DIY Basics Home Improvement

J & A Master Bedroom (and the Easy Way To Scrape Heavy Texture From A Ceiling)

Happy Monday to you all! Today’s post won’t be terribly thrilling, or filled with beautiful pictures, but I hope that it will be useful for many.

I often hear people talking about scraping the heavy texture (sometimes called “popcorn” ceiling or acoustic texture) from their ceiling using sprayers filled with water. That method works (as long as the texture hasn’t been painted). I tried it in my condo soon after we moved in.

I actually got quite a kick out of this video. Watch it through the end. It’s really pretty amazing.

But here’s what I DON’T like about that method:

    • First, it’s messy. I mean, you spray WATER in your home, so everything has to be covered with plastic, and to say that it’s a headache to clean up is the understatement of the year. Heck, after watching the video above, can you even imagine the pain of cleaning that up? Their home seemed pretty empty, as if maybe they had just purchased the house and were remodeling, but imagine if your home was completely lived in, furnished, carpeted, etc. NO THANKS!

 

  • Second, I was left with tiny little gouges in my ceiling because in some areas, the water seeped through the texture and into the drywall, making it very easy to gouge. So the final scraped ceiling was really not pretty at all, and required even more work, filling and sanding the little gouges.

 

 

  • Third, a “perfectly” smooth ceiling is never perfect, and imperfections show up a great deal more on a ceiling with absolutely no texture.

 

So, I only tried that method once. Never again.

Since then, I’ve scraped ceilings using a much easier method. Here’s what you’ll need:


Yep, that’s it. A scraper (which costs about $4.50 at Home Depot), and a ladder. Of course, you’ll also want to wear a mask and eye protection. But then just start scraping…that’s all there is to it! The good thing is that this works on unpainted texture AND painted texture. Sure, it’s still messy, but you can vacuum it right up since it’s all dry dust.

And the best things is, you’re left with no little gouges, and it leaves a light texture which helps to hide imperfections in your drywall.

Here are a few pics to show you the difference this easy technique can make. You can clearly tell the scraped areas from the unscraped. Just removing the heaviness of the texture really does a great deal to lighten the look of the ceiling.





One word of warning before you start scraping your ceilings, whether you decide to dry-scrape or use the water method…

Acoustic texture applied before 1978 probably contain ASBESTOS! And in some cases, it was used after that date. Please research this and educate yourself before scraping your ceiling.

And here’s a peek at the painted ceiling. I’m still undecided if I’m going to paint the main ceiling area with the brown. I’m open to your input!! (And the crown molding is not painted yet. Please be so kind as to overlook the brown paint on the crown molding.)



So I’m sure some of you have scraped your popcorn ceilings. What was your experience like?

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21 Comments

  • Reply
    LC David
    June 7, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Beautiful very nice

    Chicago Interior Designer

  • Reply
    Kathie
    June 7, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    I love painted ceilings! I think I would use a lighter brown though. Love readiing your blog! Good Luck finishing J&A's bedroom, can't wait to see the finished room.

  • Reply
    Kim - A Creative Spirit
    June 7, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    Is there no end to you talent or your energy???? Thanks for the thoughts on the water method.

  • Reply
    Laurie - Little Blue Chairs
    June 7, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Very educational- the video was amazing. Regarding the ceiling color, i would paint it a shade or two lighter.

  • Reply
    Vicki Flynn
    June 8, 2010 at 1:23 am

    Just stopping in to say hi!! You're work is always lovely and I will be going through more thoroughly in a bit to comment…but I have been checking out your projects!! My sister and I have a "Redesign" to start tomorrow…been off for a while why hubby was recuping from back surgery. Just keep on with your beautiful work!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    June 8, 2010 at 3:10 am

    Thank you for your experience with the popcorn ceilings. I've been pondering scraping and am grateful for all the info I can find BEFORE I start.

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    June 8, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    First, every popcorn ceiling has been painted, many have not be painted a 2nd or 3rd time because painting it really requires spraying for optimal results. Most consumers don't have the bare empty house for spraying to be an option.

    Concerning asbestos… paranoid fear is NOT called for, merely common sense. Asbestos is only dangerous when inhaled, ie. dust particles. The reason a 'wet' method is used for removing popcorn ceiling is to remove the dust factor should it contain asbestos. Recognizing asbestos in your popcorn ceiling is relatively easy too… take a small section and really wet it, asbestos has a metallic appearance. A professional asbestos removal will run you a couple thousand, but most painters just remove it wet and don't worry about it.

