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Old 01-15-2019, 02:57 PM   #1
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Whole Home Texture Removal


Hello,


I have an older home and all of the ceilings are popcorn and all of the walls have some kind of plaster texture under the paint. What I would really like is to have all surfaces be flat. This post is just to ask what the best way to go about this is. Here are some things I have considered.
  • Safety
    • The paint may contain lead. I'll have to check this in multiple spots because I don't really know what paint may have been used under the paint I can see.
    • Some of the material may contain asbestos. I remodeled my bathroom in 2018 and had it tested, but will need to test the rest of the house before I know what is legal and what isn't as it relates to disposal and removal of material.
  • Alternatives
    • One alternative for the ceiling might be to just put panels over the existing popcorn. I have seen some videos/articles that say this is a safe and reasonable option. I think the panels could look nice so if this is a good option is sounds fine to me
  • Limitations
    • Most of the walls are lathe and plaster. This makes removing the walls a monster pain. That is what I did in the bathroom and even a small room like that created a ton of material/dust/work.
    • The remaining walls are the brick exterior walls. I have one exposed brick wall in my house, and that is fine, but I don't want to have that look everywhere.
So, I guess what I'm up against in the near term is that I don't know what I don't know. If there are any techniques or options that you think I should know about or investigate that would be great. If there are pitfalls that I might encounter that would be helpful too. If you want to give me a "Here is what I would do if it were my house" I'd love to hear that as well. I'm basically trying to get a lay of the land so that I can start to make a plan. Thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to help me out!


Best,
Swani
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Old 01-15-2019, 03:16 PM   #2
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Re: Whole Home Texture Removal


Lead paint was banned from residential use in the mid 70s. Asbestos in texture was banned in the late 70's although it is possible a house in the early 80s could have it. Testing is the only way to know for sure.


Unpainted popcorn is easy to remove, if it's been sealed with paint the job gets more difficult but is still doable. Generally the best way to make textured walls smooth is to skim coat them.
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Old 01-15-2019, 03:50 PM   #3
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Re: Whole Home Texture Removal


I just watched this the other day:


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Old 01-16-2019, 09:15 AM   #4
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Re: Whole Home Texture Removal


Quote:
Originally Posted by mark sr View Post
Lead paint was banned from residential use in the mid 70s. Asbestos in texture was banned in the late 70's although it is possible a house in the early 80s could have it. Testing is the only way to know for sure.

Unpainted popcorn is easy to remove, if it's been sealed with paint the job gets more difficult but is still doable. Generally the best way to make textured walls smooth is to skim coat them.
Thank you so much for the reply. I will try to determine if the ceiling is painted or not. The house was built in 1912 so if I remove material I think I still have to check. But, my understanding is that you only have to check if you are removing it. I think skim coating eliminates that need.

Which also ties in to Mystriss's answer. I have watched videos about skim coating (but not this one, so thank you for that) but I've never been sure if it's a good option for me or not.

So here is probably the biggest question. Is this something that I could do myself if I've never tried it before? I'm in reasonably good shape but it hurt my shoulders just watching that dude work above his head like that and I'm sure I wouldn't be able to cover as much ground in the same amount of time. Also, early in the video he says "My customer's grandson attempted to do this ceiling repair [sigh/chuckle]". I can't tell if he's disdainful of the idea that anyone could do it, or just the grandson's attempt specifically.

Anyway, I think I like the skim coating idea. I may still go with boards on the ceiling because I think it would look nice and match the look of the rest of the house. I'd still love to get any additional input anyone has.


Thanks,
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Old 01-16-2019, 09:17 AM   #5
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Re: Whole Home Texture Removal


Quote:
Originally Posted by swani View Post
Thank you so much for the reply. I will try to determine if the ceiling is painted or not. The house was built in 1912 so if I remove material I think I still have to check. But, my understanding is that you only have to check if you are removing it. I think skim coating eliminates that need.

Which also ties in to Mystriss's answer. I have watched videos about skim coating (but not this one, so thank you for that) but I've never been sure if it's a good option for me or not.

So here is probably the biggest question. Is this something that I could do myself if I've never tried it before? I'm in reasonably good shape but it hurt my shoulders just watching that dude work above his head like that and I'm sure I wouldn't be able to cover as much ground in the same amount of time. Also, early in the video he says "My customer's grandson attempted to do this ceiling repair [sigh/chuckle]". I can't tell if he's disdainful of the idea that anyone could do it, or just the grandson's attempt specifically.

Anyway, I think I like the skim coating idea. I may still go with boards on the ceiling because I think it would look nice and match the look of the rest of the house. I'd still love to get any additional input anyone has.


Thanks,
Swani

I'm so with you. I really hate the popcorn ceiling, but watching the skim coat thing and thinking about doing it myself... Yeah... I'd rather pull off ceiling drywall off and replace it all
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Old 01-16-2019, 09:51 AM   #6
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Re: Whole Home Texture Removal


For skim coating look @ using the Master of Plaster product NO sanding required you can stop & start with out leaving a cold joint. It is very user friendly. See if they will send you a sample of the material to try. You will like it.
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Old 01-16-2019, 10:59 AM   #7
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Re: Whole Home Texture Removal


I've never attempted to skim coat over popcorn, I've always scraped it off first and then skim coated. If the popcorn is unpainted all you have to do is get it wet [I use a pump up garden sprayer] and then scrape it off. Fairly easy other than working over head and the mess it creates. Painted popcorn won't absorb water but if you scrape it first [which removes less than half] the exposed bare popcorn will usually absorb enough water to allow you to scrape it off.


