Popcorn ceilings are a fad that have seen their day unfortunately once they are installed they tend to stay around longer then basements full of 1960′s wood paneling.
There are two reasons designers or home owners install popcorn ceilings.
The first is to reduce repair major problems.
If a home owner or remodeler is confronted with a ceiling that has a heavy damage then they have the choice of replacing the drywall, making spot repairs which will be visible or making a spot repair then covering the ceiling with a popcorn texture to hide it.
Since time is money most decide to hide it and charge you double as if it was a special feature.
The other reason and not so common today is the designer requested the texture from the start. Honestly popcorn ceilings may be fun for the designer but for the home owner that needs to deal with dust and painting and all the other problems down the line that little bit of fanciness is not worth the headaches.
Repair or Replace?
Well if you already have a popcorn ceiling that has some damage you have the choice of repairing it or removing it.
If you want to repair the texture you will have to examine it to see what type of texture was applied.
Some technicians simply use drywall compound in a special spray gun hopper to apply the texture while others may work the surface before it completely drys.
For small areas that are out main view you can pickup an aerosol can of popcorn texture. Read the directions about cleaning and removing lose material and the need for primer.
For larger jobs you can get a popcorn texture in a gallon or 5 gallon bucket.
Never expect repairs to match exactly and that goes for hiring a contractor to perform the work.
If the room is small enough and you want a seamless perfect look then you should remove all of the texture in the room and replace it as a whole.
Removing Popcorn Texture
Removing the texture once it is applied is not a fun job.
If the material used contains asbestos then you are pretty much out of luck and will need to either remove the drywall and install new or add a 1/4″ drywall board over your existing ceiling drywall.
Adding more drywall and encapsulating the old may sound like the easiest method but you should make sure that your ceiling joists can support the extra load and that you can perform the work without breathing in the asbestos.
If you need to remove the material and it contains asbestos the job will be too big to do yourself and you will need to call a qualified contractor.
If you know and have tested for asbestos and find you are ok then the removal process can be done yourself.
There is no easy way to remove textured ceilings but if it is unpainted you can wet the area and that will help in the scraping process.
If it has been painted and you have tested an area to see if water will help and it does not then simply start scraping.
You should find a wide drywall compound knife that you can attach to a 6 foot or longer pole and remove as much as you can without disturbing the paper of the drywall.
Wear eye protection and heavy dust masks or a respirator.
Although it won’t help with the bulk of the removal there are a number of vacuum attached drywall sanders that will reduce dust and help you with your final prep.
Once you are done you can skim the ceiling with a drywall compound.
If there is a lot of damage some contractor supply centers sell a paper similar to that used on the drywall that can be applied to give you a fresh surface for painting.
Good Luck you will need it.