Painting a popcorn-type ceiling

When I moved from NJ to MA, I was surprised to find so many houses with sprayed-on "popcorn" ceilings. I realize that nowadays, many builders use this technique and gawd... if I ever build again, I'd never, ever request popcorn ceilings.
Over the years I've tried to re-paint these ceilings, and have never had good success with either a brush or a roller. Right now, I'm re-doing one bedroom in our house, and following some advice I got at Home Depot, I chose to scrape off the crap and paint. Using a 6" wide mud blade, it took me a total of maybe 4 hours to get the ceiling down to the original sheetrock and spackle. I used a respirator and goggles and yup, there was plenty of crap on the floor and on me. But I got it done, and managed not to gouge the ceiling.
I happened to be doing a home inspection where the owner was a lathman and remarked to his wife that they had done a great job of painting their popcorn ceilings. Turns out they used an airless spray gun, and no peeling or flaking at all. Use a roller and this crap will usually flake off in chunks as small as 1/2" to as large as 6" in diameter!
The wife didn't know much about the spray painter other than it was an airless unit. Might've even been a Wagner Power Painter for all I know. Can't imagine them using a industrial unit but anything is possible since this guy is a sheetrocker that specializes in sheetrock and taping... but not painting.
The biggest problem I've encountered when trying to roll or brush these popcorn ceilings is trying to match up the voids where the texture has flaked off in giant chunks. Plus they get wrapped up in the roller in small pieces as they fragment, creating even more of a mess as you try to paint. Just wondering about other folks experience (good/bad) with this stuff and how you did it. I'm tempted to buy a WPP and see if they are good for anything as I'm probably going to clean and re-seal my cedar fence this spring.
Comments?
Mike
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I've rolled popcorn ceilings with no problem. They make ultra thick rollers for the purpose AND NEVER GO BACKWARDS. After it dries do a second coat to his the places you missed.
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On Fri, 27 Feb 2004 14:38:36 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@toysoldier.com wrote:

You were probably using latex paint. Using oil-based paint does not cause the stuff to peel and once sealed properly, it shouldn't matter which paint you use.
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snipped-for-privacy@toysoldier.com wrote:

i had this book from the library: it was on installing/finishing sheet rock.. and it covered the blown on popcorn ceilings.... the choice of painting it is spraying the paint on when repainting it... like you say the roller and brush will take off the old weak stuff.... and trying to patch up spots will not work too good either, you got to scrape and respary the mud on the ceiling.....the only problem with spraying is you have to protect all four walls and the floor.....whereas with a brush or roller you just do one area at a time and dont need all room protection.....
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On Fri, 27 Feb 2004 14:38:36 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@toysoldier.com wrote:

Popcorn ceilings cover the lack of effort put into the ceiling by drywall crews. Popcorn covers a LOT of mistakes. Many new home buyers have house fever, so they don't really think about the quality aspect.
Barry
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wrote:

One thing about the WPP is that it should be used under a very low wind condition when used outside, also you will normally use more product that you would in other methods. Using one indoors to do a popcorn ceiling is the only way I would paint one. Just be aware of overspray and you should remove things from the room, not just cover them.
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snipped-for-privacy@toysoldier.com wrote:

Years ago, I hired an out-of-work friend who was a professional painter/handyman to paint the ceilings in my house that I was moving out of and getting ready to convert to a rental. It had a "popcorn" ceiling. He poured some popcorn texture into the bucket of paint and painted with a roller. The paint he was rolling on had about as much texture in it as what was falling off, and it looked good when he was done.
After it has been painted that first time, I think it can be painted again with much problem.
Best regards, Bob
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Just thought I would add that someone finally came out with a good popcorn patch. I had to patch some holes when a light fixture was removed. Bought a tube at Lowes or Home Depot. Has a sponge applicator and you first make sure the particles premixed in the tube are well dispursed. When dry it was undetectable. The patches I did were over and inch each from spring wing bolt holes.
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Out in the real world we call 'em toggle bolts. <<

Bought
was
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snipped-for-privacy@toysoldier.com wrote:

A roller on my first ceilings quickly convinced me to stop that nonsense. I didn't get large patches to some loose but loosened lots of the individual pieces, even though I wiped it down first with a damp rag. I sprayed the 2nd coat of the first room and sprayed only one coat on the rest of the ceilings. A regular pressure sprayer that I had borrowed was used in some rooms and then I bought a HVLP conversion gun and used it for other rooms. Although the conversion gun definitely reduced the amount of spray in the air, it was really slow spraying latex paint. In every room I would spray the whole ceiling in one direction and then go back and spray in a cross direction in one session. In the final room, which was fairly large, I was tired and switched to the regular pressure gun which was about 4 times as fast as the HVLP gun. You obviously have to have everything covered (wall and floors) except what your are painting, especially with a regular pressure gun. I used far less paint than people using rollers reported; about 1 to 1.5 gallons for a 10' x 11' ceiling.
The HVLP conversion gun was a little slow but ok for the oil enamel I sprayed on the roof of a metal shed. And, it worked exceptionally well for spraying a stain on a cedar fences and a T11 sided wood building.
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stories of popcorn painting snipped

I sprayed mine with a Graco XR7. I masked the sidewalls, and sprayed until wet. Then sprayed at ninety degrees. Pulled the masking tape and paper while wet, and did the cleanup of any drips or runs. Looks fabulous. 1800 sf house in one day, mask, paint, pull masking, and touch up.
--
Steve

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