Latex paints never had lead in them but the old oil base coatings might. It's a certainty a house as old as yours had originally been painted with oil base paint [probably lead based]
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Old 01-16-2019, 11:53 AM   #8
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Re: Whole Home Texture Removal


The OP stated that the walls & Ceiling were Lath & Plaster. The Plaster trade did not use the soft popcorn spray as know but would spray a finish coat of plaster using the hopper Gun which would leave a very hard textured finish which would be very hard to remove to get it some what level you could use an angle plane to remove the high spots than skim this would save on material.
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Old 01-16-2019, 12:50 PM   #9
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Re: Whole Home Texture Removal


The OP also said it might contain asbestos, which means scraping the popcorn off is a seriously bad idea.
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Old 01-16-2019, 02:09 PM   #10
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Re: Whole Home Texture Removal


If it is a plaster finish coating that was sprayed on it would not have asbestos in it a finish plaster did not contain any fibers.
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Old 01-16-2019, 04:55 PM   #11
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Re: Whole Home Texture Removal


I was assuming it was drywall type popcorn texture sprayed over the plaster during a 70s or 80s remodel.
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Old 01-16-2019, 05:52 PM   #12
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Re: Whole Home Texture Removal


Quote:
Originally Posted by mark sr View Post
I was assuming it was drywall type popcorn texture sprayed over the plaster during a 70s or 80s remodel.
Yes if it was an update it could contain asbestos. If original the finish would most likely NOT contain Asbestos. Depending on the date of installation. Finish plaster would be a mix of Lime , Guaging Plaster & Moulding Plaster No asbestos in this type of finish. The date of installation would help to determine what it may contain.
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Old 01-17-2019, 09:37 AM   #13
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Re: Whole Home Texture Removal


Quote:
For skim coating look @ using the Master of Plaster product NO sanding required you can stop & start with out leaving a cold joint. It is very user friendly. See if they will send you a sample of the material to try. You will like it.
I am definitely going to look into this. I've checked out their website. Thanks for this.

----------------------

Based on the rest of the conversation, it looks like one of the primary determinations here will be the asbestos in the ceiling. I just ordered this:

https://www.amazon.com/Asbestos-Test...p/B008J3ZK8M/r

The other part was the question of whether or not it's painted. I just stood on my desk and played with it a bit. I don't think it's painted. I broke a piece off with my fingers very easily and it's sort of pillowy. I can crush it between between my fingers and it condenses. It also turns a bit powdery but that's expected.

So I'll test the ceiling before I do anything. But, we know that there are two possibilities.
  1. Ceiling Has Asbestos
    • In this case I think I will press forward with the idea of putting some kind of paneling over the popcorn. I think it could probably still be wetted and compressed because that won't aerosolize it and there would be no disposal.
  2. Ceiling Has No Asbestos
    • If I know that it's safe to remove the popcorn myself, I think I will probably do that. I would be able to do one room at a time and limit the general disruption. I work from home, so it's not just my home life that is affected, it's work too.
That really just leaves the walls. At this point no one has jumped in and said not to skim coat the walls so that seems like a good option. But, I think I have decided that I'm just not up for it. I might be able to pull it off on the flat surfaces with a little practice, but my home has a lot of corners and even an arch.

So, that means hiring a pro. What profession and I looking for? Painter? Drywaller? When I do a search for "Skim coating" in homeadvisor.com they return lots of options. The ones that seem most relevant are:
  • Repair drywall
  • Repair plaster
  • Install plaster
  • Drywall & plaster
Any thoughts about what I'm looking for when hiring this person?

Thank you!
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Old 01-17-2019, 09:53 AM   #14
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Re: Whole Home Texture Removal


Skim coating isn't quite as daunting if you break it up into smaller sections.


While some painters can skim coat you'd be better off getting a plasterer or drywall finisher.


Asbestos is only dangerous in dry powder form where you can inhale the dust. IMO removing asbestos texture isn't a big deal providing you use commonsense. You'd want to seal off the area so you can contain the debris. Wetting the texture both reduces dust and makes the texture partially dissolve so it can easily be scraped off.
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Old 01-17-2019, 12:35 PM   #15
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Re: Whole Home Texture Removal


For a good skim coating with a high quality product find a kind of young drywall finisher say with five years experience & see if he would be willing to be trained in the application of the Master of Plaster finish system. If yes contact Master of Plaster for a training program I would estimate he could master the finish product in two days. You pay for the training & let him use your residence a completed sample of what he can do with the product. Have him give you a price based on what he could do it for using a drywall product & use that price for a base cost to apply the Master of Plaster. He will end up with many more jobs & you will end up with very smooth walls. I have started 2 people in there own business using Master of Plaster yet they cannot do the same smooth finish using a Conventional plaster mix & they have been doing it for the last 15/18 years.
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