scraping a popcorn ceiling

Scraping a Popcorn Ceiling | How to and the Pros and Cons

Scraping a popcorn ceiling is not for the weak. We did it, and by we I totally mean he finally scraped the outdated popcorn from the ceiling in our living room.

scraping a popcorn ceiling

I’ve said before that this house had the good bones, neighborhood, schools etc. but the inside left a lot to be desired and the two things that grated my nerves have finally been made over.

Before painting the living room walls we went ’round and ’round about whether or not the ceilings would get scraped. After hearing all of the horror stories about the pending mess to ensue we thought it wise to ignore the warnings and have a go at it.

scraping a popcorn ceiling

This doesn’t even seem real 😐

Absolute worst experience. Dust was EVERYWHERE. Disclaimer being that my husband found the bag that attaches to the scraper and collects the particles hindering. To fix that minor irritation he took it off. If only foresight was 20/20.


Do the math. ALL of the dusty things hit the floor, the air, the furniture, and every room in the house.

scraping a popcorn ceiling

If you are thinking about scraping your ceilings, here’s a list of the things you will need, some tips and my pros and cons

You will need:


  • Working in small sections spray the area well, but do not saturate as you don’t want to damage the drywall. Let sit for about 3 minutes prior to beginning to scrape
  • Scrape in one direction, with just enough force to get the very thin layer of popcorn off. Do not scrape too hard to avoid damage to the dry wall.
  • Clean as you go, as the process is VERY messy


  • Outside of the dust my husband was hurting for days. It was such a large area and the majority of the work required him to keep his hands over his head. If you attempt to do this on your own, make a few days of it to allow your body time to rest.


  • Very cost effective DIY in terms of material. Definitely not in time and energy but if you are counting coins the savings was a major pro. We were quoted in excess of $300 to have this done. We spent $25 in materials.
  • It looks amazing. Sometimes we just stare at the ceiling and forget how much of a headache it was. You know, like childbirth

Ace 31 Days of Color

Ace 31 Days of Color

Compared to this..I’m like give me  er’ him all the pain for the gain. The kitchen has since been painted all white.

Ace 31 Days of Color

Because we are DIY gluttons for punishment we’ll be taking on the hallway in a few weeks. I’ll take my own advice and let you know how it goes.

Have you ever scraped your ceiling?





About the author
Mom, wife and friend. I moonlight as a cooker, baker, laundry folder and organizer. I like to think I do it in style. Unlikely Martha is my contribution to the internet in helping women "Keep House and Stay Fly!"


  1. WHY are popcorn ceilings a thing? I really want to do this to our entire house, but I feel like my husband might think I’m crazy if I suggest it.
    Breenah recently posted..Wonky

  2. Wow. That’s definitely a HUGE undertaking! We don’t have the popcorn but we’ve got a stipple ceiling (thanks Google!) in our bedroom. I don’t know who told them this was cute but since we’re renting this apt, it is what it is. And there’s a large spot where the paint’s a different color which triggers my OCD. I’d surely scrape it if I could!
    Toia Barry recently posted..Watercolor Floral Maxi Skirt + Anniversary in Botanic Garden

  3. Wow, that’s a lot of dust! I remember when popcorn ceilings were popular. One of my relatives even had the popcorn ceiling with the glitter sprinkled in! LOL

  4. Excellent post! It certainly is a major process and extremely unpleasant at times. The clean up is always the worst part….and of course living in the mess while the work is being done.

    You did an excellent job laying out the guidelines for this less than fun process!

    Check out the Popcorn Ceiling Removal Bucket tool. It works a lot better than the bag attachment scraper which gets extremely heavy after just a short time of us. The PCRBucket is easier to use, dispose of debris, and reuse!

  5. The ceilings in my home were JUST scraped and we thought to do it because there was nothing in the house anymore. That made the project much easier to get through. Popcorn ceilings never really bothered me, but after it was gone, I could see how beautiful smooth ceilings were going to look.

    And your ceiling looks absolutely amazing! And I just can’t get over how beautiful that color is. I have to think of some room in my house to paint that color.
    Rae recently posted..Like a Local — Part I: Cuidad Colon.

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