View Full Version : popcorn ceiling woes

11-11-2004, 06:59 PM
Hello all. I have just been involved in a job that presented some very unforseen problems. We scraped the popcorn texture off of 7 rooms in a 23 year old house
There had not been any primer ,or thinned out compound put on the ceiling before the ceiling had originally been textured.Also,there had not been any dope put over the angles,just the tape. I put a coat over the angles and over the joints. We vacuumed and lightly wiped down the ceilings with a damp rag before I did the coat.We then put a coat of Zinsser's primer paint on the ceiling. While putting it on, the coat that I had put over the joints and nails tended to separate from the ceiling.
I was flabbergasted. I called a local drywall distributor and picked their tech's brain. He had not ever heard of this problem so he could not help much. It was like the drywall was so dry it would not accept the coat I had put on.We struggled through the job, but I am curious if anyone has run into this problem, and if so, how did you deal with it...?Thanks, kellyw.

11-11-2004, 09:35 PM
I had same type problem come up on a bathroom remodel......After some patching ...I seamed with a premixed and applied a water based primer....All appeared okay until the first coat of paint skinned..In a few sections the paint lifted and the compound bond beneath was weak.

I scraped, primed with Zinsser Oil based H2O Primer/Sealer, skimmed with Easy Sand 20....Primed again with H20..and applied Zinsser Bathroom paint which is water based. The paint adhered well and no further problems occured. ....

11-12-2004, 09:48 AM
I believe a chalky resisdue is left by the popcorn. It is water soluable, so when you apply a skim coat and or more water(primer), it just disolves. Wash the ceiling and then prime and then skim should solve the problem.


11-16-2004, 09:52 PM
I have seen what you described severial times. The problem is there is a thin film left on the surface by the texture that prevents a good bond. When I remove popcorn texture I spray it with water first an scrape it wet. I use a sponge or a spong mop with water to remove what is left. Prime the ceiling with Zinzer H2O, then refinish as needed. Prime again with a standard primer and texture.

11-20-2004, 06:04 AM
Thanks to all for the info.

I will definitely be ready if there is a next time. kellyw.

11-25-2004, 01:44 PM
You guys are gonna have a heart attack but the acatual way to remove popcorn effectivly is by tarping off the whole room
and spraying the ceiling with.........(oh boy) A GARDEN HOSE!!!
I know.... I know.... I needed CPR after i found out how its done as well.

The trick is not to get into water fights with your co-workers ( dumping 30,000 gallons into the house)
Just a light sweeping motion over the ceiling

3 man crew, one guy blastin the ceiling, one guy using the wet vac ,one guy dumping the vacs out
Pretty simple. Prep is the key. This process puts water back into the rock and removes all the old mud ( note the sheetrock will be trashed if you over-soak it)

11-25-2004, 09:48 PM
Buildall, don't feel bad, its how i felt when i first found out too...but I have done it several times with great success. The secret is to get the nozzle (like a gun) and set it to a mist/fan pattern...then scrape away.....fold up your plastic and away you go....

11-25-2004, 09:54 PM
I think the garden hose is a little over kill. I use a hand sprayer. 3 to 4 gallons of water for a 12x16 room. Just enough to get everything damp. I use 2 layers of poly on the floor. After you are done scraping the ceiling, it comes off very easy,pick up the mess with the first layer of plastic. The second layer stays on the floor to protect it from dirty shoes and residual mess.

Myron Ferguson
11-30-2004, 06:42 PM
I have tried the water method and scarred up the drywall too much. So I just scrape and sand and then sponge off the dust with a sponge mop. If I was going to retexture then I am not as concerned about small marks on the drywall and use the water method. Have you tried rolling water on with a paint roller?

12-06-2004, 12:32 AM
Here's a new one for you. Client had us scrape down popcorn and re-spray NEW popcorn! We used garden sprayers with warm water and plastic sheeting to remove old. Primed with Zinzer bulls eye and sprayed new popcorn. Three rooms looked great. We were called back to do a fourth room later and forgot to prime the scraped ceiling. All of the tape joints showed through with difinative lines criss-crossing the ceiling like shadows of a latticework.
We scraped,PRIMED and resprayed the ceiling again.

Lesson learned. Use the primer. I still don't know how the origional ceiling spray (20 years) worked without primer. Drywall moisture content?

12-07-2004, 07:12 AM
Myron I think you should give the water a go again it is actually the fastest way. The key to using water is not to use to much. Personally I use a paint sprayer with water or a garden weed sprayer that sprays a fine mist. The one thing that a lot of people do is use to much water, if you spray a nice even coat and let it sit for 15 minutes then spray another coat and let is sit for a few more minutes it should scrape off easy. By letting the water sit you allow it to absorb up into the acoustic. If you spray the right amount of water you can actually mud the seams and spray texture and then paint the next day.

12-21-2004, 11:01 AM
I concur with mleroux21. I have used this same method many times very successfully. Also, I would recommend, for priming, a US Gypsum product called FirstCoat. It is specifically formulated to both prime drywall surfaces and prevent the telegraphing effect (visible joint lines) that can happen with other primers.

It comes in five gallon pails and is relatively inexpensive. The only downside is that it is relativley thick and, if you're going to spray, you'll need a larger spray tip and a decent sprayer.

- Marc

Myron Ferguson
01-01-2005, 06:22 PM
I will try a smaller amount of water next time. Sounds like letting it set and absorb will help. I don't like sticky mess but I like the dust even less.