Author Topic: Drywall over popcorn ceiling (Read 28039 times)

MC

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Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« on: July 21, 2014, 10:44:03 AM »
Has anyone ever installed drywall over a popcorn ceiling? Our new house has one room with popcorn in it that we would like to remedy. Unfortunately, the house is older than '78-'79, so possibility of asbestos exists. I'm trying to determine if we should test, and then follow the appropriate course of action to scrape the popcorn, or if it is better to drywall over it. I would appreciate any insight on either scenario.

Thanks!

Nords

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2014, 12:55:00 PM »
Has anyone ever installed drywall over a popcorn ceiling? Our new house has one room with popcorn in it that we would like to remedy. Unfortunately, the house is older than '78-'79, so possibility of asbestos exists. I'm trying to determine if we should test, and then follow the appropriate course of action to scrape the popcorn, or if it is better to drywall over it. I would appreciate any insight on either scenario.
Buy a testing kit (you might even find one at Home Depot or online) and try a sample.

Removing popcorn ceilings is mainly an exercise in patience-- soak, scrape, repair, re-texture, and repaint. It's incredibly messy, and you might want to use a contractor. But it's far better than hiring a contractor to drywall over it, especially if it just booby-traps the next person who works on that ceiling. Removing the popcorn might even be cheaper than putting up new drywall.

http://familyhandyman.com/search?q=asbestos%20in%20popcorn%20ceiling
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Milspecstache

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2014, 02:13:41 PM »
If it's a simple ceiling, say with 8' or even slightly higher walls then I would be tempted to just tear down the old (after sampling for AB as Nords suggests) and then rehang new, tape, mud, and paint it. Far better to see what is behind the old. I always hate drywalling over something that may hide other problems.

Can you tell us more about the ceiling? Is it vaulted or anything else weird? And I will be really surprised if you actually find AB after 1978...

MC

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2014, 12:03:48 PM »
It's a fairly basic area of ceiling, really. 10x12' room with 8' high ceiling. The house was build in 1938, but I'm uncertain as to the actual age of the ceiling. I'm in agreement with both of you that I would prefer not drywall over it. I also don't want to spend the $1k+ that contractors seem to charge for asbestos removal (if it ends up that way), so I wanted to make sure to consider all alternatives that could prevent that.

Boz86

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2014, 07:07:35 AM »
Unfortunately, the house is older than '78-'79, so possibility of asbestos exists.
Thanks!

Also, you may have lead paint.

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/healthy_homes/healthyhomes/lead

Boz86

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2014, 07:13:56 AM »
Unfortunately, the house is older than '78-'79, so possibility of asbestos exists.
Thanks!

Also, you may have lead paint.

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/healthy_homes/healthyhomes/lead

Ashyukun

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2014, 08:54:28 AM »
But it's far better than hiring a contractor to drywall over it, especially if it just booby-traps the next person who works on that ceiling. Removing the popcorn might even be cheaper than putting up new drywall.
I can attest to this booby trap problem... went to install an outlet box in the ceiling of our house's living room only to find out that they people who had renovated it previously had put up a second layer of drywall up on the ceiling. Definitely threw a monkey wrench into things.

Daleth

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2014, 09:09:17 AM »
Has anyone ever installed drywall over a popcorn ceiling? Our new house has one room with popcorn in it that we would like to remedy. Unfortunately, the house is older than '78-'79, so possibility of asbestos exists. I'm trying to determine if we should test, and then follow the appropriate course of action to scrape the popcorn, or if it is better to drywall over it. I would appreciate any insight on either scenario.

Thanks!

Quote from my contractor uncle: "There's not enough money in New York City to get me to remove a popcorn ceiling myself." (He was referring to one that tested positive for asbestos). His advice was to pay for an asbestos remediation company to remove it safely. I tend to agree--even if it costs $10k to have it done right, what person with mesothelioma wouldn't pay $10k to be healthy again?

Kenoryn

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2014, 09:50:36 AM »
I'm not sure of a home-test kit for asbestos? I haven't seen such a thing. But you can mail it off to a lab to be tested. It cost me $25 per sample to test my popcorn for asbestos. You can probably test for lead at the same time.

