February 21, 2020

Removing My Brother's Popcorn Ceiling

Well, I'm at it again... this time I'm removing my brother's popcorn ceiling.

My brother, Nathan, has an amazing house with a TON of potential! He's had it for a long time, but he works so much that he doesn't have the time to do the cosmetic things he could to update it. After I finished his bathroom, I couldn't stop thinking about the other things I could do.

The first thing was his popcorn ceiling. Since I believe we should work from top to bottom, I thought that'd be a great project to tackle. He didn't ask me to do it, but I told him I'd do whatever he'd like me to do to the house--even if it was just organizing a closet or something. I love doing that kind of stuff!

He gave me the go-ahead to remove the popcorn ceiling, so I actually did start it yesterday. He has the popcorn ceiling everywhere except for the kitchen and the bathroom that he already remodeled.

I decided to start with the hallway. It's a long hallway, and since there wasn't furniture or anything in there, I figure it'd be the best place to start. He just got new carpeting, so I was really worried about getting the drywall compound on his carpet. I bought lots of plastic sheeting to tape across the floor.

I dropped Noah off at school, then went home and grabbed the stuff I needed (drywall knives, water sprayer, my Bose speaker for my podcasts (a necessity when scraping ceiling texture), Joey (to play with Nathan's black lab, Bailey), and a few other things.

Instead of bringing spray bottles, like I used in my house, I saw a sprayer in my garage that I thought would be so much easier--it's one of those pump sprayers that you pump a handle on the top and then you just press a button and the water comes out for a long time before having to pump again. I knew this would help save my hands from the horrible carpal tunnel syndrome.

I sprayed the ceiling with water, waited about 10 minutes, then started scraping. I was surprised to see it was coming off fairly easily! I noticed that the texture was painted white. The "stomped" texture in my house wasn't painted, so it came off in small clumps; since Nathan's was painted, it came off in strips.

For some reason, though, it required much more water than mine did. I was sliding around the plastic in my bare feet, absolutely sure that the mud was soaking through the plastic somehow and embedding itself in the carpet.

I'd bought a heavy duty scraper from Lowe's, but it wasn't working nearly as well as my 10" drywall knife. The heavy duty scraper kept nicking the drywall paper, so I quit trying to use that and just worked with the drywall knife.

I'm thrilled that he doesn't have crown moulding to cover up seams, like in my house, because I really didn't want to have to tape and mud the seams. Instead, he has a really nice rounded moulding that I think will look fantastic when it's done.

I managed to get the ceiling scraped and I started to sand it when I realized it was 1:50 PM. I had to leave by 2:00 to stop and get some raffle tickets from Eli's baseball coach and then get to Noah's school on time to pick him up.

Clean-up was the worst!! I had drywall compound stuck to my feet, and I obviously had to keep walking along the plastic to clean up (pulling the plastic from the walls).

The mess doesn't look so bad in this picture, but that mud on the plastic is soaking wet and is like walking through a mud pit! See the path through the center that looks like there isn't so much mud? That's because it was stuck to my feet after walking through.

I used SO many rags! I didn't need nearly that many with my house (but with my house, we weren't worried so much about the carpet, since we knew we'd be replacing it). I managed to get the plastic all rolled up and into the trash (with all the heavy drywall compound), and then I vacuumed the floor of the extra little bits. Thankfully, his carpet still looked brand new.

I noticed that I had a TON of compound in my hair and all over my clothes. I took this selfie before I was even halfway done... my hair was MUCH worse later on:

Eli's baseball coach owns a very nice furniture store, so I was horribly embarrassed to stop in there looking like I did. I hurriedly stuck my head under Nathan's bathroom sink and rinsed my hair the best I could, and then I threw a sweatshirt over my drywall-compound-coated t-shirt. My black yoga pants were just hopeless.

Anyway, I didn't make a ton of progress (I scraped off all the texture in the hallway and sanded the spots that were pretty bad). On Monday, I plan to go over there again and apply a skim coat of drywall compound to the spots that need it. I think I may prime and paint the hallway ceiling before scraping the ceiling in the living room. I'd hate for his house to be as big of a mess as mine was when I was doing three rooms at the same time!

I loved working on it, and I actually asked Nathan if he'd be interested in selling his house as-is, right now. I'd love to buy it and flip it or live in it; however, he said he wants to wait a few years before he sells it. Regardless, I'm going to have fun updating it!


  1. Looks good. Just watch out for your wrists. I raked my garden for an hour last week and one of my wrists ached all night. All fine the next day so just a warning for me.

  2. We removed popcorn ceiling from our dining room yesterday. Yes a big old mess!!


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