There are plenty of areas in your home that are often overlooked when cleaning. Whether these areas are hard to reach or difficult to clean, most popcorn ceilings do not give much thought to one’s cleaning routine. However, they gather dust over time.
It starts to look dingy, affecting how the entire room looks. Here is everything you need to know about cleaning a popcorn ceiling and making it look as good as new.
What is a popcorn ceiling?
Popcorn ceiling is also known as stucco, acoustic, or stipple ceiling. Usually, these ceilings come with bumpy, textured surfaces made using spray-on paint. The lumps are made up of vermiculite. It is a type of ground material.
There are many reasons why popcorn ceilings are installed in your place. Usually, they’re less expensive as compared to flat ceilings. It also hides flaws well and deadens sound. Love them or hate them, these are pretty common. Therefore, knowing how to clean them correctly is essential.
1. Test for Lead and Asbestos
Before you think about taking off a popcorn ceiling, you need to check if it’s safe. Usually, these ceilings are installed before the 1980s and may contain asbestos.
Usually, ceilings that are painted at this time may contain lead in it. Both asbestos and lead are treated first by sealing off the material beneath a layer of paint.
Therefore, while the exterior of your ceiling can be asbestos and lead-free, you can’t be entirely sure about the layers underneath. However, even if you’re 100% sure that your ceiling is free from these compounds, testing isn’t needed. But still, if you want to be on the safe side, it doesn’t hurt to do a test.
2. Remove All the Furniture
Taking off the popcorn ceiling can be messy. Therefore, you might want to get rid of as much furniture as possible in the space. It keeps your things clean, but it also gives you extra room to move when working.
A good tip is covering the floor or any leftover belongings or furniture with a tarp. Additionally, walls should also be covered with a plastic sheet.
Taking off ceiling fixtures and fans is also necessary. You don’t want to risk getting water on an electrical fixture. At the same time, make sure to open the windows to get enough ventilation.
3. Protect Walls, Floors, and Yourself
Make sure that you turn off the HVAC system. Close and cover vents, as well as electrical outlets with plastic.
Again, you should also ensure enough ventilation in the room to breathe easier as you scrape away. You might also want to don safety goggles and a dust mask. For professionals or experienced DIYers, it will take approximately 20 hours to get rid of 500 square feet of popcorn from the ceiling.
Meanwhile, if you’re less experienced, then it will likely take you longer, as it can be challenging for you with all that time spent on the ladder.
4. Spray the Ceiling with Water
It will be easier to scrape if the ceiling is wet than dry. So, use a garden sprayer to soften the material. Ideally, you may want to work first in smaller areas as they’ll dry before you can reach them.
After spraying, wait for about 10-15 minutes for the water to absorb fully. It is the time that you can start scraping. You may have to go through it more than once for stubborn areas.
At Maid Sailors, (home cleaning services NYC,) we always tell clients that usually, stains are caused by grease, mildew, smoke, and water. In most cases, you need to use a liquid deep cleaning solution. Let it dry. You can turn on the fan to speed up the drying process. Or you can open the windows for more ventilation.
5. Sand, Prime, and Paint the Ceiling
When removing the popcorn ceiling, you’ll find that you may encounter hidden imperfections. You might also come across visible joints and screws. You can cover these via joint compounds and then sand them.
After sanding them, the next thing you need to do is give them a fresh coat of paint. After the paint job, take off the plastic sheet, reinstall the fans and lights, and you can now enjoy a smoother ceiling.
Ideally, you want to maximize the coverage with minimal damages. It would be best if you used a paint sprayer or a soft, thick-nap paint roller.
It’s also worth noting that the overall texture adds up to the surface area. It also provides more sound dampening benefits. Therefore, you’ll use more paint than usual.
Over to You
So there you have it. Popcorn ceilings are a magnet for stains. These are often caused by residues coming from mildew, smoke, and grease, which can quickly turn a bright white surface into a discolored and dingy one.
Dealing with popcorn ceilings can be tricky but isn’t impossible. Follow these tips if you want to have bright and airy rooms.