What To Do After Removing Popcorn Ceiling? (Step-By-Step)

Last Updated on August 9, 2023 by Web Operator

popcorn ceiling

Recently we moved to a new house that needed a little TLC. One major issue was that the living and dining rooms had an old popcorn ceiling. We had the ceiling tested, and it came back positive for asbestos. After careful consideration, we hired a professional to remove the popcorn ceiling. We then needed to know what to do after removing the popcorn ceiling?

After removing the popcorn ceiling, you must fill in any areas nicked, gouged, or scraped when you removed the popcorn texture. Then you need to level out and fix any seams that probably date back to when the house was built. Lastly, you need to sand the entire ceiling before you continue.

Removing the popcorn ceiling texture in your home is the easy part. After that, you need to decide what kind of ceiling would suit your family’s needs, and you need to prep the ceiling correctly. I had to find out how to get it done, so I did a bunch of research and wanted to share what I discovered in this post.

What To Do After Removing Popcorn Ceiling

Most people prefer to remove their popcorn ceiling because it is a considerable health hazard. Scientists have directly linked it to severe health issues such as lung cancer, respiratory diseases, etc. Besides the real health issues, people remove them because they are a nightmare to keep clean and they are outdated. 

From the 1950s, popcorn ceilings were a quick and easy way for builders and contractors to hide defects in ceilings and save them a lot of time and money on ceilings finishings. Unfortunately, they had no clue at the time that the asbestos in the popcorn texture was dangerous. 

These days people also remove them to install more modern-looking ceilings that are easy to maintain and don’t endanger their health. So the question we are looking at in this post is what do you do after removing the popcorn ceiling?

Preparing The Ceiling For Something New

After removing the popcorn texture ceiling, you need to prepare the ceiling for whatever new ceiling you have chosen to install. Firstly, you have to fix the problem areas that might be under the popcorn texture.

It could have happened when you scraped off the popcorn texture, or it might be leftover scratches and gouges from when contractors originally installed your home’s ceiling. Here is how to prepare your ceiling:

Fix The Scratched Areas

popcorn ceiling crack

Firstly you need to wait at least 24 hours after removing the popcorn ceiling. This is because most professionals who remove popcorn ceilings wet the texture to decrease the dust it releases, and when wet, it can cause issues with your preparation. 

After the 24-hour drying period is up, you can begin prepping your ceiling. The first mission is to fill in the small holes, scratches, dings, or gouges. You can do this by using a putty knife and joint compound. 

After filling in all the areas you can see, you should look at the seams and fix any uneven areas and fill in the nail holes if they are not filled in. Next, you need to wait to let the fixed areas dry properly. Another 24 hours should do the trick. 

Sanding The Area

When the fixed areas are dry, you need to sand down the entire ceiling. It removes all the excess little areas that might still have some popcorn texture and evens out the ceiling, so you have a smooth surface to work with. 

Again, ensure you use a dust mask, goggles, and gloves as a precaution to keep any remaining popcorn dust away from you. Vacuum all the dust and debris before moving on. 

Priming The Area

Can Popcorn Ceilings Be Sanded Down

The last step you need to take is to prime the ceiling. You can use a spray primer, or you can use a roller. Apply two coats of primer, making sure to let the first coat dry thoroughly before applying the second coat. When the primer is completely dry, you can begin work on your new ceiling. 

Ceiling Options After Removing Popcorn Ceiling Texture

After prepping the ceiling, you can now choose what you want to do with your ceiling. A few attractive options include:

Vinyl Or PVC Ceiling Tiles

Vinyl or PVC ceiling tiles are lightweight, easy to install, and last, decades if you maintain them properly. These tiles are also waterproof and mold resistant. They come in various colors and can have many different designs that will stand out or match the rest of the room. 

Painting Your Ceiling 

One of the cheapest and easy ways to finish your ceiling is to paint the ceiling. After you have prepped and primed the ceiling, you only need to paint the ceiling with two or three coats of paint, and you are done.

Install Wooden Ceiling Planks 

wooden plank

You can install wooden ceiling planks. You can install wooden planks as a ceiling alternative. You can use tongue and groove planks that fit perfectly together or regular planks that you can stain any color for a rustic look.

You Can Retexture Your Ceiling 

Some people like the look of a textured ceiling and only want to eliminate the toxic popcorn ceiling, not the look. Then you can use styrofoam balls mixed with joint compound or joint compound and a textured sponge to create the textured look you are going for. 

The only other step when choosing this ceiling method is to paint the ceiling after the texture has dried. You can also add molding to finish off the look of the ceiling.


What do you do after removing the popcorn texture from your ceiling? First, you prep and prime the ceiling so you can redo the ceiling your way. You can choose one of many ways to redo your ceiling, including vinyl ceiling tiles, paint it, install wooden ceiling tiles, etc. 

Use protection when preparing the ceiling, as there might be minor areas that still have a slight texture left. The PPE will protect your lungs and skin from any further contact with the asbestos that can be present in the popcorn texture dust.  

Photo of author

Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.