We recently bought a new mod home and all the ceilings in the home are
"stucko" I think is what its called. They have that popcorn look. My wife
is chomping at the bit to do some painting but I don't want to paint the
room one color and leave the ceiling another. Is their a secret or special
way to remove this?
Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.
Other than telling you how stucco is usually spelled, I can't offer much
help with removal, but I do know this....
The guy who schleps and stack up the bags of dry stucco for the
apprentice who mixes it and hands it up to the master plasterer on the
ladder troweling it onto the ceiling is called.........
An unstuck stucco sticker upper stoker stacker.
popcorn ceiling texture is easily removed by a drywall knife and some elbow
Warning Will Robinson.... Depending on the age the popcorn texture COULD
have asbestos in it. To be safe wet the area your working on with a hand
sprayer and wear a mask. Good idea to plastic off the whole room. Your going
to have a mess.
Sadly you not done. In my experience you will need to float all of the
ceiling joints with drywall mud to get the seams flat. The popcorn hid the
imperfections so the contractors did not take much time on the ceiling.
If your home is newer then the texture could be nothing but drywall mud
sprayed on the ceiling. If that is the case your in for some serious work to
get it flat.
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
I would concur with the spraying and scraping method. In addition,
while scraping, hold an old cake pan under the scraper. 90% of the
junk fell into the pan.
I just completed my whole house...and touching up the joints and fixing
the dings was worth the effort. Re-textured the ceilings and wall, and
it looks practically brand new.
The testing is part of the estimate process. At least in their area
(and I'm sure other places aren't much different), if you call someone
out to remove the stuff, they will test it first, no matter what. Of
course asbestos is only a problem if you disturb it, and the amount
found (which was a typical amount) is not enough to pose a threat to
someone doing this once in their lifetime. Then again, it's not the
kind of thing you'd want to be exposed to on a daily basis. So, I can
understand why they would do this (plus they can charge more, plus I
think it's legally required).
At any rate, not having it tested was not an option if they paid
someone to do it. Unless, as it just occurred to me, they hired an
unlicensed "handyman" to do it, without testing. That scenario has
problems of its own, though.
Usually if you wet it down with a garden sprayer you can scrape it off
with a wide knife easily. Typically it is just expanded polystyrene
suspended in gypsum. Often, if you wet it enough it just falls down.
Huge mess but doable.
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