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Why You Should Replace Your ‘Popcorn’ Ceiling ASAP

Having a ‘popcorn’ ceiling was commonplace in older Singapore homes. Known also as cottage cheese ceiling and acoustic ceiling, this textured ceiling was a type of ceiling with spray-on or paint-on treatments. While it used to be a home interior rage back in the 1970s to 1990s, it is no longer popular today. Here’s what you should know about it, and why you should have it replace, if you have them, asap:

Why did people choose to install popcorn ceilings?

Popcorn ceilings make your house look like an ageing shopping mall.

Back in the day, popcorn ceilings used to be trendy – it was a common aesthetic in contemporary (back then) interior design. On top of that, popcorn ceilings also had the handy ability to conceal imperfections. If you’ve done a bad job of mudding your ceiling (i.e.: applying joint compound to it), and your ceiling is patchy, an easy fix was to simply spray it and turn it into a popcorn ceiling.

Popcorn ceilings were also known to be great at absorbing sound. What’s the rationale behind this? Well, these ceilings come with plenty of raised bumps, which increases its overall surface area and in turn helps to muffle noise.

Quick aside: popcorn ceilings aren’t only found in residential homes – you sometimes find them in commercial properties as well, like shopping malls or office units that date back to the ’80s or mid-’90s.

The case against popcorn ceilings

Popcorn ceilings are hard to keep clean; they might be why your nose is always irritated in the room.

Trying to sell your home? These days, homeowners appreciate the minimalist look, and if you’ve got old-school popcorn ceilings in your home, this might count as a strike against you when potential buyers view your property. If you want to close a deal fast, we’d recommend replacing your popcorn ceiling.

Some popcorn ceilings also contain white asbestos fibres (a fibrous silicate mineral that poses serious health risks when dispersed into air and inhaled). According to experts, asbestos fibres can cause serious problems (including lung disease, scarring of the lungs and lung cancer) when inhaled in large quantities.

Finally, while popcorn ceilings are easy to install, they’re pretty high-maintenance. Insects, dust, and dirt can easily get caught in the nooks and crannies of popcorn ceilings, and if you’ve got a popcorn ceiling in your kitchen, any fumes that are released in the air when you cook may also stain your ceiling.

How to remove your popcorn ceiling

You can scrape off a popcorn ceiling by yourself, but it gets messy!

The method that most folks use is to spray their popcorn ceiling with water, and slowly scrape the bumpy bits away. How easy or difficult that will depend on whether the paint was added to the texture mix that was used to create your popcorn ceiling.

Here’s how to do this: dampen your ceiling with a bit of water, then use a wall scraper to scrape off the texture, bit by bit.

The water should soften the texture, making the “popcorn” easier for you to break up. If this doesn’t happen, then it’s likely that paint was added to the texture mix previously. This makes the removal process more difficult. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do here short of hiring a professional.

To make clean up easier, try getting someone to stand by the side and hold a vacuum cleaner to hoover up the dust as you go. Alternatively, you can try duct-taping a scraper or spackle knife to the end of a vacuum hose; this makes the process a one-man job.

Image credits for the first image: This article originally appeared on


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