View Full Version : Ceiling Paint

Greg Cuetara
09-11-2010, 7:24 PM
I have a vaulted ceiling in my living room with a popcorn texture. I decided to take it down. It has all come off very easily but not sure what I should do now. I was thinking that I could just smooth all the joints with the putty knife and then paint over with a good primer and then white ceiling paint. Do all the joints have to be perfect? I know there are some minor imperfections with the mudding that was done but the popcorn masked all of that. I tend to think they only used one coat of mud so not sure if I really should put a second coat of mud over the joints before I paint.

Any good advice is well appreciated. Thank you,

Bill LaPointe
09-11-2010, 8:14 PM
Do a second coat. If you can see it now it will really show after a coat of paint. If your as bad as I am at finishing sheet rock you will still touch up a few spots after your first coat of paint.

Jim O'Dell
09-11-2010, 10:15 PM
Or better yet, put some texture back on, just not the popcorn stuff. (I so wanted to say something different there.) Then prime and paint. It is virtually impossible to get a smooth finish to look good, especially if you're not a professional. I know I wouldn't try. The texture helps to hide the joint by fooling the eye. Remember, not all sheet rock joints have the tapered edges, so to hide the short end butt joints, you have to feather out a lot of compound. Unless you are skim coating the whole sheet, you always have some rise and fall in height. Use one of the splatter hoppers. It's easy. Then you can decide if you want the knock down look, or just leave the random splatters. Jim.

Ben Franz
09-11-2010, 10:35 PM
Drywall ceilings that are coated with acoustic spray texture (popcorn) are usually only finished partially before spraying. The joints are taped and topped with one coat but little or no sanding is done. You will probably need to skim, sand and touch-up, then take Jim's advice and apply either an orange peel or knockdown texture before painting. Achieving a perfect smooth finish is very difficult and any imperfections are usually quite noticable and will jump out at you whenever you enter the room. There's a good reason why smooth wall costs an extra 25-30% over texture.

Not to be an alarmist but... you should have the popcorn texturing tested for asbestos content before removal. If the texure was applied before 1975 (IIRC), there is a good chance of some asbestos content. I think anything over .5% means that the texture must be removed by a certified remediation contractor for lots of $$$. The last quote I had was $800 for a 12 x 16 room (in 2003) - the homeowner decided that paint over the popcorn would look just fine! Since it sounds like you might have already scraped it off, have a sample from another room tested to make sure. If there is asbestos, your house is now contaminated and may need some serious cleanup to protect your family and maintain the value of the house.

Joe Pelonio
09-12-2010, 12:18 AM
I have been doing mine a room at a time over a few years, most done now. No asbestos, it's from the early '80s. True, the drywall finishing is not the same under it, so you have to do more, but what I did was the spray-on texture like we have on the walls. You can rent the gun but with so much to do and 2-3 compressors in the shop I just bought one. You have to use a thinner mix, and it's messy (lots of plastic and masking tape) but a lot faster than a smooth texture and sanding job. You can also roll sanded paint but then you do have to fix the joints some first as that's not very thick.

David G Baker
09-12-2010, 10:26 AM
I know my weakness when it comes to finishing wallboard that I want to look nice, I hire a pro. I will hang new board but let someone that knows what they are doing do the taping and mudding, they have the tools and knowledge.

Greg Cuetara
09-12-2010, 10:27 AM
Ben thanks for the thoughts about the asbestos. The house was built in the mid 80's so I do not think there is any asbestos in the texture.

David I was almost thinking the same thing about hiring a pro to come in and touch up the joints for me. It should be fairly easy but I did have a bad experience with a 'Pro' on some other work I had done in the house. In the end I could have done as good of a job as he did.

I think i might just try with a skim coat of mud and then paint. Can always come back with a texture in the future if I don't like how it comes out.

John M Wilson
09-12-2010, 11:16 AM
Knife size matters.

When I was re-doing our daughter's bathroom, one of my first "mudding" projects, I couldn't get a smooth joint to save my soul. Very frustrating. :mad: A knowledgeable friend at church asked "What size knives are you using?" and when he found out the biggest I had was 5", said "There's your problem". The borgs sell a wide variety, and they are not too expensive, so to do a good job feathering, you might consider a 12", 18", or even a 24", depending on the joint.

Good luck!

Greg Cuetara
09-12-2010, 1:29 PM
John I have an 18" knife but that doesn't seem to matter with my abilities :)

I just scraped all the joints and screw locations and I am just going to put on a coat of primer right now to make it white. I'll probably hire a pro to come in in the future to fix everything.