How to Match a Popcorn Ceiling
LESLIE: Laura in South Carolina is just not enjoying the taste of a popcorn ceiling. Tell us what’s going on over there.
LAURA: Well, a tree fell on the roof of our house, which caused the ceiling to crack in the bedroom.
TOM: Yep. Mm-hmm.
LAURA: And we’ve gotten the roof fixed and all those things fixed and everything. And so we redid the drywall and the plaster up in the ceiling. But we can’t match the popcorn so that you can tell or not tell that there’s been damage. And we don’t know what to do.
TOM: How have you tried to patch it?
LAURA: Well, we took – we patched it first. We removed the section that had actually come through the ceiling and put new – the new ceiling up.
TOM: Yep. Yeah.
LAURA: And then we plastered over the crack, because there were two cracks where the edge of the – the width of the tree was, all the way to the middle of the ceiling
LAURA: And so we plastered that and then we tried to use that popcorn texture that you get at Lowe’s or Home Depot.
LESLIE: In the spray can?
LAURA: And you – yeah, in the little – no, we tried the spray but that was so, so messy. And then we got the can of it – the little container of it – where you use the putty knife or the paintbrush?
LAURA: And tried to put that up but it does not – it looks horrible; it looks like watery dripping or big drip marks.
LAURA: And it just does not match at all and we don’t know what to do.
TOM: So, did you file an insurance claim for this act of God?
LAURA: Oh, yeah.
TOM: You did?
LAURA: It wasn’t actually an act of God; it was a dead tree from the neighbor’s house that fell.
TOM: Oh, OK. But it’s covered by insurance, right?
LAURA: Yeah, the insurance took care of it.
TOM: So why didn’t they go all the way and just restore the ceiling? This was something that is covered by insurance and you had a popcorn ceiling and you deserved to have that ceiling restored. Why didn’t they just pay for a painter to come in with the popcorn-ceiling machine and just respray the whole thing?
LAURA: Well, it was kind of a mistake on our part, because there was a gentleman that lives in the neighborhood who’s a contractor that we got. And then he finished the outside and most of the inside but didn’t finish that part.
TOM: Alright. Well, live and learn. I mean you probably can go back to them but look, are you really in love with the popcorn ceiling? Because most people are not; most of the calls we get about popcorn ceiling is how to get rid of it.
LESLIE: How to get rid of it.
TOM: So, the other option here is just to get rid of what’s there and match it all.
TOM: And you can do that. It’s not really that hard to do. You dampen the ceiling with – you can use a pump-up sprayer to put a little bit of a water spray on it: not terrible, then a lot but just enough to dampen it. Then you can scrape away the popcorn with a putty knife or with a drywall knife, like a spackling blade?
TOM: And you get that off the whole ceiling that way. And then you prime the whole thing and then you paint it with a flat paint, because it won’t reflect light when it strikes across the flat paint. And that usually blends in quite nicely.
So, if you’re not satisfied with the patching – because it sounds like you’re using the right products. And if it’s not looking right to you and you can’t have the entire ceiling restored, then why not get rid of the popcorn that remains and just go with a popcorn-free ceiling?
LAURA: Yeah, that might be the best – but I didn’t know how hard it would be to remove that ceiling, so we didn’t want to start something we didn’t know if we could finish, like …
TOM: Yeah, it’s not easy but it’s not terrible, either. So, that’s – I think that’s your best approach.
LAURA: Yeah, it sounds like it’s going to be our only option at this point. Alright. Well, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
TOM: Well, you’re very welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.