How To Get Rid Of Popcorn Ceiling

by Debra

in My Ranch Remodel


moving-bedroom-furnitureI am removing all the popcorn texture in my home. It’s a dated look that you will not find in new homes… and if you want to sell your home (ever) this is a cheap update.

You can see by the pictures that is is a messy job.

Protect everything you can’t remove from the room.

The carpet in this room is going to be replaced – so we didn’t worry about protecting it.

We did have to vacuum with our shop vac… often… to keep from tracking the debris down the hall.


Removing popcorn ceiling texture will leave drops and stains on your walls.

If you are not planning on repainting the walls – protect them with plastic drop cloths taped from the ceiling down over the baseboards.

The popcorn texture is porous and will be easy to scrap off if it’s damp.  In fact… the wetter the better.

A yard sprayer is the easiest tool for this – it gently sprays a mist of water across small areas of the ceiling.

If the texture doesn’t scrape easily – then add more water.

Hudson Yard & Garden/Deck & Fence 2-Gallon Sprayer #66192

The best tool for scraping is a 6″ or 10″ plaster knife. Hold the knife almost level with the ceiling and scrape. The corners are the toughest. Scrape towards the wall… using a utility knife to get the very last bit.


The ceiling will be wet. You must let it dry at least 12 to 24 hours before you begin to texture the ceiling.

Using a blow on and knock down texture is the easiest to get to look nice. Trying to do a smooth texture will drive you crazy!

Remember to prime the entire ceiling before you paint.

As you can see… this is not a one day project.  Plan to be out of the room for a few days while you get rid of popcorn ceiling.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kandi Svenningson June 15, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Hi, I want to remove the popcorn from my ceilings too. My question is-can you use the same technique if the ceilings have been painted? Thanks, Kandi

Dianna June 22, 2009 at 3:51 am

Yes you can! I have come across two types of popcorn ceiling materials, one is the melting kind that when you try and paint it it literally melts if you get it too wet and the other is less porous which I think is what I think Debra has. Either way they will soak up water and scrape off…but it sure is a messy job! Good Luck!

LisaW. July 17, 2009 at 10:18 pm

our ranch home was built in 1958. do you think I need to have the ceiling tested for asbestos before I remove the popcorn?

Debra July 19, 2009 at 7:03 pm

Lisa – I would recommend testing for asbestos on older homes. But be careful… once you have it tested the cat is out of the bag and you will have to hire pros to remove asbestos (very expensive).

Kandi – we just removed the popcorn texture off the vaulted ceiling in the dining room. It had been painted (sprayed) several years ago. We wet the ceiling using the same technique and it still worked. It took a bit more water to saturate…

Captain Drywall December 3, 2009 at 7:22 pm

i have removed hundred of ceilings. i use to dread the painted ones now im used to it and they seem to scrape off in sheets. I do alot more masking of the walls and ceiling than the pictures here show. good times

Dr Drywall March 21, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Yeah definitely more than a 1 day project. The new texture itself you apply takes a good 48 hours to properly dry before you should begin priming.

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