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What To Do After Removing Popcorn Ceiling

Popcorn Ceiling was the in thing for most homes in the 20th century. Also named cottage cheese, acoustic ceiling, or stipple ceiling. This inner surface of the room top was used by most homeowners in the United States until it fell out of luck in the commercial market. Now folks who once had them in their homes want these ceilings removed from their houses. But what happens after its removal? What do you have to do next? We will get to that shortly after understanding a few things.

What is a Popcorn Ceiling?

Not to be confused with the packaging of corn kernels that pops and puffs with heat known as Popcorn sealing. Popcorn Ceiling is a type of material used by builders to hold up the upper end of the room interiorly to keep the room or hallway beautiful. This ceiling got its name from its appearance_ a bumpy cheese-like surface as a result of small grains of vermiculite embedded within.

Though not so famous these days, Popcorn ceilings were widely used and accepted back in the days due to the advantages they had over other ceiling types.

What Advantage Does Popcorn Ceiling Have?

i. For one they are cost-effective

Putting up a Popcorn ceiling on a building is not only simple to do but also less expensive. Anyone proficient enough can easily put in the popcorn texture. It is quicker to do and less expensive compared to painting. This helped save property owners some extra costs.

ii. Noise Dampening property

Popcorn ceiling serves for noise reduction. Its wide surface area and presence of vermiculite fragments account for this sound-absorbing property. Homes with several stories or those located in a noisy vicinity appreciate this noise-insulating property of the popcorn ceiling.

iii. Hides Blemishes

Another beautiful thing about the Popcorn ceiling is its ability to hide imperfections. Because of the coarse texture of the popcorn ceiling covering cracks, poor repairs, leaks or damages were possible with this ceiling. Little wonder families in the ’90s patronized it more.

Why Did Popcorn Ceiling Stop Being Popular?

If this ceiling was so loved by the families of the 20th century, why then did it cease to be popular? Why is it removed from homes today?

It all started with the ban on Asbestos in the United States in 1978 in line with the Clean Air Act of 1963. Asbestos was prohibited because certain health challenges were linked to its inhalation. An example of such a health problem is asbestosis which occurs when asbestos fiber causes the lung to become scared and swollen. 

Asbestos was also connected with mesothelioma, a form of cancer. Since popcorn ceilings happen to have asbestos as one of the substances it was made from, its use across the United States depreciated.

However, in these times, Popcorn ceilings are now made out of Styrofoam which is safer. Hence these ceilings are still present in some houses today. 

Other Disadvantages of Popcorn Ceiling

i. Cleaning consumes time and effort

The wide sponge-like surface of the Popcorn ceiling makes it a good retainer of dust and dirt. A lot of effort has to be put into cleaning it. When stained with smoke, cleaning takes a whole lot of time. This makes it unsuitable for kitchens. Although a vacuum brush head does a good job clearing the gathered dust, it has to be done with utmost gentility to avoid the destruction of some fragments.

ii. Not Easily Fixed

When there is an impression, scratch, or dent to the popcorn ceiling fixing it takes time. A patch-up cannot be done without removing a portion of the damaged surface environs. This has to be patiently done in an orderly manner to prevent more damages and ensure uniformity.

iii. Heavy

The popcorn ceiling has a heavy texture. It becomes heavier with water dampening making it less suitable for bathrooms, kitchens, and other water-prone areas of the house. Its heavy texture makes it easy to fall if eroded with water. It also makes it difficult to paint too as not all paintbrushes are suitable for it.

How to Safely Remove The Popcorn Ceiling

Be it for a home remodeling, fixing of a dented part, or just for the pleasure of it, it is advised that the popcorn ceiling be removed by a professional. This is to ensure safety. But if you want to attempt the process yourself, you can follow the steps below. 

Steps to removing the popcorn ceiling

Step 1: Test for Asbestos

Asbestos has been proven to be harmful to health. It is important to verify that your Popcorn Ceiling is asbestos-free before any form of work is done. This test should be carried out by a professional EPA-certified specialist. However, there are also DIY asbestos test kits on sale in the market.

