Painting a Popcorn Ceiling: What You Need To Know

ECOS Paints 11/25/2020
Painting a Popcorn Ceiling: What You Need To Know

Popcorn ceilings have a mixed legacy. From their creation in the 1930s, their appeal came from their ability to muffle sounds and hide imperfections without costly repairs. However, the discovery of asbestos in many popcorn ceiling mixtures made them fall out of fashion. Nonetheless, many people still enjoy the look of popcorn ceilings to this day. Even people who love their ceilings have trouble knowing what to do with them when it comes time for renovations. But it’s possible to freshen up this type of space by painting the popcorn ceiling. What you need to know is how to do so safely.

A Note on Safety

Before painting a popcorn ceiling, you should know when the texture was installed. If your house was built before 1977, it’s possible that your ceiling was made using asbestos or lead. If you have an older house, have the ceilings checked first. If they contain asbestos, do not try to paint or scrape them without professional help.


Popcorn ceilings are prone to paint splatter, so it’s important to protect the other contents of the room. Use painter’s tape along the top edge of the walls, and then shield the rest of the walls with plastic coverings. Cover the floor in drop cloth.

Before you paint the ceiling, you should go along the edges of the ceiling with a flat-head screwdriver. This will remove the excess texture from these areas, preventing flaking. Clean the rest of the ceiling with a feather duster or the brush attachment of a vacuum to get rid of excess dust and cobwebs.

Painting the Edges

As with other paint jobs, you should paint around the edges of the ceiling with an angled brush. When you apply the paint, you’ll want to do so with a light touch and without going over a single section too much. When the ceiling texture gets wet, it becomes more prone to falling off if you overwork it.

Painting the Center

If you’re using latex paint, your tool of choice should be a foam roller. If you’re using water-based eggshell or EMF-blocking paint, go with an airless sprayer or a shed-resistant roller. You’ll want to load up your roller with as much paint as you can and apply the paint in long strokes. The strokes should overlap somewhat, but you should avoid going over the same spot multiple times to protect the texture. After the paint has dried completely, you can do another coat. However, you should make your strokes perpendicular to the strokes you made on the first coat.

Whether your ceiling is popcorn or satin-smooth, we are ready to supply you with premium VOC-free* paint to make your ceiling shine.

Zero VOC - Conforms to CDPH 01350 (VOC emissions test taken at 11, 12, & 14 days for classroom and office use).

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