WWYD – Let’s chat about popcorn ceilings

Let's chat about popcorn ceilings.. to cover or not to cover? funkyjunkinteriors.net
I often wait to blog about something after figuring out the solution. But, I get stuck in ruts from time to time. And indecision totally halts progress. So… who better to ask when I have a question? 

You! I have you!

So… I’m totally over the procrastination. I’d love your input on certain things that can possibly help others with the same issues. Everyone wins!

Hence…

WWYD – Let’s chat about popcorn ceilings!

I’ll just admit it right now, I am not a lover of the infamous popcorn ceiling finishes.

popcorn ceiling in a bathroom / funkyjunkinteriors.net
Dear Mr. Popcorn Ceiling…

Did you have an aha moment in a movie theatre one fine day, while munching on your large bag of hot buttered popcorn, with extra butter half way through as well, (a special request I might add… I may or may not order it like that) then celebrate your love for it by vowing to create that effect on every ceiling in the nation over a given era?

Well, I’m the proud owner of an entire home filled to the brim with your creation. And may I add, it is not a good representation of the delish theatre variety. So… WHY?

Or should I be writing Mr. Cottage Cheese Ceiling?

Or is this a Ms? (trying to be politically correct is no easy feat here)

Of course I know why. It was an acoustic thing back then. Or maybe for added insulation. Or maybe I nailed it the first time, who knows.

Here’s the deal. If one KNOWS they are living in their forever home, there would be no question what I’d do.

I’d personally plank every ceiling I had.

Planked ceiling in a photo studio / funkyjunkinteriors.net
photo studio

Painting planks for a planked ceiling / funkyjunkinteriors.net
Planked bathroom ceiling / funkyjunkinteriors.net
How I planked my bathroom ceiling

Planked

I have planked some ceilings in my home already and LOVE the look! I even did the bathroom one  myself, right over the popcorn! And it turned out perfect. But it was a small area that didn’t require joins.

The rest are very big areas, much too big for myself to handle with neck issues. And having it done would no doubt prove to be pretty expensive. Not perfect for a home you may resell one day.

Or is it? Do you think we’d get our value back out of it with this upgrade?

Covering a ceiling with luan / Nesting Place, featured on Funky Junk Interiors
How we fake planked our popcorn ceiling / Nesting Place, featured on Funky Junk Interiors
How we fake planked our popcorn ceilings / Nesting Place <— please pin this picture from the source

Now, this read had me glued to my popcorn screen. Myquillan had luan cut to size and installed. This is a great read, and the outcome is drop dead imperfectly perfect farmhouse gorgeous!

Could you handle the imperfections this look offers? I love it! Hmmm…

Scraped

One could scrape! But that is not cheap to have done either. I’ve also already painted mine, and I’ve heard that once painted, they don’t just come off like nothing. It’s effort. But I haven’t tried this to know for certain. Have you removed after painting?

I would again have to hire to have this done.

Dry wall over it

In some cases, I’ve heard this could be easier and cheaper. So… there’s that.

Cover it with something else

But what?! What would work for large areas? Anything easy I could do myself?

Funky Junk's 2015 Summer Home Junk Tour / funkyjunkinteriors.net
My summer home tour

Leave it

And then one could just leave it of course. But in my home, it makes the place look only half renovated. It’s also patched here and there due to old window headers having been removed. And the indecision is holding me back from doing some wall treatments that need to reach the ceiling. And it does look worse in person than what the picture shows.

So, if you didn’t know whether your home was your forever home or not, what would YOU do?

Signed, drowning in popcorn… with no butter. (yuuuuk)

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  1. I would for sure cover it up.. I don’t think there Is a person out there that likes popcorn. I would pay a little more to have plank ceilings. I have plain ( no popcorn ) ceilings and they are heck to paint. You really have to be careful.. I would die for plank. I bought this house for the extra large kitchen but it needs some updates.. I love this idea.

  2. My only concern for folks would be how old the ceiling is? Depending upon the age of the home, it could be asbestos. While some states do not require professional removal in private homes, it might be something you would want to hire out, unless your hubby works in asbestos abatement like mine does. But then again, you know how it is to get work done at your own home – yep, I still have my popcorn!

  3. I vote for planking it!

    We’ve been a Canadian military family for 28 years and if there’s one thing I’ve learned in that time is to never not do something because we may move. (“Never not do something”?? Can I even say that, lol?). We always move. We’ve moved 9 times…soon to be 10.

