How to Remove Popcorn/Stucco and Flatten Your Ceilings


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 or otherwise known as “popcorn” ceilings have been the trend.  But things are changing.   The new trend is for cleaner, simpler, and more finished areas, hence the need flat ceilings.   The problem is, up to 10-15 years ago or so, stucco/popcorn ceilings were the trend of the past.  This is where Home Painters Toronto comes in and we can fulfill that need for flat ceilings.

Step by Step Process of How to Flatten Your Ceilings

Removing stucco/popcorn and flattening your ceilings can be one of the more satisfying jobs in ones home decorating project.   However, there are several steps you need to follow in order for it to be done properly

  • Removing stucco from your ceilings is probably one of the messiest jobs i

    n residential painting.

    This is the reason why you must properly prepare the room prior to doing so. This includes lining plastic from wal

    l to wall, and also wrapping up all furniture and floors in plastic as well. This ensures that whatever you scrape, plaster, and paint will not ruin anything there that is existing. Ideally you would want an empty room. But wrapping everything up in plastic is the next best option.

  • The next step is to scrape or try to remove any stucco from the ceilings.  This can be done with either scrapers, putty knives, or anything you can remove it with, and at the same time not ruining the existing surfaces.


  • Once this is done, then you can start plastering the ceilings with skim coats of plaster.  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 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.


  • The next process, is the sanding of the plaster.   This can sometimes be the most grueling and dirty step since sanding a ceiling is not an everyday comfortable thing to do for most do-it yourselfers.  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, steps#3 and 4 may be repeated several times.  Normally, 2 skim and sanding coats are necessary minimum.  But sometimes more depending on the conditions of the ceilings.  Its important to wait a day in between each skim coat of plaster to allow ample drying time.
  • Once you have the smooth ceilings, you want to do a full prime coat on the ceilings.   Using any latex primer that goes on to plaster will do.


  • Once the primer is applied its a good idea to check your work and see if you didn’t miss anything.  Once you prime the ceilings its much easier to see any mistakes or defects that were missed in the plaster and sanding process.   If you did miss any, simply repeat steps 3,4,5, and 6 in those particular areas.
  • The final step is the painting.  2 coats of paint is usually necessary.  But depending on the quality of the paint and expertise of the painter, 1 coat may be enough if you are a pro. Bottom line, is check your work in all types of lighting to make sure the ceilings are primed and painted to perfection.
  • Final step is the clean up.  Make sure you unwrap and remove all plastic from the room, and do a thorough vacuum using an appropriate shop vacuum since regular vacuums may get damaged.


There you have it the complete process of how to remove your popcorn/stucco and flatten your ceilings. This is an exciting project and we can do this for you.

Please feel free to call us at 416.494.9095 or email us at and we will be happy to help you!

Please feel free to see our Stucco/Popcorn removal before and after picture gallery to see what is possible.

From The Owner & Founder


Hello and welcome!

I’m both deeply honoured and flattered you are considering using our 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, we take our 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.