What many people call popcorn ceiling is a type of ceiling material that used to be very popular. This well-known and frequently used type of ceiling goes by many names, including acoustic ceiling, cottage cheese ceiling (because, honestly, it does look more like cottage cheese than popcorn), textured ceiling, or stucco ceiling. It’s been used as ceiling material in homes manufactured all the way back to the 1970s.
Popcorn ceiling is usually white, with what looks like little flakes that seem to make up different patterns. It is inexpensive, which is why many companies used it in the building of homes to cut down on manufacturing and construction costs.
While many people don’t really mind what material their ceiling is made out of, others might want to change it up a bit and may start looking for ways of removing the popcorn ceiling.
If you just bought a new home or are just ready to make changes to how your ceiling looks, then you may be curious about how to remove popcorn ceiling. The best part is, there are all kinds of simple solutions out there to get rid of the popcorn ceiling in your home and try something new.
Why Do People Want to Remove Popcorn Ceiling?
Popcorn ceiling actually affords homeowners a few benefits, aside from their relatively low cost. A few of the good things about popcorn ceiling is that it could cover up cosmetic blemishes in the ceiling, it is relatively resistant to fire, and it even offers benefits related to noise cancellation (which is why it is also referred to as acoustic ceiling).
With some of these good things going for this type of ceiling, why would people want to remove it? Well, there are actually reasons homeowners would want to rid their home of popcorn ceiling:
It could pose a risk to health
Some of the material used to create popcorn ceilings back in the 1970s actually contained asbestos, which has been linked to causing lung problems when breathed, including lung cancer.
Asbestos was declared a hazard to health in 1978 and was banned, but yet, has been reported to have been found in popcorn ceiling materials in some homes even up to the mid-1980s.
Depending on the year the home was manufactured, ceilings containing asbestos could be a real risk, even though manufacturers switched to using paper fiber to create materials for popcorn ceilings after the ousting of asbestos.
It can appear outdated or cheap
Because popcorn ceilings are often found in older homes or even homes built by DIYers, many people perceive it as dated and would rather replace their ceiling material with something new. Many folks may just want to upgrade their ceiling’s style when thinking of removing their popcorn ceiling.
These are just two reasons why popcorn ceilings have begun to decline over the years, and why homeowners want to remove them. Luckily, removing a popcorn ceiling isn’t that difficult, and it is something many people can do on their own. Of course, if you are not comfortable with doing some of this on your own, you can always hire a professional to aid you in the process.
How to Remove Popcorn Ceiling in Your Home?
If you have popcorn ceiling in your house and are looking to upgrade to something newer or just something with a little more spunk, you’ll be happy to know that there are some easy tips on how to remove popcorn ceiling easily and cheaply.
When you decide you’re ready to get rid of the popcorn ceiling in your home, keep some of these tips in mind for simple removal that almost anyone can do:
Depending on its age, test it first for asbestos
Keeping the asbestos issue you learned about earlier in mind, you will first want to test your popcorn ceiling for asbestos. This is because if your home was built in the 1970s or 1980s, there is a good chance it that it could contain asbestos, which is not something you want to be breathing in due to the health hazards it could pose.
Have it tested by a lab approved by the EPA by sending them a sample, and consider hiring professional asbestos removers to take care of the removal task for you.
Simply cover the popcorn ceiling up with something else
One good thing about the popcorn ceiling is that you don’t have to completely remove it if you just want to change the appearance of your ceiling. To save yourself time and money, you could consider just covering your popcorn ceiling up with something else entirely.
Some good ideas for this could be ceiling tiles made of foam, planks of wood, or even dry wood panels to cover your popcorn ceiling.
Paint over the popcorn ceiling
Another way to update the appearance of your ceiling without having to spend a bunch of time and money on the project is simply to give it a new paint job. Popcorn ceiling can actually be painted over quite easily, just make sure there are no loose flakes that could fall off during the process and you’ll be good to go.
All you’ll need for this project is a paint of the color of your choosing, a bucket, a ladder, and a few paintbrushes.
Scrape the popcorn ceiling off
One simple way to remove the popcorn ceiling is to just scrape it right off. You should keep in mind, however, that this arduous task can get quite messy and can take quite a while.
To do this method effectively, you will need to spray the material down with a bit of water to saturate it, and then use a putty knife, trowel, or other efficient scraping instruments to begin scraping the material off the roof.
You’ll want to protect yourself for this task appropriately, and have something to cover your eyes and face, and preferably some old clothes that can be tossed when the project is complete.
If the popcorn ceiling has cracks or blemishes, consider patching it
If you are just tired of looking at some unsightly display put on by a popcorn ceiling, such as an old crack, stain, or other blemishes, you can always consider a simple patch job to make the eyesore go away.
You can find patching products specifically made for popcorn ceilings in the form of aerosol cans that can simply be sprayed over the problem area to patch it. This solution can also be applied by a brush from containers holding premixed patching material. This is another good route to take for fixing a problem without having to worry about removing it entirely.
