crunchy stuff on ceiling

Our bathroom has that white spray-on crunchy stuff that's on almost every ceiling nowadays. I don't know what it's called, but it looks like cottage cheese. Anyhow, just above the shower, there's a spot where the previous owners apparently "repaired" some missing bits, but they did a poor job of it and it's all coming off again. The humidity from the shower seems to be part of the problem. Under the crunchy stuff is regular old sheetrock. We'd like to just scrape all the crunchy stuff off and repaint the ceiling, but I don't know if that's a good idea or not. Are we liable to cause more problems doing this? Should we have something over the sheetrock or a special kind of paint, since it's likely to get wet from humidity and/or splashing water from the shower? Thanks again, guys. You've been a big help, this is our first house and it's been quite a learning experience.
Stacia
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Google "removing popcorn" You'll get lots of good advice on how to remove that stuff properly.
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Usually called a popcorn ceiling.
Get a spray bottle of water, put in a few drops of dish detergent and spray the ceiling. After a few minutes scrape with a 4" or so wide putty knife. Be gentle so you don't nick the drywall. Wipe with a wet sponge. Move to another area.
Put down plenty of newspaper or a drop cloth. Dust mask and a hat are a big help too.
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Stacia,
To follow up on Ed's answer, if you want to remove the entire room's popcorn do as he says then, then fix the nicks and other problems with spackle, then paint with primer, then paint with ceiling paint. If you just want to fix the problem, scrape the bad area with a putty knike, paint with primer, paint with "popcorn" paint. Many paint stores do carry touch up cans of popcorn paint.
Dave M.
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As this is over a shower, I'd definitely get rid of it. As others have stated, wet and let set and scrape. Easy. Wipe the remaining goo off. Paint with a good paint because it's going to get humidity.
As per the popcorn paint can bombs, that is what they are. You get about three seconds of spray, and it comes out like a bomb. They work for what they are for, it just takes about three cans to learn how to do it. But, if you don't like what is there, why do it again?
Steve
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That explains why the old repair job looks so bad! It looks like someone splorted a bunch of this popcorn stuff on the ceiling by hand, just smashing it into the drywall. I didn't know it came in cans, but it certainly explains the current state of the ceiling.
Stacia
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Old popcorn finishes could have asbestos so dust mask in a must to be on the safe side. Since the fiber is encapsulated in a binder, it is not a super hazard concern as with asbestos insulation.
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If you decide to remove the popcorn ceiling, I would repaint with a mildew resistant paint or at least add a mildew retardant to the paint.
This might end up being more work than you think. One advantage of the popcorn ceiling is that the sheetrock joints don't have to be perfect since the popcorn will hide minor imperfections. Paint on the other hand tends to highlight bad taping jobs. You might have to do so touch up work to smooth out the joints.. No big deal.
On Feb 4, 2:57am, snipped-for-privacy@xmission.com (Stacia) wrote:

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If you decide to remove the popcorn ceiling, I would repaint with a mildew resistant paint or at least add a mildew retardant to the paint.
This might end up being more work than you think. One advantage of the popcorn ceiling is that the sheetrock joints don't have to be perfect since the popcorn will hide minor imperfections. Paint on the other hand tends to highlight bad taping jobs. You might have to do so touch up work to smooth out the joints.. No big deal.
[snip]
Good point - it may be easier to get rid of the popcorn, then add a knock-down texture to the ceiling to hide the drywall imperfections. It's not as difficult or time-consuming as it sounds, especially for a small room like a bathroom, and should be within the capabilities of any adventurous DIY'er.
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Most popcorn ceilings do not contain asbestos ... popcorn ceilings have the large size pebbles. The old asbestos type was much smaller. We had that in a house we owned that was built in 1962. Anyway, it was safe to remove it as long as it had been painted. The paint kept it from flying around much.
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I would say less than one in a thousand poses an asbestos threat. As long as you wet it, the fibers can't float around like dust, which is the hazardous condition. Best to be a little messy than having it float around. It's like fiberglass insulation. When the sun shines through the cloud you create by disturbing it, you can see what looks like short pieces of tiny hair.
HTH
Steve
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This is a house built in 1994 or so, and while it's proven to be of cheap and, er, "interesting" construction, I'm reasonably sure the popcorn on the ceiling doesn't have asbestos. Why it's in the bathroom above the shower, I have no idea. If getting popcorn wet is the way to take it off, why would anyone put a popcorn ceiling in a place it's *sure* to get wet? I'd love to have a word with the guys who built this house.
Stacia
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wrote

They put it there because it was the cheapest way to cover up a bad drywall job with sloppy joints, mud and taping.
Steve
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com writes:

Oh, that's a good point. I hadn't thought of that. We're definitely hoping to get some mildew-resistant paint because mildew occasionally builds up on the popcorn. The steam from the shower seems to affect the popcorn, too, which is what's causing the popcorn to crack and come off. What a pain the bathroom has been. The previous owners did cosmetic stuff to cover problems and we're having to take it all down and repair the actual problems -- mainly mildew stains -- and it bites.
Stacia
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