Gilles' Outlet

September 20, 2006

Popcorn ceilings should never be paint over

Filed under: House Remodelling — Gilles @ 5:57 am

I am continuing the popcorn ceiling removal (read the previous episodes here and here to learn all about popcorn ceilings, including risks of asbestos which mine does not contain).
This time, I took care of the ceiling of a small staircase. It was a good opportunity to test the "stairs" configuration of my 1A Little Giant Ladder. Here are the "before removal" (left) and "after first coat of skim coating" (right) :


It is the first coat so there are still some visible defects but I’ll take care of the tomorow. It is drying overnight. It was overall easy, if we exclude the little angle piece at the center of the pictures.

That piece was paint with latex paint and too much paint was put. Due to the nature of popcorn, it is difficult to paint over it and get a clean finish. Typically, homeowners without much knowledge will be tempted to put more paint just to try to cover all sins. This is most likely what happened on my ceiling, probably a few years ago.

The popcorn texture absorbs a lot of water and paint and soaking it with paint makes it very hard to remove. I had to litterally scratch an area of 1 sq in, put water on borders of the square, wait for the moisture to make its way in the wallboard’s paper first then back to the popcorn (from the wallboard) and then scratch the wet parts. What a nightmare. The following picture was taken as I was doing this:

So if you are reading this and are thinking about painting over your popcorn ceiling, I have one piece of advice: do not! Remove it instead.


1 Comment »

  1. Hey – nice Space!  It’s amazing, I bought a house about 6 months ago, it must have been built at about the same time, and it has very similar problems to the ones you’ve dealt with here.  I’ve got the painted popcorn ceilings, been through leaky toilet tank, still have squeaky floors… I’m not as handy as you, though.  I’ll have to check back and see if there’s anything new that I can learn from. 

    Comment by Eileen — October 10, 2006 @ 3:57 pm

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