How to Remove Popcorn Ceilings and Other Ceiling Coatings

Popcorn ceilings and ceiling coatings of all kinds are a pretty common occurrence in homes. They were exceedingly popular in the 1970s and earlier, but they have fallen out of style in the past few decades. If your home has a popcorn, stipple, or textured ceiling, you may be wondering if there is any way to replace it. Today we will go over some of the ways to remove textured ceilings like this and some other factors you should consider.

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A lot of terms like popcorn, stipple, and textured ceiling get thrown around interchangeably. However, while they achieve a similar effect, each one looks different and is applied to the ceiling differently. 

Popcorn ceilings are blown onto the ceiling with a hopper, while stipple ceilings are typically rolled onto the surface. A textured ceiling, on the other hand, is typically stamped onto the surface. 

We will broadly refer to all three of these as ceiling coatings. 


The only way to remove a ceiling coating is to scrape it off. This can be a laborious and time-consuming process. However, a professional crew will be able to remove the texture as part of the paint job. 


There is one major safety concern with ceiling coatings, though. This style of ceiling was created with asbestos-based products. Asbestos was a common component in paint products in the 1970s and earlier, but they were still in circulation up through the 1980s. That means it may contain asbestos, depending on when it was applied.

Asbestos is a fiber that increases the likelihood of lung diseases including mesothelioma and asbestosis. 


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A behind the scenes look at transforming a textured wall into a smooth surface.

♬ original sound – Heritage Painting

This is a project where the walls have a textured ceiling on multiple walls in the living room, kitchen, and hallways. The crew used a lot of floor covers to protect the floor and to control as much of the mess as possible. They used putty knives to scrape until they removed as much texture as possible. 

Then they used a sander vacuum to get a completely smooth feeling. This does create a very big mess and creates a lot of dust in the entire house. The sander they used was a Hepa vacuum. These vacuums help minimize the amount of dust. In this scenario, though, there will still be some dust because of the amount of work to be done. 

We will always take precautions to make sure your personal belongings are protected from dust and debris.

 After this process is complete, they will be able to prime and paint like a normal smooth wall with no texture. 

This does add several days to the project, as it takes a lot of physical work to complete and can be very tiring for the crew. Since it is so time-consuming, this can also be an expensive project to pursue. However, it could be worthwhile, especially if you plan on selling your home.

And that is how a professional crew will remove a ceiling coating effect. Because of the safety concerns, this is a project that only a professional crew should take on. When you are talking about hiring a painter, it’s important to ask them what kind of experience they have with projects like this. 

If you have a popcorn ceiling or any other projects you would like us to look at, feel free to fill out the form below for a free estimate. 

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