How Professionals Handle Acoustic Ceiling Removal

Acoustic ceiling is a type of texture that was popular in the 60s and 70s, but has long since gone out of fashion. These ceilings are made by spraying the material and leaving behind a texture that resembles popcorn, which gives acoustic ceiling the nickname “popcorn ceiling”. The purpose of acoustic ceilings was to absorb noise and keep homes quiet. This was especially helpful in multiple story homes or apartment complexes. But homeowners now are realizing that the cons outweigh the pros. Truth is, there are better ways to keep noise from traveling in your home, and the slight improvement in quietness doesnt make up for the unfashionable ceiling.

Many people choose to take on the job of getting rid of their acoustic ceiling on their own. Others choose to hire professionals. Both options have their advantages. Ultimately it comes down to whether or not you think the time you spend on the job will be less than the money you would be paying a professional. While some DIY enthusiasts will gladly jump at the chance of a project, others will prefer to save themselves from the physical labor. In any case, the work that the professionals do will be of much higher quality.

So what exactly sets the pros apart from the hobbyists? There are plenty of How-To guides out there that will show you the process of removing popcorn ceilings. This guide will highlight the way that the pros do it to ensure a high quality job.

The first step in the acoustic removal process is removing all small items from tabletops, counters, and other pieces of furniture. Also remove photos and paintings that may be on your walls. When our specialists arrive on the scene, theyll take care of moving the furniture such as tables and chairs. Larger pieces of furniture will stay inside. People often ask whether they need to have all the furniture removed by the time we get there. The answer is no, we will remove only what is necessary. Others think they need to place all their furniture in the center of the room, like is often done when painting walls, but it is actually easier for us to do our job with the furniture at the sides.

Next we will line the room with plastic. We use very thick plastic to ensure there is absolutely no damage done to your carpet or tile. Our experts are great at completely sealing up all the sides so that you dont get popcorn sludge seeping in through the edges. Additionally, we line the walls with a thinner plastic to keep them clean as well. This is something that amateurs almost never do, but we are committed to quality and attention to detail, so we do what it takes to make sure that only the ceiling is touched. What sets us apart from amateurs is that we line the edges of the ceiling with caulking, which gives a more smooth transition. This makes it so that the new ceiling flows into the walls without it being obvious that there was a renovation.

Before we begin scraping, we moist the ceiling using a spray hose. We use a special light-duty hose to ensure that we dont make a mess with a bunch of water. One of the most common mistakes that we see from DIYists and even some professionals is that they use too much water which drips all over the place. Too much water will also wet the dry wall underneath and make the drying process take longer. The key is to use just enough water so that it is absorbed by the ceiling and softens the popcorn material, which makes it easier to scrape off.

Once the ceiling is wet, we simply go at it with our tools. Weve been doing this a long time, so weve gotten pretty fast about it. You have to be careful not to scrape too hard, otherwise you might make holes in the dry wall. Having scrapers with longer handles makes the job easier. We also use scaffolding so that we dont have to be moving our ladder every 2 minutes in order to reach a new spot. This makes the job quicker and less backbreaking.

Another thing that demonstrates our attention to detail is that we make sure to remove lighting fixtures and remove the acoustic that is under them. Most people either forget about that part or just choose not to deal with. But with us, we always make sure to remove 100% of the popcorn.

After all the texture from the ceiling is removed, we patch up all the seams and holes. We coat the ceiling with our special compound that dries quickly. We take extra care to make it as smooth as possible. This is especially important if the client wants a flat surface for their new ceiling. However, it is another thing that amateurs typically dont do. It is also the secret to making the process faster. Because the compound dries quickly, we are able to apply the new texture or paint job shortly after. This is why we get the job done in a single day, while amateurs can take up to one whole week!

Once the compound dries we simply apply the new texture or simply a fresh coat of paint. Usually people at home will paint their ceilings with rollers. Professionals use spray machines which offer two advantages: clean, even application that leaves no marks, and thicker layers which offer more protection. Some companies dont deal with painting at all, and most that do, take several days to complete the process. If you decide that hiring a professional is worth it, make sure you seek out a quality company that knows what they are doing. Most of these jobs CAN be done in one day, by the right professionals.

The final step in the process is to enjoy your beautiful new interior!

So there you have it. There are some differences in how professionals do acoustic ceiling removal compared to DIYists. If you decide that you do have the time to take on the project yourself, some of the pro tips in this guide would be useful. If you are hiring someone else to do the dirty work, just make sure you do your research. Dont be afraid to ask a company about their process, materials, and most importantly, experience.

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