Tuesday, June 26, 2007

How to paint a popcorn ceiling

Happy birthday to my wife! For her birthday I painted the ceiling in the bedroom... Now I have some questions. How do you paint a popcorn ceiling?

First off, does everyone know that a popcorn ceiling is one of those highly textured ceilings that I think were popular in the 70s (my wife wouldn't know about such things, she wasn't alive yet).

So I went to the hardware store and I bought white paint and a high texture roller. Then I started painting. My intention was to end up with paint on the ceiling so that it looked clean and white. That is not what happened.

I dipped my roller in the paint and I rolled it across the ceiling. The "popcorn" texture stuck to my roller and the paint dripped on my head. I continued, thinking that eventually paint would have to stick to the ceiling. It didn't. The more I rolled, the more I tried to apply pressure and get paint on the ceiling, the more that fell or stuck to my roller. Sure, I got some paint on the ceiling. It may even look better than it did before (or then again, it may not). I did some mathematical calculations to find the exact results of my efforts.

If I include the large areas of ceiling that never took to being painted and the fact that I couldn't get the paint into the deep texture (the little that remained), I calculated that I have paint coverage on 14% of the ceiling.

I then calculated the surface area of my body that was covered with paint, etc. The bottoms of my feet were covered. Head, face, and shoulders were also pretty much covered. My arms were heavily splattered, but I would not call them covered. My legs and body that was covered with clothing was not harmed in the least. I calculated that 17.4% of my body was covered in paint.

The final calculation that I did was to find the amount of popcorn left on the ceiling. Based on the fact that the roller would no longer pick up paint because it was covered in texture and the amount of texture on my head, face, shoulders and feet, as well as the texture that ended up in the paint I was trying to get onto the roller and the texture that has now dropped all over the floor in our bedroom, I calculated that 6% of the original popcorn is still on the ceiling.

The big flat parts and streaky paint job don't look especially good, but I did get some paint on the ceiling. For less of a mess and lower cost, I think today I will buy 20 gallons of paint on the way home, take the lids of and throw the paint at the ceiling. I think I will have better success that way.

Happy Birthday Dear!!


Anonymous said...

Step 1 - remove the popcorn
Step 2 - retexture with something less offensive
Step 3 - Paint!

KatieA said...

Or, second option - airless spray gun?

My entire high school was plastered in that stuff - best way to "decorate" it??

1) Go into bathroom
2) Grab toilet paper
3) Wet toilet paper
4) Fling at high velocity at ceiling
5) Wait until dry
6) Paint

At least that's what the school did - didn't even remove the toilet paper before they painted it - it was still textured, but the paint stuck. :)

Emily said...

aww...what a sweet birthday present. from what I know of painting, which isn't much, you had the right idea. I guess you will have to go for the air gun next time if it is just going to fall apart.

Anonymous said...

These folks don't use toilet paper, remember?

Use a spray bottle of water and a putty scraper. Spray, scrape, spray scrape.