Some basic thoughts for removing “non-asbestos” popcorn ceilings. (Some earlier popcorn ceilings contained asbestos).
You’ll want to protect yourself by wearing an appropriate respirator and safety glasses or face shield. Keep in mind this is a dirty job so you may want to throw on some overalls and shoe covers.
Gets some friends: This job works best with three people. One to wet, one to scrap and one to gopher.
Tools and supplies:
- Water sprayer to wet the “popcorn”.
- Liquid dish washing detergent - Mixed at one cup per five gallons of water for best results in wetting.
- 4-6 inch “putty” knives for scraping off “popcorn” ceiling
- Plastic sheeting to catch the falling material
- Duct tape
- Clean, disposable rags
- Bucket for washing tools at the end of the project.
- Cover or remove all furniture from the room where work is being done.
-Cover the floors with plastic sheeting. If doing the whole ceiling at once place the sheets so they overlap each other by about a six inches.
If your “popcorn” ceiling was never painted, spray the ceiling with the liquid detergent and water mixture using the tank sprayer. Mix liquid detergent with the water at a ratio of one cup to five gallons. Spray the “popcorn” material several times and ensure the popcorn is thoroughly wet BEFORE removal. Spray-on “popcorn” material is very porous and absorbs a lot of water.
If your “popcorn” ceiling was painted then try a non-toxic paint removal spray such as “Lemon Peel” or “Citrus Solvent”.
Wait 15- 20 minutes for the water or solvent to thoroughly penetrate. Test for wetness by scraping off a few inches of ceiling material. If it is thoroughly wet to the gypsum board or other ceiling substrate underneath, you're ready to begin removing. If the material is not thoroughly wet, re-apply water (with detergent) and allow time for it to soak in.
Taking Down the “Popcorn” Ceiling
Using a 4-8 inch putty knife, scrape the spray-on “popcorn” material from the ceiling, letting the it fall onto the plastic sheets below.
Wipe any remaining residue off with clean wet rags. Turn rags frequently so you are wiping with a clean surface.
Note: If your spray- on “popcorn” ceiling was applied as part of original construction, the ceiling was probably never finished (primed) for painting. Thus, even if you did no damage during the “popcorn” removal, you will likely need to smooth, prime and/or re- texture the ceiling before painting.