Painting Ideas & Tips
  • June 15, 2023
  • Home Renovations

DIY Popcorn Ceiling Removal

Popcorn ceilings were a trend back in 1960 and 1970. It’s very easy to install and a quick process that requires no painting afterward. It covers up the imperfections and flaws in the ceiling. Due to its rough texture, dust will be attacked easily, which creates cracks and holes. Removing the popcorn ceiling can be challenging, but the final result is worth the effort once removed. Here are some DIY popcorn ceiling removal tips.

Scrape Test a Small Area

Do a scrape test in a small area before preparing the room. Scrape on the drywall and later damp it and scrape it again because some ceilings come off easily without damping it, and some ceilings won’t. The water penetrates the texture by wetting the ceilings and removes it easily. If water is not absorbed into the ceiling, it must be painted, and scraping becomes much more difficult.

Test Your Ceiling for Asbestos

Asbestos is a proven cause of lung cancer and is most likely present in popcorn ceilings constructed before 1980. Before removing any popcorn ceiling texture, perform a test by having your local health department analyze a sample. If the test is positive, either cover the popcorn with new plasterboard or T&G planks or remove the popcorn ceiling with the assistance of an asbestos removal contractor.

Prepare the Working Space

Remove the furniture from the room in which you are working. If it is too heavy, gather all the furniture into a cluster and cover it with drop cloths. Canvas drop cloths are more advisable during popcorn ceiling removal as they absorb more water. Plastic drop cloths can also be used to make cleanup more easy. Cover them on the walls, floors, and windows to prevent dust from accumulating. After the work, the drop cloths can be rolled and disposed of.

Remove Appliances and Fixtures and Cover Them

Remove home appliances from their place so you can use your work ladder more freely. Remove all the fixtures, fans, bulbs, and other electrical stuff from the ceiling. Stuff can lights with paper or clothes to prevent the water from being sprayed into them. Shut off all the electrical junction boxes and cover them with painter’s tape. Suppose you find it difficult to remove the fixtures. In that case, it is advisable to leave them in their place, cover them with drop cloths, and spray the water by taking necessary safety measures.

Dampen The Ceiling

Generally, we spray water on the ceiling to make our work smooth and hassle-free. Dampen the ceiling with your garden sprayer, let it sit for 15 minutes, and then scrape it; if the wall is still dry, spray the water again and wait 15 minutes more. If you feel that still the ceiling is not softened, then the possibility that paint mixed into the texture may happen, or the ceiling might have been painted. If this happens, you have no other option but dry scraping the ceiling or shut down the whole project and find an alternative, like covering the ceiling with T&G boards.

Work in Small Sections

To make the work easier, divide the whole area into sections and work on it; by doing so, you can complete the popcorn ceiling removal effectively because if you are working in a large area, the water which is sprayed on the ceiling may dry up and you have to respray it. Use a mud pan to collect the wet popcorn before it falls on the floor. So that while walking or moving the ladder, you will not make the place messier. When the scraper gets loaded, use the edges of the pan to clean it. File the edges of the scraper in between the process to prevent gouging of the ceiling.

Finish the Ceiling

After the scraping, you will find some imperfections that need patchwork. If you find any nail, hole, or crack in the ceiling, cover it with putty or a joint compound and do minimum sanding after the wall dries to prevent the ceiling from damaging. Apply a primer coat on the ceiling and let it dry; later, coat it with the colour of your choice. Once the paint is dry, turn on the power and rearrange all the fixtures and furniture as usual.


By removing the popcorn ceiling, we can make our room more appealing and look more spacious. Popcorn ceiling removal can be challenging, but if planned properly, it can be made easier and hassle-free. You can do it yourself by following the tips mentioned above. Suppose the wall is too dry or it has been painted before. In that case, Contact Executive Touch Painters, which has over 30 years of experience in painting and renovation services in the Toronto area and GTA, and request a free estimate at (416) 410-0164.