    You need to make your home, well…your home! I realize it’s a balance between cost of projects and value of your home but I think planked ceilings would only enhance the value and make it easier should you decide to sell at a later date. I’ve walked into homes during our house hunting trips and turned around and walked out of them as soon as I’ve looked up at the ceilings. I can’t stand popcorn ceilings, lol!

    Plank them! I’d rather not live in a home that made me look up everyday and wonder…”should I? shouldn’t I?” I want to walk into my home and smile!

  4. I like the way you covered it up. That was my plan with our home, it wasn’t popcorn just simple sheet rock finish. I got lazy and just decided to paint. If this was going to be my forever home then I probably would tackle the project eventually. I Love your kitchen the idea of an island/table is excellent.

  5. I scraped mine. Used a garden sprayer filled with hot water. Sprayed the ceiling until it was wet (dripping). Let it set a minute then scraped it with a putty knife. A nice new sharp one! Work in small areas. Put down plastic and then just roll up the mess and throw it away! Best thing I ever did! I detest those ceilings!

  6. Oh the popcorn ceiling issue…first let me say, I’ve scraped two smaller areas; they were painted and I just sprayed them with water from a spray bottle and they scraped off easily. I want to either plank or beadboard the kitchen ceiling – mainly for the farmhouse look. I honestly don’t stare at the ceilings and hate the popcorn. I did the laundry room and bathroom because of damage and they were small areas. We are not going to remove it from the city house – I will let the new owner have that fun! But I’d love to plank the ceilings at the farm for the farmhouse feel. I do think it would add a lot of character!

  7. Maybe there is something wrong with me but when I moved into a house with a popcorn ceiling, I just loved it! I think I liked the bumpy, imperfect looking texture it provided. Currently, my house has one of those swirly is, textured plastered ceilings, which I love too.

    I could consider doing something to a popcorn ceiling if I found something I liked better but my current ceiling would be non-negotiable since the ceiling is part of my home’s character and charm as an old 80 year home.

    For your home, I’d go ahead and plank it. It’s just SO you! If you moved, I’m betting the person who is consider buying your home would love it too. Consider your stairs- not everyone would love them and want to buy your home because of them. (Hey! I do! They caught my eye and got me following you.) BUT- People like US do love them and would be the same people who would swoon over planked ceiling. I’m just one of those weird people who also love ‘cottage cheese’ ceiling too.

    Go for it! Sorry about your neck issues. I struggle too and cannot tip my head back at all. It makes any overhead work impossible since it means I have to lean backwards to see ‘up’. Best way to fall off a ladder. ?

  8. I was just talking to my husband about this (‘just’ meaning for the last year or more). I absolutely HATE my popcorn ceilings and they need painted so the question becomes do I paint them, have the popcorn removed (I’ve seen a few tutorials on doing this yourself or having it done) or go for something more awesome (like planking)? I have never thought of this home as my forever home which stinks because I have literally done very little with it never wanting to put the money into it but I have been here forever-over half of my life so now I’m at a turning point with it all and I have no idea what to do. My comment was no help whatsoever but at least you know there are others with that hideous ceiling in their homes who aren’t thrilled either. I’m sure whatever you choose will be fabulous!

  9. Get rid of that junk! Anything has to better than that! 🙂
    (Sounds like a job for “the boy”! hahaha)

    I have never had to scrape it but I have seen it scraped. A recent episode of HOME FREE showed how easy it is to mess up taking it off. You have to scrape on an angle or you will gouge out the drywall and then have to patch it. (Patching drywall…ugh. I hate that. I am NOT the master of spackle…we just don’t seem to get along very well. LOL)

    I do like the planks you have.
    Maybe since the room is so big you could try that planked “look” with the luan. I think that would be cheaper to have installed than the REAL plank look. (I don’t know how EAGER the boy would be to help do that…but he might have some friends who wouldn’t mind being directed by his mom on what to do. That would be cheaper than paying professionals.)

    Nowadays people seem to ALL be hating popcorn ceilings…so no matter WHAT you do, you will get your value back if this is not your forever home. (I watch enough HGTV and DIY to state this. LOL)

    I have ceiling drama myself. I have NAIL POPS in my 12 y/o house. Some are really bad. I do not paint ceilings (the neck thing…oy.) So I went out and had Sherwin Williams match my flat builder’s grade paint (I cut a piece out of the wall in my linen closet and brought it to them and said, “PLEASE match this!” They sure did!) and I am going to fix the darn pops and “patch paint” the ceilings (to save my neck from mega pain.)The master bath, which is small…it is getting totally painted with a mildew proof paint that does not show water marks. And the walls will be painted in every room using some funky “techniques” with multiple colors…..eventually…when I get around to it. 🙂

    I am sure whatever you choose to do will look awesome. 🙂

    Another “thinking out of the box” idea that I saw recently and LOVE…a BURLAP covered accent wall! (Another project to add to my list!LOL)

  10. I have planked over it with wood, scraped it off, and painted over it. I fins that if you are going to paint it to paint it the same color as the walls then your eye isn’t drawn to it. Or paint it a bold color, I painted my popcorn ceiling in my master bath black.

