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How We Removed Our Popcorn Ceilings and Added Texture

Happy Friday everyone! Today I am going to update you on some progress we have made on our home and show you how how we removed our popcorn ceilings and textured them.

How to remove popcorn ceilings and add texture

Before I begin, can I just tell you that removing our popcorn ceilings has made a huge difference in the feel of our home. Before we removed them, the rooms just seemed dark and closed in, but after we got them down the rooms felt bigger, brighter and definitely not so seventyish. Was it time consuming? Yes. Was it messy? Yes.  But if you do it yourselves it’s very cheap and it’s a great way to update your home and add value to it.

Supplies you will need:

*Sprayer. We used our Homeright Paint Sprayer and just added warm water to it. Worked like a charm. But if you don’t have a paint sprayer I have seen others use a lawn and garden sprayer.

*Ceiling Texture Scraper – if we were to do it over again we probably would have tried this out, but instead we just bought a drywall repair kit at Wal-mart and scraped the popcorn into the container.

*Respirator Mask


*Ladder (depending on the height of your ceiling)

*Drop cloths (for any area you don’t want popcorn on, because it will be everywhere)

Prep work:

Before you begin you will want to buy an asbestos test kit, scrape off a small sample of your ceiling and send it to your nearest Asbestos Testing Laboratory. A lot of popcorn ceilings contain small traces of asbestos so it’s good to get it checked to see if it’s safe to remove. The results come back very quickly and then you will have the peace of mind knowing that it won’t harm you or your family when you remove the popcorn ceiling.

*When you are ready to begin, lay out your drop cloths, (we are replacing our carpet so we just let it fall) fill your sprayer with warm water and spray about a 5 foot x 5 foot section on your ceiling. The wetter you get the ceiling, the easier the popcorn will scrape off. Just be careful not to soak the drywall underneath.

*Once you have sprayed the ceiling let it sit for about 10 minutes to let it soak into the popcorn.

popcorn ceilings

*Get your mask and your goggles on, and start scraping. (This is my awesome husband doing this, I was the proud photographer. I’ll just say I did a small section and it takes some muscles. He was much more efficient at it than I was.)

scraping popcorn ceilings

scraping popcorn ceilings

You can see the drywall underneath here, it got a little wet and I was worried about it getting ruined but it dried quickly and looked fine after a few minutes. We live in a pretty dry climate, so those with humidity may want to have fans going to make sure it dries completely to rule out the mold factor.

 Soo, after a slow week of coming to the house in the evenings and the weekends, we finally got the popcorn ceilings off. Whew! Now for the texture!

 After doing a little research, we decided to do what’s called “knock down texture”. We liked the way it looked and it didn’t seem too hard to do it yourself.

knockdown ceiling texture

How to apply knockdown texture:


All-purpose joint compound

– Ceiling Hawk

-Drywall Joint Knife

-5 gallon bucket

-Spiral Mud Mixer Attachment for Drill

 To begin, take your 5 gallon bucket, add desired amount of joint compound and mix in water until your compound looks like lumpy pancake batter. (Mix with the spiral mud drill attachment) Once you have it to the right consistency, scoop out some compound with your joint knife and put it on your hawk.

joint compound

ceiling hawk

Ceiling Hawk

ceiling hawk

We covered ours with a plastic bag to make clean up easy.

knockdown ceiling texture

Once you have the compound on the hawk, bring it straight up to the ceiling and start dabbing the mud.

knockdown ceiling texture

Do it evenly over a small section until there are little peaks forming from your ceiling.

knockdown texture for ceiling

Now take your drywall knife and smooth those peaks out, or knock them down, hence the name of the texture.

knockdown texture for ceiling

knockdown texture for ceiling

Another picture of the texture before using the knife.

knockdown texture for ceiling

And here it is smoothed out.

That my friends is how you texture a ceiling. It’s really not too hard, just time consuming. After we finished texturing, we painted the ceilings white and they look brand new, because I guess they are. Smile I am soo glad this project is done.

living room after ceiling

Now we are painting the walls (yay! – can’t wait to show them to you) taking off baseboards, still priming the cabinets (we had a little problem with our paint sprayer so I basically had to sand them all down again), and trying to figure out what to do with our stairs – the railings are super ugly. Slowly but surely things are coming along though.

 Have you ever removed a popcorn ceiling, or textured? Any other tips or advice? I will be back next week with more paint colors and more pictures of our progress. Thanks so much for following along and have a great weekend!

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