How to Smooth a Textured Ceiling

Lead Image
  • 6-8 hours
  • Intermediate
  • $50-500
What You'll Need
Drywall sander
Vacuum cleaner
Drop cloth

Having a textured ceiling removed may be necessary at some point. This might be because you desire a new look, are tackling some major cleaning, or have other construction plans that affect the ceiling space. Making the ceiling into a flat, uniform surface can be messy without the right technique. Although the entire process contains only a few easy steps, deviating from them can make the experience time-consuming. Textured ceilings may also contain toxic asbestos material that was used for building construction. Asbestos is common in houses that were built before 1980.

Step 1 - Protect Yourself From Dust and Particles

If you are working in an older home, have the ceiling particles tested for both asbestos and lead. If the test is positive, you should consider having a professional company remove the texturing. If not, you can tackle the project yourself. You will be showered with particles so remember to wear a face mask and protective goggles in order to protect your lungs and eyes from dust and debris.

Drop cloths are important for covering your furniture. Use them on the floors, gadgets, and all other items that you would like to protect from dust and dirt. Also, most of the elements in use and those that will fly around in the room can easily stick to your clothes. Be sure to wear old clothes that cover your entire body. Once you are done with the project, you will need to throw out the old clothes.

Step 2 - Remove the Texture

scraping texture off a ceiling

If your texture is thick, use a scraper and run it gently along the ceiling to scrape the texturing off. You don’t want to apply too much pressure and damage the ceiling materials. The goal is just to knock off the majority of the material. Next, take the 100 grit sandpaper and use it on the ceiling until the surface is smooth. This is easiest with a power sander such as a palm sander or a belt sander. Those with an attached dust bag make the job a lot less messy. Also be aware of falling dust particles in your eyes and mouth. You might be tempted to use a higher grit sandpaper, but be aware that it could damage the soft surface of the ceiling. Keep working until all of the texturing is removed.

Step 3 - Use Drywall Sander With Vacuum Cleaner

Attach the drywall sander to a vacuum cleaner to convert it into a dust-free drywall sander. Once sandpapering is complete, use this combination device to remove the remaining particles from the wall. Doing so offers the easiest and cleanest way to get the remnants of sandpapering into a sealed bag before you dispose them.

Step 4 - Get It Back to a Healthy Shape

man painting a ceiling

After removing the dust and particles, you will be able to see that certain parts of the ceiling appear to be more damaged than the rest. Fill in any uneven spaces, cracks, or pits in the ceiling material using a putty. Make sure that the putty dries completely before applying anything to the surface. An oil-based primer solution can also help cover and seal damaged areas. Apply two coats. Be aware that latex paint will not adhere well to an oil-based primer if you plan to paint the ceiling.