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A long scraper being used to scrape away the popcorn drywall texture of a residential popcorn ceiling.

Answers to Wichita Homeowners' Questions About Popcorn Ceiling Removal

Almost everyone in Wichita has seen numerous popcorn ceilings and has probably lived in a house that had them. If you currently have this type of finish in your home, which is sometimes called an acoustic ceiling, you may be ready to make a change and give that stippled texture the old heave-ho with professional popcorn ceiling removal in Wichita.

When you need popcorn ceiling removal in Wichita, it is best to call in an experienced handyman professional who knows what they are doing and will get the job done efficiently. Quite a few rumors, myths, and half-truths surround the act of professional popcorn ceiling removal. Why are they considered a bad thing? Do they have any benefits? Could they potentially be dangerous?

We have the answers to all your pressing popcorn ceiling removal questions and more, along with expert advice from the team of service professionals at Mr. Handyman of the Wichita Metro Area. We are experienced with popcorn ceiling removal in Wichita — and installation, for that matter. Our Wichita handyman team can get your home in excellent condition, and we take pride in delivering the highest standards of workmanship and customer service.

Why Are Popcorn Ceilings a Bad Thing?

They're not a bad thing! You may have heard some people in Wichita talking about how they need to get popcorn ceiling removal as soon as possible. That opinion is almost always related to the fact that a smooth ceiling is far more trendy right now, and people usually prefer it from an aesthetic design standpoint. This particular type of texture installation has been around since the 1930s and became hugely popular between the 1950s and the 1990s. As often happens with popular, frequently used building materials and design elements, it eventually fell out of vogue. Some people consider it old-fashioned or a throwback to the late 20th century.

People have referred to the texture as cottage cheese ceilings because they look like lumpy cottage cheese curds. It's a turn off to some. Aside from aesthetic or trend-based reasons for removal, some homeowners are concerned about the possibility that their material may contain asbestos. We will go into more detail later. But overall, there is nothing inherently wrong with them; they can even provide some advantages in your Wichita home.

What Are the Benefits of Having Popcorn Ceilings in Wichita?

Speaking of advantages, it is a good idea to find out why your texture was installed in the first place before going ahead with popcorn removal. Contrary to what many people think, that texture is not there to alter the appearance of your room — at least, not in the way you might think. Here are two key advantages that you should know before deciding on popcorn ceiling removal in Wichita.

Reduces Ambient Noise

The biggest benefit is that texture helps muffle ambient noises in your room and coming from above or adjacent rooms, which is why they are often used in apartments, condominiums, townhouses and other types of multi-family dwellings in Wichita. The stipples or bumps that create texture increase the overall surface area quite a bit, which creates a noise muffling effect. The actual bumps consist of particles of polystyrene or vermiculite, and those materials have sound deadening qualities.

You usually find it in bedrooms, living rooms and other rooms where you might want some peace and quiet. However, it is not common for bathrooms or kitchens that are more utilitarian. These are areas where you don't have to be as quiet and where the surface may become damp or dirty from condensing steam or splashes of food because it is a lot easier to clean a smooth surface that you can merely wipe down.

Hides Imperfections

The other benefit is indeed related to appearance, but it is not so much about the look of the popcorn texture itself as it is about its ability to hide unsightly imperfections, uneven finishes, and ceiling damage. Most drywall has some tiny blemishes or minor bumps here and there, but they aren't that noticeable on a wall. Ceilings are different. Because of the way light plays across them, imperfections on a smooth surface can be a lot more glaringly obvious. Texture application eliminates that problem by giving the entire surface a relatively uniform, stippled look that conceals any blemishes.

Do I Need Popcorn Ceiling Removal, or Should It Just Be Covered?

You know you want that texture gone — but is it better to scrape it off or cover it with another layer of drywall? The answer depends on when texture was applied and the condition of your substrate underneath the texture.

If material underneath, whether drywall or plaster, is quite old or has suffered water damage, or damage from lighting fixtures and ceiling fans, covering it with drywall is a good solution because you can't just scrape off texture. You would need to replace the whole thing. By simply covering it with a layer of drywall, you will avoid that process and still get your room in good, sound condition. This involves installing drywall panels underneath the existing surface, then finishing with joint taping, mudding, sanding, and painting. Because imperfections are more noticeable on a ceiling, it is often finished with a skim coat of joint compound for a more even surface. A paneled drop ceiling could also cover old textured surfaces.

