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Hi everyone, I just bought my first house and am excited to do some updates on it. I have already moved in but before I buy all sorts of furniture and everything else, I want to get a few of the major rooms done first. The house was built in 1966 and I am in CT, if that helps. I figure a top down approach (ceiling, walls, trim, floor) would be the most logical.

Most of the ceilings in the house as well as inside the closets have this swirl texture, while a few (breezeway, kitchen, hallway) have the awful popcorn. I believe the swirl is unpainted, as I squished a mosquito on the ceiling, used a damp rag to wipe it up and the rag seemed to have taken some plaster with it (nothing noticeable on the ceiling). I think I would prefer the smooth ceilings, as the swirl for some reason looks like 'little old lady' to me.

A friend says that I could easily put up 3/8 drywall, then smooth the seams to get the smooth ceiling. But then I wonder in the rooms where the ceiling is slightly curved with the shape of the roof if that would work well.

I would think the other option is it would need to be sanded as flat as possible, then skim coated. I enjoy most DIY, but I have my limits, and am not sure if this would be worth the effort!

The last thing is I don't know much about interior design. Are these ceilings hated like popcorn? They seem to be a bit distracting, but I'm wondering if it's because the rooms have this horribly boring trim, boring color walls and no furniture. In the room with the pink carpet (don't worry, that's not staying) I am thinking that 'cove lighting' would look really cool, and then I wonder if the ceiling would actually look neat with that compared to just a smooth texture.

Thanks for looking, any help is appreciated!
 

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I just finished remodeling the whole lower floor of my son's first house he bought earlier this year. It was built in 1950 and luckily, only had one room with a ceiling similar to yours. The rest were all smooth. I had to tape about five hairline cracks in the plaster. Then I gave the ceiling a once over with a stiff taping knife to knock off any obvious dingleberries. I skimcoated the whole ceiling, sanded it, then skimmed it one more time. After the final sanding, I used a good quality primer followed by two coats of a Sherwin Williams lo-sheen latex. It came out very nice.
Mike Hawkins
 

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The swirl is fine, if in good shape. Popcorn is not and should be removed. I prefer orange peal, but I'd be good with the swirl because that shows skilled work. Kind of like engine turning. I'd paint it a flat white and make sure you do a good job on the wall to ceiling paint cutting.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for the comments, I really appreciate it! Mike, I thought I might get used to the swirl but after seeing what you have done, it looks sooo much better.

There are a few closets here that have the swirl on the inside as well, and I think it would be good to practice on those first. I will try wetting and scraping as you said stick shift, but I imagine that a skim coat would be necessary either way?

The last question I have is regarding the application of the skim coat. For adhesion, does the current plaster need to be prepped in any way other than wiped down with a damp rag to clean dirt and dust? And should the plaster be moist as I am applying the skim coat or do I apply it over bone dry plaster?

Thanks again! Time to get a materials list and head to home depot tomorrow so that I can get started on one of the closets.
 

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If it's real plaster, I don't think it's going to soften up and scrape off. If it was done with joint compound and not painted, then that would work. Again, if it's plaster, I would run a 6" or 8" taping knife over it at a slight angle just to knock off any higher ridges and anything that might be loose. After that I would wipe the ceiling down with a damp towel and let it dry. Then go ahead and do your skim coat. What I like anymore for that and final coat of taping is USG's joint compound called "Dust Control." Thin it slightly with a little water so it spreads easier and use a wide taping knife, 10 or 12". Remember, you're only trying to fill in all the low spots so they are flush with the high spots. Anything after that is excess that you'll be sanding off. After the first skim coat, let it dry at least over night. Check the corners where the ceilings meet the walls to make sure everything is dry. Box fan helps to move some air around. Take a taping knife and run it over the ceiling just to knock off the ridges left from you doing the skim coat. Once that's done, skim coat again watching for any low spots still remaining. Let it dry overnight again. Go ahead and sand now to blend everything, removing any ridges you left from taping. You shouldn't be sanding a lot of material off. Wipe it down with a slightly dampened towel and check for any spots you might have missed. Use a good quality primer and prime it. Any spots you missed will show up for sure now. If you need any touch ups, go ahead. Spot prime the touch ups and then follow with two coats of finish paint. I like SW Promar 200 low sheen in just their brightness white base.
Mike Hawkins:smile:
 

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We were lucky as we only had one room with texture (about 20'x12'). It is our main family room so we look at it everyday. I enjoy DIY but i decided this was beyond me. Of course we were already living there so I was worried about the mess from either sanding or wetting and sanding. And I thought that the end product wouldn't be great and I'd be reminded every day.
In the end we decided to pay someone to drywall over top. Best $1K we've spent on the house. It looks SO much better. Much cleaner and even makes the room look bigger.
Work a shot of you want to give it a go. Worst case you may have to hire someone.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Mike, thank you! I will follow what you said and try to watch a couple more youtube videos just to see the general technique. I'm definitely going to start on a couple of closets first just to see how they turn out and how much I mind/don't mind doing it. I think i could save a lot of money if I can learn to do it well on my own.

That being said, I might do what bcemail did if I really hate the process! Sometimes it is just worth it to get a pro in there. There are some cracks in the ceilings that look to be just from settlement which is why I bought this 'ultra thin' tape too, though I'm not sure how much more difficult this makes the process (won't the tape leave a bump?).

Maybe I'll start one of these weeknights if I get back from work and am not too tired. I'll make sure to take & post before and after pics.

Thanks again!
 

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The swirl is not as hated as popcorn. Your popcorn is probably not original, in fact maybe there's swirl under it. If you remove either, you will probably find that the joints, whatever that means in 1966, were not finished to a high level. That's part of the appeal of swirl and popcorn to the builder.
 

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Eric, when you add a little water to the compound, you might want to add about 1-1/2 tbsp. of dishwashing liquid to eliminate the possibility of bubbles in your finish. sometimes when I used "skim mud" that's a little thinner I got bubbles. an old drywall guy taught me that. it saved me a lot of sanding and re-skimming.

just a thought :vs_cool::vs_coffee:
 
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