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How to Remove Stucco Ceiling And Popcorn Ceiling Removal

how to remove stucco ceiling and popcorn ceiling removal banner

If you have a stucco ceiling or popcorn ceiling, you may be wondering how to remove it. Or maybe you are thinking “Can I remove a popcorn ceiling myself?” To answer those questions, we’ll cover in this article how to remove a stucco ceiling and also how to remove a popcorn ceiling.

With the constant emergence of new interior decorating and design ideas is the need for flat ceilings in Toronto.  Up to about 10 years ago, stucco ceilings or otherwise known as “popcorn” ceilings have been the trend.  But things have changed now. The new trend is for cleaner, simpler, and more finished areas, hence the need for flat ceilings.

The problem is, up to 10-15 years ago or so, popcorn ceilings were the trend of the past.  Removing the popcorn ceiling and refinishing a stucco ceiling can be a bit intimidating.  This is where Home Painters Toronto comes in. We can fulfill that need for flat ceilings and support our clients with top-notch popcorn ceiling removal!

Prep for How To Remove Stucco Ceiling

Popcorn ceilings were famous from the ’50s until the early ’90s. Putting texture on drywalls and plaster ceilings was a fast and easy trick to hide imperfections and didn’t need any painting afterwards. Not to mention that it was very cost-efficient and time-effective. But the rough texture captures lots of cobwebs and dust, so it can be difficult to know how to remove popcorn from the ceiling.

It can be a nightmare to match if you have holes and cracks that require patching. Removing stucco ceilings or doing popcorn ceiling removal can be one of the more satisfying jobs in one home decorating project.  However, there are several steps you need to follow in order for it to be done properly. It can be a nightmare to match if you have holes and cracks that require patching.

Indeed, removing stucco from your ceilings is probably one of the messiest jobs in residential painting. This is the reason why you must properly prepare the room.

This includes lining plastic from wall to wall and also wrapping up all furniture and floors in plastic as well.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal

This ensures that whatever you scrape, plaster and paint will not ruin anything in your home space. Ideally, you would want an empty room.

But wrapping everything up in plastic is the next best option.

Popcorn ceiling removal

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Process

The next step is to scrape or try to remove any stucco from the ceilings. 

This can be done with scrapers, putty knives, or anything you can remove it with, and at the same time not ruin the existing surfaces.

Initially, try it as dry, then dampen the texture with water and try again. You may need to get your stucco ceiling damp with water prior to scraping. Some texture comes off easily, even without water and a rigid stucco ceiling removal tool.

It can really help to move the process along in terms of removing the different textures. Although, you may find that dampening your stucco ceiling doesn’t make things easier.

However, for the most part, damping the surface is best for removing the popcorn ceiling and refinishing. If the water doesn’t take in and soften the stucco texture, then the ceiling has probably been painted before, or paint was added to the texture mix. In that case, moistening the ceiling may not help much. 

So, how to remove the painted popcorn ceiling? You’ll need to decide whether to take on an arduous scraping task, select another way to conceal your popcorn ceiling, or call for professional help like Home Painters Toronto. And ask how to remove the swirl textured ceiling and what to do after removing the popcorn ceiling.

Again, that’s only if that’s the case, you just really need to get in there with your hands and a tough scraper.

Plastering The Ceiling with Skim Coats of Plaster

Once this is done, then you can start plastering the ceilings with skim coats of plaster. This is the in-between of the three-coat plastering and merely taping and finishing the seams between sheets of wallboard. The skim-coat method involves the application of a single, eighth-inch-thick layer of plaster over the whole ceiling surface or walls. This is a compromise, using some of the qualities of real plaster with the economy and speed of the wallboard.

This is probably the most difficult part of the job technically.  If you don’t put the layers of plaster on smooth it increases the amount of sanding exponentially. So, the key here is to properly skim-coat the ceilings well to minimize the amount of sanding you will need to do after.

When doing so you may need to repair any major damages that were scraping.

Sometimes this can be as easy as applying drywall tape in the worst areas, or just putting more plaster on depending on the situation.  Regardless, the goal in this step is to apply a good surface so you can sand it to perfection.

