popcorn ceilings

Hi, everyone! I recently purchased a rowhouse in the historic district of Frederick County, Maryland; and it has those old, sprayed on, popcorn ceilings. On all of those design shows I’ve seen recently, everyone wets them down, scrapes this stuff off the ceiling, and then paints. This is my first rehab house, and I appreciate the clean lines this gives the room; but I also know people who really like these sprayed on ceilings, so I’m not sure if this is something that needs to be done or not.

This probably sounds like a really basic question for a lot of you more experienced folks, but I’m a newbie and I would really appreciate your help.

Thanks all!


Popcorn ceilings are a bit of a problem because they are very hard to paint and get them to look right. The best way that I have found to paint them is to scrape them off and re-apply the texture (if you want that type of texture). It has paint with it. I usually do not wet the ceiling first though when removing the old texture. just scrape it off. It makes a mess, but will clean up pretty quickly with the proper preparation.


I would be cautious though…some of these ceilings contain an asbestos “binder” in them that held them together…I would wear a mask during removal, at a minimum!


Why scrape them off just rent a paint sprayer and paint the ceiling, alot faster, not as messy, very easy to do and inexpensive. If you attempt to scrape it off the drywall tape on the joints might come off (I’ve experienced it) and if you have no experience in finishing drywall, now you have a problem. I would rent a paint sprayer and leave it and paint it. Also as Keith mentioned it might have asbestos, another problem. Make sure you lay floor covering to protect the floor, if floor is staying. If you try to use a paint roller, the popcorn ceiling will COME OFF with the paint roller, DO NOT attemot this!!! Get a paint sprayer and JUST PAINT IT.

Good luck,

Thanks so much for you help, everyone! Some good ideas here, and I never gave a thought to the possibility of asbestos.

I am so happy I made the decision to join this group. There’s nothing better than knowing you are not in something alone! Thanks again, all!

Also a possibility of rolling texture on the ceiling. I have done some walls and ceilings with texture. Primer on the ceiling first, then there is texture you can buy at Lowes and just roll it on. You could even mix paint color in there and then you just roll it on and done! Just a thought.

Jared :-*