  11. My home was built in 1949 and was a basic 2 BR, 1 Bath ranch which had been added to in a rather Rube Goldberg way. Lots of paneling from the 70’s was added but it was at least good paneling. Ceilings were acoustic tiles.
    While renovating, we found that our ceilings under the tiles were all wood planking. My kitchen has been restored to it. My bedroom wasn’t insulated so we sheetrocked over the planks but they are still there to be rediscovered another day. Behind paneling in my bedroom was the older knotty pine panels so they have been kept and painted.

    I love discovering all the hidden layers in my old home.

  12. If it were me, I think I would do a combination of the options you list here. If you have smaller spaces that you could plank yourself – or do some other treatment – and you feel up the challenge, go for it! What do you have to lose – except maybe time and some money – but, you’ll get a ceiling you love! For the larger spaces that would require hiring out.. assuming you can believe what prospective buyers say when they’re on television.. none of them seem to like popcorn ceilings, so you would more than likely get your money back when you sold your home, so it’s probably worth the expense in the long run.

  13. Oh Donna… I’m feelin’ you, big time! I just got through scraping the last of the popcorn off my ceilings. I did it a room at a time. It was not hard, but a little tedious. Your best friends are a garden sprayer with hot water and a little vinegar and a large joint knife. But you know that. I had to patch a little, but am pleased with the results. One ceiling I did with bead board.

    Hopefully this is my forever home (until Heaven), but if not, I am still happy to have my ceilings in a calm state! They probably won’t be perfect, but we know what Myquillin says….”it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful”….
    Thanks Donna!

  14. I would plank it where you can. Note: get in touch with a school wood/carpenter/trade class and find out if students would like to get a grade or extra credit if you supplied the materials and the pizza! Might be a cheap option as long as the instructor was there to show them what needed to be done and supervised it or you split the time with the instructor. Maybe your son has some friends that would do it and you would pay them less than professional to get the work done. You could instruct them on a sample wall in your garage.

  15. In my manufactured home only the bedrooms and bathrooms have that kind of ceiling, which I was calling textured. It was removed in the living/dining.kitchen and entryway by the previous owner. At 63 with 2 wobbly knees I am not about to try anything. I want to hire a contractor friend to paint them white as they had been painted beige by someone and it looks dirty. To me it is my cheapest and easiest option. Luckily the ceilings do not have asbestos as some of the popcorn ceilings built before a certain date (one in the early 80’s) do so dangerous for do-it-yourselfers to handle.

  16. I love everything about your house, Ive said that a millions times at least.LOL I love the idea of planked ceilings, wish my hubby had the desire to do this stuff. 🙂 I know I couldnt do it myself. Im still waiting to finish my LR walls with wood.,lol

  17. PS: After 42 years of marriage and 4 homes, I’ve learned that holding out for a “forever home” may never actually happen. I gave that up years ago and instead it is much more satisfying to make the home you are in your “forever home”….then, you are forever home!

  18. My home is my forever home & I’m choosing to live with my popcorn ceilings even though I don’t really like them. I’m past wanting to deal with the mess & the expense of changing them. We painted ours during our recent renovation & no matter how the light hits it, it looks like we missed places. when you go back & shine a light over it to find missed spots, it’s obviously well painted. So, the popcorn creates shadows that make it look like it’s not finished. Still, I’m not stressing over it & if my guests do then they surely have no other problems to deal with their lives. 😉

  19. I agree with #19Kathy. That wood is gorgeous and if you don’t want it, i can think of lots of uses for it lol ( = Seriously though i am surprised you didn’t think of that or maybe you did and there’s a good reason you don’t want to use it. Well like many who have written have said, “What ever you do do will be fabulous.” I am dying to know so pls write soon. <3

  20. I’d cover it also. My house was built after that craze, thank goodness! And I have all kinds of angles in each room! Makes life interesting. My husband would never let me paint anything, he said it might make it undesirable to future buyers! So we lived in all white houses for years, until one weekend when he was gone on a golf outing…I painted the kitchen bright red, one bathroom pale green, the other bright yellow, and the living room a very soft blue. He loved it when he came home, and realized we had had a boring house up to that point!