If that comes back OK, you may want to scrape off a section of the popcorn to see what the ceiling looks like underneath. It's possible the popcorn was put up to hide waves, cracks etc. if it's a plaster ceiling, in which case you're into either tearing down the plaster or drywalling over it anyway, and there's no point in taking the popcorn off. Also, it may not be so easy to take the popcorn off - some of it just sort of turns into goo and drips off when it gets wet, but other stuff is waterproof and not so easy, especially if it's been painted a couple of times as well.

citrine

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2014, 11:41:44 AM »
I would get it tested to see if all you need to do is cover up or replace. You can always do a plank ceiling....saw it on Pinterest and it looks really sharp. You can either stain it to add color to the ceiling or paint it white.

Practical Magic

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2014, 11:43:58 PM »
Some alternative ideas you may want to consider installing right over the popcorn:

1.) Beadboard ceiling planks or beadboard MDF sheets, paintable

http://t.homedepot.com/p/Unbranded-42-sq-ft-MDF-Cape-Cod-Beadboard-Planking-9-Planks-8203035/202688627?cm_mmc=shopping-_-googleads-_-pla-_-202688627&ci_sku=202688627&ci_gpa=pla&ci_src=17588969&gclid=CP-Az8r31cACFUxqfgodYi8Aww


2.) Ceiling tiles made of styrofoam or PVC, also paintable & easier to install
I'm trying these out on our guest bedroom ceiling which has lots of drywall seam cracks. From what I've read, these work well over popcorn ceilings too. This company sells them on eBay and amazon, but when you add on the glue, the best price was found on the company's own site.

http://antiqueceilings.com/oscommerce/index.php/cPath/47




ruthiegirl

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2014, 07:13:16 AM »
I have removed a mess of asbestos before. It is not that big of a deal. It sucks and is tremendously hard work, but it is possible.

Our pipes in the basement were wrapped in asbestos that was friable and a huge hazard. It took my dh and I four evenings of hard, hot work, but in the end it was done. Cost for us $500, quote from asbestos company $17,000.

Industry guidelines are all online. We read them carefully and followed the regulations.

What helped:

Drape the area with plastic and tape it off.

Soak the material well, it will reduce dust.

Use a good respirator.

Wear a disposal chemical suit. They are cheap and protect your skin. Asbestos fibers are as itchy as shit.

I had an old vacuum cleaner that I dedicated to the job. Vacuumed and vacuumed (till I thought I would scream) with HEPA filters in the bag.

Double bag all the waste and toss in the trash. This was the industry standard in my state when I did the work.

If you do install drywall over the ceiling, you will need to frame it otherwise the drywall will sag over time. Ask me how I know this. :)

Good luck!




usmarine1975

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2014, 08:51:25 AM »
I have a house that was built in the 1910 time frame. The plaster in some area's got wet and was breaking down. The previous owners answer was to put drywall over top of the plaster. Yes it's a quick fix and may be your cheapest option until you actually need to repair it etc... Or the drywall, plaster you covered starts to fail. I would not put drywall over your popcorn ceiling. I would pull it down and replace or scrape the popcorn aspect off.

I have a few area's in which I have to now remove more then one layer of plaster, drywall. Not to mention that some of the area's were on walls and the trim doesn't line up quite like it should. The brother of the previous owner comes by and brag's how a family member helped her out by doing the drywall and it takes all I have not to make nasty comments.

Lyngi

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2014, 09:50:51 PM »
I've seen someone remove popcorn ceiling the same way as Ruthiegirl talked about. Plastic all over the floor, spray the ceiling with water until it's really wet and falls off. Respirator and coveralls

Mrs. Frugalwoods

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2014, 06:33:34 PM »
We have popcorn ceilings and spent a good 6 months researching all possible avenues of amelioration. We seriously considered everything. Know what we decided? We don't mind popcorn ceilings all that much! Honestly it was just too labor and cost intensive (plus we're sure we have lead & asbestos up there) to do anything. I seriously don't even notice them anymore. We instead spent the time and money on interior paint, new light fixtures, and new window treatments (of course we did all the labor ourselves :) ).
Frugalwoods.com -- Ex-urban rookie homesteader finding contentment on 66 acres in Vermont with my husband, daughter, and dog

flashpacker

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2014, 09:19:53 PM »
I thought the popcorn would be the first thing we'd change about our house but I also have decided I don't mind it and it's probably at least somewhat helpful as extra insulation. We only have it in 3 rooms, which is not too bad.

ontheroaderic

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2014, 07:48:25 PM »
Our house was built in '73 and had popcorn ceilings when we bought it three years ago. It tested positive for asbestos and we elected to remove it ourselves. As others have said, research on the proper methods is key. It was difficult work, but well worth the savings over having a contractor do it. Hanging all the plastic sheeting takes most of the time, actually removing the popcorn (about 800 sq feet) only took a couple of hours. Cleanup was a chore (stuffing all that wet plastic into containment bags) but taking it to the disposal center cost far less than I had planned.

orbix

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2014, 02:39:27 PM »
Cleanup was a chore (stuffing all that wet plastic into containment bags) but taking it to the disposal center cost far less than I had planned.

