Down with Popcorn
Raise your hand if you have that popcorn-looking stuff on your ceiling.
Raise your hand if you hate it as much as me.
When we first moved into our house, one of the first big projects we tackled was removing the popcorn from the living room ceiling. There were some fugly track lights in the corner, and when we took them down, they left behind a yellow mark. Rather than try to paint over the popcorn (which could have been disastrous), we decided it all had to come down.
This was actually one of the easiest – and messiest – high-impact projects we’ve done!
If you decide to tackle this in your own home, just make sure your ceiling has not been painted. I read that it can be extremely difficult to remove if it’s been painted. Try to take some down in an unnoticeable corner. If it is at all difficult to remove, you might want to consider another project.
Just wet down the ceiling, bit-by-bit, and then scrape off the popcorn with a large putty knife. We used a previously-unused insect repellent pump sprayer, which worked pretty well. Not only does wetting the popcorn make it slide off like buttah, but it drastically cuts down on the dust.
***IMPORTANT NOTE*** If you live in an older home, you will want to have your ceiling tested for asbestos before you try this.
We lined our walls in plastic because we foolishly painted them before the popcorn removal adventure. The walls are optional, but covering your floors with heavy-duty plastic or fabric drop cloths is highly recommended (for obvious reasons).
The device the hubs is using is his very own, jerry-rigged popcorn-sucking tool. Basically it was a shop vac with a putty knife duct-taped to the hose. Again, this is optional – I preferred to let it plop all over the floor around me. There was something immensely satisfying about the mess this created.
Until I accidentally stepped in it and dragged it across the kitchen floor.
C’est la vie.
After the popcorn removal came the real work. We were lucky because the drywall on our ceilings had already been taped, puttied, and sanded fairly smooth. Often builders will neglect to do this and use the popcorn as a cover-up for unfinished work. Even so, the hubs we still had a lot of sanding and painting. The sanding created a LOT of dust, so you will want to wear a mask if you try this yourself.
Unpainted drywall sucks up paint like crazy. We ended up with one coat of primer and two coats of paint.
Once we had a nice, smooth ceiling painted a slightly lighter shade than the walls, our 8′ ceilings looked substantially better.
Before (with the old, crusty popcorn):
After (with the smooth, creamy ceiling):
Has anyone else taken on a project like this? We thought it was worth the work.