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I Hate This Textured Ceiling

I have a textured ceiling that I want to get rid of and have smoothed out. My ceilings are lathe and plaster and I am afriaid if I try to scrape the texture off it will make it worse. Is there an easy technique I can use that will give me smooth ceilings?

Re: I Hate This Textured Ceiling

My house has drywall ceilings and that textured "popcorn" and also have had a couple of coats of paint on them. I've removed most of it--have one bedroom left to do. I soaked/spayed it with HOT water (nearly boiling from the microwave) in sections. Let it soak in about 5-10 minutes. Then with a sharp putty knife, scraped it off. It really makes a mess! Use lots of plastic drop cloths! When I got it all off--depending on the room 2 days to a week for the living room, let it dry really good for several days. Then sanded and sanded and sanded. Then a thin coat of plaster and more sanding until it was absolutely smooth. Then primer and paint. Later, when I can afford it, I'll put up crown mouldings to "finish" it off. It's a heck of a lot of work and at times I thought my arms would fall off and what a "stupid idea this was"! It's taken me 6 months to do 5 rooms and a long hallway,but it was all worth it! My ceilings and rooms looks beautiful!
I don't know if you could do the same with a plastered ceiling or not. You'd have to be VERY careful not to gouge the base plaster. Don't know where you live, but some years ago I found a company in San Diego who did this type of work. Spoke with him on the phone and he said they have a machine that looks kinda like a push lawnmower that scrapes it off. He said he does come up to Nevada every couple of months for a week or so doing multiple jobs here. However he was too expensive for me at the time and so one day, since I've retired and have the time, I decided to try it myself. Lots of work but well worth it!


Re: I Hate This Textured Ceiling

What kind of texture?

If it is popcorn (accoustic) there are some tools that can make the job go a little bit easier.

If it's some kind of mix-in-the-paint sand type texture, I don't have too many shortcuts since you'll have to remove the paint or fill and smooth over it.

Re: I Hate This Textured Ceiling
lthomps222 wrote:

I have a textured ceiling that I want to get rid of and have smoothed out. My ceilings are lathe and plaster and I am afriaid if I try to scrape the texture off it will make it worse. Is there an easy technique I can use that will give me smooth ceilings?

If it is not a big area, you're better off to drywall right over top of it. Especially if it has been painted several times.

Re: I Hate This Textured Ceiling

I hate mine too.

Sand or scrap, it should come down.

Re: I Hate This Textured Ceiling

Hey what's not to hate about popcorn ceilings. It was originally done to cover up a bad ceiling like plaster cracking or drywall tape joints someone didn't want to do correctly - when you get it off you may still have a lot of work.

Get a pump up garden sprayer and some DIF (at the paint store) and mix it up according to directions with hot water. Then get a 2 inch putty knife and put a sharp edge on it with your belt sander, or get a wallpaper razor scraper. First soak the ceiling until it's dripping wet, wait 20 minutes and do it again working in sections.

Now try to scrape it off. If it was never painted it will peel off like cutting butter, but otherwise get out a jack hammer and have at it - and lots of luck. Really if it won't cooperate try scoring it with a razor utility knife - you'll have to smooth it out with light weight joint compound anyway once you get it off - and soak it some more.

When you've taken off a couple square feet you'll be able to judge how long the scraping/chipping process will take. Then estimate how long it will take to to get some drywall and screw it up and tape the joints and corners. See any article on drywall finishing. Take the quicker of the two methods, or you may want to hire a professional painter

Re: I Hate This Textured Ceiling

Thanks for posting this thread in the first place. I too have unsightly popcorn texture ceilings. I hate them, and my wife and I both want them gone. We suspect that the previous owner simply textured them to cover up the cracks in the plaster ceiling.

We are getting ready to go ahead and cover the ceilings up with drywall. The article here:
...Gave us good advice, and I think rather than dealing with the mess of ripping down the old plaster, or scraping away the old textured mess, we're going to just do the drywall cover-up. As long as you cover up and holes and fix any bulges with plaster washers, you supposedly can get away with the whole task fairly easily and attractively. Just make sure that the beams are measured at proper center, and find out where your wires are. Then, we're going to put crown moulding up around the room.

I do have one question for anyone who has done this before. I saw this practice done in an old home using 1x3 strips that the drywall was then screwed to. Was that for any particular reason? Perhaps to run wires between the plaster and the drywall ceilings?

Re: I Hate This Textured Ceiling

The nice thing about using the 1 X 3's (or 4's) is that you have wide boards to screw your drywall to. Also, they will snug up any sagging plaster. Probably the best thing to fasten them with would be long drywall screws. You have to go through 3/4 inch of board, about 3/8 inch of plaster, 3/8 inch of lath, befoe you finally get to the ceiling joists themselves. So about a two and a quarter or half inch screw should be about right.

You could also use 8 penny nails, in which case you should put in two nails in each place where the board crosses a joist.

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