Zhenjiang Ruifeng Brush Co., Ltd.

Tel.+86 13815177926

How to Paint a Popcorn Ceiling ?

Have you noticed that your ceiling is looking a little… peppery?

popcorn ceiling

You’re not alone. It’s called the popcorn effect—so named for its resemblance to America’s favourite fluffy snack—and it’s the result of loose particulate materials mixed into paint and applied to a surface, usually with a sprayer. A standard treatment for ceilings from the 1950s through the 1980s that offered a bit of noise reduction, popcorn ceilings lost their appeal in the late 20th century, mainly because the aggregates used often contained asbestos, now banned as a carcinogen. Plus, the texture proved to be a formidable dust catcher, difficult to clean and repair.

But don’t worry! There are ways to remove it and make your home ceiling paint feel brand new again. Here are some tips on how to remove popcorn ceilings from your home. 

Maybe you’ve tried covering it with paint popcorn ceiling, but the popcorn texture always shows through. Maybe you’ve considered removing the material and starting over, but asbestos is involved, which would be expensive and messy. Maybe you’ve just resigned yourself to living with this eyesore forever. But why? There’s no reason to suffer through something that looks so dated and unattractive when there are so many ways to fix it!

Painting your popcorn ceiling can be done relatively quickly—and cheaply—with just a few tools and some practice. It’s also an opportunity to give your home a new look with minimal effort, so if you’re stuck in an old style or want to try something fresh without starting from scratch, give this project a try!

Before Painting A Popcorn Ceiling

When painting a ceiling, you might think that the best thing to do is pick up a flat interior paint and go for it. But that doesn’t always work well because the painted popcorn ceiling differs from acoustic and flat ceilings.

Flat paints are designed for smooth surfaces, not textured ones. So if you have a textured ceiling, you might need something different.

One way to make sure your ceiling is painted properly is by using a paint made for interiors—it’s explicitly designed for textured surfaces, so it’ll be easier to hide any imperfections. Or, if you have a drywall ceiling, you should use exterior paint made for drywall surfaces—these tend to be more durable than interior paints and will last longer in high-traffic areas like hallways or living rooms.

And don’t forget: when painting over textured ceilings, use about 15-20 per cent more paint than usual to account for the extra surface area created by the texture!

What Type of Roller is Recommended?

If you’re painting a popcorn ceiling (also known as cottage cheese ceilings or stucco ceilings), there are two main things to keep in mind: use the right roller and spray paint.

spray paint how to paint a popcorn ceiling

Painting a popcorn ceiling is much easier (and faster) with a paint sprayer (or vibrator-type paint sprayer) & even ceiling testing can be done. But if you don’t have access to a paint sprayer or renting one is not an option, Paintbrusha recommends choosing a roller that matches the thickness of the texture you are painting.


“If too heavy of a nap roller is used, it may exaggerate the existing texture,” he says, adding that “a ⅜-inch nap roller will cover a fine-to-medium texture while a ½-inch roller will cover a heavy texture, noting that the heavier the nap roller, the more difficult it is to achieve a uniform coat.”

Also, make sure to choose a wide roller made of synthetic material—not to damage the texture of the ceiling—and one that specifically says it is designed for textured and rough surfaces like a popcorn ceiling. If everything is chosen carefully, ceiling lights and fixtures can be appropriately adjusted to enhance room elegance.

Best Primer 

If you’re painting a textured acoustic material, it’s essential to use an oil-based primer. Water can soak into that material and weigh on it and pull it away, so using an oil-based coat will help seal and protect the material. Once your oil-based coat is on and dry, you can use a water-based colour more safely. If there are heavy stains, use a stain-blocking variety to seal them and keep them from bleeding to your new colour.

Where to Use Roller 

rollers are the way to go where to use roller

Rollers are the way to go if you’re looking for a way to cover your walls with a flat finish. They allow you to apply the paint evenly and quickly in large areas with minimal mess and waste.

