You know you’re in a mid-20th century house when you see it:
What the heck is that stuff on the ceiling?
A popcorn ceiling (slang), also known as cottage cheese ceiling or Stucco ceiling, is a term for a spray-on or paint-on ceiling treatment used from the late 1950s into the 1980s in American residential construction. It was the standard for bedroom and residential hallway ceilings for its bright, white appearance, ability to hide imperfections, and acoustical characteristics.
This textured material was made of chalk and wallboard compound, but some mixtures contained asbestos. When asbestos was banned in 1978, suppliers switched to using Styrofoam. Nevertheless, the popcorn ceiling trend was on its way out.
Popcorn ceilings are very difficult to paint and repair. They also make your home look dated. Removing this trendy texture can drastically increase the appearance and value of your home!
First, you should test the material to see if there is asbestos present. If so, STOP! This is when you call in a professional. If you’re in the clear, you can handle this one on your own!
Here’s my trick: Mix 2 gallons warm water and 7 oz. PIRANHA Concentrate (a concentrate wallpaper and paste remover, available at home improvement stores). Put the mixture in a pressurized garden sprayer so it’s easy to spray on the ceiling. Spray a small corner of the room until it’s saturated. Let it sit for 10 minutes. If necessary, spray again, until it gets soft. Next, use a wallpaper blade to lightly scrape the texture off the ceiling. Wipe off any little pieces or residue with a large, damp sponge. Continue across the room, spraying, scraping, and wiping as you go.
(When you begin, test in small area first, because there have been a few times when the popcorn ceiling had been painted so many times, this mixture could not penetrate and soften the texture. In these instances, we do our best to do ceiling repairs and match the texture as best we can, using various available products, and sometimes even sponging the product on to blend it into the original finish. We make sure to paint the ceiling flat white to reduce the appearance of the popcorn texture.)
after scraping and spackling
After removing the popcorn texture from the ceiling, spackle where needed. Make sure to give the ceiling a good sanding and wipe down. Prime, and paint a flat white for that fresh, new look!
A beautiful, finished product! This project definitely takes some elbow grease, but it’s worth it! Welcome your home to the 21st century.