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Old 08-24-2011, 08:06 PM   #1
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popcorn ceiling issues


I am in the process of removing popcorn that I believe to be painted. As its not coming down easily or at all. I was told by people at a local hardware store to use " spackling paste" and use a 12" blade to create a smooth surface.

This has turned into a small nightmare of applying more and more product, each time it gets worse. Should I be using something else?

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Old 08-24-2011, 08:37 PM   #2
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popcorn ceiling issues


Do you have a picture?

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Old 08-24-2011, 08:47 PM   #3
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Do you have a picture?
A picture of what? The popcorn ceiling thats not coming off cleanly or the roughness of me applying layers of spackling paste and then sanding it down again?
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Old 08-24-2011, 11:43 PM   #4
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I just wanted to see what was going on.

It sounds like it's painted which means the usual removal wont work, which sucks because all you would have had to do it just spray it with some water and scrape it off.

However what it sounds like you were told to do is to cover the entire ceiling with some drywall compound to level it off? That's why I wanted a picture, it seems like you may be still attempting to take it off while they told you how to just cover it up. Unless I'm missing something here that is.
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Old 08-25-2011, 06:09 AM   #5
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Since the OP stated that the popcorn was previously painted I am not so sure that wetting and scrapping is the easiest method????????

When you say spackle are you talking about joint compound?? What size knife are you using? To me spackle is for small areas, joint compound for the large. In doing the joint compound you may need two or more layers to get to a point that you can sand smooth. The bigger the knife the less streaks, for lack of a better word you will have (mud dripping over the side of the knife). After the compound is dry between coats you could run a drywall knife along ruff areas and then mud again. Your eye will tell you when it is time to sand and prime for paint. Popcorn that is painted could take three or more coats to get to where you feel it is right to sand and paint.

I just started a thread under the Painting category that explains the differences between spackle and joint compound. The painting section of this site will give you more information about your problem since it is more a painting problem than remodeling per se, lots of threads re popcorn ceilings.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-25-2011, 07:44 AM   #6
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Bryanp, you do realize that depending on thier age, a lot of popcorn ceilings contained asbestos right? Unless you've had it tested, dry scraping and sanding will certainly load up your living space with lots of airborne asbestos fibers.
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Old 08-25-2011, 08:15 AM   #7
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Bryanp, you do realize that depending on thier age, a lot of popcorn ceilings contained asbestos right? Unless you've had it tested, dry scraping and sanding will certainly load up your living space with lots of airborne asbestos fibers.
Yes, I am aware. My house was constructed in 1990.
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Old 08-25-2011, 08:43 AM   #8
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I have done it in a few rooms in my house. This is probably not the best way but it worked for me.

1. I use a wide drywall knife to scrape all the big pieces off. It's like pushing snow off your driveway, just upside down.

2. I then use an orbital sander to get a reasonably smooth surface. No need to get all the paint off, no need to get all the way down to the drywall, and certainly no need to get it perfectly smooth.

3. Two coats of light-weight joint compound. Depending on how smooth the ceiling is at this point, one coat might be enough. But I found that sanding too much create a lot more dust around the room. I prefer to sand lightly in step 2, then two coats of compound.
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Old 08-25-2011, 08:45 AM   #9
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3. Two coats of light-weight joint compound. Depending on how smooth the ceiling is at this point, one coat might be enough. But I found that sanding too much create a lot more dust around the room. I prefer to sand lightly in step 2, then two coats of compound.
We started off using the wrong product, spackling. (And its been a small nightmare of sanding and re-applying product) Is using the joint compound easy to get consistently smooth?
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:09 AM   #10
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Yes, light-weight joint compound is easy to sand. They come in buckets with blue lids in the big box stores. It's better to put down multiple thin coats than a thick one. Let dry between coats. A wide knife (around 12-inch) and a mud pan would come in very handy if you don't have them already.

As for the spackling that's already on the ceiling. If you are not happy with it, scrape it off. If it's reasonably smooth and even, I would just leave it on.
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Old 08-25-2011, 10:12 AM   #11
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Ive already got all the equipment. 12 inch blade thing, and mud pan. Ill run and buy the joint compound and hope life can get back to normal.
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Old 08-25-2011, 10:22 AM   #12
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Make sure it's the one with blue lid.

There's one that comes with "dust control" but I have never tried it.

The green lid one has glue in it. It's more for taping and it's harder to sand.

Good luck.
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Old 08-25-2011, 10:26 AM   #13
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Do I need to add water to it, or should it work directly out of the bucket?
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Old 08-25-2011, 10:44 AM   #14
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No need to add water. The mud in blue bucket is not as thick as spackle. Scoop the mud into the pan and work off the pan so the bucket remains clean. And remember to put thin coats on and let dry between coats. You will still see the marks left behind by the missing popcorns, but it should feel smooth once the mud dries. They will be completely covered up after primer and paint.
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Old 08-25-2011, 04:17 PM   #15
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In trying to get a smooth surface in one or two coats I would for sure stir the mud first. There is alot of air bubbles in the bucket which can transfer to the surface. You can stir the mud in your pan, whip it like pancake batter or better a mixing paddle you add to your drill is available, lots less stirring, and take care of the whole bucket at one time, lol.

On the last coat I would add a bit of water to thin it down and give a smoother finish.

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