Those are some simple tips to removing popcorn ceiling in your home, and all of them can be simple to do without having to break the bank.
Removing Popcorn Ceiling Pro Tips
Some tips from the pros to keep in mind when thinking about how to remove popcorn ceiling in your house:
- Never forget your face protection: You don’t want to inhale any of the material or get it in your eyes. The asbestos issue is still a real one to keep in mind, and always bears repeating for its importance.
- Always test before removal: The age of your home could be a good indicator of whether or not your ceiling material may contain asbestos, but as the old saying goes, It is better to be safe than sorry. Make sure you test your popcorn ceiling for asbestos before you begin any removal process.
Frequently Asked Questions
When homeowners begin wondering how to remove popcorn ceiling, it’s no surprise that they may have some questions. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about removing popcorn ceiling:
Is this something I can handle by myself?
Yes, removing popcorn ceiling is definitely something that can be handled as a DIY project. Depending on the method you choose, it may be time-consuming and will definitely get very messy, but if you are comfortable with any of the processes outlined above, it is something you could handle alone.
How much would removing popcorn ceiling cost if I hire a professional?
Depending on the contractor you choose and the square footage of your ceiling, you could be looking at anywhere from $1,000-$2,000 for the process. Professionals sometimes charge around $1 to $2 per square foot of ceiling, so make sure you get an estimate from your contractor before beginning the job.
Can removing popcorn ceiling increase the value of my home?
Yes, the removal of popcorn ceiling could actually up to your home’s value. This is because many people see the popcorn ceiling design as outdated, and replacing it with something a little more modern could definitely go towards an increased value if you ever put your home on the market.
Is popcorn ceiling removal hard?
The appearance of popcorn ceilings, which is also known as acoustic or cottage cheese ceilings, is bumpy and texture. Removing your popcorn ceiling may be hard if it is painted. Water absorption by the ceiling can be prevented or slowed by paint, and it is needed to loosen the material.
What tool do you need to remove the popcorn ceiling?
It would help if you had a scraper, which may be a drywall knife of about 6 to 10 inches. However, Lipford recommends a scraper tool from Homax, which is specially made for popcorn scraping, and it is being sold at $21.99. There is a loop attached to a garbage bag that your scraped popcorn goes into directly instead of the floor.
When should I expect you to be done with popcorn removal?
If you hire a professional to handle your scraping, removing, and resurfacing of your ceilings, which are known as the traditional method, it should take them about 20 hours to remove and replace your 500sq-ft popcorn ceiling area.
What method do you use to remove a popcorn ceiling without scraping it?
When you use a garden pump sprayer to mist the popcorn ceiling and allowed it to soak for about 15 minutes before you scrape, there will be no dust all through the removal. Make sure the misting is very light in order to avoid damaging the drywall or loosen the joint tape with excessive water.
What is the cost of getting a popcorn ceiling removed?
Removing the popcorn ceiling would cost homeowners an average of $1,010 to $2,260. Most homeowners are reported to spend around $1,710. The charge per sq-ft by painting contractors is from $1 – $2 for popcorn ceilings removal.
Do you have to apply a new texture after popcorn ceilings removal?
It is possible to see some residue left on your ceiling after scraping off the popcorn ceiling. You must remove the entire residuals before you paint the ceiling.
What other things can I use instead of a popcorn ceiling?
If you have a paneled ceiling, we recommend wooden planks and bead-board materials. You can either leave the raw wood stain on the planks or just have them painted to match your preferred color. Panels will give your ceiling a new, well organized, and streamlined look compared to the popcorn ceilings.
Is it all popcorn ceilings that contain asbestos?
No. The Consumer Product Safety Commission banned the use of asbestos in textured paint in 1977, so if your home was built around that time, then your popcorn ceiling might be free from asbestos content.
How do you discover if your ceiling has asbestos?
The only and accurate way to discover if there is asbestos in your popcorn ceiling is to hire a professional to collect a sample of your ceiling and run a test on it in a laboratory. If the asbestos content in the ceiling is beyond 1%, you need to protect yourself and family members and remove the popcorn ceiling from your home.
How healthy is popcorn ceiling? Is it possible to get cancer from the popcorn ceiling?
For someone with a popcorn ceiling with asbestos, they are at high risk of developing serious diseases like asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma if they inhale the fiber from the ceiling when released.
How long does it take asbestos clear from the air?
Asbestos fiber can stay longer in the air because they are light and shaped to float. Asbestos fiber may only clear from the air in a quiet room after 48 to 72 hours. The fibers may float longer in the air in a room with ventilation.
Whatever your reasons are for wanting to remove popcorn ceiling in your home, now you know some of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to go about completing the job. As long as you always keep the safety tips in mind and go about it carefully, removing popcorn ceiling can be something you can handle by yourself or with the help of a professional.
No matter which method you choose, your ceiling will be ready for modernization in no time at all.