Can You Paint Over a Popcorn Ceiling?

You can paint over a popcorn ceiling, but you may need to use a special paint to get good coverage. Learn more about how to paint over a popcorn ceiling.

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Assess the Ceiling

There are two types of popcorn ceilings. Styrofoam popcorn ceilings and acoustic popcorn ceilings. You can usually tell which kind you have by gently pressing on the surface. If the popcorn ceiling is Styrofoam, it will feel soft and spongy.

Check for asbestos

Before you do anything, you need to check for asbestos. popcorn ceilings installed before 1978 may contain asbestos fibers, which can be harmful if disturbed. To be on the safe side, hire a professional to test a small sample of your ceiling before you proceed.

Determine the ceiling type

There are two types of popcorn ceilings: sprayed-on and acoustic. To determine which type you have, scrape off a small section of the texture with a putty knife. If the texture comes off in large chunks, it’s acoustic. If the texture crumbles into powder, it’s sprayed-on.

Prep the Room

You’ll need a few supplies before you get started. To prep the room, you’ll need to:

Cover floors and furniture

To avoid getting paint on your floors or furniture, cover them with a drop cloth or plastic sheeting. If you’re working on a ceiling, move any furniture out of the room or push it to the center and cover it with a drop cloth as well. You may also want to cover doorways with plastic sheeting to keep paint from getting where it’s not supposed to be.

Remove light fixtures

Before you tackle any part of your popcorn ceiling removal, it’s important to take a few safety precautions. First, remove all light fixtures from the ceiling. You don’t want to be working around exposed electrical wiring while removing the popcorn material. If your light fixtures are screwed into the ceiling, simply unscrew them and set them aside in a safe place. If they’re mounted flush with the ceiling, you may need to hire an electrician to remove them for you.

Paint the Ceiling

You can paint over a popcorn ceiling, but you will need to use a special type of paint. You will also need to prep the surface before you paint. If you do not prep the surface, the paint will not adhere properly and it will not look good.

Choose the right paint

You can use any kind of paint on a popcorn ceiling, but latex paint is the best choice. It goes on easily and will not require a primer. If you choose to use oil-based paint, you will need to prime the surface first. Choose a high-quality paint for the best results.

Apply the paint evenly

Whether you’re painting a popcorn ceiling or any other kind of ceiling, the process is essentially the same. The key is to apply the paint evenly, using long strokes in one direction. Start at a corner and work your way across the ceiling, overlapping each stroke by about half. When you reach the other side of the room, stop and take a break so you don’t get dizzy!

Finish Up

You can actually finish up your popcorn ceiling by painting over it! This will give you a clean new surface to work with, free of any texture. Painting over a popcorn ceiling is a great way to cover up any imperfections and give your room a fresh new look.

Replace light fixtures

If you’re ceilings are in bad shape, you might want to consider replacing them entirely. This is a more invasive project, but it will completely transform the look of your room. You can even add new lighting fixtures to give the space an entirely new look and feel.

Let the paint dry

Once you have finished applying the paint, let it dry for at least 24 hours before replacing any furniture or fixtures in the room. You should also avoid using any fans or other devices that could potentially dislodge any loose pieces of popcorn from the ceiling.