Asbestos Test Kits From Amazon

Asbestos Test Kit 5 PK (5 Bus. Day) Schneider Labs

Lead Test Kit in Paint, Dust, or Soil 5PK (5 Bus. Days) Schneider Labs

48Hr Turnaround Time Asbestos Test Kit 1 PK

Step 2: Get your Equipment

Gather the things you will be needing in place. These are common tools. They include a dust mask for covering your nose and mouth, a garden sprayer, a ladder for climbing, painter’s tape, a taping knife, safety goggles for your eyes, and a large plastic sheet or drop cloth.

Step 3: Observe Pre-removal Protocols

Before you get started, you need to ensure you handle these important pre-removal processes. Put on your safety kit. Move all furniture from the operating site. Spread drop sheets across the floor. Put off all electrical appliances and remove them where applicable. Keep windows and doors open for cross ventilation.

Step 4: Wet ceiling with water and scrape down popcorn texture carefully

A wet ceiling loosens at least fifteen minutes before scrapping, this makes scraping easier. Once moderately wet carefully use your drywall taping knife to remove popcorn texture.

Step 5: Fix, sand, and paint

Now that the popcorn texture has been pulled down, imperfections will be revealed such as holes, dents, popping screws, etc. Repair these blemishes before sanding them to perfection. Then you may paint.

After Removing the Popcorn ceiling what next?

 a. Wait for at least 24hours.

After the removal of your popcorn ceiling, it is good to give the ceiling time. This 24 hour or more break period gives room for the ceiling and its environs to fully dry off from the removal procedure.

 b. Repair damages.

Once the 24hours period is complete you can now proceed to fix the ceiling. Oftentimes removal of the popcorn ceiling reveals a whole lot of hidden damages and imperfections. Ensure to fill in the holes with a drywall compound with the use of your drywall taping knife. Then smoothen it out.

c. Sanding.

Once damages are fixed with the drywall compound, give the ceiling a minimum of 4 more hours to dry. Then proceed to sand. Sanding further smoothens the surface area of your ceiling.

d. Paint

This can be done as you please. Either manually or with a spraying tank.

Lastly and importantly dispose of properly 

After removing the popcorn ceiling it is very important to ensure waste is properly disposed of. For the non-hazardous waste, gather them in a trash bag before putting them in the designated trash container. For hazardous waste containing lead or asbestos follow your district rules on how to dispose of hazardous waste. Once you’ve done this you can now enjoy your remodeled home with a smooth ceiling.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Paint over the popcorn ceiling?

You most certainly can but first, ensure the popcorn ceiling is asbestos-free by testing for asbestos. This is because following EPA regulations it is illegal to paint over asbestos all by yourself. Also painting over a popcorn ceiling doesn’t give it the smoothness it would have had if removed.

What is the period length for the removal of the popcorn ceiling? 

Certain factors affect the period length of removal. Was it painted? What is the room dimension in height and width? Does it contain asbestos? All this influences how long. But on average it could take 5hours or the whole day. 

How much does it cost to remove the popcorn ceiling?

The cost of removing a popcorn ceiling depends on factors. But According to homeadvisor.com, it takes about one to two dollars per square foot. With about $899 – $2759 per removal project.

Does the removal of the popcorn ceiling add value to the home?

It was predicted by Schutte that popcorn ceiling removal will increase the value of an estate by $25,000 to $35,000. So it’s worth the removal.

What is the benefit of popcorn ceiling removal?

For one it makes the painting look better. Rid your home of asbestos. Gives your property more value. Makes cleaning easier. Plus gives your room/home the modern-day look.

Do all popcorn ceilings have Asbestos?

No, not all popcorn ceilings have asbestos. Since the ban on Asbestos popcorn ceilings were now made from Styrofoam. But it is still necessary to test your popcorn ceiling for the presence of asbestos.

How dangerous is popcorn ceiling asbestos

Well Long term exposure to asbestos itself is harmful to the health. Inhalation of its fibers can cause some severe respiratory challenges such as lung cancer. So it is wise to remove any popcorn ceiling tested positive for asbestos.

What are other types of ceilings?

There are several other calling types. There is the shed ceiling, the cathedral ceiling, the beam ceiling, tray ceiling, and others.