The Other Side of Scraping Popcorn

 Before we decided to scrape the popcorn ceiling in our guest bathroom I did a lot of research. As is advisable to any inexperienced DIYer, right?

In my searching I never found a post like what I’m about to write, so here it goes.

I’ll start with a disclaimer:

  1. Clearly some people have success with this and are happy with the results
  2. Everything below is not the outcome all have, but this is the reality we experienced.
  3. I believe if you can afford to pay someone to remove/cover your textured ceiling it’s far more worth it than trying to change it yourself and if you can’t afford it, save or rethink it.
  4. If I could go back I would have patched the damage popcorn and moved on.
  5. I think our ceiling had a coat of indistinguishable paint on it or another texture underneath the popcorn we had no way of knowing was there.
  6. My dad has sanded the popcorn ceilings in their house room by room over the years, so I knew that was an option, but it still would have been a nightmare.

So when we purchased this house the ceiling in the guest bath was the only one with an issue. The popcorn was hanging in a sheet about 4×4 inches.

 See that little spot by the vent? That was what started it all. There was some peeling by the vent fan as well.

 I said “Lets just scrape this room, it will be easy. It’s small and if it goes well maybe we’ll do the hallway.”

These popcorn ceilings are what I’d consider “Medium Textured”. We looked at one house that looked like it’d been sprayed with whipped cream and this was not that bad, but consistently textured.

Off we went to Lowe’s to buy a water sprayer, ceiling scrapper and additional putty knifes for scraping.

We began by spraying a 2 sqft area down with water. I watched for the color of the popcorn to change to indicate the water was soaking in (Supposed to be a tell tell sign of an UN painted ceiling).

The color changed so after 10 minutes or so we started scraping…and it came down in little chunks, not sheets.

We liberally sprayed water and let it sit for another 5-10 and checked it again. (we should have abandoned ship here) I even added Vinegar to the water, since that was another suggestion I read…no noticeable difference in results.

Hubs started scraping again, and more did come down. He changed to a handheld metal putty knife and was having to push really hard.

He was making very slow progress. He worked 2 separate days (About 2 hours per day) scraping the ceiling and there was STILL texture up. 

  The mess wasn’t that bad. We’re replacing the floor so we didn’t cover it, but this sticks to everything so beware.

Once he finished scraping we had a very uneven gouged drywall ceiling with some clinging texture still.

So he moved on to a pole sander to knock down the rest. That was some tough work in itself.

Next we had to patch all the way around because the drywall tape on the ceiling was damaged and there was a crack in the ceiling running from the corner of the closet.

We sanded down the patching with the pole sander AND and orbital sander.

At this point there was no hope of having a smooth ceiling. It was too uneven and damaged.

We went with the only remaining option.

Re-texturing: We purchased Knock Down Ceiling texture from Lowe’s. It took 2 cans. $20 per can.

  1. Tape and drape the walls starting at the ceiling and cover all surfaces in the room-It sill be all over everything and you.
  2. Spray texture in 4×4 area at a time following the instructions on the can.
  3. Let sit 10 minutes
  4. Use a wide putty knife to “knock down”/smooth the texture
  5. Don’t try to cover the ceiling with the texture, focus on the texture consistency, not the coverage (I got hung up on being able to see the gouges, but the next step takes care of that.)
  6. Paint over the texture
    1. It was beige, so it had to be painted.  It took 3 coats of flat white rolled on thick with a nappy roller. 

Finished painted photo coming soon…

All in all we put in at least 12 hours of work and around $100 on this ceiling.

 I hate ceilings.

Never again.

I love popcorn.







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