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Removing popcorn ceilings can be compared to… well, nothing. Is it pleasant? Absolutely not. However, if you’re like us, you pretty much despise popcorn ceilings and will do just about anything to remove them. So, our first task after getting the keys was removing those wonderful (insert sarcasm here) popcorn ceilings. Fortunately, we only had to worry about our first floor since the basement isn’t finished.

how to remove popcorn ceilings

We’ve never removed popcorn ceilings before. It was not really something on either of our must-do lists and not something we like to do for entertainment. Luckily, we had a few people to ask and got the best tips and tricks.

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How to Remove Popcorn Ceilings | What We Learned

Cover EVERY single square inch of your floor with plastic. We used painter’s plastic that you can pick up at your local hardware store. It worked wonders. We used duct tape to secure it to the edges of each room and it made cleanup fairly easy.

Don’t make this same mistake! Us newbies thought it would be easier to just sweep up the bathroom and laminate floors, so we didn’t cover them with plastic. We’d already been scraping for four hours and wanted to take a ‘shortcut.’ Take our word for it – it is not easier. Just cover everything in plastic – even the bathrooms.

Once you add water to the popcorn ceilings, it turns into this thick paste that gets everywhere. Save yourself the headache and put the dang plastic down.

We used a lawn and garden sprayer to spray the ceilings with water before scraping. Be generous when spraying the water.

If your ceilings have been painted, the popcorn is about 1000 times harder to remove. We would recommend spraying it with water and letting it sit for about 15 minutes.

Putty knives worked the best for us to do the actual scraping. Brett’s was on a six foot broom handle and mine was handheld. It worked well to have both sizes – Brett was able to stand and cover more ground while I worked around the outside edges of the room on a ladder.

The stuff you scrape off gets everywhere. On your clothes, in your hair, on the walls… Everywhere.

Once you scrape off the popcorn, you’re still not done. You then have to go over it with sandpaper. The positive: you only have to sand the rough parts. The negative: the dust.

We used a pole sander but after everything was done, I did a little research and found there is an extension you can attach to your shop vac. Might be worth looking into to help with the mess!

Cleaning isn’t too bad. Warm water and some elbow grease will get the ‘stuff’ off the walls. Soap, water and a mop will help with the bathroom and kitchen floors. Be ready to go through the house at least three times.

The job was messy. In total, it took about eight hours. It was quite a way to spend the first day in the new house. However, we’re so glad we didn’t have to worry about maneuvering around furniture. We’re waiting to finish and add texture to the ceilings once we get all the walls moved in the house. One step at a time, right?

All our best,





  1. Aunt Gayle

    Wow Kelly! You guys rock –

    • Kelly

      Thanks Aunt Gayle!
      Hope all is well!



  1. Day Two is For Knocking Down a Wall - North Country Nest - […] After scraping the ceilings of the entire first floor of the new house (which took an excruciatingly-long amount of…

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