August 28, 2018

Removing a Textured Ceiling: A Huge DIY project!

My arms are dying--my shoulders feel like they are bruised beyond repair (they aren't). My neck hurts horribly to just turn my head.

I mentioned on Tuesday that Jerry and I had quite an adventure. I don't know if "adventure" is really the right word, but we definitely had an interesting afternoon.

Was it from my bipolar? I have no idea. It definitely sounds like a very bipolar thing for me to do--knocking out a wall on a whim--hahah! But I'm pretty excited about what we've been doing for (as far as home improvements) for the last few days.

It started very simply--"Let's take out these cabinets!"--so that we could (eventually) turn the snack bar into a real snack bar, and put stools next to the countertop. The cabinets were hanging right in the way, so that if you were sitting on a barstool, your forehead would be in line with the cabinets. We have a very large kitchen, so I knew we didn't need the cupboard space; I just decided to move the glasses out of that cupboard and see what we could do.

I got everything prepared for when Jerry woke up, so that he could help me remove the cupboards (I knew I'd be stupid to try that alone!). I had everything prepped, and Jerry just sleepily said, "Sure!" when I asked him about it. Poor guy ;)

We removed the cupboards. Then, I felt like the wall was in the way; the only reason it was there was because it was holding the cabinets up. So, I said, "Hey, let's knock down this wall!" We verified that it wasn't a necessary wall to hold the ceiling up, and then we took it down.

This is after we removed the cupboards--I wish I'd taken before photos!

Jerry loved this part! He kept blaming my bipolarity, but honestly, he was thrilled to do something so "crazy". So, this is what it looks like after removing the cupboards and the wall:

Once the cupboard and wall were down, we couldn't stop exclaiming how much better it looked! (Since I forgot to take a before picture--I always do--so I searched and found one of Jerry and I before we even moved in. It's not great, but it'll do.)

We clearly have to mud and paint and all of that, but I love it so far.

Since we had to prioritize the kitchen, we decided we would do the ceiling first, then paint the trim and cupboards, then paint the walls, and finally replace the floor.

About the ceiling... I hate it. It's the thing I hate most about our house, but it has always sounded so impossible to get rid of it. We have a textured ceiling--not a popcorn ceiling, but something called a "stomped" ceiling. It looks like someone put sponges on their shoes and stomped around on the ceiling. (In the picture below, you can see the texture versus where we started to remove it.)

From everything I've read, removing a stomped ceiling is nearly impossible, and it's a TON of work. Removing a popcorn ceiling seems fairly easy, but of course our house wouldn't have the "easy" fix. Which is why I've never attempted it. But yesterday, I was ready to just give it a whirl. My method was simple: Spray the ceiling with water, and use a scraper to scrape it off.

It was a little messy. We had a huge plastic sheet to cover things, but we found it really didn't help that much anyway.

The scraping actually worked really well! The texture was coming off pretty easily. There were several places where I made little nicks that would need a touch of spackle, but otherwise, it looked a million times better. It made a HUGE mess, which was unavoidable. I had tried using a special sort of textured ceiling remover tool (which caught the mess in a bag), but it didn't work nearly as good as the regular old scraper.

I got the hallway, dining room, and kitchen done yesterday. When I looked at it today, I realized I'd have to go over it again to smooth the whole thing out (and fill in the nicks with spackle). I'm very happy with how it looks, though, so once we get these rooms prepped, we're going to do the bedrooms and living room.

Jerry and I made a new budget after we paid off our debt, and it involves home improvements. We'll pay an extra $1,000 on the Jeep each month, and anything leftover from that will go toward home improvement. Removing the textured ceilings takes very little money, so it's a good place to start.

I worked on the ceilings again all day today--trying to make them as smooth as possible. After talking to Becky about it, she insisted that we would need to sand the whole thing before painting, and I hate the thought of that--so much dust!--but we certainly don't want to have to do this again any time soon, so we're going to do it right!

So, removing a textured ceiling is simple: spray with water; scrape with scraper; repeat. I wish is was as easy as it is simple, but it's actually not! I'm going to spend the next few days sanding the ceiling, prepping it for paining. I also need to get the ceiling in the rest of the house ready to prime and paint (i.e. I need to remove the textured ceiling from the bedrooms and living room).

Anyway, I just wanted to check in... this is why I've been too busy to blog! ;) My shoulders are so sore that it actually hurts to type, hahaha. But I will continue to post progress pictures (hopefully it looks better as we progress! haha). But so far, even though it has a long way to go, I like it so much more!

Have any of you removed a popcorn or "stamped" ceiling? Any advice? (I'm falling asleep as I type this, so I'm not going to proof read. I apologize for grammatical or spelling errors!)


  1. That sounds like a ton of work. But removing those cabinets and that wall in the kitchen made a huge difference!

  2. Oh my .....what a mess! Ha! Isn't funny the messes we obviously have to put up with to get the results we want in the end?? (Dang, sounds like a new weight loss post title..ha!)

    Looks great with the cabinets gone....

  3. I've never even heard of a stamped ceiling! I think my Grandma had popcorn ceilings though. I'm currently in the process of removing the most hideous wallpaper from my entry way so I don't have any advice on the ceiling. But I'm becoming a pro at removing wallpaper ;) Your kitchen is going to look great!

  4. Make sure to get ALL the dust off the ceiling between sanding and painting! If you don't, you could have a real mess on your hands. The paint won't stick properly and then you would have to have your ceiling skim-coated to fix it. (Don't ask how I know...)

    You want to use something called a Tack Cloth - it's like a little bit sticky cheesecloth and you rub it over every inch. It takes forever but it's really worth it for preventing issues during painting.

    Good luck!

  5. We have the exact same type of ceiling. Your's is going to be gorgeous!

  6. I had a stamped ceiling in my house growing up. I'm sure you've seen it, but they make a pole sander. It's actually an attachment that goes on a painting pole. Use the drywall is black and looks like mesh or screen. It works much more effectively than regular sandpaper. Sanding sounds awful, but it will go quick. I owned a home built in the 20's and spent all my free time doing renovations before I had a family.

  7. We've been contractors for 30 years, would have just gone over it with 1/4" drywall. That stuff is gross and messy.

  8. Oh Katie, that just sounds horrible. So much work, such a mess. I'm too old to attempt such a huge project. Hope it looks as nice as you hope when you are done!!

  9. I remember when I used to have this much energy. I miss it!!! I can't wait to see end result so be sure to share with your readers...

  10. Wow, it really does make a big difference after removing those cabinets! So much more open! I love it!


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