Eric, I see you're in Broomfield as well- mind sharing where you disposed of the asbestos waste and around how much it cost? We're considering removing some popcorn ceilings in our similar-age ranch house...

ontheroaderic

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2014, 07:32:17 PM »
Yeah, we took it to:
Franklin Street MRF
5385 East Franklin Street
Denver, CO 80216
(303) 296-4124

We have a bi-level and the upstairs had it in every room but the kitchen, so probably about 700 sq. feet worth. If I remember correctly we filled like 3 or 4 of the large containment bags and they charged us for one cubic yard, like $38.

I'd get it tested before you go through the hassle - you may get lucky and not have to worry about it! We used these guys for the testing:
http://asbestostesting.com

If you do decide to do it yourself, you're welcome to borrow the tools we used (scrapers, extension poles, etc.). I think I still have a bunch of those containment bags left over too, I can dig around. We're in Westlake - you?

orbix

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2014, 01:21:00 PM »
Wow, thanks, Eric! We're still figuring out what we want to remove at this point- we'll have to disturb some popcorn in one bedroom in order to get to some ductwork that needs to be reattached, so we'll get that tested and go from there. Glad to hear it wasn't so expensive to dispose of. I was afraid it would be in the hundreds!

We're in Northmoor. Small world, huh?

rocketpj

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #20 on: November 07, 2014, 02:52:54 PM »
Wow, this brings back an unpleasant memory.

When we bought our current home it had popcorn ceilings in most of the rooms (excluding the new rooms in an addition). My wife wanted flat ceilings and I don't much like them either, so...

We had a month after taking possession before moving in, so I dutifully had a sample tested - no asbestos found. I then got my stepladder, scrapers, mask and water mister thing, and got busy.

It was damn hard work. Some of it came off well enough, but most of it was ancient, had been painted over a couple times, and was hard as rock. I spent 3 weeks of a hot July sweating at the top of a stepladder.

At some point I realized it was a bad idea, but I was already too deep - I saw no way forward other than continue scraping, followed by patching the ceiling and painting. What a damn disaster.

In the end I had wasted half a gorgeous summer just to destroy all the ceilings in our new house. And we had to move in. So I ended up hiring a drywall contractor to put new drywall to cover the old stuff. The house is 1/4 inch shorter now, I spent a couple thousand getting the work done, and I still haven't finished the trim work I had originally wanted to do before moving in.

My PAINFULLY earned advice - either replace the ceiling altogether or put drywall overtop the popcorn. It is NOT worth the work to remove it by hand, and you will almost certainly be doing one of the above afterwards anyway.

MsPeacock

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2014, 08:02:49 AM »
I took down a popcorn ceiling in a large living room and dining room a few years back. After having it tested for asbestos - I didn't find it to be that bad. A lot of prep work - covered all the walls and floor w/ painters plastic (the kind that comes in an enormous roll and is cheap). Set up a step ladder, got a couple good scrapers, and brought the hose inside. Saturated w/ water small sections at a time (a little sprayer wasn't working - didn't put enough water down), scraped off popcorn, moved on to the next area. Prep took about a day, scraping took 1 or 2 days, sanding and clean up weren't too bad (another day or two), and then repainted the ceiling using a roller. However, you never know what is under the popcorn - e.g. lots of cracks and problems that require repair.

Finger

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #22 on: January 07, 2015, 12:51:41 PM »
We did three different things to cover up our popcorn ceilings in three different rooms.

In our downstairs room, we tore down the existing ceiling and put new drywall up (got to put in new lights and a ceiling fan while everything was exposed too!).

In our upstairs, we have loose fiberglass insulation in the attic, so we cannot tear down the existing popcorn ceiling without making a huge mess.

