During the 60's and 70's popcorn ceilings were very popular, even into the early 80's people were to put up this type of textured ceiling. As time has gone by homeowners notice one thing about these types of ceiling, they are very difficult to clean! In addition, they really date your home much the same way as shag carpets can. Many people therefore are looking for a simple method of removing popcorn ceiling material.
First and Foremost
In the 70's asbestos was a popular building material and if your home was built or could have been remodeled in that time frame you will need to find out if the popcorn material contains any asbestos. In order to do this you should carefully moisten about four small areas of your ceiling, these should measure about one inch square. Gently scrape away the material with a putty knife and place it in a zip lock bag. You will have to call around to find a local laboratory that can test the material for you.
If the test results show any traces of asbestos you will need to call a professional to have it removed or cover the ceiling with a new drywall ceiling instead. It is not advisable to remove this material yourself due to the cancer causing properties of asbestos. However if the tests are clean you are set to proceed.
Once the issue of asbestos is, out of the way removing popcorn ceiling material is straightforward; however, you should be prepared for a mess. If at all possible you will want to remove your furniture and collectibles from the room. The best option for keeping the mess to a minimum is putting down tarps; you may even want to tape them around the edges or at the corners.
Removing popcorn ceiling material can be done in two ways. You can dry sand the material off the ceiling, however this creates massive amounts of fine dust particles and is generally left to professionals with specific equipment. The most common method for removing popcorn ceiling material is with a spray bottle and a scraper.
Simply spray plain water on a section of the ceiling, the same way you took your sample earlier and then utilizing a scraper begin to peel the popcorn from the ceiling. You want to moisten the area well but not saturate it, especially if you are planning to paint the under drywall. Too much water will cause staining of the material underneath the popcorn.
As you can see, there really is not that much involved in removing popcorn ceiling material. The biggest problems you will encounter are asbestos and creating a mess. Most homeowners can do this job themselves, though many choose to leave it to the professionals. When you hire someone skilled in removing popcorn ceiling material the job is usually done more quickly than you can accomplish it on your own, of course this means going out the added expense so you must weigh the pros and cons of both options.