To keep your walls clean, cover them with tarps or heavy-duty plastic before starting. You also want to use a thick roller cover for this project. Experts recommend using lambswool or speciality synthetic covers with a thickness of ¾ of an inch to 1 ¼ of an inch. For synthetic roller covers, consider buying a segmented style for better application.

With rollers, it is also essential to use only light pressure during application and not to over-saturate the area. Heavy products and pressure can loosen it and cause it to break away. A small amount of this is average and to be expected, but you want to aim for as little loss as possible. 

Where to Use Brush 

using the brush to get paint into all the corners

When starting painting, it can be hard to know where to start. One of the most important things to know is that it’s best to use your brush for cutting in rather than painting the whole wall. This means using the brush to get paint into all the corners and edges of a surface and reaching higher up on walls and other surfaces. Some people also use portable paint reservoirs instead of paint buckets.

It’s easy to see why cutting in with a brush is so important: it helps you avoid using a roller or other tool that covers a large area. You can also use a brush for painting along the edges or in hard-to-get spots, but pros do not recommend it as a tool for covering the entire area. This edgework is known as “cutting in”, and for most of these projects, it’s best to cut in 2-3 inches. Be sure not to put too much pressure on your brush or over-saturate the stipple. Ask your paint store professionals for the best brushes for cutting in, as some will put paint on the walls, which will need touch-ups. 

What Tools are Needed to Paint A Popcorn Ceiling

  • You’ll want to get a few things before painting your popcorn ceiling.
  • First, make sure you have a dust mask and safety glasses. You’ll want to protect yourself from dust that gets kicked up during the painting process.
  • Second, make sure you have painter’s tape ready to go. You can use it in a few different ways: if you want to paint around the edges of your ceiling, use it to outline them first; if you have some other colour on the walls you don’t want to get painted over (like wallpaper), use it to protect those areas; and finally, if there are any spots where you don’t want paint getting splashed onto something below (like picture frames), use tape there as well!
  • Third, ensure you’ve got plastic sheeting or drop cloths ready to cover floors or furniture that could get dirty during the painting process—and maybe even a ladder or tall stool so that you can easily reach all areas of the ceiling.
  • Fourthly (yes, fourthly!), make sure you’ve got a roller and extension pole/ladder handy so that you can reach high places without having to climb up onto something precarious (which is not only dangerous but also makes it harder for others people. 
  • Angled brush for cutting in (outlining) and touch-ups
  • Vacuum with a soft brush attachment or feather duster 

How to Paint A Popcorn Ceiling

Are you ready to paint your popcorn ceiling?

If so, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Remove all items from the room. Protect hanging fixtures with painter’s plastic or plastic bags, making sure the lights are off first. Add drop cloths to protect the floors.
  2. With the soft brush attachment of your vacuum, gently vacuum the ceiling to remove dust, dirt, and cobwebs. You can also use a feather duster to remove the ceiling dust and let it collect on the drop cloths.
  3. Use painter’s tape to attach plastic sheeting over the walls to protect them from paint splatters.
  4. With a brush loaded with paint, gently cut in and paint along the edges of the ceiling. Generously load the roller with paint and apply it to the popcorn ceiling in one direction (not back-and-forth), taking care not to saturate it with paint—if it’s unprimed, there’s a chance that it will absorb too much paint and become too heavy for its good!
  5. Ensure the room is well-ventilated, and then clear away all furniture, toys, books, and other items from the room.
  6. Put down drop cloths or newspapers to catch drips or splatters.
  7. Use a brush to paint the walls in long strokes, starting at the top and working your way down. Paint every surface of the wall, including moulding details and corners (use a small brush for detailed areas like around windows)
  8. Let dry completely before applying another coat of paint in the opposite direction—this will help eliminate any lines from your first application and give you even coverage throughout. The second coat should be applied within 24 hours of your first coat for maximum effectiveness; however, if you’re unable to do so within this timeframe (due to weather conditions or other circumstances), wait at least one week before applying another coat of paint to allow for full curing time for both coats together (typically about five days total).
  9. After waiting for both coats to dry completely (or at least one week if your second coat was applied more than 24 hours after your first), inspect any spots that need a touch-up. 

