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The following describes our process for removing popcorn texture.  Each project will vary but we’ve found this process provides amazing results.

We’ve created a material list, a step by step guide and a quiz to test your knowledge.

Tools Needed:

Many of these tools can be purchased from your local hardware store.  We’ve included links to our Amazon store, which helps support our how-to program.

1.  Pre-Arrival

Please refer to service standards post for instructions on how to communicate with a client and organize for a job.

2. Room Preparation

Please refer to our room preparation post on how to prepare for a room for popcorn ceiling removal.

3.  Popcorn Removal

** Before beginning popcorn removal, make sure you are wearing shoe covers if working in an occupied home with finished walkway and driveway.  You wear them inside the work area and remove them when you leave the home.

OPTION 1 (Scrape Method)

  • Lightly mist ceiling with pump sprayer or paint sprayer.  If spraying too wet you could run risk of re-activating and releasing tape joints.  Add just enough water to make it less dusty and a slightly cleaner ceiling scrape.  If you are planning for a flat ceiling texture you will need to skim coat and often times it is easier to do a dry scrape.  That way you leave a small amount of texture behind so you can skim coat the ceilings easier.

OPTION 2 (Abrasive Method)

  • Use a drywall sander such as the festool planex or porter cable.  On unpainted texture use 100 grit paper.  Due to the fine particulates in drywall dust its best to use the right type of dust collector.  Festool makes the 36 AC vacuum capable of auto cleaning itself.

If ceilings have been painted here are some options for popcorn removal:

OPTION 1 (Scrape Method)

  • Using a stiff 14 inch drywall knife. Knockoff the tips of the texture prior to wetting.  This allows the texture to absorb water.  Soak with hot water for roughly 20 minutes
  • If its extra stubborn, try adding vinega or HD80 stripper to water

OPTION 2 (Abrasive Method)

  • Use a drywall sander such as the festool planex or porter cable.  Use between 36-60 grit paper and start working your way to 100 grit.

OPTION 3 (Skim Coat)

  • If the above options fail you may have to skim coat.  Skim coat can be done by thinning mud to a pancake batter.  Roll the drywall compound or 90 minute Durabond with a 1 1/4 nap roller and smooth it out with a 14 inch taping knife.  For a much faster application, you can spray thinned drywall compound with a Graco Mark V and then smooth with a 32 inch finishing knife.  Please visit our how to skim coat a ceiling post for more detailed information.

4.  Repairs

  • After popcorn has been removed, check tape joints for damage and repair as needed.  This may require digging out the old tape and re-taping.

5.  Next Steps