  21. We scraped ours several years ago. Best decision ever! It wasn’t easy work and very messy, but so well worth the effort! We used a pump up sprayer filled with water. Sprayed the ceilings and then scraped with a large putty knife. We covered the floors in plastic.

  22. If you’re gonna eventually sell the place, I think planking would actually raise the home value. Win-win! Another option is 1/4″ drywall right over the popcorn. But popcorn scraping is not hard, just a little tedious. Although, if you have neck problems, it might not be a good idea for you to do.

  23. Well I am happy to say after 38 years in the same house with the icky popcorn ceiling…..I had is professionally removed! I knew it was a giant splurge BUT I know I could not do it myself! Now every morning I sit and look up and say ahh!
    I should have asked about the cost of planks, I love that look. Did not even think about it ’cause I was soooo ready to have a clean ceiling!
    Smiles, alice

  24. Removing popcorn ceilings is such a nightmare. I think just planking it is a great idea. Although I’d always feel a little bad knowing what’s hiding under the planks… Like I’m being deceitful or something. I’m weird like that 🙂

    • I also hate popcorn ceilings. I would use tongue & groove pine. Super easy for the diy’r. Our whole 720 sq.ft loft is t&g.. love it with just poly. Easy to paint too.

  25. I have a love of tin ceilings, so (in some rooms), that’s one way – and here’s one link, as an example: http://www.americantinceilings.com/
    I love the planking, but would have to have someone else come in and do it – then again, I’d probably not take on ceilings myself, because of my own physical limitations – starting with the ‘Uh. NO.’ I’d get from Dear Hubby.

    I’m with you – the popcorn MUST GO. I remember when, in the 70’s my grandma was so very excited about her brand-spanking-new GLITTER popcorn ceilings, lol. My dad and uncles hated it, with a passion to match her love of it. But, since they were all gone and married, by then (and grandpa had passed away 2 decades before), they really didn’t have much of a say. I kind of felt bad for whomever was going to buy the house, back in the 80’s when she passed away, and my uncle said he actually had to come down on the price, because of it. Of course, by then, it was yellowed with age, and the glitter was in BAD shape, but looking back, I think it’s funny.

  26. Donna….
    Plank it ! You know you want to!
    You will love living in your home that much more!
    YOU will enjoy your home….don’t worry about future owners!
    We love ours…we love the look!

  27. We’ve got popcorn ceilings in our dining room, foyer, and living room, and up until now it hasn’t bothered me that much because we had so many bigger issues to deal with in our 1921 home. Because of the age of our home and not knowing when the texture was applied, we’d first need to have it tested for asbestos before we start scraping it off. Until we’re ready to tackle the job I’ll enjoy my popcorn ceilings accented with snow-like glitter!

    I’d get an estimate from a professional to see what it would cost to have your texture removed, especially if you may sell your home in the future. You may be pleasantly surprised!

  28. Donna,
    Originally… Ceilings where wood or plaster. Then came drywall and as the generations of real “craftsman” and “true professionals” retired leaving their sons the job, now referred to as “Dry-wallers” (drywall installers), they boiled it down to time is money and in the time-saving process to avoid having the seams show and making sure they were sanded perfectly, they just stamped mud patterns or blew a lighter mud version we “lovingly” call popcorn on the ceiling to cover up the mistakes. So… Popcorn and stamped ceilings are only a result of laziness in an attempt to cover up mistakes and save money. What will you do? I don’t know, but it was me about seven years ago. I moved into my new husbands house and it was terrible but… I/we fixed that. Literally took the drywall down completely and while we were at that we removed some of the un-necessary framing and put the drywall back to follow the roof line framing. Essentially the framing of the actual roof is now dry-walled and sanded to perfection, and I now have 16+ foot ceilings as opposed to 9 foot ceilings and the room feels huge! I have decorated it to look like an outdoor Italian courtyard. Everyone who sees it loves it but more importantly, I do. If you can live with it go ahead, but if you want it to be better you gotta make it better. Take your time and do it right. Right? If you want me to send you a couple of pictures let me know.

    Sorry to be so chatty!

