Why Popcorn Ceilings?

As you’re looking at houses with renovation potential, you’re probably asking yourself why anyone ever thought popcorn ceilings were a good idea.  Also known as stucco ceilings or acoustic ceilings, these textured design features were hugely popular from the 1930s to the 1990s.  So, it’s rare to come across a recently un-updated home that doesn’t have at least one.  To help answer this valid question, we’ll give you a little bit of background and explain how we remedy this outdated technique.

A Quick Fix

Thanks to their bumpy appearance, popcorn ceilings were originally a fast, easy way to cover up imperfections.  Because they incorporated additional materials like stucco or Styrofoam, contractors didn’t have to worry about patching cracks, holes and other problems. It also eliminated the need for a lot of sanding.  Realistically, all you had to do was layer a coat of primer underneath before spraying the finish and you were done!  It was a cost effective and quick solution for many homeowners.

An Extra Ingredient

Unfortunately, many popcorn ceilings had an extra inclusion that helped with the binding process: asbestos.  When this material was banned by the US government in the late 1970s for its cancer-causing properties, the popularity of “popcorn” dropped drastically.  Even after they removed it from the standard formula, it was never really able to recover. By that point, though, the damage was done.  It was in millions of homes across the country already.  Now, when we work to remove it, we have to extra careful just in case it requires additional asbestos remediation.

One Step at a Time

The process of removing popcorn ceilings is a tedious one.  It requires hand-scraping to ensure all the clinging particles of stucco or Styrofoam are completely gone.  Then, we often have to sand it down, re-plaster or patch, sand some more, and prime. That’s all before the paint even goes on!  And don’t even think about using a regular paint brush to slap on a new layer.  That will dampen any remaining stubble, causing it to fall off and/or get stuck in the new paint. However, leaving your popcorn ceiling in place often isn’t an option either.

Have you ever noticed how dirty they seem to get?  Dirt, dust, and cobwebs simply stick to every bump—like a magnet!  So, you might need to literally vacuum your ceiling in order to get it clean.  When water damage arises, though, it will literally come loose and peel off.  Only in certain places though.  Then you’re left with the difficult decision of applying additional textured finishes or redoing the entire thing.  Fortunately, you don’t have to face it alone!


At D & L Enterprises, we’re your local experts on paint, wallpaper, and even popcorn ceilings. Leave the unpleasant task of removing this outdated application to us!  All you have to do is choose the option that comes next.  Do you want a nice matte finish or something more exciting? Either way, you’ll be left with much more modern ceilings than what you had before.  Call us today to talk about your next project!