3 ways to remove a popcorn ceiling
This type of stucco ceiling goes by many names: popcorn, acoustic, cottage cheese.
If you find yourself purchasing, moving in or inheriting a home with these outdated ceilings, you'll surely want to remove these prickly eyesores. Before you make an attempt to do this yourself, consider the potential risks involved with the process. Many homes built before 1978 were constructed using material that contained asbestos, the mineral fiber in rocks that was used in texturing paint and patching compounds and later found to cause lung disease and cancer.
To determine whether your ceiling contains asbestos, scrape a small sample from the corner of your ceiling. Send the sample to a lab for testing or purchase a kit to test. If the test is positive for asbestos, contact a company that specializes in asbestos removal. Do not attempt to remove the asbestos yourself.
Even if your home was built after the regulations were passed, you should still have a sample tested. The materials containing asbestos continued to be used until the late 1980s regardless of the new regulations.
Removing popcorn ceilings
You have three methods for removing these ugly ceilings.
• Scrape it off. The least expensive way to remove popcorn from a ceiling is to scrape it off using a putty knife or similar instrument. Using a spray bottle filled with water, spray a section of the ceiling and allow the water to soak into the popcorn. Don't wait too long before scraping the wet popcorn off the ceiling or the water will soak into the drywall damaging the ceiling. Though inexpensive and easy, this method is the most time-consuming and awkward.
• Paint it off. The easiest way to remove popcorn ceilings without hiring an outside contractor is to paint the popcorn off the ceiling. This method requires buying or using paint to get the popcorn wet using it as a replacement for spraying water. Paint the entire ceiling. Use as much paint as needed, until the paint roller starts to fill with pieces of popcorn from the ceiling. Then use a putty knife to scrape the popcorn off in strips. The paint will dry much slower than water allowing you to work at your own pace.
• Hire a contractor. The safest way to remove popcorn ceilings is to hire a contractor to remove the popcorn instead of doing it yourself. Of course, you'll use this method if your ceiling tests positive for asbestos. Most contractors will charge by the square foot to remove the popcorn from your ceiling. Quotes run approximately $1 to $3 per square foot based on the amount of labor involved in removing the popcorn from the ceiling. The amount per square foot will increase if asbestos removal is involved. Before choosing a contractor, check Angie's List to make sure you're hiring the best contractor in your area.