Yes, popcorn ceilings can be removed after they have been painted. Removing the ceiling is much easier if it has never been painted, but it can be removed either way. Here are a few simple steps to quick and easy removal.
When you begin the process of removing popcorn ceilings, make sure you remove all furniture from the room. The last thing you want is paint (and possibly asbestos) landing all over your furniture. You'll also want plenty of space. This will make the process go smoother.
You don't want your floor getting dirty while removing your popcorn ceiling. Putting down a plastic cover will protect your floors and make clean up easier. You also do not want to breathe in any of the resulting debris.
You'll want to protect your walls by letting plastic drape the walls.
Use either tape or spray adhesive to attach the wall plastic to the floor plastic. You are basically turning your room into a pool liner. Be sure to wrap any ceiling fans or light fixtures you don't want to clean later.
You can use small spray bottles, but the simplest solution is a pump sprayer (see picture) which you can find at your local home improvement store. Spray an area of the ceiling until you see the popcorn turn a dull gray color. If the popcorn texture does not change colors, your ceiling has been painted. This requires addition steps to remove.
Any width will do, but keep in mind that the wider the knife, the more area you cover with each scrape. Hold the knife flat against the ceiling and push away from you. Be careful not to gouge the drywall.
Simply pull the plastic off of each wall and roll the edges up as you head towards the door. By the time you get to the door, you should have a big ball of plastic and a clean room. Turn on ceiling fans or lights and let the ceiling have a few hours to dry.
If you made any gouges in the drywall as you were scraping, use a sanding sponge to sand the area lightly. Place some spackle (also known as drywall mud or drywall compound) on the damaged areas, and feather it out smooth with a finisher's knife. Take a look at your ceiling and touch up any uneven areas, such as nail heads or seams, that may need an extra coat of mud. Let dry, sand, and repeat if necessary.
If you are applying a new textured finish, such as stippling or knockdown, this sanding step may be skipped. Otherwise, using a sanding pole and some 120 grit sanding paper, lightly sand your entire ceiling for any rough spots. Your ceiling is now ready to paint.
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