    We used a wet method to remove our 1972 popcorn ceiling (which we now know was literally oatmeal thanks to an original owner neighbor who was there when the painter put it on the ceilings). We simply sprayed a small workable 3'x3' area with water from a spray bottle, allowed it to saturate a few minutes (work another section while waiting) and used a plastic scraper. We used a simple rubbermaid dish pan held a few inches below the ceiling to catch the sections while gently pushing the plastic scrapper along. EASY! Virtually no mess and no dust.

    You are more likely to encounter asbestos in a dangerous form while changing a flat tire because brake pads contain asbestos and the area around the brake pad will be covered in asbestos containing dust that you'll make airborne by disturbing.

  • Reply
    Lizzy @ Lizzy Designs
    June 10, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    We are in the process of scraping off our bathroom ceiling, so before we do another section of it we turn the shower on to make it more humid. The ceiling comes off heaps better that way, but the water doesn't do any damage! 🙂

  • Reply
    chanteusevca
    June 11, 2010 at 4:48 am

    I cannot thank you enough for this post! I have been going bananas since we moved into this house begging my husband to let's scrape the acoustic stuff off the ceilings. He's been trying to learn how to put new texture back on and did a great job of our laundry room. But the whole house is another matter. Now we know exactly what to do and won't have to retexture the ceilings at all! Hallelujah! You don't know how exciting this news is for me. I may have to go wake him up and tell him the good news!

  • Reply
    Robert
    February 24, 2011 at 11:25 am

    I love your blog, i love the ceiling painting! SO neat and elegant. I would love my living room to be like that. Thanks for giving me an idea!

  • Reply
    chanteusevca
    April 10, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    I cannot thank you enough for this post! I have been going bananas since we moved into this house begging my husband to let's scrape the acoustic stuff off the ceilings. He's been trying to learn how to put new texture back on and did a great job of our laundry room. But the whole house is another matter. Now we know exactly what to do and won't have to retexture the ceilings at all! Hallelujah! You don't know how exciting this news is for me. I may have to go wake him up and tell him the good news!

  • Reply
    Kathie
    April 10, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    I love painted ceilings! I think I would use a lighter brown though. Love readiing your blog! Good Luck finishing J&A's bedroom, can't wait to see the finished room.

  • Reply
    LC David
    April 10, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Beautiful very nice

    Chicago Interior Designer

  • Reply
    LStride
    August 28, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    I love it, I would paint the ceiling in the same brown color. 

  • Reply
    Dawn
    February 4, 2013 at 12:07 am

    You just saved me. we are remodeling a kitchen in the spring and we have those awful popcorn ceilings. I have always wondered if you could just dry scrape that off. Woo hoo! Thanks so much.

  • Reply
    Kelly
    June 13, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    First of all, I loooove your blog. I’m not really the most talented DIYer but I live in a serious fixer-upper and am trying to take on as many projects I can to keep the cost down. Anyhow, I have the wor(rrrr)st popcorn ceiling in my living room. Whoever did it went popcorn crazy. I don’t know why I thought the process had to be an elaborate ordeal– now I’m confident I can do it! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Stacy
    September 10, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    How did you finish off your ceiling AFTER you eliminated the popcorn? Did you prime and repaint the ceiling?

  • Reply
    Robin
    November 21, 2013 at 12:57 am

    So happy to have found your method! Can’t wait to do mine! Wonder if my husband would like me waking him at midnight to share my excitement?? NOT

  • Reply
    Danny Dang
    April 22, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Thank you for this blog. I did dry scraped and now I am in a process of painting it. I would like to know if I need to prime it with oil base primer dfirst or just use flat ceiling paint with primer in it. Please let me know your advice on how to paint.

    Thank you!

    • Reply
      Kristi
      April 22, 2016 at 1:10 pm

      An oil-based primer isn’t needed. You can either use a separate water-based primer before you paint, or you can use a paint + primer in one.

  • Reply
    Susan
    July 17, 2016 at 1:01 am

    To have the ceiling material tested for asbestos, call an analytical chemistry laboratory in your town and ask if they do asbestos analysis. They can provide proper instructions for taking samples. The lab may be able to send someone to take the samples although it will cost additional money to do that.

    Do not scrape it without it being tested. If it does test positive, it has to be remediated professionally. Do not attempt to remove it yourself if it tests positive. There are other options to removing it. It can be encapsulated but it’s beyond the scope of sharing here.

    I have worked in an analytical lab that tested asbestos samples. I was the analyst who would pick through samples, like ceiling popcorn, to pull fibers for evaluation. Asbestos was a common additive in popcorn ceiling material prior to 1978.

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