Long ago it was used for many reasons. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, when vinyl floors and paneling were common, the design was great help with the acoustics inside the home. It absorbed sound within the home and kept the home's echo to a minimum. Its absorbent noise qualities allowed sound waves to be absorbed.
Popcorn ceilings also hid imperfections on the ceilings. It was not mandatory to achieve a perfectly smooth surface with sheetrock mud, popcorn ceilings saved a bit of the finishing effort and in turn, money.
In the early days, popcorn that was made, contained asbestos. Asbestos is a carcinogen that causes lung disease and cancer. Asbestos was eliminated from popcorn ceilings in 1978. Being banned from production, the federal government still allowed what was left on shelves and stock piles to be sold.
Popcorn ceiling removal is a very messy task. If the popcorn ceilings have been painted before its extra tough. If the popcorn ceilings were painted with enamel or an oil based products, it becomes a nightmare! As tough as popcorn removal is; there is a proven process. If you follow this proven method; it makes it a lot easier.
Furniture should be removed; if possible. In addition, cover the floors, walls, any remaining items and doors with plastic sheeting. This will help contain the mess.
A trick the pros use is to wet the ceiling before scraping, this will allow the popcorn texture to be scraped off with less effort and cut down the dust. It comes off like a muddy mess. Use a pump up bug sprayer or back pack type. It will be much easier than trying to sponge down your popcorn ceiling. And no need to worry about getting anything wet with the sprayer; if your following the correct process, everything should be covered with plastic and protected.
Once the popcorn ceiling is scraped and clean, the joints or even imperfections in the drywall need to be skimmed. For best results have a professional painter float the whole ceiling. How much “fixing” you do is contingent on the texture you’re re-applying. Whether a heavy knockdown texture requiring less prep. or a sleek smooth level 5 which requires a lot more "fine tuning".
After the new ceiling texture is applied, the ceiling will need to be primed and painted. Choose a paint specifically for ceilings, usually flat. Flat latex paint won’t draw attention to any of the imperfections that any ceiling is going to have. Paint with a sheen will enhance these imperfections.
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