What To Do After Removing Popcorn Ceiling?

So you have decided to remove your popcorn ceiling. But what should you do after you remove it? If you're stuck, you came to the right place! We have researched the next things you should do after removing your popcorn ceiling, and here is what we found out:

After completely removing the popcorn ceiling, you can refinish the surface and give it a new look by doing the following steps:

  • Wipe it clean
  • Make any necessary repairs
  • Smooth the surface
  • Apply primer
  • Apply paint

Still confused? We will thoroughly discuss the procedure and tackle the questions you will probably have during the process so you can be confident in accomplishing the task. You can gain all of this information by reading this post, so stay with us. 

Popcorn Ceiling with a Heating or Cooling Vent, What To Do After Removing Popcorn Ceiling?

Steps To Take After Removing Popcorn Ceiling

Popcorn Ceiling with lighting fixture

A century ago, popcorn ceilings were a trend to conceal flaws. It saved homeowners the time, money, and effort spent in smoothing the ceiling. The ceilings were also used for acoustic purposes, because the textured surface can absorb sound in a room, so there is less echo. 

However, the application contains asbestos, a mineral that is highly resistant to heat. It is considered a health hazard and is banned by the U.S. government. Inhaling its microfibers can cause lung cancer and other diseases such as mesothelioma.

This is why removing your popcorn ceiling is a good choice. It reduces health risks to your family. 

Removing Popcorn Ceiling

If your home was built in the 1980s or earlier, you should have your popcorn ceiling professionally checked for any asbestos compound. It is highly recommended to let a certified asbestos abatement company check the ceiling. 

Here are some simple steps to do to remove the ceiling. Take note that you should wear a protective face mask, gloves, and glasses to prevent inhaling and coming into contact with asbestos. 

First, cover any wiring or fixtures on and around the ceiling with a plastic sheet. Include the walls and floor for easier post-cleaning. It is also better if you can set aside the furniture that is under the popcorn ceiling.

Next, cover any electrical boxes with painter's tape to avoid getting water in them. Once done, fill your sprayer with plain water. You can use a spray bottle or a garden pump sprayer. Sprinkle water in a small area of the ceiling and let it soak for a while to soften the texture.

Check out this garden pump sprayer on Amazon.

While waiting, prepare a ladder, putty knife, and mud pan. Do not let the texture completely dry. Start scraping using the putty knife.

Catch the residue with the mud pan as you remove it. That way, you can decrease the amount that will fall on the floor. Repeat the process until you finish the whole ceiling area. 

Back to the agenda: here are the things you should do after removing the popcorn ceiling. 

Remove The Leftovers

After removing the popcorn, wipe the surface clean with a cloth and clean water. Wait for it to dry before proceeding to the next step.

Conceal The Gaps

The drywall might have been damaged at some point during your scraping, especially, if the corners of your putty knife are sharp. Conceal and fill up those flaws using a joint compound.

Apply a liberal amount and smooth it with the putty knife. If you are using the putty knife you removed the popcorn with, make sure to clean it first to prevent any residue from getting into the sealing compound.

Check out DEKEone's scraper on Amazon.

Make The Surface Smooth

Once the joint compound is completely dry, you can sand the area to be sure that there are no bumps along the surface (especially in the spot where the joint compound is applied). Use 220 grit paper to do so. After that, remove the dust using a vacuum or a damp towel. 

Check out Milady Store's sandpaper on Amazon.

Level Up Your Ceiling's Adhesion

Once the ceiling is dry from the dust removal, you can now start applying a primer. You can use either a latex paint primer (if there are stains) or a drywall primer (if the surface is somehow textured). 

Allow it to dry again before applying another coat. If you are planning on skipping this step, think twice.

Primer helps make your ceiling adhesive to the paint, and it seals the original surface from the paint. It also helps show the true color of your paint with its white or neutral color as the base. 

Check out this primer on Amazon.

Paint The Ceiling

When choosing paint for your ceiling, a flat finish is the best option. It won't reflect that much light and helps conceal any flaw that is present. Apply the paint in portions and keep a steady pace to prevent hard-line edges from the roller. 

Wait for the first coat to dry before applying the next one. Repeat the process until you achieve the desired color. 

Wondering what color to paint your ceiling? Read this: Should Ceiling And Wall Paint Match?

Design Ideas For Your Ceiling

Plaster Ceiling Border

There are a lot of ideas to adapt when it comes to giving your ceiling a finished look. That is why we've gathered some of the best ones you may find. If you have no idea what to do with your ceiling, here are some designs that may inspire you on your next project.


A wood ceiling gives a relaxing, natural vibe to your home. Having it the same tone as the floor can give a cohesive look. This can give you a consistent wood theme no matter the materials you use on your furniture. 

If covering the whole ceiling with wood is too much for you, you can just add it inside the tray. Adding accessories or ornaments that complement the ceiling is also a good idea to keep the vibe. 


Instead of a plain ceiling, a coffered ceiling is a good idea. The grid style helps add dimension to the space and gives an illusion that your ceiling is higher.

Light Lines

Adding a few LED lights to your ceiling will create a new kind of experience. If you want to make it a focal point, do different clean patterns and choose a color that will complement the aesthetic of your room. 


If you want a plain wall and a plain floor, you can totally add all the art above, on the ceiling. This design will definitely have your guests looking up all the time. The printed ceiling also gives a vintage vibe. If you combine it with neon accents, you will feel like you are in the 80s. 

Sticking to a timeless white ceiling? Read this article to learn more about it: What Color White To Paint Ceiling?

How Much To Remove Popcorn Ceiling?

Removal old dirty popcorn ceiling wall background

If you want to have a professional remove the popcorn ceiling, you will pay depending on whether it is positive for containing asbestos or not. If there is no asbestos, expect to pay $1 to $3 per square foot. Those with asbestos compounds will have to pay $3 to $7 per square foot.

What Are The Symptoms Of Asbestosis?

Diagram showing asbestosis in lungs illustration

Asbestosis is a disease developed (takes 20 years or more to show) due to inhaled asbestos. As we have discussed earlier, your popcorn ceiling may have asbestos, which is why professional removal is highly advised. 

However, you may have already eliminated the popcorn ceiling without this knowledge, and the possibility of inhaling asbestos might have already occurred. 

Those micro-fibers that you've breathed in stick to your lung tissue. Over time, some symptoms may show which may indicate that your lungs are already harmed. Those symptoms are:

  • Difficulty in breathing and swallowing
  • Chest pain
  • Deformed finger
  • Hypertension
  • Neck or face swelling
  • Dry cough
  • Blood present in sputum
  • Cracking sound when coughing
  • Weight and appetite loss

There are treatments that doctors can give you, so it is best to consult your doctor and have yourself checked.


After removing your popcorn ceiling, you should clean the surface and then decide whether to refinish it for a new look. One way to do that is to apply new paint. But before doing so, you will need to repair and sand the ceiling, and apply a primer. 

If you haven't gotten rid of your popcorn ceiling yet, it is best to hire a professional to do the job. It may look easy and harmless but the popcorn ceiling in your home may have asbestos that should not be inhaled and is a health hazard. 

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