Once Bitten, Twice Shy

We know you’ve been wondering what our latest paint stripper project has been, ever since we left you with a teaser  last week.  Well, the answer is not another wallpaper project.  We had all we could take off handle last year when we spent weeks trying to get rid of the wallpaper in Kasen’s room.  So what is the project?

A textured ceiling:

Our bedroom is cursed with a textured ceiling.  We also have a textured ceiling in the living room, but it is a subtler texture and a higher ceiling so we hardly notice it (and hopefully will still get rid of it).  So, we started investigating how to take down the texture.

First things first, we needed to figure out whether it was a textured paint, plaster, or a “popcorn” ceiling.   The type of texture affects how you remove it.  Plaster looks distinctively different (i.e. it doesn’t look like it has little balls on it).  So the question was: textured paint or popcorn?  We’re not sure (Kristin says textured paint, Krister says popcorn).  The expert we spoke with at Home Depot says that the little balls in textured paint are hard; popcorn ceiling balls are squishy.

Since Kristin was running the show, we assume it is a textured paint.  To remove a textured paint, you spray on a gel paint stripper, scrape off all the texture, sand down the ceiling, spackle any imperfections, then prime/repaint. To remove a popcorn ceiling, you can soak it with water/soap and then scrap/sand/spackle/prime/repaint.  Either way, we were looking down the road of applying paint stripper because the ceiling definitely has been painted since the texture/popcorn was applied. 

First, we found some paint stripper in the basement, left over from our wallpaper-removal days last fall:

We did a small test run, applying the paint stripper to the ceiling in one small spot to see how easily the texture came off:

The result?

It was a real pain.  That tiny bit of removal was rough (we mean it literally still isn’t smooth) and it took like 10 minutes of scraping to get there.  The amount of time spent on the little patch did not bode well for completing this project.

Second issue: does it contain asbestos?  (Don’t worry, we carefully contained all the scrapings when we did our test section.)  This will require sending a sample off to a lab for analysis.

As much as we want to remove the textured ceiling, we decided this project smelled too much like our wallpaper project from Kasen’s room. 

Negatives for scraping ceiling:

  • Risk for asbestos
  • Labor involved when we both work full-time, have a baby, and are simultaneously working on several other projects
  • High chance that the  texture/popcorn was hiding significant imperfections that we wouldn’t be able to easily correct after the texture/popcorn was reviewed
  • Risk of wallpaper-flashbacks interrupting our productivity
  • Cost of buying gallons of paint stripper again
  • Smell of paint stripper
  • Did we mention asbestos??

So, clearly, we decided against removing the texture/popcorn.  It was just going to be more problems than benefits.  Our alternative plan?  We decided to go back to our wallpaper strategy: drywall over it.  And drywall over it, we shall.

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2 thoughts on “Once Bitten, Twice Shy

  1. Pingback: No more texture! « Kristin & Krister's Blog

  2. Pingback: Ceiling Fan Update « Kristin & Krister's Blog

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