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  #1  
Old 09-01-2006, 03:53 PM
Yamirskoonir Yamirskoonir is offline
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Ways to remove stucco/textured stuff from ceiling?

Dopers, I turn to your amassed knowledge of DIY for help on this matter.

What is the best way to remove that textured/stucco/dirty and annoying crap from the ceiling of a room? My Google search turned up several suggestions, but none were completely satisfying (least of all "don't remove it -- cover it up with MORE drywall" ). So far, the most promising suggestion seems to be to saturate it with water using a spray bottle, and then use a putty knife to scrape it off (evenly, one would hope).

Has anybody ever tried this? Know of a better method? Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

Tired of the living room that is uglier than sin,
Yamirskoonir
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  #2  
Old 09-01-2006, 04:04 PM
MLS MLS is offline
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First of all, I don't know. But -- do you know the reason it's there? It may be covering up something even more ugly.
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  #3  
Old 09-01-2006, 04:24 PM
crazyjoe crazyjoe is offline
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I can almost guarantee it's going to be a 2-step process. Most people don't put up textured ceilings after they have a nice-looking ceiling. It's done from the get-go (which means no need to mud the joints perfectly), or to cover something up. So you'll probably scrape it off, only to find out that you've got a lot of work to do to make it nice again, including a possible skim-coat with more mud to make it smooth.
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  #4  
Old 09-01-2006, 05:01 PM
Twoflower Twoflower is online now
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How old is the house in question? If it was built before about 1980, that spray-on cottage-cheesy ceiling stuff is almost certainly made of asbestos, in which case removing it is a job for a trained professional -- do not try it at home!
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  #5  
Old 09-01-2006, 05:04 PM
Cub Mistress Cub Mistress is online now
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My house has that crappy blown-on ceiling texture that people call popcorn texture. I bought this dealie at Home Depot made to scrape it off. It is a blade fixed to the end of a long pole and a frame from which to hang a plastic bag that is supposed to catch the scrapings. We tried using it on the dry ceiling and were quite happy with the result. We didn't take it down to the sheetrock, we just knocked down the worst of the texture and repainted. The resulting texture could be described as slightly cottage cheesy and is a great improvement, IMHO. crazyjoe is right in that the sheetrock is almost certain to be porly mudded, if at all. In this same house, the builders just slapped the wallpaper on the sheetrock without priming at all. That was a nightmare to remove.
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  #6  
Old 09-01-2006, 05:26 PM
Yamirskoonir Yamirskoonir is offline
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Thanks for the replies so far, folks!

It's a condo, and I really don't know when it was built, but I would guess anywhere from the late 70's onwards. Thanks for the asbestos warning!

Hmm...."cottage cheese" texture? At this point, I'd be happier with that than "super bumpy, flakes off when you try to dust, and stubbornly holds cobwebs, dirt, pet fur, and candle smoke stains" texture.

What are my chances of just painting over it, do you think?
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  #7  
Old 09-01-2006, 05:58 PM
Mithrander Mithrander is offline
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My father-in-law the drywaller just put on a dust mask and attacked the crud on our roof with a sander-on-a-stick, which seemed to take it off fairly easily. He did warn us that it tends to get used as a cheap way of covering up bad drywall, and IIRC, he did end up putting a skimcoat of mud on it to get that nice clean look after he was done.
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  #8  
Old 09-01-2006, 06:15 PM
Pork Rind Pork Rind is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twoflower
How old is the house in question? If it was built before about 1980, that spray-on cottage-cheesy ceiling stuff is almost certainly made of asbestos, in which case removing it is a job for a trained professional -- do not try it at home!
Double plus YES. I had my popcorn ceiling tested and confirmed in my case that it was asbestos.
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  #9  
Old 09-01-2006, 06:19 PM
Contrapuntal Contrapuntal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yamirskoonir
My Google search turned up several suggestions, but none were completely satisfying (least of all "don't remove it -- cover it up with MORE drywall" ).
That's pretty good advice. What are your objections? Encapsulating a problem ceiling is SOP in the remodelling biz.
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  #10  
Old 09-01-2006, 06:31 PM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
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If it was my ceiling, I'd cut out the offending popcorn drywall and put up new sheetrock. You don't have the asbestos flying around and you get a new, perfectly installed smooth ceiling.

