Can you paint over popcorn ceilings?

cindiw2October 9, 2008

Can I paint over popcorn ceilings?

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Sure, but sometimes the popcorn finish will come off in sheets on your roller if they have never been painted before. It is best to spray them. If they have been previously painted, it is usually no problem, though it can be messy.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 9:06AM
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ok, thanks.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 11:03AM
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In our area, you can spray over once, but any more is not advised as the weight of the paint with multiple layers can pull the popcorn,(acoustic), ceiling material down with. The moisture of the paint has a way of weakening the acoustic's grip. I always advise removal with re-texturing wether they want it re popcorned, another texture type, or a smooth finish. Always have a sample tested for asbestos if it's an older home.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 11:25AM
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Always have a sample tested for asbestos if it's an older home if you have it or remove it yourself.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 11:30AM
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Hi. Good points, thanks for reminder about asbestos. These condos were built about 1980 and I'm sure the previous owners did not do any painting since then. Where would I take a sample of the ceiling popcorn to be tested? The little popcorn that I touched when I was scraping the wallpaper off the walls did fall off quickly.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 1:09PM
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Being 1980, there's a good chance of not containing asbestos as it was banned in the seventies, but, the problem lies in suppliers that had acoustic with asbestos in warehouses and selling it past the banned time frame. If you are in a small town, chances are you will have to go to a larger city. In the govt. section of your phone directory, it should have a listing for hazardous abatement facilities in your area. The testing is typically free of charge or a minimal fee and they generally require about a quarter sized sample.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 4:28PM
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We just had a sample tested and it was totally painless and only cost $25 to find out that our ceiling was not asbestos. Although it was messy, removing the popcorn was a super simple task and it has made a HUGE improvement in the look of our home. The last major remodel of our new house was in 1985 and removing the popcorn took a dated series of rooms and made them look much more contemporary. The process was as easy as wetting the ceiling with a mist from the hose and letting it soak in for 10 minutes and then scraping with a 12" wide putty knife on a long stick.

The only problem we encountered was the ceiling in the adition to the house which was sprayed directly on the unprimed drywall. If the popcorn was sprayed over a previously painted ceiling it will just scrape right off really easily.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 10:04PM
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Have you looked into removing the popcorn first? Once you paint it, it becomes ridiculously hard to remove. So painting should be only for those who absolutely want to keep it.


    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 3:10PM
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thanks for your suggestions. I'm glad to know, also, that if I paint over the popcorn it will be very hard to remove.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 8:35PM
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I have painted over my popcorn ceilings twice since I have lived in my townhouse. I wanted the painter to spray paint it but he did not want to. The first time, a lot of the Styrofoam popcorn came off the ceiling but the second time, not much came off. The ceiling looks so much better with a bright white ceiling than the dingy dirty tan-white that was on the ceiling. It would be too much work for me to remove the popcorn ceilings from my two floor townhouse and I actually find them pretty.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 6:59PM
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lynn2006 - I appreciate your answer because beauty IS in the eyes of the beholder. And I can be so influenced by what others tell me is beautiful. Fwankly speaking my dear, I don't care if the ceilings are popcorn or not. I can't say whether I like them or not. I am so confused. :-) But I want to make this job as easy as possible for myself, and since the ceilings are already finished in popcorn type stuff, I was kind of hoping that I could simply paint over it.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 11:20PM
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Cindiw2,from my experiences, you can paint over the popcorn ceiling since I have had a painter do this twice now in the 11 years I have been here. Once when I moved in and then 1.5 years ago.

I was attracted to the rich ceilings that only the richer homes had 11 years ago when I bought my home. I am always surprised on HGTV when they are saying to remove the popcorn ceiling. My neighbors have all kept their popcorn ceilings.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 12:58AM
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I removed all the popcorn ceilings in my entire house with a garden sray tank, water, and a scraper. The process was spaying water and letting it sit, spray more water and when it's really loose scrape it off with a wide scraper. Skim with dry wall mud, sand (should only have to hit it a little with the dry wall sanding paper) prime, and paint. It's hard hard work but makes all the difference in the world. Popcorn ceilings should be illegal. Getting rid of them made my ceilings look a foot higher.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 5:09PM
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Well, after all the responses I read, although I probably would like to remove the popcorn, I think I will attempt to paint over it because at this point I don't want to put much more effort (also called strain) in this project. It is very time-consuming and stressful since I have never done anything like this before, plus did I mention that it will be very time-consuming? So thank you for your response. It does help for me to form an opinion about what I should/need to do.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 8:13PM
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ONLY SPRAY !!! You will have the biggest mess ever if you try to roll. If you have any questions please call Michael @ American Painting And Deck Care in Cumming Georgia for painting interior ceilings.

Michael Camaret

Here is a link that might be useful: american painting and deck care's website

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 11:08AM
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After all this, I will probably bring in an experienced painter for the ceilings, if nothing else. Especially since I don't know how to use a paint sprayer, and it seems like it would be better to spray it. We'll see. I guess my next question is: how hard is it to spray paint?

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 11:38AM
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I just bought a home (circa 1968) with a HUGE, i mean HUGE living room with popcorn ceilings. I'm almost sure it has asbestos. Is it still advised to paint over? They both sound like a lot of work, but i want what's best for my health.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 12:12PM
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