Acoustic Ceiling Removal – Popcorn or Texture?

General Article

The decision to attempt acoustic ceiling removal is not something most people jump into without a bit of forethought. There are both pros and cons to consider before making a choice to either keep that popcorn ceiling or scrape it off and replace it with some type of wall texture. I have tried to cover the most important issues in this article to help you make the choice best for your situation.

The Pros of Acoustic Ceiling Removal

  • The money: Acoustic removal usually increases the value and marketability of your home, sometimes dramatically. A textured ceiling is by most opinions far more appealing and buyers will pay for what they like.
  • Removal reduces the nesting places for bugs such as dust mites and spiders. In my experience, it is more likely than not to see spider webs on close examination of an older acoustic ceiling.
  • Because the rough acoustic ceiling texture tends to trap light and create a shadowing effect replacing with modern knockdown or similar texture can make the room appear much brighter and more open.
  • The new ceiling can be painted the same color as the walls or a different color if you desire. You are not stuck with an “acoustic white” or one of the shades of yellow acoustic tends to turn over the years.
  • Cleaning the dust and dirt that accumulates around ceiling vents and ceiling fans is next to impossible with out damaging and/or creating a mess of acoustic kernels on an acoustic ceiling.

The Cons of Acoustic Ceiling Removal

  • The money: Removing a popcorn ceiling, repairing the drywall, applying texture, priming and finally painting can be very expensive if done by a contractor.
  • Sometimes acoustic is applied because that gnarly texture hides damage. Hidden drywall damage usually means more time needed from the crew’s drywall patch masters, along with additional material which of course equals more money out of your pocket.
  • The removal process can be a lot of work if done yourself. There is a lot of information out there on the web to help guide you through the process. In fact, our site, BigRehab.com, has a systematic manual on the process. Removal is hard work that requires a certain level of skill, skill that only comes with experience. Before taking on the removal of an entire home, I highly suggest you get started by doing a small bedroom or office to size up what you are getting into. Many errors in coating the drywall or applying the texture will not be seen until the paint is applied and has dried.
  • Some popcorn/acoustic ceilings contain asbestos. If your ceiling contains asbestos above the threshold level you must follow your state and local laws regarding removal and disposal of this hazardous waste product. This will include multiple air samples, protective clothing and respiration gear, specialized sealers, portable showers, heppa air filtration, etc. Can you see the dollars piling up yet? Asbestos removal is very expensive.

Popcorn or Texture

As you consider these issues and come to a decision do not overlook one of the most important factors: You. Is looking at those ugly ceilings something you want to do for the rest of the time you own your home? Ultimately optional home improvement projects such as removing your popcorn ceiling come down to what your desire is for the home you live in.