Remove a Textured Ceiling
LESLIE: Next up is Desmond in Indiana who wants to remove a textured ceiling.
Desmond, what kind of texture is on your ceiling right now?
DESMOND: It’s a drywall-compound type of texture.
LESLIE: Is it like a swirl or is it like a popcorn?
DESMOND: It’s almost like a flower. It’s almost looking like a poinsettia.
TOM: Oh, the famous poinsettia swirl, Leslie. (Leslie and Tom chuckle)
LESLIE: This is his holiday room, clearly.
DESMOND: I tried to cover it up and so I bought more of the ceiling compound …
DESMOND: … and just kept piling the stuff up there.
TOM: Oh, no.
LESLIE: And now your room is three inches shorter.
TOM: Yeah, Desmond’s got like stalactites hanging down from the ceiling. (Tom and Leslie laugh)
DESMOND: And the truth is, even with – I used three five-gallon buckets in one bedroom. (Leslie laughs)
TOM: (laughing) Oh, man.
DESMOND: I still didn’t cover these flower things up.
TOM: (laughing) Well, we were going to suggest an easy way to get rid of it but you got 15 gallons of spackle on there now. If I were you, I’d be taking the ceiling down and starting clean. (laughs)
DESMOND: That’s what I want to do. I want to know how to do that.
TOM: Well, it’s very easy once you get started, you know.
DESMOND: So it’ll just chip off?
TOM: No, I mean you’re going to have to actually take the wallboard down. I don’t think you’re going to be able to …
DESMOND: That’s what I thought.
TOM: Yeah, I don’t think you’re going to be able to get that off.
DESMOND: Step into the attic and knock the whole thing out, huh?
TOM: Exactly. (Leslie laughs) I’d just take it down and start again. You know, if you just had one coating on there sometimes you can wet it. If you have a textured ceiling that’s got like the popcorn on it or the very thin swirls of textured material, generally you can wet it and, with a spackle blade, sort of scrape it off very carefully. But you’ve gone and added 15 gallons of fresh spackle on top of that, Desmond, and I think that there’s really no chance of getting that back off now.
LESLIE: So how does he go about removing that sheetrock that’s on the ceiling? If there’s so much, how does he get to the tape?
TOM: Yeah, he’s going to have to physically take the wallboard down. You’re going to have to take every stick of furniture out of that room. If there’s carpet, cover it with plastic. Get a knife, go up there, and start cutting the ceiling down. And once you get it out in some chunks, you’ll be able to pull it down and then just …
DESMOND: Better off to go into the garage and use an angle grinder and just grind it all off.
TOM: Aw, no, I don’t think so. I’m telling you, I would take the ceiling completely down, Desmond. It would just be easier to start clean right on the ceiling joist. I wouldn’t try to scrape that stuff down because even if you get it down, it’s all going to look waffly and uneven and …
TOM: Yeah, I would just take the drywall down; put new drywall up with one coat of spackle like it’s designed to have at the joints, two more coats on top of that, and just go from there and learn your lesson.
LESLIE: And enjoy that extra clearance.
TOM: Exactly. And you’ll finally be able to stand up again. (Leslie and Tom chuckle)
DESMOND: Thanks, guys.
TOM: Desmond, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
So when you have a textured ceiling, 15 gallons of spackle doesn’t really cure it.
LESLIE: Now what would he have done had his attic been finished and there’s no access to that …
TOM: Well, he would have had to tear it down from below …
TOM: … which might end up being the easiest way to do this anyway. But think of all the fun he’s going to have stepping through his ceiling. (Leslie chuckles) Alright, Leslie, who’s next?