There isn’t enough money in the world that is worth dealing with popcorn ceilings. They are messy, get everywhere, and are dangerous if consumed by infants. Fortunately, since dealing with so many of these ceilings in my day, there are a few techniques that make the job a little bit less of a hassle.

First, figure out what you want to do with it.

Do you want to paint them? Do you want to remove them? –Each process is an ordeal, but doable. With the design of your house, you should make the call whether or not it’s a good fit for your home.

If you are choosing to paint it (a lot less messy!), then the solution is to have it professionally sprayed.

Believe me, if you aren’t a licensed contractor with a sprayer – you do not want to have to mask all the floors and then paint the popcorn ceiling with a roller – that’s a disaster waiting to happen.

Can’t I roll them?  Yes you can but if you don’t use the right roller cover and the popcorn is really loose, you run the risk of pulling off lots of the substrate. You are left with a blotchy uneven look that rivals the first time your 4 year old cut her hair.!


When popcorn ceilings are painted properly,  it creates a seal so that they don’t fall off and it can look as good as the popcorn ceilings can look..

If you are choosing to remove them – here are the steps to take:

1)   Scrape it all! – Make sure your furniture and all flooring is covered with plastic to ensure an easy clean up! The tools you need to scrape them off can be purchased at any hardware store.. It would be best to do this with friends too, because it is a lot of work and pizza is cheap.

  1. Spray it with hot water.  Let it sit for half an hour and spray it again.
  2. Scrape off the popcorn with a 6-12” putty knife.  Remember, the smaller the knife the more control you will have.  Take care not to gouge the drywall surface.
  3. Use a small knife to get in the corners and here again be careful not to gouge the drywall tape that is in every corner.
  4. After letting the ceiling dry overnight, now you will need to sand off the rough bits.
  5. Now ;the nail holes and the drywall tape will need to be skim coated with a fine layer of topping mud and allowed to dry overnight.
  6. One more sanding and then coat with a primer.  
  7. Now you must choose to have a smooth finish or to have the ceiling textured.
  8. After the texturing you can paint.

This is a long process but can save you a ton of money and increase the value of your home.

Be sure to have lots of ibuprofen and an appointment for a massage for your neck.  If you follow all of these tips that ugly and dusty moonscape ceiling will be gone and your home will be quickly updated.


-Rob Potts, CEO of Potts Painting Co.

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