Fix-It Friday: Popcorn Ceiling Makeover… What To Do When You’ve Got Popcorn Over Concrete

Popcorn_ceiling
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“I bought a condo with popcorn ceilings. The concrete under the popcorn is slabs. I am told that the seam will always show, if  the popcorn is removed and the ceiling glazed and then painted. My contractor is suggesting to gyproc the whole ceiling. Is there a special silicon or caulking that can be sanded and painted, and that will not let the seam show thru the paint? …. or is gyproc the only answer?” – WYSK Reader Claudette Erich

NV: Hi Claudette! When it comes to popcorn over concrete, I have to agree with your contractor.

sheetrock_compoundFirst, it’s highly likely the concrete joints, or seams as you say, will eventually show. There is a product called SHEETROCK® Brand Easy Sand™ Lightweight Setting-Type Joint Compound that’s designed to fill cracks and joints in interior concrete, however, if you don’t have the right touch and experience working with this product, the results may be less seamless than you’d like. Furthermore, unless someone is really good at plastering and feathering edges, because the concrete joints are so uniform (as opposed to a random crack here or there), it would be difficult for your eye not to notice the joint fills.

The other point I want to make about filling the joints is with regard to the first aspect of the project – removing the popcorn. It’s a big messy job, which I’ve covered here before, and if the ceiling has been painted, an even bigger job! Furthermore, if the building went up before ’79, it could have asbestos in it.

Now let me take it an annoying step further… even if you were to remove all that popcorn, you’re not guaranteed that the primer, paint, etc. will adhere properly to the concrete. I’ve heard nightmare stories about this – as in even after thorough scraping and cleaning of the popcorn, some strange residue lingers that reacts with whatever you paint over it (perhaps a chemical reaction with the concrete?), resulting in improper adhesion of the paint and ultimately paint flacking.

So here’s my take – leave the damn popcorn alone and cover the whole ceiling! You can use Gyproc, as your contractor has suggested. Know that Gyproc makes many different types of panels so discuss with him which product he’s considering. (Gyproc RhinoBoard For Ceilings is one he may be suggesting.)

Gyproc

Another option is to cover the concrete with good old drywall – this would involve securing furring strips to the ceiling first. It may be a less expensive solution than Gyproc. That said, Gyproc panels, as opposed to straight up drywall, can offer greater sound insulation properties if noise is an issue from the floor above.

Thanks for the question and happy popcorn ceiling makeover!

Norma sig


Got A DIY Question? Ask-The-Expert!

If you have a DIY home repair, maintenance or improvement question for Norma, now is your chance to ask-the-expert and have her answer. Your burning question may just be the “star” of an upcoming Fix-It Friday column.

Add your question to the comments section below or email it to Women You Should Know.

Fix-It Friday is an exclusive Women You Should Know® editorial series authored by seasoned veteran of home improvement, Norma Vally, the former host of Discovery Home Channel’s series “Toolbelt Diva” and a show on Sirius Satellite Radio by the same name. The weekly column is designed to inspire women – weekend warriors, aspiring handywomen, and even seasoned DIYers – to take on home repairs and maintenance projects with confidence and gusto.

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