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WayneGee 04-03-2012 07:50 AM

Best/ quickest way to get rid of textured ceiling?
I have to get rid of a textured ceiling in an older home. What should I be aware of and how can I do this quickly and get a decent flat finish. Any tips/ advice are welcome.

mae-ling 04-03-2012 07:56 AM

If it has not been painted, spray with warm water and a 3-4" drywall knife to scrape.
If it has been painted, may need to use a paint scraper and it is hard work. And won't all come off so if yuou want a flat ceiling you may need to re-skim it after scraping.

If it is low round sort of bumps I have seen it just drywalled over.

sublime2 04-03-2012 08:31 AM

I've heard a vinegar and water mix works well for old textured/popcorn ceilings.
I'd also use an 8" to10"mud knife.

rjniles 04-03-2012 08:36 AM

The cited methods will work with spray on texture. If it is veneer plaster (or drywall mud), it ani't gonna happen!

PoleCat 04-03-2012 08:42 AM

I have had good luck using plain water applied with a paint roller and patience. I work a 6X6ft. area at a time. Keep it moist until it gets soft then push off with a knife.

woodworkbykirk 04-03-2012 11:56 AM

the fastest cleanest method i use is to simply knock down the high spots with a scraper then go right over it with a fresh layer of drywall. yes you will have to fill the joints but its much easier to do a bond coat then two coats of mud to feather the joints than it is to spend hours scraping a ceiling then cleaning the mess. from there multiple passes skimming and sanding

ktkelly 04-03-2012 03:35 PM

I've done this twice in the last couple years.

Easiest way in my opinion?

Drag the garden hose into the house. Set it on the finest mist setting that you can. Spray an area (heavily). Scrape it off.

Best to lay some plastic down, and use a "catch box", which is a simple cardboard box that you've fixed up with a handle. That way you catch most of the popcorn as it comes off, and the plastic catches what the box misses.

WayneGee 04-03-2012 09:39 PM

@woodworkbykirk... This was my first instinct when I looked at the job but then I saw all of the advice on scraping and thought this might be excessive. I think that I'm with you on this one. Thanks!

mae-ling 04-03-2012 11:42 PM

yeah - For flat redrywall is quickest

rditz 04-04-2012 11:50 AM

use a pole-sander.. your arms get tired, but it makes for a smooth finish when done.. no need for wetting it down..

i would recommend drop sheets to catch the dust..

good luck


rubberhead 04-06-2012 12:28 AM

How old is the home? It might be worth having an asbestos test done as some drywall mud did contain asbestos years and years ago.

By wetting it you are significantly reducing the chances of it being harmful, but it's still possible that the drops with dry and stir up dust.

By just sanding the texture off you are going to create a hell of a lot of dust, so you'd definitely want to know for sure.

Just my two cents from my experience working in construction.

bjbatlanta 04-06-2012 12:32 PM

Asbestos was removed from gypsum products in the mid 70's ('75 I believe). Another concern if the house is pre-1978 is lead paint if the ceiling was painted. As stated above, if it HAS been painted, the best method is another layer of drywall....

AtlanticWBConst. 04-06-2012 01:12 PM


Originally Posted by bjbatlanta (Post 893060)
Asbestos was removed from gypsum products in the mid 70's ('75 I believe). Another concern if the house is pre-1978 is lead paint if the ceiling was painted. As stated above, if it HAS been painted, the best method is another layer of drywall....

Federal law officially ended it from being manufactured on 12/31/78. However, it did not outlaw the "sale" of warehoused materials after that date.

bjbatlanta 04-06-2012 02:09 PM

True the official "outlaw date was '78. Speaking from experience, some companies (USG for one) were trying to get away from it sooner (that's the brand we used). I remember around 1975 we had issues with "popcorn", which we used a lot of in Fla. It didn't cover as well as it used to (left spots where you could still see the grayish paper on the drywall). The answer we got from our supplier was the asbestos was removed from the spray and some type of vinyl base was replacing it. For several months, we "flash coated" ceilings with a quick coat of white primer to take care of the situation before the new "formula" was "perfected". (Asbestos was also used in the mud.) And true again, supplies on hand were not required to be pulled from the shelves. It could be our area was a test area for the new product and the asbestos formula carried on in other areas longer....

stoner529 04-11-2012 03:54 PM

Lots of decent advice.

As an ex-professional of the business. Its faster to remove the old popcorn if it isn't painted. Slick finishes are absolutely horrible. I used to live in a state where all we did is drywall texture. I sprayed it professionaly. I have since moved to a state to were only slick is acceptable. Let me tell you something, I have yet to see a slick home that looks great. I can find every single flaw in them. texture is the way to go. If you plan to rehang everything, you will be in for some work. because you have huge expenses in buying materials, not to mention finding help or renting machines.

here is my website for removing popcorn.

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