One day I was sipping my morning coffee and gazing at the popcorn ceilings. I was between DIY jobs and I had spotted a long handled scraping tool in the shed a few days before. My mind started saying things like:
- “Couldn’t be that hard. Bet I could do it before hubs even notices I started.”
- “Homework? I’ve seen the videos.”
- “Why not? I'll save a bundle doing it myself.”
- "A little clean up and I'll have it put back together in a flash."
- and... "Hmm, there's no mention of what to do after it's scraped."
I pulled on a long sleeve shirt I used when painting and a baseball cap and continued. It took a little while to work my way across the room leaving a four foot strip free of popcorn. I was scraping it dry. I know, I know, all the “good” videos show them wetting the ceiling with water and scraping. But in my haste to start I tried the dry method and it seemed to work. Second mistake, dry scraping.
I began to notice not all the popcorn was falling off and there appeared to be another texture under the popcorn. I could see by the second row that it wasn’t going to be smooth as a babies butt, much less smooth enough to paint and I began to doubt my decision to do it myself. But, heck, I was already half way across the room and couldn’t leave it half scraped and half popcorn so I worked diligently to get it finished. By the end I’d begun to wonder what in the word I would do now.
I hesitantly asked hubs to look at what I’d done and got the exact response I expected. “Hmmm. What ya gonna do now?” Third mistake, hoping he’d take over and bail me out. Nope, not happening. I spent the next day searching the internet and watching a dozen videos that showed how easy the popcorn comes down but didn’t go into what you have to do once it’s down. I searched more. Found one that showed a “new” ceiling getting a coat of compound and began to be suspicious of what I’d have to do.
Next I went to my social media channels, admitted my folly and typed “I removed my popcorn ceiling, now what?” Several responses later I knew just how much I’d underestimated this DIY project. I was advised a skim coat would need to go up if I intended to paint. One person said I really needed a professional to do it for an acceptable smooth finish. Sooooo, I called for a quote and found out it would take several days to do it right and about 500 bucks. Fourth mistake thinking this project would be cheap.
Now I would spend a couple of hours looking at alternatives for ceilings. There are some amazing ceiling projects on Pinterest. But fifth mistake won’t be taking on a DIY that is even more involved and even more expensive. I decided to try putting up the drywall compound myself. I’m on break writing this post right now. I’m pretty much covered with the sticky stuff and I am SURE the popcorn on the remaining ceilings is looking pretty good. I’m thinking if I leave it alone it will come back in vogue and someday people will remark how smart I was to “save” the very retro look on my ceilings. As for the guest room, I’ll finish spreading the *@!!!## compound, I’ll sand the imperfections, use some spray on texture to help hide the imperfections I know will still be there as mistake number five. And finally roll on some paint.
I’ll quietly replace the furniture, close the door and never consider removing popcorn ceilings myself again. I’ll publish this article hoping to spare some other ambitious uninformed DIYer the humiliation of admitting she (or he) may not have done enough homework before starting such a big project.
Fortunately, many of my DIY projects work just like I imagine. Here is the 1956 Fixer Upper and plan with some successful home improvements I've completed: