Painters Hate Popcorn

The removing of textured (better known as popcorn) ceilings has become increasingly more and more popular over the past several years in the Raleigh area.  As a wonderful upgrade to any home, it can be very messy and a somewhat expensive project.  As a Raleigh painter I have completed many of these ceiling projects and I want to tell you that none have been easy.  In this article I wanted to explain to home owners here in the Triangle just what’s involved in transforming these popcorn ceilings into smooth, painted ones. First of all, it helps to understand how these types of ceilings were originally done.  Back in the early 80’s here in the Raleigh Triangle, this technique was a cost cutting effort on the builder’s part to save money on the sheetrock phase of new construction.  When sheetrock finishers prepare wall board for paint, they will tape and mud all of the joints followed by two or even in some cases three skim coats.  After all skim coats have been applied, all joints would be sanded smooth.  But when it comes to the ceilings, if they are being prepared for popcorn, all these phases are unnecessary.  The only thing that needs to be done is the taping and mudding phase.  So the cost savings could be significant for the builder as there would be less work on the finisher’s part as well as the savings on the painting phase as there would be no need in painting the ceilings.

I explained all this so that you as a Raleigh homeowner would have a better understanding of what to expect once the texture has been removed from the ceilings.  Obviously the finishing phases that were not completed originally will now have to be, so it helps to understand that removing the texture is only the beginning and even that can be a real nightmare if paint was added to the texture when it was applied.

As a Raleigh paint contractor preparing to take on one of these types of projects, our procedures would be: 1. emptying the room to allow all flooring to be completely covered, 2. Draping plastic around wall perimeter, and 3. sealing off all doorways in room.

Now the fun part begins.  Some ceiling texture can be dry scraped but in many cases they need to be wet so that the texture will soften and release from the sheetrock. The application of water through a garden sprayer works fine. Once the texture is removed then of course all joints will need to be skimmed at least once, maybe twice and then sanded so you can only imagine the mess that this process creates.  After cleaning everything up, the ceilings can finally be primed and painted which, believe me, the painting phase is the easy part after all this ceiling preparation is completed.

So just know that if you are contemplating this type of upgrade for your home, it is a time consuming and pricy project if done correctly.