    Debbie

  29. I don’t have popcorn but weird squares. I tried painting, stenciling and even faux tin look paint treatment… they all looked awful, I’m going the luan faux plank look next. Lightweight (helpful with a bad back), cheap and easy. We’ll see how it ends up. can’t look worse than what I have now. Its a small first world problem for sure but it really bugs me and life’s too short to be annoyed by my ceiling so… dining room ceiling – look out. This weekend you’re mine@

  30. I love this post. I am having the same problem. We were “going” to start in our closet so we can make mistakes and learn to get a hang of it but… I would LOVE to do the whole house too. I figure it is a big project that you have to take one room at a time. That is what we did when we did the crown molding. A little at a time. If doing your kitchen will help in making you happy I say go for it! I love the larger planks too. I maybe doing that when we finally get to our living area. Love the look and thank you for sharing.

  31. Dear Drowning in Popcorn – I had a house that had one popcorn ceiling in the living room, I painted it. Then I ended up moving into a bigger house (after getting remarried) and now I’m in a newer home where my husband “fixed” the bathroom ceiling vent and tried his best to patch up the mess where he had to enlarge the vent hole. After painting that mess, you can still see the patch job, which bugs me to no end. I’ve been thinking about using that imitation tin ceiling tile and gluing it to the ceiling to give it an older look and cover up the messy patch job. The faux tin pieces can get expensive for a large area. I like your plank ceiling look too. I wonder if a couple sheets of the bead board paneling would work?

  32. Oh gosh, the dreaded popcorn ceiling that does look more like cottage cheese only not soft at all! I am lucky enough not to have any of these in my current home but I do have those ucky fiberglass ceiling tiles which I hate even more! Something I thought to do was maybe putting beadboard up overtop of the tiles? Also, I saw some old galvanized farm tiles at auction not long ago which went for a song…I was tempted to pick up on those and attempt to cover some of the ceilings in that. You have those boards from the fences you’ve taken down…I wonder if those would work on your ceiling at all? Whatever you choose to do, I know you will make your ceilings look amazing…even better than hot buttered movie-house popcorn!

  33. I didn’t realise I even had a bobbly ceiling in my office until I read this and happened to look up! Now I despise it and have checked the other ceilings and am not keen on them either!!!! We just have planks in the bathroom and back porch and the rest is a bobble-fest. Eeeeep.

  34. I think popcorn ceilings were created to cover up less-than-perfect ceiling drywall jobs. Perhaps there was a little less skimming done to make them smooth. It was the lazy way to make a ceiling look “perfect”.

    I have to embrace mine — for now. In our new-to-us house, the public rooms flow one right into the other. The private areas have doors. If I want to take down the popcorn, it would be a huge job. And, not one that I can take on.

    Will we become used to it? Probably. I’m not sure it is something worth fighting with, though.

    Maybe we will revisit those ceilings when we begin to decorate/remodel. We’ll see…

  35. I think the goal in my kitchen/dining room (stupid open concept, I want rooms!) is to scrape and plank. The ceilings have been painted a few times, so I am terrified of the disaster I will create, but there are areas I have tried to patch back in that used to have the ugliest fluorescent fixture imagine able, and a Walmart ceiling fan. So, something has got to make the ceiling look good, and I have decided it is violence and extreme popcorn prejudice that will do it.

    If you never hear from me again, the ceilings won.

    • I am SO cracking up! Don’t let them win!

      By the way, my planking went overtop the popcorn perfectly, even in large areas. If your popcorn isn’t too puffy, it may be a viable shortcut for you!

  36. I too hate popcorn ceilings. Every room in my house have them. Taking it down is not hard to do. Just spray water on a 12×12 area to start, then you make bigger areas. Soak the ceiling good, wait two minutes then just take a large scarper and it comes right down.
    We did our kitchen and living room. They both look so good with smooth ceiling

  37. I covered my wood floors with drop cloths, hit the ceilings with a garden sprayer full of water and down it came. Smoothed out drywall/plaster at joints- looks fantastic and now historically correct. Most popcorn ceilings were not put in for acoustic reasons, it’s cheap and EASY rather than to take a day or two to smooth the ceiling with joint compound or patch cracks.

  38. I think the decision comes down to how long do you see yourself in your home? If the plan is to move very soon I wouldn’t do it. We are currently trying to sell our home and while I love the idea of a planked wall or planked ceilings I know that it won’t help sell our house. Yes we are going to be living here for awhile yet, but I’m not willing to invest any more money into our home. Now if I was planning on being here a couple more years I’d do it just so that I could enjoy it. I think planked walls and ceilings are lovely but they aren’t for everyone. So if you love it do it for you not for the future owners.