how to paint popcorn ceilings

How to Paint Popcorn Ceilings | The Best Products and Paint Tools to Use

Are you tired of your dull, peeling, and outdated popcorn ceilings? It may be time to modernize your space with a fresh coat of paint! However, the question is, how do you do this without making a giant mess? In this blog post, we’re sharing how to paint popcorn ceilings the easy way and which products and paint tools are the best to use on this type of DIY project. Whether you’re removing the popcorn or painting over top of it, we’ve got you covered!


What to Consider Before Painting a Popcorn Ceiling

Once you decide to update your popcorn ceiling, there’s a few important details to consider before you start your project. 


First, you need to determine if you are going to remove the popcorn from the ceiling before repainting. If so, this will require a different process, products, and tools than if you are painting over top of the popcorn. 


If you’re planning on removing the popcorn, we recommend that you reach out to a company that specializes in this. They will have the tools, equipment, and experience to get the job done right, safely, without making a huge mess. Some companies will even agree to remove the popcorn and let you paint it yourself if you choose to go the semi-DIY route for updating your popcorn ceilings. 


If you do decide to keep the popcorn and paint over top of it, it’s important to know that the popcorn will be much more difficult to remove in the future after being painted. 


Secondly, you’ll want to consider if the popcorn has already been painted before. If you want to add a subsequent coat of paint over top of the already painted popcorn, you’ll need to use specific paint tools to ensure the paint goes on evenly and looks professional. 


How to Paint Popcorn Ceilings


Before painting your popcorn ceiling, you’ll want to carefully vacuum the ceiling to remove any dust, cobwebs, or paint chips that are stuck in the popcorn. Do this very gently using a brush attachment in order to avoid damaging the popcorn. 

Pro Tip: To tell if a popcorn ceiling has previously been painted, you can do a simple test by gently touching the ceiling. If small popcorn flakes fall from the ceiling, it has likely never been painted. If it feels like a bumpy, solid surface and the popcorn doesn’t easily fall, it has most likely been painted before.


How to Paint a Popcorn Ceiling That Has Been Painted Before


If your popcorn ceiling has been painted before and sealed correctly, you can repaint it with a brush and roller. You’ll want to use a thicker nap roller, such as a 1/2” – 3/4” nap so the paint properly covers the texture of the ceiling. You can also use a spray application to ensure the paint goes on evenly over the entire textured ceiling. 


How to Paint a Popcorn Ceiling That Has Never Been Painted Before


If your popcorn ceiling has never been painted before, this is where it can get a little tricky. If you use a paint roller with a water based paint product, the popcorn will get wet when applying, which can pull the popcorn off the ceiling, leaving bare spots and a big mess. In my time working at Sherwin Williams, I saw this happen several times. 


In order to avoid this, you can use a couple different methods for painting popcorn. You can either use a sprayer to apply the paint to the textured ceiling or use the brush and roller method with an oil based primer before the first coat of paint. 


If you use the brush and roller method, I recommend using an oil-based primer to seal the popcorn before painting. Once the popcorn is sealed with the oil based primer, you can paint the popcorn ceiling using a water based ceiling paint. This will decrease the odds of wetting and pulling down the popcorn with your brush and roller. 


Even if you go the spray application route, it’s still possible that you’ll need to use an oil based primer anyway if you have stains or watermarks on your ceiling. 


Remember, when painting popcorn ceilings, it’s going to take more paint than a typical flat ceiling or a DIY wall touch-up. Therefore, you’ll want to take all of the precautions for prepping your space for interior painting

If you’re looking to partner with a company to help you paint your popcorn ceilings in the most efficient, professional manner, we’d love to work with you! We can help you remove popcorn before painting or paint over top of your popcorn ceiling to achieve the look you desire. 


To book your free estimate with our Raleigh team of professional painters, visit our contact page here.

Looking for tips on how to paint textured walls? Check out this blog post! 

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