Repairs on a "popcorn" or textured ceiling are not always as difficult as some homeowners assume, but it's vital that you handle them properly so that the repairs last and you stay safe during the repair process. If you have problems with your home's popcorn ceiling, note a few important tips for repairing them on your own.
1. Removing the texture
A popcorn or textured ceiling is notorious for holding dirt, dust, cigarette smoke, and other debris that can cause it to become discolored and stained. You can often remove mold and mildew with a bleach and water mixture, but if there are stains, these are usually impossible to remove. It's often better to scrape away the ceiling and start with a fresh coat of texture. Before you do, be sure you take a small sample and send it to a testing lab to find out if there is asbestos in the popcorn mixture. If so, have it removed by a professional rather than scraping it away yourself.
If the ceiling is safe, you can remove it by spraying down the ceiling with a water bottle and letting the water soak into the texture. Spray it again and again if needed. This will soften the texture and allow you to then scrape it away easily.
One common complaint from homeowners who try to handle their own patch jobs with a popcorn ceiling is that the texture never matches, so there are larger chunks of this popcorn next to smaller chunks. Checking the type of texture that was originally applied can help, but it can also be good to wet down areas of the ceiling, even if they don't need to be patched, and then to scrape away areas of the popcorn and patch them as well. This will give your ceiling a more uniform look.
Another good way to hide a repair job after your popcorn ceiling has been patched is to layer the popcorn on the ceiling and the area around it. Use a spray can texture rather than the type you scrape on with a putty knife or plastering knife and apply it in long, even strokes. Wait for one layer to dry and then apply another. This allows you to build the popcorn texture so that it matches the areas around it and the ceiling looks uniform.
To paint, use an oil-based paint rather than latex paint, as latex may break down the adhesion of the popcorn. Apply it with a roller with a thick nap so that the paint gets into all the crevices of the texture, giving your ceiling an even look.
If you feel you cannot do this or run into any complex problems, it may be better to contact ceiling repairs professionals.