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How To Remove Popcorn Ceilings: Learn 6 Tips From Experts

Get Hassle-Free & Affordable Popcorn Ceiling Removal in San Diego, CA

The popcorn ceiling was the bomb in the ’70s and ’80s. 

But the flip side is that not everyone wants to keep their old-school houses with this type of ceiling. You are here because you haven’t taken care of the bumpy surface. 

And now, we’ll give you the reasons to remove a popcorn ceiling. Then, we’ll tell you how to remove popcorn ceiling.

4 Reasons to Remove a Popcorn Ceiling

1. Popcorn Ceiling Is Outdated

Popcorn ceilings are so named for the tiny droplets of texture that are sprayed onto the surface of the ceiling to give it a bumpy texture.

Sadly, texture ceilings were a trend that didn’t last long. What, then in the ’70s and the ’80s, was the bomb now has become a quite distracting and ugly surface. 

Today, popcorn ceiling is associated with poor taste and homes built in that era.

And if your house or a property you bought, or perhaps manage, has popcorn ceilings, your house will immediately give visitors an outdated vibe.

You want your house to provide a modern and appealing look. Thus, removing the popcorn ceiling should be the first step.

2. Likelihood of Finding Asbestos in Popcorn Ceiling


As a painting company in San Diego, CA, we put aesthetics over most things except health. And this is by far the most alarming reason to remove a popcorn ceiling.

When Did They Stop Using Asbestos in Popcorn Ceilings?


If your house was built before 1978, there’s a good chance your popcorn ceilings contain asbestos. Asbestos is a known carcinogen, so you must be careful when handling these materials. 

It was in 1978 when new laws were passed banning the use of asbestos. The EPA banned spray-applied surfacing materials that contained asbestos. This included spray-on ceiling materials, such as popcorn ceilings.

We are not here to alarm you.

So, take it easy.

We advise you not to remove ceilings immediately and independently because that can harm your health. 

In fact, you shouldn’t disturb these areas until you have them tested and know for sure that no asbestos is present in those ceilings.

You can research Yelp to find the best asbestos testing companies near you.

And if the asbestos test results are positive, you want professionals to help you with asbestos removal services!

3. Hard to Clean And Maintain

The original intention of a popcorn ceiling was to make an otherwise flat room feel cozier and homier by adding texture and warmth. 

However, homeowners soon learned that these faux finishing materials were neither attractive nor easy to clean or maintain.

Years passed, and white textured ceilings turned yellow and required frequent upkeep.

No wonder that most homeowners want to remove and opt for modern, easy-to-maintain, and way more appealing ceilings!

4. Spray-On Textured Ceilings Gather Allergens

Nowadays, homeowners have become more concerned about indoor air quality. 

Because of the tiny droplets and the bumpy texture, it is hard to clean the low spots of a popcorn ceiling, which in turn becomes a magnet for dust, dirt, pollen, pet dander, and other airborne allergens.

In other words, by removing your popcorn ceiling, your house will look better and the indoor air will be cleaner. This will reduce your allergy or the chances of an allergy reaction due to poor air quality.

How to Remove Popcorn Ceiling: 6 Steps for a Fresh Start

How To Remove Popcorn Ceiling

  1. Get Your Protection Gear On
  2. Protect Your Walls and Furniture with Lightweight Plastic Sheeting
  3. Wet the Ceiling with a Pump Sprayer
  4. Time to Remove the Texture with a Ceiling Scraper!
  5. Patch the Ceiling to Fill in Imperfections
  6. Prime and Paint Your Ceiling as Desired

Of course, you must ensure your popcorn ceilings don’t have asbestos to proceed with this process. Otherwise, you’ll have to find asbestos ceiling removal services.

1. Get Your Protection Gear On

One of the most essential tips in a DIY popcorn ceiling removal project is to get your protection gear ready.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Gear

  • Wear a mask. The dust generated while removing popcorn ceilings can be hazardous to your health.
  • Wear goggles and a face shield. These will protect you from any falling debris or pieces of the ceiling as it is removed.
  • Wear gloves for your skin protection.

2. Protect Your Walls & Furniture With Lightweight Plastic Sheeting

Yes, you guessed it. 

Removing a popcorn ceiling is messy.

So, to get ready for this project, you need to tape the plastic sheeting onto the walls. You can do the same with the floor and cabinets, countertops, or TV sets since you don’t want dust to damage them.

Don’t use drop cloths because you’ll spray water onto the popcorn ceiling texture, and water can pass through them.

Turn off the heating and cooling system and cut the power to all ceiling fans and lighting fixtures.

Make sure to keep the room properly ventilated to allow fresh airflow.

3. Wet the Ceiling with a Pump Sprayer

If you want to know how to scrape popcorn ceilings, you should know that it is nearly impossible to do it dry.

So, for easier scraping and practically no dust during the popcorn ceiling removal, use a garden pump sprayer to mist the ceiling and let it soak in for about 15 minutes before scraping.

Don’t use too much water because it could damage the drywall behind the popcorn texture.

4. Time to Remove the Texture with a Ceiling Scraper

Popcorn Ceiling Removal in San Diego, CA

It will be better if you have a friend who can lend you a pair of drywall stilts. 

If not, you can still use a ladder to complete the scraping process. Try to scrape the ceiling texture with a popcorn ceiling scraper. 

Take your scraping tool and put the blade gently and flat with the ceiling. Then, start removing the ceiling texture with a back-and-forth movement. 

You can use a 12-inch blade for scraping large areas. This will allow you to scrape a room in about 30 minutes or less. 

Do all these steps gently because you don’t want to damage your drywall. If the texture is not soft enough after 15 minutes or so, respray it with water and wait another 10 to 15 minutes. 

After scraping the popcorn ceiling texture, you want to use a small putty knife to scrape corners, crown molding, and extra residue.

5. Patch the Ceiling to Fill In Imperfections

You might need to patch your ceiling to cover some imperfections after you finish scraping the popcorn texture.

After patching the imperfections, you can smooth the repair work with sanding paper. Sand the rough areas gently because you don’t want to damage any areas.

6. Prime and Paint Your Ceiling as Desired

The best thing about popcorn ceiling removal is that you will have a second opportunity for a fresh start.

You can prime and paint your ceiling as you wish. Once you finish painting your ceiling, you can remove the popcorn ceiling waste and take the plastic sheeting off.

Once the new paint job is dried, you can restore the power and get your room back to normal to enjoy your newly painted surface.

Goodbye to Popcorn Ceilings; Start Anew!

If you are worried about removing your popcorn ceiling, don’t be. The process is pretty straightforward and can be done in just a few hours. 

You only need to gather some supplies and equipment, but once that’s taken care of, the rest should fall into place naturally. Best of luck! 

If you are still not sure how to tackle this project alone, don’t worry. You can hire AMK Painting to help you with affordable popcorn ceiling removal in San Diego, CA

Call us at (619) 764-3414 if you need some help with texture ceiling removal and ceiling painting services afterward. Till next time!

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