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Old 09-19-2007, 01:57 AM   #1
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Knock down ceiling texture - fill or remove?


Hello,
We are giving our bathroom a facelift and since we had to do some drywall patching from removing the medicine cabinet and removing those ugly ceramic towel bar holders, we are now thinking we should remove the ceiling texture while we're semi drop-clothed, doing drywall stuff, and before painting.

I was reading up on removing popcorn, but this is knockdown and I think it might be painted over, or possibly just primed. I sprayed a small test area with some warm water and let it soak. It didn't soak in too well and I did a little test scraping and it didn't go so hot.

I did some more searching on removing knockdown ceiling texture and read somewhere that it's easier to just fill it with mud and sand, prime, paint. Does this sound right?

The room is a small 8x5 guest bathroom and we'd really like to smooth out the ceiling DIY style.

What are my options? I'm patient and have some spare time. is scraping, skimming and sanding the best option here? I can't just put mud on top of the primed ceiling to fill the valleys can I?

Thanks for any help. Here are some pictures of the ceiling in question.


Last edited by bonanz; 09-19-2007 at 02:00 AM.
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Old 09-19-2007, 05:47 AM   #2
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Knock down ceiling texture - fill or remove?


That texture coating has silica sand in it. It's also been painted over, so the whole thing is more like concrete attached to that wall. I don't think you will have much luck getting anything scraped off due to those two factors.

What little you can scrape off will be insignificant if you were hoping to get that wall to a flat surface. That texture with the paint over it, is not like an unpainted popcorn ceiling or a skip trowel ceiling, which can both be scraped down or smoothed out.

IMHO-the only viable options are to either live with it or rip the wallboard down and start over.

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Old 09-19-2007, 09:07 AM   #3
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Knock down ceiling texture - fill or remove?


You could also just put a new layer of drywall right over the existing ceiling. That would eliminate a very messy removal job.
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Old 09-19-2007, 09:18 AM   #4
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Knock down ceiling texture - fill or remove?


As advised above or

clean / prime with (fresh start) Skim coat with drywall compound ( do a number of light coats (less sanding). Sand, prime, paint.

I have done this many times when restoring insured loss damage.
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Old 09-19-2007, 05:07 PM   #5
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Knock down ceiling texture - fill or remove?


Thanks for the replies.

will the mud adhere to the fresh start correctly? That method sounds like something I'd be willing to take the time to do but I'd rather not layer drywall and I'm not gonna rip it down.

Thanks again for the replies I just found this forum and I'm sure I'll be undertaking more home projects that are "over my head" so this isn't the last of me lol
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Old 09-19-2007, 07:01 PM   #6
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Knock down ceiling texture - fill or remove?


Fresh Start will do the trick.

It would not be needed if your knock down was raw mud.
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Old 09-19-2007, 07:32 PM   #7
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Knock down ceiling texture - fill or remove?


Okay, I'm gonna go for it I'll post pics too

This is what I'm gonna do. Let me know if I'm forgetting something/doing something I don't need to.

1. clean and give it some sanding action with `100 grit paper
2. fresh start (1 coat??)
3. skim until reasonably level with joint compound
4. once smooth sand again
5. fresh start (again? 1 coat?)
6. paint? I want it white, but should I paint it or will fresh start be good enough?

Things I need to buy:
pole sander
larger knife, I think the largest one I have is 8inches (or is that good enough)
fresh start
some more mud

anything else before I start? Thanks for the help again.
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Old 09-19-2007, 09:04 PM   #8
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Knock down ceiling texture - fill or remove?


Try it this way

1.Sanding pole rough 60 or 80 grit hit ceiling lightly 5 min. broom clean and dust room.
2. Wipe ceiling with lightly damp rag on a broom
3.If wall are to stay(as is) mask with blue tape and visqueen / complete room cover up
4. roll and cut in Fresh Start/ let it dry
5. Apply drywall compound Skim coat let almost dry scrape any knife ridges
/ let dry / sand / clean up your mess
6. inspect: if you want a smoother ceiling repeat step 5 until you are happy.

7. Prime ( U can use Fresh Start or Bulls eye any primer recommended by your finish paint.
8. paint
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Old 09-19-2007, 09:54 PM   #9
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Knock down ceiling texture - fill or remove?


FWIW: We have done ....oh so many.... many ceilings over. This one is definitely a candidate for a back-ache.

If you run into alot of hair-pulling issues with trying to get it smooth,...which I know you will, - Consider what another poster recommended. That is: Going over the ceiling (overlaying with 3/8") with new sheetrock, rather than continuing with the frustration....
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Old 09-19-2007, 11:15 PM   #10
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Knock down ceiling texture - fill or remove?


that will definitely be my backup if ti all goes wrong. Did you see where the room is only an 8x5 bathroom? Also I am considering spraying with orange peel... I just really hate that knockdown.

edit: Should I do the first coat with a trowel maybe? or get a big (like 24in) knife

Last edited by bonanz; 09-19-2007 at 11:37 PM.
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Old 09-20-2007, 06:22 AM   #11
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Knock down ceiling texture - fill or remove?


From my professional opinion (In the past 22 years, we have done probably a thousand ceilings over - we do these ceilings, literally, all-the-time):
If we got called in to evaluate making that ceiling smooth; That is a ceiling that we would not even bother trying to coat over, and we are the pros. We would overlay it with 3/8" sheetrock in order to get it smooth. The reason is because overlaying would be much less labor intensive for us.
If we were going to "re-texture" it, we would scrape, coat, and apply a thick coat of a different texture pattern.

Now, on the other hand, you can still try your hand at trying to get it smooth by coating it. (The worst thing that could happen, is, that you would not be happy with the results and would try plan "B" - overlaying it).

To attempt to scrape it, get on a ladder, in order to get your "weight" and your stance right - to be able to put pressure on your scraper (get your back into it).
Your will need to put a THICK coat onto it, in order to get those irregularities even in their thicknesses. You can use a large trowel or a 12" taping knife. They both will do the job. One is not better than the other. It's really a matter of preference (I have used both, but prefer the knife).

After that 1st thick coat is dried, scrape any of your lines, or high points down. If you really left some knife or trowel lines, you may have to also sand it (use a sanding pole - or hand sand it -ugh).

Repeat the above steps until you get it smooth.

We usually do this: Once the last coat is done: Get a bright halogen work light and shine it across the surface of the ceiling (moon crater effect). That will show up any areas that need just a little more attention. We then use a 6" taping knife to "touch-up" any remaining minor unsightly spots.

Here's an example of a wall that I did 2 years ago. It was a ''popcorn'' wall going up from a basement remodel that we did. We wanted to do the whole wall over, but the home owner wanted to just stop halfway up the stairs. We put in a "transition molding strip" at that half way point. This one was easy, took all of about 1/2 hour to scrape and coat (unpainted popcorn texture) - Yours is going to be alot more ...... "fun":


Last edited by AtlanticWBConst.; 09-20-2007 at 06:55 PM.
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