a dirty ceiling?

Painting over a dirty, flaking, glossy, chipping surface is possible, but the work may not last as expected.

Before a new paint can adhere, you need to make sure that your interior and exterior surfaces are properly cleaned and free of dust interference with the paint’s ability to adhere to surfaces, ceilings and trim.

What quantity of coats do you paint a ceiling?

Around 350 to 400sq-ft will be generally covered with one coat. You may not need more than one coat if you are purchasing a high-quality product that comes with a primer, or if you’ve prime in advance.

What happens if you paint without sanding?

You may continue painting if the finish on your furniture is not chipping or damaged, not shiny but flat, and you are not painting too much different color. However, make sure the surface is clean before painting.

What ceiling paint is the best to conceal imperfections?

Flat latex is the best paint for ceilings regardless of the color. It gives a soft texture and absorbs light with its matte finish, which helps to hide any existing imperfections. No other type of paint can easily stain like the matte paint, and it is almost impossible to wash it without removing paths of the paint together with the dirt.

What are the three categories of pressure treatments?

In pressure-treated woods, preservatives are forced into the wood by applying high pressure and adding the preservative agents into the wood to extend their lifespan. The following are the three categories of pressure-treatments:

  • Waterborne treated lumber: This contains Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) and is mostly used in building commercial, industrial, and residential structures. The wood is protected against fungus by the copper content, while the arsenic protects it against insects. It doesn’t give out any odor, and it is easy to paint.
  • Creosote-Treated Lumber: This is used for treating railroad ties, guardrail posts, and timbers used in building marine structures.

Oil-Borne Treated Lumber: It contains creosote, pentachlorophenol, and fire used to take care of utility poles and cross arms. The dark color is added to the wood through both creosote and pentachlorophenol, which produce an odor and cause the surface to be oily and make painting difficult.

Will a new paint job where my popcorn ceiling used to raise my home’s value?

Popcorn ceiling is seen as dated by many prospective home buyers, so modernizing the look of your ceiling by removing the popcorn material and giving it a new lease on life with a fresh coat of paint could definitely help in raising your home’s value, should you ever decide to put it on the market.

How can you texture the ceiling with a paint roller?

Texturing your ceiling with a paint roller after removing the popcorn material is actually quite simple. To do so, simply obtain some texture mix, dip your paint roller into the mixture, and begin applying it to the ceiling as if you were painting it on.

Can I simply paint over popcorn without removing it from the ceiling?

You could, but removing it first makes the whole process much simpler. This is because if the popcorn material gets wet, it might start to peel or flake off. If you choose to do it this way, make sure you paint in one direction, and not roll the roller back and forth over the popcorn material to reduce the amount of flaking and peeling popcorn.


Removing your old popcorn ceiling and painting can bring a new lease on life to your ceiling. Not only will it look neat and even raise the resale value of your home, but it will bring you a sense of pride, especially if you’re handling the job DIY style.

Once you’re all done, you’ll be able to sit back, look up, and see something brand new and more modern above you. Now that the popcorn is gone, you can even repaint it again anytime you’d like if you ever decide you’d like to try a new color scheme for your ceiling.

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