Popcorn ceilings have a rough and textured appearance, known as cottage cheese or acoustic ceilings. While some people like its look, others feel that it is outdated, time-consuming to clean, and possibly dangerous. If your popcorn ceiling is painted, removing the paint will be more challenging. Paint may hinder the texture’s ability to absorb water, making it harder to remove.

If you want to remove a popcorn ceiling, knowing what you’re getting yourself into is essential. Removal is not as easy as some home improvements because of the difficulties of removing such a textured surface.

Once you’ve decided on the removal process, some safety precautions 1need to be taken before beginning work. Preparing the work area is an essential part of the process that should not be overlooked. There are several different ways that people use to remove a popcorn ceiling. They either scrape it off themselves or hire a contractor to do the job for them. It would be best to keep in mind a few things while removing the popcorn ceiling.

Check Whether Popcorn Ceilings have Asbestos

Many houses that were constructed in the 1950s and 1980s have asbestos. And If your house has asbestos, then it is advisable to hire a professional to remove the popcorn ceiling of your house because it is dangerous to remove the popcorn ceiling if you do not have enough knowledge. If your house does not have asbestos, then you can remove the popcorn ceiling safely by yourself.

Gather Your Equipment and Materials

Before beginning the popcorn ceiling removal process, it is essential to gather your equipment and materials such as a ladder, trap, painter’s tape, plastic, sheeting, safety gear, paint scraper, primer & paint. A large fan will be necessary to speed up the drying process of the ceiling. A paint roller on a long handle is ideal for painting on job finishes.

You also need to ensure that you have your safety gear ready, including goggles, a breathing mask, boots, and gloves. These are essential when removing this texture because they can be very dusty.

Prepare Your Workspace

Make sure to cover all the large furniture with a trap and move all the small furniture, vases, boxes, and all breakables out of the way. You will probably want to cover the floor with enough plastic sheeting so you can move through your work area without dragging debris. Leave about an inch of excess plastic on all sides, so it doesn’t slip underfoot.

Make sure that the space is well ventilated to allow for airflow. A box fan in a window should supply sufficient ventilation. Cover the floor with plastic and place fans to circulate the air. This will remove dust from the area and speed up drying time.

Before removing the popcorn ceiling, you should disconnect all electrical outlets because working with insulation may create sparks. You should also remove any light fixtures that are attached to your ceiling.

Remove the Popcorn Ceilings 

After preparing the workspace, get ready to remove the textured materials from the ceiling. You will start by removing the drywall from the ceiling. Use a paint scraper to remove as much excess textured surface as you can, but be careful not to damage the drywall underneath. You can read our blog on how to patch and repair drywall.

If any wiring that connects light fixtures or hanging lights is present, remove it with pliers before beginning work. Make sure to wear goggles and gloves while working because it can be hazardous to your health.

Once you have removed the drywall, use a shop vacuum and your wet/dry vacuum to get rid of all drywall dust. Then wipe down the entire ceiling with water and let it completely dry out before applying anything else.

If you feel that the process is becoming difficult, then saturate a small section of the material with a bottle of warm water mixed with a few drops of dishwashing soap. To loosen the drywall without causing damage, spray the mixture directly onto the popcorn texture and leave it for a couple of minutes. Most of the material should be soft enough to scrape off easily with any luck.

Or else wait for 15 to 20 minutes for the solution to soak in, then start scraping. If the material is still difficult to remove, repeat the moistening procedure. Use a little putty knife to scrape corners, crown molding, and any extra residue. Keep the regions around fixtures left hanging clean, but be cautious not to gouge the drywall or damage joint tape while removing it.

The Ceiling Stripper Tool

After removing all of the textured surfaces from your ceiling, you can proceed with priming and painting the ceiling. However, if you want to try using the ceiling stripper tool, you can do that. This unique textured roller removes the remainder of the loose texture and allows total paint adhesion throughout your room.

Roll the ceiling from corner to corner and wait a few minutes. Use a wet/dry vacuum to remove excess material from your workspace, then apply primer and paint as you would for any other ceiling. After completely drying out your ceiling, you should use this method because it will be much easier to clean up any excess material with water.

Repair the Ceiling

No matter how carefully you remove the popcorn ceiling, there is still a chance that it might damage the drywall. If the ceiling is damaged, you will have to patch it before priming and painting.

After all drywall dust has been removed, prime over any damage with a fresh coat of drywall primer. Then fill in any holes with joint compound mixed with a drying agent. Smooth out bumps using your taping knife. Let this dry overnight, then apply a final coat of primer and two or three coats of paint. After the paint dries, restore electricity and return your room to normal.

How much does it cost to remove the popcorn ceiling?

Removing popcorn ceilings is a time-consuming and labor-intensive procedure. Hence this should be left to a qualified expert to ensure careful removal. Removing popcorn ceilings completely depends on the size and condition of the room, depending on how intricate the patterns are, and what type of surface you choose instead—approximately the popcorn ceiling removal cost around $ 1600 to $1800.

How long does it take to remove the popcorn ceiling?

The first stage of removing a textured ceiling is extremely time-consuming and can take anywhere from three days to a week to complete, depending on the number of people working and their skills. If you can afford it, we recommend hiring a contractor for this task because they understand how to remove the popcorn ceilings quickly and efficiently properly.


Removing a popcorn ceiling can take time and money, but it will be worth the investment if you’re looking for something newer. We hope this article has given you some ideas on how to tackle removing your textured ceilings or how to make an informed decision when hiring someone else to do so. The first step is always identifying what type of texture you have to determine which technique would work best for your situation. If all else fails, hire experienced professionals with these types of projects!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the easiest way to remove the popcorn ceiling?

The easiest way to remove popcorn ceilings is to hire a professional. They have the proper tools and experience to remove your textured ceiling without causing any damage efficiently. However, if you’re feeling confident, then you can DIY. Read the article to know some pro tips for removing the popcorn ceiling.

Can I remove my popcorn ceiling myself?

Yes, you can remove the popcorn ceiling of your house by yourself. Popcorn ceilings are a simple and inexpensive DIY project that only takes time and effort. Read the article to know about how to remove the popcorn ceiling.

What is the cheapest way to remove the popcorn ceiling?

The cheapest way to remove the popcorn ceiling is simply to texture and paint the ceiling. Spray the ceiling in tiny blobs and then flatten them out with a drywall knife to create a simple texture. After that, caulk all of the ceiling’s seams and junctures. Allow it to air-dry for a day or two before painting it.

Is it worth it to remove the popcorn ceiling?

It’s time-consuming and inconvenient; therefore, if you’re annoyed enough by it, you can have it removed. It’s worth noting that while the ceiling is being taken down, there will be a lot more dirt and dust in your home, at least while the work is being done. If you’re fine with that, removing the ceiling is an option.

Also See: Best Home Remodeling Ideas | Ways to Cut Costs on Home Remodeling | Painting Textured Walls

Written by

Rostislav Shetman is the founder of 9Kilo Moving. He has been in the moving and relocation industry for more than 25 years, making him an expert in his field. Rostislav started as a helper, dispatcher and driver and has worked his way up to owning his own company. He takes great pride in his work and enjoys helping people relocate across the United States of America. When he's not working, Rostislav enjoys spending time with his family and friends. They are the light of his life and bring him happiness every day.