But that's me.
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  #11  
Old 09-01-2006, 06:54 PM
cormac262 cormac262 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twoflower
How old is the house in question? If it was built before about 1980, that spray-on cottage-cheesy ceiling stuff is almost certainly made of asbestos, in which case removing it is a job for a trained professional -- do not try it at home!
At least here in California, there was only a few years when they actually had asbestos in the cottage cheese stuff. It is worth having it checked. You can simply spray a little section with water, scrape it into a ziplock and take it to a place that checks it.

If it doesn't contain asbestos, then removal is actually not all that hard - just messy. It turns out that if you get the stuff wet, it pretty much turns into oatmeal or wet paper mache-like goop. And you simply scrape it off.
The hard part is getting it "wet enough" to come off easily, but you don't want to soak it too much as it will mess up the drywall underneath (you don't want to soak the paper layer of the drywall). So there's an art to doing it. And you definitely want to work a section at a time.
If you can move tables or desks to stand on while you're doing it, it will go better than using a ladder. And a trashcan lid to catch the stuff works pretty well.
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  #12  
Old 09-01-2006, 07:31 PM
Yamirskoonir Yamirskoonir is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Contrapuntal
That's pretty good advice. What are your objections? Encapsulating a problem ceiling is SOP in the remodelling biz.
No real objections per se. I just want this project to:
1) Be as DIY as possible,
2) With a relatively low cost (under $10 would be good! ), and
3) Without any kind of major overhaul, because then my SO really wouldn't go for it (despite the fact that I will be the one doing all the work!).

Again, thanks to all for the considerations and advice. I really don't want to inhale any asbestos. At the same time, if our ceiling does contain asbestos, maybe we'll have to put the time/money into having it professionally removed, so it's no longer in our home!
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  #13  
Old 09-01-2006, 09:41 PM
pullin pullin is offline
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Ditto cormac's suggestion...

We had a little "incident" last month involving our airconditioning unit (it's in the attic). The end result was removal and replacement of a large section of ceiling. After the section was replaced, the contractor used a spray bottle of water and a putty-knife to easily take down the rest of the ceiling popcorn. FWIW: He taped the puttyknife to the end of his shop-vac hose and managed to suck up most of the mess. He said it is imperative to get the stuff "just wet enough". Too much and it won't go into the vacuum, too little and it won't come off the ceiling. He said it takes some experimentation to get the water amount right, but anyone can do it.

Good Luck.
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  #14  
Old 09-01-2006, 09:56 PM
spingears spingears is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yamirskoonir
What is the best way to remove that textured/stucco/dirty and annoying crap from the ceiling of a room? My Google search turned up several suggestions, but none were completely satisfying (least of all "don't remove it -- cover it up with MORE drywall" ). So far, the most promising suggestion seems to be to saturate it with water using a spray bottle, and then use a putty knife to scrape it off (evenly, one would hope).
The texture material is often mixed in the latex paint which is a problem in itself.
Try the dry scraping method first, then water with a bit of detergent (dish liquid) and spray on to wet but not so much as to drip.
As a last resort the hard way would be to use a power sander. At least you will have a smooth finish. (50 or 100 grit).
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  #15  
Old 09-01-2006, 10:38 PM
danceswithcats danceswithcats is offline
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If the dwelling was constructed prior to 1978, it is considered a 'target dwelling' by the EPA as wall coverings may contain lead. So, in addition to the asbestos issue, the underlying painted surfaces may be lead-bearing, and if you disturb more than 2 SF, remediation/encapsulation procedures apply. See EPA guidelines/regulations.
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  #16  
Old 09-02-2006, 01:11 AM
SweetHomeColorado SweetHomeColorado is offline
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I hope you don't mind a slight hijack but this could potentially save two lives..... a friend, and my own.
We have the same problem, except the cottage cheese texture is everywhere except the floors. Ceiling, walls, archways, you name it. We were about to go all out sanding, scraping and smoothing- until I read this thread.
Asbestos is something that we had NOT thought of. How would someone go about getting their houses tested for this? Is there a cost? If there is a cost, do you have a ballpark figure?

If we get it done and it turns out to be asbestos, then I suppose I owe you dopers my life!
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