How to Paint Popcorn & Textured Ceiling: a Complete Guide

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    Wondering, can you paint popcorn ceiling? You came to the right place.

    Knowing the best way to paint popcorn ceiling is essential to achieving good results. Popcorn ceiling painting is no easy task and requires the proper tools and processes to do right.

    Popcorn ceilings, also referred to as acoustic ceilings or cottage cheese ceilings, are a telltale sign that your home was built any time around the 1950s.

    These ceilings are made from small particles mixed with paint and drywall, and they were a cheap and efficient method of finishing homes during this time period.

    Although popcorn ceilings have become less popular over the years, they are still a part of many homes today. A quick and inexpensive way to upgrade your popcorn ceiling is by giving it a fresh coat of paint. We’ve compiled a step-by-step guide on the best way to paint over your popcorn ceiling below.

    Working Time: 2-4 hrs

    Total Time: 1-2 days

    Skill Level: Beginner

    Yield: 500 square feet of ceiling

    Estimated Cost: $100 to $150

    Safety Considerations

    First and foremost when navigating how to paint over a popcorn ceiling, you'll want to determine whether or not there is asbestos or lead paint in your popcorn ceiling. Generally speaking, homes built before 1977 are at higher risk of having these dangerous materials in them.

    Asbestos was banned from homes in 1978 for a number of reasons. While this material was initially used due to its heat resistance, it has been found to cause some health issues, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.

    Purchase an at-home test to determine whether or not your popcorn ceiling has asbestos or lead. If it tests positive, you'll want to get the ceiling material professionally removed.

    Keep in mind that asbestos doesn't always have to be removed from your home. If the asbestos remains undisturbed, it can remain where it is and be covered with paint or drywall. However, if you want to fully remove your popcorn ceilings and they contain asbestos, a qualified asbestos mitigation specialist is required.

    Can I Paint Popcorn Ceilings?

    can you paint popcorn ceiling

    So, can you paint popcorn ceiling designs? Absolutely, but it's important to know just how to paint a stipple ceiling. Many families with popcorn ceilings opt to paint them instead of replacing them altogether. Painting popcorn ceilings is a cheaper, cleaner alternative to replacement and can help you get more mileage out of your home’s original finishes.

    You also may simply want to upgrade the color of your popcorn ceiling to modernize it and give it a fresh, new appearance. While painting your popcorn ceiling is completely possible, make sure to note that this is a different, more complicated process than painting a flat ceiling.

    Type of Paint & Finish to Use for Painting Over Popcorn Ceiling

    When it comes to how to paint popcorn ceilings, interior acrylic-latex paint is the way to go.

    Ceiling paint is most commonly found in flat or matte finishes, which help reduce light bounce. Furthermore, if you want to protect your ceilings even more, it's best to use eggshell, satin, or semi-gloss paint sheens.

    Textured ceilings typically require more ceiling paint than a flat ceiling. While one gallon of ceiling paint will cover around 400 to 500 square feet of a flat ceiling, it will take double that to paint a popcorn ceiling.

    What’s the Best Primer for Painting a Textured Ceiling?

    When you paint over a popcorn ceiling, it's important to use a primer. Specifically, to paint a popcorn ceiling, we recommend an oil-based primer on this popcorn texture. This primer is best because water can soak into the textured material, adding extra weight and causing it to pull away.

    With this in mind, an oil-based primer will allow you to safely apply water-based color for your paint job.

    The Perfect Finish Starts With You

    Breathe new life into your space. Entrust Oahu Pro Painters with your property and expect results of the highest quality.


    Of course, you can always opt to have a professional take care of this task instead, and this is precisely the type of service that we offer. At Oahu Pro Painters, our professional painters are specialized in both residential and commercial painting projects, always offering competitive pricing and flexible scheduling.

    Located in Honolulu, Kahala, Manoa, Pearl City, and Waipahu, we are proud to be your local Hawaiian painting service. Take advantage of our complimentary estimates, and we’ll be happy to provide you with a quote.


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