My parents recently tried to remove the popcorn ceiling that's been in
their house for the last 20 years. The entire house, except for
bathrooms and kitchen, has the stuff, but they decided to try just the
dining room alone, first. If you thoroughly wet the stucco (you can
even use a squirt bottle for this), it practically falls off. Trouble
is, as SQLit mentioned, it's a huge mess, and the resulting ceiling is
rough. And, working on a ceiling is a serious pain in the neck.
For my parents, they decided to stop after the one room (they'd had
enough), did a quick job spackling imperfections, and are now painting
it with a faux finish texture to camoflage the flaws.
They decided to do all this stuff themselves (they have always been
do-it-yourselfers, but they were hesitant to tackle this project)
because the cost of having it removed was so high due to a special
hazardous materials charge after trace amounts of asbestos were found
in it. Since your house is new, I don't think you should have any
asbestos, and the removal cost may not be too bad.
Oh, also--the stucco is easier to remove *before* the first time it's
painted. And as far as painting goes, are you planning on painting it
a color? If you are painting a color significantly different from the
existing white, you are in for some major work getting it into all of
the nooks and crannies. Even with hwm's suggestions, in my experience,
it will take many passes to get a roller into every crack, and spray
opens up a whole new ballgame as far as mess, etc., especially for the