The downside to covering your existing material with a new layer is it does lower the height of your room a bit, which could be a problem in a room that already has low ceilings. Popcorn ceiling removal is the better choice if your substrate is in good shape and hasn't been hit with damage from excess moisture, pests and other problems. That involves scraping texture off, refinishing it with a skim coat, and applying a coat of flat paint.

Can You Paint Popcorn Texture?

If you only want to refresh the look of your room, it is possible to paint over texture instead of getting popcorn ceiling removal, but it might be a challenge. Ideally, you want a paint sprayer that can evenly coat the entire surface in paint without physically pushing against the stipples with a brush or roller that could cause them to break off. But if a sprayer isn't an option, use a roller with a fine or medium nap that won't be too rough on your texture. Be sure to choose a flat paint made for interiors as you want to avoid any kind of gloss or semi-gloss paint on your ceiling to help conceal imperfections.

How Do You Do Popcorn Ceiling Removal Without Making a Mess?

The short answer is, you don't. The long answer is that popcorn ceiling removal is a messy chore, and there isn't any good way to get around it. It does involve scraping off big chunks of what is essentially drywall compound, and anyone in Wichita who has ever had to work with drywall mud before knows how messy it is.

That is why it is important to hire a Wichita popcorn removal professional who will take all the necessary steps to protect your home before they get started. If possible, remove all furniture and items in the room and cover the floor with plastic sheeting. If there is large furniture you cannot remove, cover it with plastic or canvas drop cloths. Removing light fixtures and ceiling fans will also make the task easier and prevent damage to the fixtures during the popcorn ceiling removal process. That way, you keep the inevitable mess as contained as possible, and cleaning up will be much simpler.

Will Popcorn Ceiling Removal Damage My Drywall?

No, the removal process should not cause any damage underneath your drywall as long as experienced drywall professionals handle it. In the hands of an amateur, it is possible to scrape too hard or hit it at the wrong angle and cause a dent or scuff in your drywall.

It's not just a matter of scraping off texture, though. Once removed, the surface needs to be refinished. We mentioned above that imperfections are more obvious on a ceiling than on a wall, which is why ceilings are sometimes given the added veneer of a skim coat of drywall compound to create a smooth finish. Once it is dry, it just needs a fresh coat of paint. Our drywall repair experts will take care of the entire process from start to finish, leaving you with a brand-new looking, beautiful, smooth ceiling. Want more information about Wichita drywall repair? Check out five reasons to call a drywall repairman in Wichita.

Do All Popcorn Ceilings in Wichita Have Asbestos?

No, they don't — but it is possible it exists, depending on the age of your installation. The average homeowner in Wichita needs to be aware of possible health risks that come along with it. Asbestos, also called chrysotile, is a highly carcinogenic, naturally occurring mineral that was widely used as a building material throughout much of the 20th century, including popcorn texture. If tiny airborne particles of asbestos are inhaled or ingested, they can cause a very aggressive form of lung cancer.

Asbestos was partially banned as a construction material in the late 1970s, but manufacturers were allowed to continue selling their existing stock. That means it was potentially used in installations for popcorn ceilings until around the mid-1980s. If the texture application in your home was done in the 1980s or earlier, it might contain asbestos. If it was installed in the 1990s or later, asbestos should not be a concern.

How Do I Know If My Popcorn Texture Contains Asbestos?

Unfortunately, there is no way to know if you have a ceiling with asbestos material simply by looking at it. The greatest danger comes when it is disturbed, and small particles enter your breathing space, so you should never cut, break, or otherwise damage a surface that you suspect contains asbestos. The safest course of action is to call a Wichita asbestos abatement professional to take a sample and send it for asbestos testing. If your ceiling tests positive for the presence of asbestos, it must be removed by a trained and certified professional for everyone's safety.

Can Popcorn Removal Increase Property Value in Wichita?

This may not be the answer you are looking for, but it depends on a few factors like price range, the style of your home, and the expectations of prospective buyers in Wichita’s real estate market. If your house is mid-century modern, textured ceilings will blend in well, but they stick out in a Victorian. In a similar sense, the expectation that buyers in Wichita have for it to be taken care of will increase as the price point of a property increases. Overall, more people prefer a smooth surface, so it is more likely to help your property value than not.

Count On Your Local Wichita Handyman for Popcorn Ceiling Removal Services!

Whether you are in Wichita or another part of the area such as Garden Plain, Augusta, or Andover, you can trust the team of handyman professionals at Mr. Handyman of the Wichita Metro Area to focus on quality customer service and workmanship.

Pick up the phone and get in touch with us today at 316-285-1217 to book a convenient appointment time or chat with our friendly office staff about what we can do to make your Wichita home more comfortable and livable.