popcorn ceilings

gemfireMarch 4, 2006

I hate my popcorn ceilings and would love to clean them

off smooth, but that's down the road so in the meantime

I'm wondering if anyone here has a good method to cleaning

them. They collect so much dust... constantly vaccuuming

them... Has to be an easier way..

Any suggestions?


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I once lived in a house with horribly discoloured popcorn ceilings. I painted them...one coat of Kilz, one coat of white paint. It made such a wonderful difference in the look and smell of the house.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2006 at 6:29PM
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It is very easy to remove, wet it down and scrape it off. No more difficult than painting, really, since you have to cover the entire room with a dropcloth if you paint. If you plan on getting rid of it anyway, I would just go this route.


    Bookmark   March 6, 2006 at 2:30PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Michelle, is it really that easy to remove?? Can I expect to find any surprises under that awful stuff? Like am I going to have to patch or retape the ceiling?

    Bookmark   March 6, 2006 at 4:55PM
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Rhizo, I don't know your house so I can't say what surprises might be under there! Best case scenerio is that it was put in originally and your foundatation is sound and there will be no cracks. But if there are cracks, you may have some patching to do. Also, if the popcorn is really old, it may be made with asbestos in which case you need to have removed anyway and by a team of experts. This is nothing to deal with yourself.

But usually it is straightforward, wet it down and use a scraper after it soaks a few minutes. It falls right off. Then you will have to sand a little just to smooth things out and then paint away!

Best of luck to you with the project, whatever you decide.

Here is a link that might be useful: Good link about popcorn ceilings

    Bookmark   March 6, 2006 at 5:49PM
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There are other things to consider besides the ease
of taking it down. Some of the popcorn ceilings that
were put in before 1980 had asbestos in them therefore,
before I start scraping I want to have a sample test
done on it. As far as wetting and ease of scaping,
that might not be that easy if its been painted
numerous times. Since I'm not ready to remove it I'd
like to find an easier way to clean it.


    Bookmark   March 6, 2006 at 8:37PM
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I am bumping this back up. Any ideas on cleaning, not removing? I do know you have to be careful about the asbestos, even when cleaning.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 9:23PM
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mboston: I don't think outside of the vacum there is an easy way of cleaning them. I just got done scraping down a popcorn ceiling. If they have not been painted, it comes right off, then just wash down the ceiling. If they are painted,and when you get around to it, I would seriously consider putting 3/8 sheet rock right over the existing ceiling. If the popcorn is recent, its probably basically spackle that got sprayed on. If its old watch out for asbestos.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 10:41PM
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I scraped mine off. I wet it thoroughly and scraped it into a bin held close to the ceiling and wore a mask. I wet it so well, there was no dust. Mine was not painted, but even when it is it's still not that hard to scrape off. As for surprises, the sheet rock was fairly smooth. The tape showed a little. It needed texturing to match the walls.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 3:44AM
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We had asbestos under our vinyl floor. Asbestos is completely harmless if you wet it before you mess with it. We hired a professional agency to remove it, and that's exactly what they did. It's the dust particles that you have to watch out for.

The popcorn should soak up any water that you spray on it (we've used a hand sprayer for wallpaper remover)- just spray it on, let it soak in, and scrape it off. As long as you spray enough water to let it soak through, and clean your floors thoroughly afterwards, it shouldn't be a problem (if you do have asbestos). Discard any cleaning rags once you are done with them. Plastic off the surrounding walls and the floor as a precaution.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 11:30AM
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I dust mine around the fans and vents with a dry paint brush. Labor intense yes and honestly I only dust them when needed. Twice a year dh lightly vacums them but I dont stress this.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 3:46PM
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