Things to Consider Before Removing a Popcorn Ceiling

Popcorn ceilings. You love them or you hate them! It’s all personal preference, although homeowners are shifting away from this style. There are countless videos on the internet that show how to easily and quickly remove a popcorn ceiling. But we warn that this task should not be undertaken on a whim. Most people opt to remove a popcorn ceiling mostly due to aesthetics, yet there are other factors to consider. We’re sharing the most important details to consider before removing a popcorn ceiling, as well as discussing popcorn ceiling removal costs.

What is a Popcorn Ceiling?

Also known as a stipple ceiling, stucco ceiling, or acoustic ceiling, it is a ceiling with one of a variety of spray-on or paint-on treatments. These treatments deliver a final product that appears bumpy, which is why they are often referred to as ‘popcorn’. They became especially popular in residential homes between the 1930s and 1990s. Why? Primarily because they were cheaper. Due to the final appearance, homeowners did not need to do any repairs or smooth the ceiling prior to application. Imperfections were simply covered up, a huge headache for future homeowners. It does also have some sound-deadening properties, although this wasn’t much of a selling point. The downfall of popcorn ceilings actually began when it was determined that asbestos had been used as a binding ingredient. Once this material was banned in the U.S. in 1978, many popcorn ceilings were removed and never replaced.

Before You Remove a Popcorn Ceiling

Whether or not you’re dead set on removing your popcorn ceilings, you should have all of the information about this decision. Here are a few things to consider before you start the process of removing a popcorn ceiling.

  • What Lies Underneath

As mentioned, popcorn ceilings peaked because they were affordable in comparison to performing repairs. This means that by removing a popcorn ceiling you may unveil a shoddy-looking ceiling or previous repair jobs. Unless you plan to then perform the necessary repairs, or continue on looking at a hideous ceiling, it may not be the best idea to remove the popcorn. And if you start the removal process then change your mind, you’ll pay the cost of reapplying this specific style.

  • Refinishing Your Ceiling

Let’s say that you remove your popcorn ceiling and do not find anything that requires repair. Congrats, you’re lucky! But you’re not done. This ceiling can not simply be painted. It actually needs to be redone with a modern finish, depending on the look you would like to achieve. If you do not have your ceiling refinished then you will be left with a ceiling that no longer resembles popcorn, but is far from smooth.

  • Change to Lighting

One of the lesser-known impacts of a popcorn ceiling is how they affect the lighting in a room. Due to the bumpy surface, light hits all of the nooks and crannies, therefore creating harsher shadows. Why does this matter? Once the popcorn ceiling is removed, you may notice a slight shift in the color of your walls. Usually that they are brighter, making a room appear bigger. For some people, this is no big deal, but for others, it may mean repainting numerous rooms.

  • Risk for Asbestos

Depending on the age of your home, there is a significant risk that asbestos may be present in your popcorn ceiling. For this reason, we do not recommend that anyone attempts to remove a popcorn ceiling without first having the material tested. Should you proceed with removal on your own, you put yourself and others at risk of inhaling a dangerous cancer-causing carcinogen. Simply put, removal of asbestos without a professional is also illegal. Play it safe and consult a professional first! 

  • Popcorn Ceiling Removal Cost
room prepared for popcorn ceiling removal

This point is not so much about why you should not remove a popcorn ceiling, but why you should not remove a popcorn ceiling yourself. The bottom line is that the cost of popcorn ceiling removal is very reasonable. But aside from cost, professionals will be able to protect your home from the dust created during the removal process. Without proper ventilation and partitions/coverings, you’ll be left with a huge mess. And trust us, this type of dust is not easy to remove from any furniture.

Ready to update the ceilings in your home? At Helix Painting, our team consists of caring, passionate, service-oriented professionals, who strive to make your home renovation experience easy and low-stress. Learn more about our residential services here, or request a free estimate to get started!