How to Remove Popcorn Ceiling Without Making a Mess

By: ROS Team

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In the 1950s and 1960s, popcorn ceilings, commonly referred to as acoustic ceilings, were a common interior design style. Unfortunately, many homeowners now find them outmoded and ugly.

Nowadays, removing popcorn ceilings appears to be a messy and time-consuming task, however, with the right set of tools and methods, homeowners can get rid of these outdated ceilings all on their own.

In this article, we’ll show you how to remove popcorn ceilings with step-by-step instructions without creating a mess. With these guidelines, you may update your house and permanently get rid of that ugly ceiling.

Start With a Dust Mask

Before you begin, it’s important to wear a dust mask. Popcorn ceilings are notorious for containing asbestos, which can cause lung cancer and other health problems if inhaled.

Asbestos is also known to cause mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer that affects the lining around organs such as your lungs or heart.

To protect yourself from these contaminants while removing them from your home, wear a NIOSH-approved respirator with cartridges approved for use with asbestos removal work (these can be purchased at most hardware stores).

Make sure that when you put on the mask, it fits snugly around all parts of your face, so no dust gets in through any gaps between its edges and yours – the last thing you want is for some small particles of popcorn ceiling material lodged inside your nostrils!

Be sure not to breathe directly into or out of the filter in front of where the air comes out; this could clog up filters quickly, making them useless until they’re cleaned again later on the down road somewhere down the line.

Use a Scraper to Remove old Glue

Use a scraper to remove the old glue. A putty knife is another good option for scraping, but if you don’t have one, a sharpened piece of wood will work as well. Make sure that your scraper or putty knife is sharp so that it can cut through the old glue without damaging the drywall underneath.

Don’t scrape too hard! If you scrape too hard on top of popcorn ceiling tiles, they’ll break off and fall down into your hairline (or worse). If this happens and gets caught in your skin, seek medical attention immediately–it can be painful and dangerous!

Once the old Glue is off, Sand Down any Rough Spots

Once the old glue is off, sand down any rough spots. If you don’t have access to a power sander or belt sander, use a hand sander and some 150-grit paper to smooth out any bumps.

Cover any Vents or Light Fixtures you Want to Leave Uncovered

You’ll want to cover any vents or light fixtures you want to leave uncovered. You can use plastic or tape to do this. Covering them will prevent dust from getting into the vents and light fixtures, which would make a mess of things when it comes time for cleanup! Don’t forget about covering the switch, too – that’s important!

Use Water to Prime the Surface

Now it’s time to start softening the popcorn ceiling texture. This will make it easier to remove and will also minimize the amount of dust created during the process. Here are different ways to prime the surface:

  • Use a sponge or paint roller to apply water to the surface.
  • Use a paintbrush to apply the compound.
  • If you want to get fancy, you can use a sprayer instead of applying it with your hands and/or tools.

Apply a Patching Compound over the Entire Ceiling

Make sure to use a good quality patching compound, such as Dap Patch & Repair or Dap Builders Choice. Apply the compound in thin layers using a roller to ensure an even application, then let dry completely before sanding it down with fine-grit sandpaper (like 300 grit).

Finishing Touches

Once you’ve finished patching the ceiling, it’s time to make sure that your work looks like new. To do this, you’ll need:

  • A wet sponge to remove the excess patching compound from the surface of your popcorn ceiling.
  • A second coat of joint compound (or spackle) over any bare spots. This will help ensure that there are no cracks or other imperfections in your new finish layer. Let this dry for 24 hours before applying a third coat for the best results!


Can you Remove the Popcorn Ceiling by Yourself?

Yes, you can remove a popcorn ceiling by yourself!

You’ll need to do some research and practice before you get started. It’s not as easy as just pulling off the sheetrock and hitting it with a sledgehammer—the sheetrock is actually covered in insulation, so you’ll need to scrape that off first.

Then, take a course in drywall repair or learn how to hang drywall if you don’t already know how—that will help you figure out where the studs are and how best to patch them up once your sheetrock is gone.

Finally, have some patience with yourself—removing a popcorn ceiling can be messy and time-consuming, but it’s worth it!

Which Tools are Used for Removing Popcorn Ceilings?

There are a few tools that can be used for removing popcorn ceilings:

  • Knife
  • Saw
  • Puller tool
  • A garden sprayer
  • Ladder
  • Plastic sheeting


Is it Worth it to Remove the Popcorn Ceiling?

The short answer is yes. But the long answer is, you know what? It depends.

If you have a popcorn ceiling and are considering removing it, you might be wondering if that’s a good idea or not. There are a few things to consider before you start ripping up that ceiling:

  • Consider how much time and money you want to spend on the project. If you’re looking for a quick fix before selling your house, then maybe don’t do it—you may want to focus on other areas of your home that will help with resale value instead.
  • Think about how much time you want to spend doing this project. The process can be pretty messy and awkward—and depending on how bad your popcorn ceiling is, it could take a while! So make sure this isn’t something where you’ll need your space back right away.
  • Ask yourself why you want to remove the ceiling in the first place. Is there water damage or mold underneath? Are there asbestos fibers woven into the popcorn material? If so—that’s another reason why you should think twice before removing it!


Can the Popcorn Ceiling be Removed if it has Been Painted?

Popcorn ceilings can, in fact, be removed after they have been painted. It is much easier to remove the ceiling if it has never been painted, but it can be removed either way.

How Much Does it Cost to Remove the Popcorn Ceiling?

The answer depends on a few things: who you hire and what kind of quality work they can do. If you want to DIY, you can expect to spend between $5-$10 per square foot for materials, plus about $1.50 per minute for labor. This means that if your ceiling is 100 square feet in size, your total cost will be between $500 and $1,000.


Hopefully, these tips will help you get started on your popcorn ceiling removal. Remember that the most important thing is safety. Make sure you have all the right tools and equipment before starting work so that you don’t put yourself or others in danger. It’s also important to cover any vents or light fixtures that might be damaged by falling debris!