Top coat plastering, or skim as it is known, is a very tough task undoubtedly. It is not difficult, in fact, to get it on the ceiling or wall; however, getting it smooth and flat needs a lot of hard work, practice and dedication. You wouldn’t want to end up searching how to remove textured ceiling plaster as it may go wrong, right?

Popcorn Ceiling Removal

Thus, leaving it in the hands of professional contractors is the best way. Stucco ceiling removal cost might be another expense for you, and we know that you’re now checking the popcorn ceiling removal cost calculator. But, remember, the time you’ll be free of for getting professional help will outweigh your expenses.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal

Sanding & Repeat Previous Steps, If needed

Since you currently have the flooring and walls covered, go on and take care of priming, painting, and sanding now.

But before all of this, prioritize the next process, which is the sanding of the plaster.

If you’ve noticed any damage to the ceiling, such as damaged drywall tape and gouges, repair work with the joint compound before starting sanding. When the popcorn ceiling has been eliminated, you may find surprise flaws, like visible joints or screws.

In such an instance, you might want to cover these with a joint substance and then sand them thoroughly.

This can sometimes be the most gruelling and dirty step since sanding a ceiling is not an everyday comfortable thing to do for most DIY people. Be prepared to get dusty. 

Wearing a dust mask is recommended due to all the dust created. Depending on how bad the ceilings are and if they are drywall, concrete or plaster, the previous steps may be repeated several times.

Normally, two skim and sanding coats are necessary minima.  But sometimes more depending on the conditions of the stucco ceilings. 

It’s important to wait a day in between each skim coat of plaster to allow ample drying time.

Prime, Paint & Clean Up

Once you have the smooth ceilings, you want to do a full prime coat on the ceilings. After all of those dusty sandings, give it a breath coat of your favourite paint. You can use either latex paint or oil-based paint here.

Once the primer is applied it’s a good idea to check your work and see if you didn’t miss anything.  Once you prime the ceilings it’s much easier to see any mistakes or defects that were missed in the plaster and sanding process.

If you did miss any, simply repeat the previous steps in those particular areas.

The next step is the painting!

Two coats of paint are usually necessary. But depending on the quality of the paint and the expertise of the painter, one coat may be enough. The bottom line is to check your work in all types of lighting. Make sure the ceilings are primed and painted to perfection.

The final step is the clean-up! 

Once the paint job is successfully done, eliminate the plastic sheeting. Reinstall the light, hanging fans, and chandelier. Enjoy your newly smooth and painted ceiling. Just make sure you unwrap and remove all plastic from the room.

Do a thorough vacuum using an appropriate shop vacuum since regular vacuums may get damaged. You might also check your popcorn ceiling removal before and after to see the difference.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal

How to Remove a Stucco Popcorn Ceiling and Flatten

More Interesting Blogs Related to “How To Remove Stucco Ceiling & Popcorn Ceiling Removal”

Don’t forget to check out our Pinterest page for all sorts of interior painting inspiration!

Also, feel free to visit our stucco ceiling and popcorn ceiling removal page to get all the details!

Do you need some professional house painters to come in and take care of removing the stucco ceiling? If the work involved sounds like it involves too much time and energy to do yourself, let our professional house painters handle everything!

Call 416.494.9095 or email Brian@HomePaintersToronto.com for a FREE quote or visit our website Home Painters Toronto. And don’t forget to follow us on all our social channels below as well!

Brian Young - Home Painters Toronto

From The Owner & Founder



Hello and welcome!

I’m both deeply honoured and flattered you are considering using our painting services.

Since 1987 when I was at York University simply earning my way through school, I’ve had the privilege to meet and work with thousands of amazing homeowners like yourself.

Besides the birth of my daughter, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a homeowner’s life change when we have transformed their dream home into a masterpiece. For that reason, our painters take their jobs very seriously and are committed to our cause.

At Home Painters our mission is to paint homeowners’ dreams, and make your painting experience last a lifetime!
I look forward to hopefully meeting you one day, as it brings me tremendous joy to make homeowner’s dreams come true.



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