Find Popcorn Ceiling Removal Near Me 

Textured, or “popcorn,” ceilings were all the rage in decades past. They helped to absorb sound and kept down the echo factor in homes. Many acoustic ceilings installed as late as the 1980s contained asbestos as a key ingredient. The style fell out of favor after that time and homeowners began removing the cottage cheese-like material in favor of a smooth flat finish. 

If you’re looking to remove a popcorn ceiling, it’s important to hire a professional. The presence of asbestos in a home isn’t necessarily a health problem until it is scraped, releasing particles into the air that can be breathed in. If your ceiling tests positive for asbestos, you will need to hire a certified asbestos abatement contractor. And if not, you’ll still need a reliable, licensed contractor to do the job properly. Click now for free quotes from contractors who understand how to safely remove textured ceilings.

Find out how much your next painting project will cost.

Professional Popcorn Ceiling Removal

Popcorn ceilings, also known as “acoustic or “textured,” ceilings were highly popular from the 1930s to the 1980s. Applied with a special spray, they covered flaws and deadened sound issues quickly and affordably. But they went out of style in the late ‘80s and homeowners have been scraping them off ever since. 


If your popcorn ceiling is unpainted, tested, and found to be asbestos-free, removal of the coating is fairly straightforward. Painting contractors will apply a mixture of water and dishwashing detergent to loosen the material and then scrape it off. They’ll get into corners and crown molding with putty knives and carefully dig out any remaining chunks. If the popcorn ceiling has been painted, the paint will act as a water barrier so they’ll use a stronger chemical stripper to break down the material. Then the contractor will patch any damage that may have been revealed once the texture has been removed. 

Skim Coating and Retexturing

Another way to cover unwanted texture on your ceiling is to “skim coat” it with a layer of joint compound or plaster. The compound will fill the cavities between raised surfaces. If the original texture was heavy, it may take a coat or two to get a flat surface which will then be sanded to a smooth, paintable finish. But if you like the look of a textured ceiling, or are looking to cover flaws, you can opt to apply a “knock-down” finish. Pros will mix up a texture powder and then spray it onto the drywall with an electric texture gun. 

Patching and Repairing

Once a popcorn ceiling has been removed, you may be left with damage from the removal process or holes and cracks that were covered by the texturing. Great Guys Painting contractors will fill the imperfections with joint compound and sand down to a smooth surface, ready for painting. Then, they’ll apply a coat of primer so your new paint color will glide on easily. 

Removing Popcorn Ceiling with Asbestos

Older homes may have popcorn ceilings that contain high levels of asbestos. Before any removal begins, it’s important to test your ceiling to determine whether it contains asbestos or not. A certified asbestos abatement contractor can check for this cancer-causing fibrous silicate mineral. If it’s present, then the removal process will be much more complex and will require an expert. They will seal the room in question, covering walls and floors with plastic. They will turn off the home’s heat and air conditioning to avoid spreading toxins. The contractor will put on protective clothing and utilize machines with HEPA filters to remove fibers from the air. Then, the texturing will be removed, keeping the ceiling wet so dust can’t circulate.

Find Painting Pros Now

How Professionals Remove and Refinish a Popcorn Ceiling

If you’ve recently purchased an older home, you may find yourself with unwanted popcorn ceilings that don’t match your aesthetics. Removing them is a messy task that can become complicated, especially if they’re found to contain asbestos. Reach out to Great Guys Painting for estimates from contractors who specialize in acoustic ceiling removal and refinishing. 

Test for Asbestos & Lead Paint

Acoustic ceilings installed before the 1970s most likely contain asbestos—a cancer-causing fibrous mineral. If lead-based paint was added to the mix back in the day, you have a dangerous cocktail that could be unleashed into the air you breathe by scraping. Before you embark upon any popcorn ceiling removal project, you will need to have a sample tested. The answer you receive will make a big difference in how you’ll proceed. If it comes back positive for asbestos or lead, you may opt to cover the ceiling rather than remove it. Or you can choose to bring in an asbestos abatement contractor who specializes in the careful removal of the substance. If the tests are negative, the process will be much easier. 

Remove Furniture, Fixtures & Fans

The first step, with or without the asbestos consideration, is to remove all furniture from the room. The “popcorn” debris will get all over the place during the scraping process, so your contractors will remove any light fixtures, ceiling fans, electrical outlet faceplates. If you have recessed lights, they’ll take out the lightbulbs and stuff paper inside to protect the cans from getting wet. Power will be turned off to the room.

Cover Floors & Walls

Then, the floor and walls will be covered with plastic drop cloths to protect the drywall. The removal process requires wetting the ceiling, section by section, and scraping off the texturing. That means water will be flying around, along with the popcorn material. The plastic will also protect surfaces from dust during the sanding portion of the process.

With Asbestos

If your tests have indicated the presence of asbestos and/or lead paint, the asbestos abatement contractors will turn off the heat and air to prevent particles from traveling throughout the home. They’ll seal off the room and set up an air purifier with a strong HEPA filter. They’ll put on protective gear that covers their entire body and safeguards their breathing with a respirator. The ceiling will be sprayed with water in small sections and then scraped. The debris will be carefully collected and placed into special, asbestos-marked plastic bags for safe removal. The contractors will make sure to keep the ceiling wet as they go to prevent dust from escaping.

Without Asbestos

If there is no indication of asbestos, the removal process will be a little easier. The contractors will don appropriate safety gear (eye goggles and facemask) and begin the scraping process. They’ll spray sections of the ceiling with water and vinegar or dishwashing soap to soften the material without damaging the drywall underneath. Then, they’ll take a long-handled popcorn ceiling scraper and remove the texturing bit by bit. Hard-to-reach areas will require climbing up on a ladder and utilizing a putty knife to get rid of stubborn material in tight corners and along edges. They will be extra careful not to create new holes in the ceiling that will need to be patched later.

Repair Holes & Sand

Once all of the texturing has been removed, holes or cracks may become visible and will require repair. Nailheads or joints might also show at this point. The contractors will fill or cover any imperfections with joint compound, leveling the surface with a putty knife. Once it has dried, the entire ceiling will be sanded to a smooth, glossy finish. The room will be vacuumed to remove stray dust and debris that could become embedded in new paint. And then they’ll prime the ceiling to prepare for painting.


Finally, the team will paint the ceiling whichever color you have chosen and apply a second coat for full coverage. Once that has completely dried, all of the plastic will be removed and disposed of responsibly. Light fixtures, fans, etc. will be reinstalled and all that’s left is for you to enjoy your beautiful, smooth new ceiling. 


Have popcorn ceilings and hate the look? Great Guys Painting can help! Request free quotes today from licensed painting contractors near you who provide professional popcorn ceiling removal, repair, and retexturing services.

Get Painting Quotes Now