How to Safely Remove Your Popcorn Ceiling?

December 19, 2017 >> by asbestos watch

Before the 1980’s, popcorn ceiling as known as cottage cheese ceiling or stucco ceiling often used in homes and buildings. It made from white asbestos fibres. But, nowadays you can find the most recent popcorn ceiling, which is based from paper or Styrofoam to create the texture.

pocorn ceiling removal process

Removing popcorn ceiling is not as easy as it looks. Especially, when you have asbestos popcorn ceiling. It might be better to lend the job to professionals instead. But, if you’re facing an asbestos-free ceiling, you can try out these tips!

You might not know what kind of ceiling you have in your property. Some ceiling probably has been painted, some may have drywall underneath, the other one may just fall off. Everyone has different kind of ceiling above their heads. You will eventually know the type of your ceiling when you’re actually doing the scraping.

To properly conduct the works, you need all equipment such as:

  1. Plastic sheeting
  2. Painter’s tape
  3. Resin paper to cover floor
  4. Large garden sprayer
  5. Joint knives for scrapping
  6. Putty knives
  7. A gallon joint compound for filling holes
  8. Sander to attach
  9. Drywall sand paper
  10. 5 gallons of wallboard/drywall primer
  11. Low sheen flat ceiling paint
  12. Dust masks
  13. Shop sac
  14. Green frog tape
  15. Paper towels
  16. Hair covering
  17. Safety glasses

Getting rid of popcorn ceiling is a complicated work. You also need to be equipped with proper tools and protective gears. But, you might find it fun and interesting!

Let’s take a look on what you have to do to remove the popcorn ceiling!

  1. Turn off the power source to the room. You have to make sure that everything you do is safe. You need to wet the ceiling later. Thus, make sure there’s no electricity flowing to the targeted room.
  2. Remove all lights and lamps from the ceiling and walls. Then close the electrical plugs and light switches using sticky tape. Ensure that everything related to the electricity is protected.
  3. Cover the floor using plastic sheeting as well as the walls if you need to protect the paint. Use the tape to secure them. This helps you clean everything easier later.
  4. Wear your protective gears including mask and protective disposable wear; Especially when you’re thinking about removing asbestos popcorn ceiling.
  5. Divide the works into several small parts. It will help you remove the popcorn ceiling easier.
  6. Use a garden sprayer to damp down the ceiling. Spray the ceiling every 3’x3’. Let the water soak in for about 10 minutes. Probably, it will be different in your case. Let them soak a little bit longer and wait until they are ready to be removed.
  7. Use a knife with a 10 inch joint at 45-degree angle to scrape the ceiling. Repeat these steps until the ceilings are free from popcorn texture. Make sure that you remove them all.
  8. Take a 1.5-inch putty knife to finish the edges. These places are the most difficult ones to scrape where the walls meet the ceilings. Be patient and get it done right. Take your time to achieve best result!
  9. Putty the uneven parts of the drywall by focusing all mud spots that cover drywall screws, dents, cracks or in any holes. Do this step well so that you’ll have a very smooth result. Rough result will be noticed when you apply the paint. Therefore, give your best to finish it.
  10. Ensure that you cover all spots that need excessive sanding. Make the ceiling be as smooth as possible.
  11. Leave putty to dry for overnight then smooth all of them using a hand sander or pole sand.
  12. Make sure there’s no spot left behind by repeating both step 9, 10 and 11 gradually. You might have to putty several spots at least 4 times. Ensure that every surface is smooth before you move to the next step.
  13. Clean the ceiling by vacuuming the whole surface. Ensure there’s no grain left behind from sanding.
  14. Use damp paper towels to wipe down the edge of the ceilings. Then tap it all off using painter’s tape.
  15. Use wallboard/drywall primer to cover the ceiling. Prime over every spots to the edge of the ceiling. Use a paint roller to prime the center parts. We advice you to use the lowest sheen percentage as you can find for the primer.
  16. If needed, apply second coat of primer. Especially, if you have rough result of putty and sanding. Leave them dry.
  17. Cover all of the ceilings with paint. As you did to the primer, use a roller to paint the center parts and brush for the edges. And again, paint them smoothly.
  18. Let them dry and enjoy your new ceiling!

Those are what you need to do if you want to make your ceiling smooth and clean from popcorns. You can save as much as $ 4,000 to $ 7,000 by doing it yourself. But always keep in mind that you can’t apply this method easily to asbestos popcorn ceiling. Read the safety removal of asbestos in this special asbestos removal process page.

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