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Pop Off Popcorn Ceilings

Popcorn and a good movie, popcorn while sitting alongside a campfire, and popcorn on a Christmas tree are very appetizing but, these days, popcorn ceilings aren’t.

‘It’s dingy, if it’s not painted it fades, and it can get stained easily and especially if you have any water damage, it can start flaking off; it attracts cobwebs, dirt, and soot, and it’s just one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen,’ says Jim McCue owner of Professional Drywall Services.

If you’re preparing your home to sell and it has popcorn ceilings — the mark of an older home — you’d be wise to consider getting an estimate to have it removed before putting your home on the market.

‘I think doing the popcorn removal is one of the best improvements you can do to an older home,’ says McCue.

‘The preparation is key because so many people think that it’s going to be this totally dirty, filthy, dusty, messy project that’s going to last three weeks,’ says McCue.

But he says that’s not the case. ‘With plastic down and plastic on the walls and protecting any furniture, it’s really not that messy and dirty,’ says McCue. He adds that the project debris can be contained to a particular area while the ceiling is being worked on.

McCue recommends that an expert popcorn-removal company do the job because even though it doesn’t seem like it would be that difficult to scrape the popcorn from the ceiling, it can be more challenging than it looks. Also, it’s important to find out if your ceiling contains asbestos (a fibrous mineral that poses health risks such as cancer and respiratory problems and was used in textured ceiling coatings until it was banned in the late 1970s). However, asbestos is even found in some home ceilings as late as 1986 because materials were left in storage. You can have your ceiling tested to see if it contains asbestos; check the Internet or the yellow pages for asbestos consulting and testing. If your ceiling contains asbestos it’s not just the removal process that is risky but you will also have to make sure that the hazardous debris from the ceiling is disposed of properly.

If your ceiling doesn’t contain asbestos, the project is less risky for your health, but you should still carefully consider the great undertaking before you get too far into it.

To give you an idea, here is a look at what’s involved with pulling the popcorn off the ceiling.

Removal of a popcorn ceiling that has been painted is more difficult than if there is no paint on it because unpainted ceilings are wet down and scraped clean whereas a painted ceiling is a bit resistant.

The first step is to remove furniture and completely cover the area to keep the debris confined to a specific area.

The second step is to wet the popcorn ceiling with a small water sprayer. The key to removal is to keep the ceiling wet.

The third step is to carefully scrape away the popcorn without damaging the drywall underneath.

The fourth step is to use drywall compound to touch up any areas that need it.

The fifth step is to apply your selected texture by hand.

The sixth step is to prime and paint the ceiling after the texture is fully dry. And then, of course, clean up!

It doesn’t sound too bad, but McCue says just be sure to know what you’re getting into be for you give it a try.

‘I see it all the time, the weekend warrior goes out and buys his little plastic drywall knives and his plastic pans, and a little five-gallon bucket of compound or something. He has good intentions to go out and try to do what we do,’ says McCue. But he says the project is fairly complicated and do-it-yourselfers can find they make an even bigger mess.

‘A lot of times I will have to cut out what a homeowner has done. So they have not only wasted a weekend or two but also money, time, and everything else, but now I may have to cut out the area because I can’t fix it properly,’ explains McCue.

Whether you do the work yourself or find a company to get the task done, saving popcorn for the movies and not your ceilings will give your older home a trendier feel.

Written by Phoebe Chongchua for www.RealtyTimescom. Copyright