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Swanton, OH
reply to robbin

Re: Paint-What Went Wrong?

said by robbin:

If it's popcorn then it had probably never been painted. That type of ceiling is not usually painted when new.

That makes sense. Now the question becomes...can the situation be salvaged since the whole ceiling has a coat of paint some of which is adhering and some that isn't?

Leander, TX
My guess is they didn't get a good bond with the texture. Hard to tell what will happen when they start scraping. They will be in the soft, unadhered area. Best thing to do with popcorn ceilings which have never been painted is to remove it. Once it's painted the job becomes much more difficult. And now having to match the old finish is also a problem.


They sell rollers for popcorn ceilings. It's just hairier or bushier (lack of a better word). I've never had issues, while people I know had the same situation as the OP because they just slop the paint on.

1. Wash it down with warm/hot water
2. Preferably, wash down with TSP then rinse well. This will slightly etch the previous paint, even if difficult high-gloss.
3. Prime.
4. Paint.

Painted, not painted, it doesn't matter. What you are after is proper chemical bonding. The above will provide that. The result is only as good as the prep work you put into it, as with any paint job. For something not painted in over 15 years I wouldn't skip the TSP.

I normally only use TSP in kitchens and bathrooms, a warm wash everywhere else. But I also use it on jobs that are very aged like yours or where there is a very high gloss.

Not sure what I would do now. No choice but to scrape it (if you are keeping it), but with popcorn in the way, that is one b*tch of a job now. Think I would get some sort of abrasive (sand paper) then with a scrub-sponge (like a 3M Scotch-Brite) and use warm water w/ TSP peel/scrape what will come off. Rinse it off well after you leave it on a bit to etch whatever is there. What doesn't come off just leave it. Then go in with the primer (with the *proper* roller for popcorn).

Also, I have always seen popcorn painted. Not sure why someone here states it's not painted when there is no pic to see it. But anyhow, 15 years ago and now is a big diff in paint technology (chemicals), could even be some sort of incompatible coat on what you have now, thus the peel. Again, an etch with TSP and good primer will fix that situation.

All comes down to prep work.

North, VA
said by hm :

Also, I have always seen popcorn painted. Not sure why someone here states it's not painted when there is no pic to see it.
All comes down to prep work.

The textured ceilings in my house was not painted. When the house interior was repainted then the ceilings were painted. No flaking at all.

Leander, TX
That's actually the best thing about popcorn ceilings. They were not painted. All you have to do is fill a spray bottle up with water and mist them a few times and then take a drywall knife and it comes off easily.

Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Tulsa, OK
Basically, unless it contains asbestos. Unfortunately for me the popcorn ceilings in my home have all been painted over, so they stay, no easy removal.
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini