Popcorn ceilings can be a beautiful addition to the home, but let’s face it – it seems like a complicated job, especially if you haven’t done a lot of home decorating
You just need to know what to do to prepare your surfaces for painting, get the right tools prepared, and follow a guideline.
Whether you are familiar with a paint roller or a sprayer, you can have a popcorn ceiling finished up in no time by following this simple step-by-step plan.
What You Need To Start
- Foam Roller & Tray or Paint Sprayer
- Plastic Sheeting
- Dust Masks
- Safety Glasses
Step 1 – Prepare The Room
1. Test the water solubility of the ceiling.
In order to get started, you need to check if it has been coated before. Popcorn ceilings that haven’t been painted in the past are usually water-soluble.
If you try with a roller on a ceiling that hasn’t been coated previously, it may soak up moisture and the texture could come off as you use the roller.
So, test this out by spraying a small bit of water on the ceiling. If it starts to get a bit soft, then it hasn’t been painted, and you’ll have to coat it first.
2. Clear all furniture or cover it up.
When you’re up high, you’re working against gravity, naturally, you’ll get some drips down below – so you’ll have to protect your furniture.
The best way to protect it is to just take it out of the room.
If you have room in your house to store your furniture temporarily, just move it there.
Put as much furniture as you can in a separate room.
If the furniture is too big to move, or you don’t have the space elsewhere, cover it with plastic sheets (drop cloths work too) so drips don’t stain them. Check out our paint sprayer accessories for protective clothing, cloths and respirators.
P.s Put drop cloths or plastic sheets on the floor as well.
3. Cover all other walls and fixtures with painter’s tape.
Before taping up your room, remove any light fixtures from the ceiling if you are able to. If you can’t remove them, just be sure to cover them completely with masking paper or plastic sheets and tape.
Next, cover all walls, windows, vents, and doors using plastic sheeting, and then cover fixtures with painters tape. If you don’t have any, check out our painters tape reviews here.
It’s very important to make sure you have a very tight seal where the wall meets the ceiling using tape. (If you’re using a paint sprayer then it’s even more vital to keep a very tight seal). If you are going to be texturing your wall as well, then you don’t have to worry about creating that barrier.
4. Before you start, get geared up.
When you’re working on a ceiling, it’s important to have the right safety gear on so you don’t injure yourself. There are always little bits of debris that will fall when doing DIY projects on the ceiling or high up on the walls.
Make sure you have a few dust masks for the job as well as safety goggles or glasses. There’s nothing worse than having something get in your eyes and having to stop the job (especially if you’re on the wrong type of ladder).
P.S. It’s also helpful to have a hat on as well as some old clothes that you don’t mind getting a bit messed up.
Step 2 – Get The Paint Ready
1. Pick your finish.
When painting a popcorn effect, the most common finish is a flat or matte style. However, you can still use a semi-gloss or satin, though they aren’t used as much for popcorn ceilings.
2. Pick your color.
The most common color is of course, white. It allows the room to brighten up, enhancing all the other colors and textures in the room. However, you can get away with another color as long as it’s bright – like a light yellow, or grey.
3. Thin your paint.
Acrylic paint is ideal for popcorn ceilings, but it’s too sticky and can cause damage if applied as it is. For popcorn ceilings, use water to thin acrylic. With a gallon of material, add about ½ quart of water.
Always double check the back of your paint can for proper amounts.
Step 3 – The Best Way to Paint Popcorn Ceiling
You can use a roller or a paint sprayer so follow the guideline below for your preferred method.
- Painting Popcorn Ceiling With a Roller
- Painting Popcorn Ceiling With A Paint Sprayer
Painting A Popcorn Ceiling With a Roller
1. Use a large roller
You want a roller head that is at least an inch thick. Also, a roller cover that’s made out of a synthetic material that has a thick texture is perfect. Having a roller extension pole also makes it easier to comfortably cover the ceiling.
2. Add paint to the tray
Pour a decent amount into the tray. After you dip your roller into the tray, use the textured part of the tray to remove any excess before you apply it (this will prevent unnecessary spilling and allow for an even coating).
3. Roll it on
Begin! Use long, straight, complete movements. Try not to roll back and forth constantly in one spot as it will become uneven. If you’ve not used a roller much, check out this guide on using a roller by Dulux.
4. Apply a few more coats
Make sure you put on a few coats. Two or three coats is great to make sure you get a good application on your ceiling. Before applying a new coat, allow 3-4 hours for the previous coat to dry.
Painting A Popcorn Ceiling With a Paint Sprayer
1. Use an airless paint sprayer
The easiest sprayer for coating popcorn ceiling is a quality airless paint sprayer.
How does it work? It fans the material out to evenly coat the surface. Always read the instructions on your sprayer as methods vary between models.
2. Fill the sprayer reservoir (if you have one)
If you have a cheaper DIY sprayer such as found in our Wagner paint sprayer reviews, fill up the reservoir up now. Test the sprayer on a piece of cardboard. If you find that it isn’t spraying well, add a bit of water to thin it out a bit and test again on the cardboard until you get the right amount.
3. Spray it on
Spray in one direction for the entire length of your ceiling for the evenest application. As with spraying interior walls, make sure there’s a bit of an overlap between each line so there aren’t any dry edges.
Wait 2-3 hours for the first coat to dry then begin the second coat.
Spray the second coat in the opposite direction for an even finish. 3-4 coats are usually enough to get a rich popcorn texture with a paint sprayer.