In our upstairs master, we scraped off the existing popcorn using a spray bottle to soak the popcorn, and a drywall mud applier-thing as a scraper. We were renovating the room, so we just let everything fall on the floor and cleaned it up afterward. The scraper gouged big chunks in the ceiling that we had to repair. It looks ok but not as nice as I would like. It took a long time ~4-5 hours for 200 square feet, but it was really tiring since everything was over my head and my arms got tired really fast.

The other upstairs room was a hybrid. I scraped off the popcorn very roughly, not caring if I scraped the heck out of the underlying ceiling, in order to make a relatively flat surface for new drywall. It took about an hour or two for 150 sq feet using my spray bottle and scraper again. Then I put new drywall up overtop the existing, now very scraped up, ceiling. I adjusted the ceiling bracket that holds the ceiling fan (the only thing hanging on the ceiling) so that it was flush with the new ceiling (used 1/2 inch drywall and 2 1/2" drywall screws). It looks as good as the new downstairs ceiling.

Disclaimer here, my neighbor is a professional dry-wall hanger, so when I say that I hung the new ceiling, I mean we (me, him and his partner) hung the new ceiling. We help each other out, so it was a free project for me minus $200 for another one of his buddies to do all the finishing (mud/sand, etc) on a Sunday afternoon and another night after his normal work hours. Without free supplies and labor, I probably would have just scraped the popcorn off all three ceilings and never had bothered putting in the new lights and ceiling fans.

Like everything in life there is a spectrum of quality versus cost. The cheapest route (scraping) looks like the ceiling was scraped (but still a lot better than before), the most expensive route looks like new construction (not shoddy new construction, proper new construction :) )
~Ed

dunhamjr

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2015, 02:38:21 PM »
i have removed the popcorn from two 11x12 rooms, and starting on the master walkin closet as well.

its a bit of a pain. dirty work. removal WILL be much cheaper then rehanging new rock. and obviously cheaper then hiring the job out at all.
i also dont like the idea of just covering something like that up.

be sure to get a AB test kit to send off. the kit suggested that i pull samples from 3 places in my house, cost me $70 i think.
empty the room you will be removing.
since i plan to work DIY in a number of rooms i got a couple canvas drop cloths, then laid cheap thin plastic over the top of that.
water in a spray bottle.
spray a smallish area... 2x2 or so.
wait and test scrape.
you will be able to determine how much water and time you need for the popcorn to peel right off.
also scrape into a mud tray, bucket, etc... it will keep a lot of mess off the group, and speed clean up.
you may or may not need to skim coat once the removal is done.
i had to light skim coat, patch a number of pot light holes, etc. plus i through up a very light spray texture since getting my ceilings perfectly smooth was not the goal, no popcorn was, since i have HEAVY like stucco knockdown textures on the walls.
prime
paint
done

if i had had uninterrupted time to do both 11x12 bedrooms, i could have gotten most of the process completed in 3-4 days.

TomTX

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #24 on: January 17, 2015, 07:01:58 AM »
I'm not sure of a home-test kit for asbestos? I haven't seen such a thing. But you can mail it off to a lab to be tested. It cost me $25 per sample to test my popcorn for asbestos. You can probably test for lead at the same time.

There is no legitimate home test. It HAS to be sent to a lab. They use polarized light microscopy (PLM) to verify asbestos or no asbestos. The "quickie" PLM often estimates a few percent high, so if you have a result of 5% or less, it may be worth getting a more accurate, more expensive "point count" done. EPA says if under 10% retest by point count, but I've never seen anything over 5% come back under the magic 1% with retesting. On the other hand, stuff in the 2-3% range frequently retests with numbers under 1%.

I have sent hundreds, maybe thousands of samples off for asbestos testing.

Varies a lot by the lab. If you have a good tech, the quickie will be within 1%. Crummy tech, closest 5%.
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Justinofboulder

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #25 on: January 17, 2015, 05:35:15 PM »
Not sure if this would achieve the look you are after, but in my first home, I had good luck doing a "skip trowel" finish on the ceiling, by simply covering up all the popcorn with a coat or two of joint compound and then tooling a light texture on the surface. It was pretty cheap, (if you didn't count my labor), and looked good after some primer and paint.

archben82

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Re: Drywall over popcorn ceiling
« Reply #26 on: January 24, 2015, 08:08:44 AM »
Hire a drywall crew to cover it with 1/4"drywall.