Preventing Common Problems 

Are you getting ready to paint your popcorn ceiling? If so, you’re in for an adventure. But we’ve got your back! We’ve put together some tips to help you get through this project with minimum fuss—and maximum results.

  • First, ensure that your ceiling is dry and clean before you begin. Clumps of dust and dirt can ruin the look of your finished product, so removing them before applying any coatings is essential. Next up is prep work—and there are two parts to this step: preparation of the surface itself (by sanding down rough spots) and preparation of yourself (with protective gear).
  • Once you’re ready to apply your coating materials, remember to use a high-quality product designed specifically for use on popcorn ceilings. Use thick-napped roller covers and cover everything—including walls if you don’t plan to coat them. Wear protective glasses and a dust mask, so you don’t inhale harmful chemicals or suffer from splatters or drips!
  • As much as you don’t want to go back and forth over the same spot, you still want to lap over the edges as you go to prevent streaking. The edges should blend as you work in your pattern or strokes. Keep your roller wet as you work, and don’t run it over the surface if it is too dry.

You’ll also want to remember that some loss will occur during this process. 


How Many Coats of Paint Are Required?

When painting with a brush or sprayer, two coats are usually required for most applications. However, if you apply an identical colour and use a 2-in-1 formula, you may only need one. When using a sprayer, you will almost always need two coats due to the double spray method.

Can A Popcorn Ceiling with Asbestos Be painted?

Before 1978, the texturing agent for this material contained asbestos. Only professionals with training in handling this toxic element should handle such conditions. Having asbestos professionally removed costs an average of $2,000, but getting the toxin out of your home is often worth it. You can also cover it with drywall or planks but leaving the hazardous material there may negatively affect the value of your home.

Asbestos has been linked to cancer and other diseases, such as mesothelioma and lung cancer, when inhaled in small amounts over time.

DIY vs Hiring a Painter – Costs? 

If you’re looking for a project to make your home stand out, consider applying textured paint to your walls. It’s not easy, but many homeowners have found this DIY project worth their time and effort. 

The cost of materials ranges from $70 to $200, but hiring a professional can cost anywhere from $225 to $550 for the same work. This challenging DIY project requires special equipment and plenty of patience. A professional will know how to handle this texture efficiently and how best to preserve it throughout the process. They’ll have the right equipment and know how best to use it.

Safety Tips 

Preparing to paint is more than just getting the right tools and materials together. You also need to prepare your body for painting, as well as the areas you are going to paint.

Before you begin painting, rub your face, arms, hands, and other exposed skin with your favourite lotion. That will make it easier to wash off any paint drips or splatter at the end of the day. If you are also going to paint the walls, paint the ceiling first and then wait for the ceiling to dry before painting the walls. You do not need to be as careful about overspray or drips on the walls when painting the ceiling if the walls will be painted next. 


If you’re considering painting your popcorn ceiling, it’s essential to know that this type contains asbestos. Asbestos is a dangerous substance that can cause lung cancer if inhaled. If you paint over an asbestos-containing popcorn ceiling, the fibres may become dislodged and be released into the air, where you may breathe them in.

If you think your ceiling contains asbestos, it is best to have it tested by a certified asbestos testing specialist. This will help you understand what risks are involved with painting over your popcorn ceiling and what steps need to be taken to ensure the safety of your family members.

Happy Painting

We hope after reading this post. You get familiar with popcorn ceilings, what you should consider before preparing, and what to avoid making your DIY project successful. Once you do your job, don’t forget to share it with us. Happy reading! 

Table of Contents

Inspire Creative Paint Brush and Roller With Paintbrusha!

Ask For A Quick Quote

We will contact you within 1 working day.