Popcorn ceilings and
other abominations...
Applying the texture to drywall and plaster ceilings was a quick and easy way to hide imperfections and didn’t require any painting afterward. But the rough texture catches lots of dust and cobwebs and it can be difficult to know how to remove popcorn ceiling. It can be a real pain to match if you have cracks or holes in need of patching.
Figuring out how to remove a popcorn ceiling texture from a ceiling is a messy chore but worth the effort if the substrate underneath is in good shape. Here are some tips to take some of the pain out of popcorn ceiling removal.
Do a scrape test before learning how to remove popcorn ceiling
Before you go to all the trouble of prepping the room, try scraping a small area while learning how to remove popcorn ceiling. Try it dry first, then dampen the texture with water and try again. Some texture comes off easily without water, but in most cases wetting is best. If the water doesn’t soak in and soften the texture, the ceiling has probably been painted or paint was added to the texture mix. In that case, wetting the ceiling may not help, and you’ll have to decide whether you want to tackle a really tough scraping job or choose another way to hide your popcorn ceiling.

Prep for a big mess
Cover floors and walls with plastic drop cloths as you begin your how to remove popcorn ceiling project. Don’t use canvas drop cloths because water can soak through. Cleanup is easier with plastic too, because you can just ball it all up when you’re done working and throw it in the trash.
Leave the plastic in place after popcorn ceiling removal to catch the mess you’ll make repairing and sanding the ceiling later
Remove ceiling fixtures and fans
You might think it’s easier to leave light fixtures and ceiling fans in place as you figure out how to remove popcorn ceiling, but they’ll just be in your way and get covered with wet popcorn. Plus, you don’t want to accidentally spray water into an electrical fixture.

Wet it with a pump sprayer
For easier scraping and practically no dust during popcorn ceiling removal, use a garden pump sprayer to mist the ceiling and let it soak in for about 15 minutes before scraping. Only give it a light misting—too much water could damage the drywall or loosen the joint tape. If the texture hasn’t softened after 15 minutes or so, spray it again and wait another 10 to 15 minutes.
If the texture still hasn’t softened, it might be painted, or paint might have been mixed into the texture before application. In either case, water won’t easily penetrate. If the texture is painted, you might be able to dry-scrape it first to expose some of the unpainted texture and follow up with wet scraping.


Work in small sections
Only spray and scrape a small area at a time—about 4 x 4 ft. If you work too large of an area at once, the popcorn might dry before you have time to scrape it off. If that happens, respray the area and wait another 10 to 15 minutes before scraping.

Use a mud pan to control the mess.
Use a mud pan—the kind for holding joint compound—to catch the wet popcorn before it hits the floor. That way, you’re not tracking it all over the place when you walk and move the ladder around. Also, use the edge of the pan to clean off your scraper when it gets loaded up with wet popcorn.

You're not done yet...
Scraping alone won’t leave you with a paint-ready ceiling. You’ll probably have
small dings and gouges to fix. At a minimum, you’ll have to
sand the ceiling to get it perfectly smooth before painting.
A big shoutout and props to THE FAMILY HANDYMAN Magazine for photos and info.
It's a pretty good online resource. Check it out: https://www.familyhandyman.com/
Here's a video you can watch that shows the process -
And when all is said and done, my advice to you is that you DRINK HEAVILY
This (below, of course) is me and this is what I do for a living.
Please feel free to give me a call if you have a project you'd like to discuss.
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