How to Remove Popcorn Ceiling with Drywall Sander?

Have you ever walked into a room and been instantly put off by a popcorn ceiling? An outdated and unsightly feature, popcorn ceilings can make a room look drab and dated. Thankfully, with the right tools, removing them is surprisingly easy.

How to Remove Popcorn Ceiling with Drywall Sander?

To remove the popcorn ceiling, you can use a drywall sanding machine that is available in home improvement stores. Before removing the old paint, put the popcorn ceiling in a plastic bag and leave it overnight to dry.

Then, take a large sander and sand the popcorn ceiling off the walls. Use a spray paint cleaner on the sanded areas to remove any remaining residue.

In this article, we’ll discuss the process of removing the popcorn ceiling with a drywall sander, so you can get to work creating the room of your dreams.

See Also: How to Use a Dustless Drywall Sander?

How to Remove Popcorn Ceiling with Drywall Sander? – Guide

Removing the drywall ceiling isn’t much difficult, with the right method it’s not a big deal to remove the popcorn ceiling with the help of a drywall sander. Here is the complete guide to removing the popcorn ceiling:

What is a popcorn ceiling?

A popcorn ceiling, also known as a stucco ceiling or cottage cheese ceiling, is a style of ceiling finish that consists of sprayed-on or painted-on acoustical material that has been textured to resemble popcorn kernels.

The popcorn finish was popular in the 1970s and 1980s for its ability to hide imperfections, but today it is often considered outdated and unsightly.

Why remove a popcorn ceiling?

Removing a popcorn ceiling is often desirable due to its dated appearance, and to make a room look more modern.

It can also be necessary to remove a popcorn ceiling if it contains asbestos, which can be dangerous to breathe in.

In addition, removing a popcorn ceiling can be beneficial to improve the acoustics of a room, as the textured surface can absorb sound.

How to remove a popcorn ceiling with a drywall sander?

  1. Begin by using a putty knife or drywall knife to scrape off any remaining chunks of paint or texture on the ceiling. Make sure to use a respirator or mask to avoid inhaling any of the particles.
  2. Vacuum the ceiling with a shop vac to remove any dust and debris.
  3. Use a drywall sander fitted with 120-grit sandpaper to sand the ceiling. Begin at one corner of the room and work your way around the room in a circular motion.
  4. Use a damp cloth to wipe away any dust created by the drywall sander.
  5. Cover any exposed surfaces to avoid any dust or debris from the ceiling.
  6. Apply a thin layer of drywall mud to the ceiling with a trowel.
  7. Allow the mud to dry, then sand the ceiling with a drywall sander.
  8. Use a damp cloth to wipe away any dust created by the drywall sander.
  9. Paint the ceiling with good quality ceiling paint.

Tips for removing a popcorn ceiling

  1. Safety First: Wear safety goggles, a dust mask, and gloves when removing a popcorn ceiling.
  2. Prepare the Area: Cover the floor and any furniture in the room with plastic sheeting to protect from falling debris.
  3. Spray the Ceiling: Use a garden sprayer to saturate the popcorn ceiling with a mixture of warm water and fabric softener. Let the ceiling soak for 15 minutes.
  4. Scrape the Ceiling: Using a putty knife or a drywall sprayer, scrape the softened popcorn material off the ceiling.
  5. Vacuum the Area: Vacuum the area with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner to remove any remaining popcorn material.
  6. Wash and Repair: Wash the ceiling with a damp cloth and then repair any imperfections with a spackle and a putty knife.
  7. Prime and Paint: Prime the ceiling before painting and use a roller to apply two coats of paint. Allow the paint to dry in between coats.

What to do after removing a popcorn ceiling?

After removing a popcorn ceiling, you should inspect the ceiling to make sure all of the popcorn has been removed and there are no patches of the remaining material.

Once the ceiling has been inspected, it should be smoothed and sanded to create a flat, even surface.

After the ceiling has been smoothed and sanded, it should be primed and painted to match the rest of the room.

Depending on the condition of the ceiling, it may also be necessary to repair any damaged areas or replace any water-damaged drywall.

How to Remove Popcorn Ceiling without a Drywall Sander?

To remove a popcorn ceiling without a drywall sander, you will need a garden sprayer, a drop cloth, a scraping tool, a putty knife, a dust mask, and a vacuum cleaner.

First, cover the floor with a drop cloth and then fill the garden sprayer with water. Spray the ceiling with the water until it is completely wet.

Allow the water to soak for 10 minutes, then use the scraping tool or putty knife to scrape off the popcorn texture. Use the vacuum cleaner to remove the debris from the floor and ceiling.

Finally, wear a dust mask while performing the task to protect yourself from dust particles.


Removing popcorn ceilings with a drywall sander is a great way to make a big impact in a small amount of time.

With the right tools, patience, and a little bit of elbow grease, you can quickly and easily transform your popcorn ceiling into a smooth, modern surface.

With the right technique, you can easily rid your home of unsightly popcorn ceilings and bring out the beauty in your home.

I hope this blog post is helpful for you in understanding how to remove popcorn ceiling with drywall sander.

Read Also: How to Use Flex Drywall Sander?