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How To Remove Popcorn Ceilings?

How To Remove Popcorn Ceilings?

Removing popcorn ceilings can be a time-consuming and messy process. Here are some general guidelines on how to clean a popcorn ceiling.

  • Site Preparation: Remove furniture and cover floors and walls with plastic sheeting or rags to protect from dust and debris.

  • Precautions: Wear safety goggles, dust mask and protective clothing to protect yourself from falling debris and dust.

  • Asbestos test (if required): If your popcorn ceiling was installed before the 1980s, it may contain asbestos. Before proceeding with demolition, the ceiling must be inspected by a professional. If asbestos is present, consult a licensed asbestos management professional for safe removal.

  • Moisten the ceiling: Spray the popcorn texture with water from a spray bottle. This will soften the texture and make it easier to remove. Be careful not to oversaturate the ceiling to avoid damaging the underlying drywall.

  • Scrape the texture: Use a wide spatula or popcorn scraper to gently scrape the soft texture off the ceiling. Work in small sections and be careful not to damage the underlying drywall. Discard the scraped texture in a sealed plastic bag.

  • FIXES AND REPAIRS: After removing the popcorn texture, inspect the ceiling for defects or damage. Fill any holes or cracks with drywall compound and sand the surface to create a smooth finish.

  • Clean the area: Once the popcorn texture is removed and repairs are complete, clean the room thoroughly, removing any dust or debris.

  • Apply a new finish (optional): You can choose to leave the ceiling with a smooth finish or apply a new texture, such as a knockdown or a different type of textured finish, if desired.

Is It Worth It to Remove a Popcorn Ceiling?

The decision to remove a popcorn ceiling ultimately depends on personal preference and the specific circumstances of the situation. While some homeowners may find the textured appearance unappealing and opt to remove it for aesthetic reasons, others may not mind or even appreciate the unique retro charm it adds to the space.

However, there are some practical considerations to keep in mind. Popcorn ceilings can accumulate dust and allergens more easily, making them more challenging to clean and potentially exacerbating allergies or respiratory issues. Additionally, if the popcorn ceiling was installed prior to the 1980s, it may contain asbestos, which poses health risks. In such cases, it is strongly recommended to have the ceiling tested by professionals and, if necessary, hire licensed asbestos abatement experts to safely remove or encapsulate it.

Alternatives to removing popcorn

If your current substrate is old and unable to handle the scraping, Armstrong Ceilings suggests you could be better off doing one of the following:

  • Beadboard – Nail sheets of beadboard to the ceiling. This will give the ceiling a slightly rustic feel. $2.50 to $4.20 per square foot (for Armstrong products)

  • Metal - Nails or screws in patterned metal tiles with brass, copper, chrome, white or lacquered steel options. $4 to $9+ per square foot

  • Decorative Stucco or Tin Tiles - 12" x 12" mineral fiber tiles. "Apply directly to the ceiling using the Armstrong Easy Up Installation System or adhesive." $1.00 to $2.50 per square foot.

  • Ceiling panels under the tree - the feeling of a country house. $2.50 to $4.20 per square foot

  • Drywall - Cover with new drywall. This will lower your ceiling by about 1”, which could lower your resale value but can add the benefit of insulating your attic better. Some contractors say to use gypsum board rather than standard sheetrock because it`s lighter. Screw it into the frames and mud and tape before painting.

Average Cost to Remove Popcorn Ceiling

'Popcorn ceiling removal typically starts at $900 but can go up to $3,000, depending on the complexity,' says Carson. Several factors impact that cost:

  • Height of the ceilings

  • Size of the room

  • Presence of asbestos

  • Whether the ceiling is painted

  • Labor costs for your area of the country

'A good rule of thumb,' she says, 'is that popcorn ceiling removal will likely cost between $1 and $2 per square foot.' But with the current state of affairs in the building industry, Langmack says to prepare to spend $2-3.50 per square foot just for the removal and another $2-3.00 per square foot for the finishing work.

How Does it Affect Removing Popcorn From the Ceiling?

Remove popcorn from the ceiling and your room will look cleaner, brighter and more modern. Stucco ceilings are difficult to clean, so dirt and discoloration can make ceilings and rooms look old and dirty. Corrugated compositions also tend to crack or tear over time. If an area needs to be replaced, it's likely that it won't match the existing popcorn design, so an uneven look will ruin the aesthetics of the room. However, the cost of removing popcorn ceilings may be more than some homeowners are willing to spend. Labor accounts for most of the price. There may also be an added cost to remove the popcorn ceiling if the ceiling needs to be repaired.

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