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Old 03-11-2013, 01:15 PM   #1
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best way to handle a plaster popcorn ceiling


guys - looking for some advice. I'm moving into a 1959 built house, with significant (1650sqft) amount of popcorn ceilings. I've tested for asbestos already, we're ok on that front, but unlike previous popcorn i've removed (wet and scraped), this stuff is very hard/brittle. It plaster walls in the house, and i'm pretty sure the popcorn is plaster also. It's very dirty, and unsightly, my wife hates the look, and we want it out. I'm trying to figure out the best way to handle it, i think there are 4 options:

1. Scrap it down
2. Sand it smooth
3. put drywall over it
4. plaster over it

I'm really not sure (1) will work, its so very hard, and I think i'd gouge the ceiling massively underneath. (3) troubles me some, the ceilings aren't high to begin with, would get lower, and I worry about the extra weight on the ceiling, possible sagging if we miss the joists etc.

So it would seem like it's either (2) or (4). On (4) - is that safe? Would new comound bond sufficiently to the existing popcorn? I'm worried about chunks falling down over time? Any other options out there, or advice for this type of project?

thanks,
Matthew
Los Angeles

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Old 03-11-2013, 06:00 PM   #2
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best way to handle a plaster popcorn ceiling


sounds like the popcorn has been painted multiple times. if you soaked it and tried to scrap it with no luck then i would go over the ceiling with 1/2" tape and skim then repaint.

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Old 03-11-2013, 06:40 PM   #3
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sounds like the popcorn has been painted multiple times. if you soaked it and tried to scrap it with no luck then i would go over the ceiling with 1/2" tape and skim then repaint.
Don't understand the 1/2' tape. But I would sand down (not smooth) with 80 grit sanding screens, skim coat with ultra light mud, prime and paint.
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:30 PM   #4
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best way to handle a plaster popcorn ceiling


I think Prince meant 1/2" drywall?
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:42 PM   #5
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best way to handle a plaster popcorn ceiling


Wow let me say up front that I am very very rarely in favor of add drywall over existing. Here for instance you would be adding a lot of weight to the ceiling. It will be hard to find your ceiling joist to screw to because of the plaster, lathe and drywall. Any ceiling fixtures will need to be lowered. All the way around the the outside you will need to tape and mud where the wall meets the ceiling. And because of this now the walls will have to be painted.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:33 PM   #6
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ya i meant 1/2" drywall and finding the studs is easy. just use a stud finder or a nail and hammer. as soon as you find the first one just measure 16" over and find the next and so on. snap lines when you locate them. If your concerned about the extra weight then you have some serious framing issues. i've done lots of ceiling like this for insurance companies. where a section of ceiling was damaged and the insurance wont pay the extra cost of the rest of the removal, disposal, and clean up. i go over the ceiling with 1/2" drywall and tape it, skim it and paint the ceiling and walls. There have been no issues or call backs ever.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:43 PM   #7
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Prince it will take a damn good stud finder to go thru 1/2" drywall at least 1/2" of plaster and then the lathe behind it to find the joist. But really for DIY do you think that would be easier than a little sanding and skim?
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Old 03-13-2013, 03:02 AM   #8
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best way to handle a plaster popcorn ceiling


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ya i meant 1/2" drywall and finding the studs is easy. just use a stud finder or a nail and hammer. as soon as you find the first one just measure 16" over and find the next and so on. snap lines when you locate them. If your concerned about the extra weight then you have some serious framing issues. i've done lots of ceiling like this for insurance companies. where a section of ceiling was damaged and the insurance wont pay the extra cost of the rest of the removal, disposal, and clean up. i go over the ceiling with 1/2" drywall and tape it, skim it and paint the ceiling and walls. There have been no issues or call backs ever.
That MIGHT work, then again maybe not. It would not work in my house built in the 20's
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:40 PM   #9
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if its not right on 16 then try over a bit. spending time finding studs and putting a layer of drywall over top saves you from the hassle of trying to sand/scrap and skimming and for a regular joe diyer skimming out a popcorn ceiling is easier said then done. i think the most quickest job,cheapest cost(condering your time also)and best final product is layering for me is the way to go. you can sand and skim and if it doesnt come out as nice as you like then do what i say.
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Old 03-14-2013, 04:41 AM   #10
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This house was built with stud spacing @ 18 in for some strange reason
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Old 03-14-2013, 07:24 AM   #11
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I agree new drywall is the right solution but if your going to all that trouble and extra work why not do it right. Tear out the old check your joists upgrade wiring if needed. Instead of using it as a cover up do the job right.
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:32 PM   #12
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I agree new drywall is the right solution but if your going to all that trouble and extra work why not do it right. Tear out the old check your joists upgrade wiring if needed. Instead of using it as a cover up do the job right.
i agree.
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:57 PM   #13
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best way to handle a plaster popcorn ceiling


I agree with prince. First find the joists and mark their locations on the WALL. I've never seen a stud finder that could go through plaster. Just use a hammer and nail and check on each end of the room. Who cares if you make some holes, your going to cover it up anyway. make sure you mark the joist location on both sides of the room. Then just make sure you're using screws that are long enough to get through a layer of plaster and drywall and into the joists.
Done this in my house and a bunch of jobs (dads got a painting company). No problems yet. You're not going to notice the ceiling being 1/2 inch lower. If you're worried about it sagging I guess you can slap some construction adhesive on the back of the drywall but I've never done it though. You'll be able to feel it if you miss the joist.
The only downside is if you are going to install recessed lighting in the ceiling because you'll have trouble using "old work" cans.
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:13 PM   #14
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best way to handle a plaster popcorn ceiling


The issues with tearing it out and starting completely fresh is the plaster is normally around 1" thick or more and you'll have alot of prefilling to do even if you went with 5/8" but you could strap it and it could also give you the chance to level up the ceiling if it is out a bit. also its a messy, dusty, dirty job ripping it down and depending on the the size of the ceiling its going to be atleast one if not 2 pick up loads to the dump which depending on where you live not cheap.
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:59 PM   #15
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best way to handle a plaster popcorn ceiling


Are you sure it is lathe and plaster. Some houses from about that period were done with 3/8 gypsum board and covered with about 1/4 inch paster. This is considerably easier to tear out if you go that route.

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