Repair Chronicles #2: Popcorn Ceilings

March 4, 2008 at 8:50 pm 1 comment


This is an ongoing series of homeowner insight & advice on repairs, upgrades, & add-ons, sometimes do-it-yourself (DIY), sometimes not, chronicling what went well, what did not go so well and advice for the rest of us. Please feel free to submit your repair chronicle to the http://www.TNPBlog.com … we would love to hear your stories and advice. If you wish to submit, please follow this format: (Oh, and we reserve the right to edit and publish or not publish as we see fit. By submitting to the TNPBlog Repair Chronicles, you agree that we can edit or publish and/or not publish as we see fit.)

REPAIR CHRONICLE #2:
POPCORN CEILINGS
Julie Nelson – NW Hills / Austin, TX – submitted 03/08

Q1. What was the scope of your project? [fix a leaky faucet, add a 2nd story]
Scrape the ugly popcorn stuff off the ceiling of my office in my new 1970’s house in the woods. Basically a very easy project, very little skill involved and I totally recommend bringing your house into the current century by scraping all popcorn off the ceiling BEFORE you move in and BEFORE you replace the carpet.

Before we get too far, a note on the possibility of asbestos: popcorn ceilings may contain asbestos if the house was built or the popcorn was sprayed before 1978. You can have a sample tested at a lab.

Back to the EASY … all you do is get a ladder, a little water sprayer (plant sprayer, cheap) and with a fine to moderate mist, spray about a 2’ x 2’ patch of the ceiling then spray another 2’ x 2’ patch of ceiling then go back to patch #1 and scrap off the popcorn. Most of the popcorn will come off easily. Be careful with the stubborn spots … spray again and wait a few minutes, repeat, repeat, be careful to minimize damage to the sheet rock and remember you can sand down a bit later. I recommend wearing a hat because it will fall on your head, shoulders, waistband etc. Cover any light fixtures or ceiling fans with plastic to simplify cleanup. You’ll most likely need a little spackle to fill in a few gouges.

Once you have it all scraped off, then you’ll want to sand. The sanding part was not real fun as the dust falls heavily onto your head, face, eyelashes. If you would like to know what you would look like with white hair, this is an opportunity to find out without paying a beautician. This is the portion that really requires a face mask and a cold beer but cover the opening. Before you paint, take a light broom and brush off the ceiling.

Q2. What was the general budget (initial)? [do not have to disclose]
$10 for a can of paint.

Q3. How close did you land on budget? [nailed it, doubled it, refused to add up the receipts, in denial]
Doubled it because I needed a can of primer then a can of paint.

Q4. $ for $, what was the best money spent?
Definitely the face mask for the dust (from sanding) and the $50 for a massage to get my neck and shoulders back in alignment.

Q5. $ for $, what was money not well spent?
Nada, it was a cheap project.

Q6. If you had it to do over, what would you do differently?
I would hire day laborers to do it, would knock it all out in one day and would have done all 3 rooms before we moved in. I would so a more detailed job of containing the dust such as putting plastic down everywhere and plastic over the doors so the dust did not creep into other areas of the house.

Q7. Advice for the rest of us?
It’s easy, go for it, preferably before you move in.

Q8. Was there a contractor, plumber, electrician, innocent bystander [fill in the blank] who deserves an oscar for best performance?
Kay for supplying cold beers.

Q9. What’s next on your list?
After the $570 I spent on replacing my furnace exhaust fan this morning, I’m not in too much of a hurry to proceed with the list. However, next thing on the list is replacing the insulation tacked into the studs under the house (actually falling off the studs, which has made some little rodent very happy) or building a trellis on the south side of the house to hide the junk under the house.

Q10. Your name or alias? Your neighborhood?
Julie Nelson, Northwest Hills, Austin, TX.

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© Julie Nelson and The Nelson Project at Keller Williams Reatly, 2008-2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Julie Nelson and The Nelson Project at Keller Williams Realty with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Cathy  |  March 5, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    One small tip: DON’T buy one of those purpose-made popcorn scrapers that are designed to have a plastic bag attached to catch the dead popcorn. The popcorn material gets very heavy when it’s wet and it’s exhausting to hold it up over your head for a long time. We used one b/c we we wanted to protect the carpet. We’d have had a much easier time covering the carpet with plastic and just scraping away as you describe here.

    Reply

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© Julie Nelson and The Nelson Project at Keller Williams Reatly, 2016-2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Julie Nelson and The Nelson Project at Keller Williams Realty with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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