I am looking for an easy method. Common sense tells me that something like sanding must be used. Any special tool that can accelerate the process ?

enter image description here

The structure the roof is shown below. I might need to remove a wall and add a supporting beam. The wall that I am removing is not a load bearing one. The only reason why it is there is because the joist would have been to long I guess to make them from one piece of wood (or more expensive). I suspect there is nothing else between the roof and the drywall of my ceiling other than the loose insulation that the previous owner installed in the attic. If removing the drywall is easier I might consider cathedral ceiling with or without exposing the joists. Ih ave to see what it takes for that. However for now I would like to know if it would be easier to remove the drywall and replace it with a new one

Update:Hmmm I just found this page http://www.float.ltd.uk/blog/2011/05/steaming-off-artex/ The guy is steaming the Artex, and the webpage says it is better than having plaster wasted and spread everywhere...can't understand what he means with that enter image description here

enter image description here

Update: Extensive answer found here http://www.diydoctor.org.uk/projects/artex.htm

Update: this was done by a pro and it now looks like this. See the answer for details enter image description here

  • Has it been painted? Spray it with water and see if it soaks in or gets softer.
    – JPhi1618
    Nov 4, 2015 at 13:31
  • That finish looks kind of like what I have heard called a broom finish. Wet drywall compound was applied to the ceiling and then a broom with long floppy nylon bristles was used to create the swirl patterns.
    – Michael Karas
    Nov 4, 2015 at 13:33
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    It looks like you've edited your question to ask about a load bearing wall removal question, which is quite different than removing a drywall finish. That should be moved to a separate question.
    – BMitch
    Nov 4, 2015 at 17:17
  • 1
    And before this is split out to a second question, I'll just say that a wall that exists because the joists above are not continuous is almost certainly load bearing, the joists above being the load. It's even identified in the linked photo as "bearing wall removed" with two shoring walls added during the process.
    – BMitch
    Nov 4, 2015 at 17:22
  • If this is an old house, I'd really consider keeping it. It adds a lot of charm and personality.
    – DA01
    Nov 4, 2015 at 20:14

9 Answers 9


Getting rid of this texture will be a lot of work. I would recommend that you leave it there unless you absolutely must get rid of it.

The ceiling appears to be painted, which means that the texture cannot simply be sanded off. I actually have a similar texture applied to some of the walls in my home. The only way to eliminate it besides either tearing down the drywall, or sheetrocking over it would be to scrape down the high spots with a floor scraper, and then skim coating over it with joint compound.

Scraping it down and skim coating is a very labor intensive process, and is also extremely messy. The steps to do it are below.

Scrape the ceiling using a floor scraper. The scraper is basically a handle with a sharp blade at the end of it. Start with the highest spots and slowly scrape away until the blade is flush with the surface of the drywall. You will want to change the blades regularly because they will dull quickly. Also, always scrape with the blade as flat to the ceiling as possible. You don't want to dig extra holes into it if it can be avoided. This process will generate a lot of dust as well, so make sure everything in the room is moved out, or properly protected including the floor. You should also use a mask and a hat to help keep the dust out of your face and hair.

Once the scraping is complete, use a drywall sanding block to flatten out as much of the remaining texture as you can. At this point, you should wipe down the ceiling with a rag, or a broom to clear any excess dust from it, and then sweep/vacuum up the remaining dust in the room.

When it is clean, apply a coat of latex primer, and then check to see if there are any other areas which need to be repaired. Use a bright light and check the entire surface of the ceiling. If there aren't any areas which need to be touched up, then you can move on to painting. If not, then you will need to skim over those areas with joint compound, and feather it into the surrounding ceiling.

I would strongly recommend using a roller that will give a slight texture surface to the paint. Even with great care, there will most likely be areas where the surface isn't perfect, and the texture of the paint will help hide the defects.

  • See my edits added to the initial Q. What would be easier/more expensive...to remove the drywall and install it back or to do what you suggested above? Considering the details that I added would it be an option to remove the drywall ?
    – MiniMe
    Nov 4, 2015 at 16:33
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    It would be better to save the existing drywall than removing it. Installing new drywall is not fun, especially on a ceiling. In your edit, you are talking about major structural changes to your home. That is really outside of the scope of your original question, and should be asked in a separate one. Nov 4, 2015 at 16:42
  • If getting rid of the finish means removing the drywall then that might make more sense in that context. I added details regarding structure of the house in order to help you understand how easy it would be to remove it. If I don't tell you anything about that you can not say if that would be simpler than to scrap the finish as described
    – MiniMe
    Nov 4, 2015 at 18:21
  • My parents had a funny story about this stuff: they'd told some contractors to remove it, at a cost of several thousand dollars, and then the contractors called back saying it was going to cost, if I recall correctly, about 50% more than the originally-quoted price. My parents decided it was too much, and canceled the whole thing. Turns out, they'd already done all but one bathroom...
    – KRyan
    Nov 5, 2015 at 1:51

Getting rid of the texture can be a lot of work, especially a type like this that has most likely been painted over. Many times the easiest method to get a new ceiling look of your choosing is to apply a layer of 1/4" drywall over the existing surface. This goes up relatively fast and can have joint taping applied to get to a smooth starting place. You can then prime and paint if your goal is a smooth ceiling. If you wanted a different texture that can be applied to the new surface before the painting process.

When installing a new layer of drywall you may find it desirable to remove the existing trim around the periphery of the ceiling so the new material can extend all the way to the wall. Then you can install new trim of a different style or try to reuse what you took down.

  • I don't like that trim and I would happily get rid of it if I can. Adding drywall on top of that is going to create another problem, the wall behind the camera will be removed and there will be a difference of a 1/4" between the kitchen ceiling and the living ceiling. BTW. is adding drywall over drywall a permitted by construction standards? Does it hold, especially when it is ceiling ?
    – MiniMe
    Nov 4, 2015 at 14:59
  • Drywall over drywall is fairly common. You just need screws that go all the way through to the stud/joist.
    – BMitch
    Nov 4, 2015 at 17:20
  • @BMitch - Except I doubt this drywall screws down very flat and that isn't even going into lights or ceiling fans or anything else.
    – DMoore
    Nov 4, 2015 at 18:53
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    Personally, I think sticking drywall over drywall is an awful idea - as bad as putting flooring on top of existing flooring. If you're a slumlord and don't really care about the place, fine, but if you're a home owner with a shred of respect for the place, well... In the past I've typically scraped the texture off, then mudded and sanded the ceiling smooth. Other projects I've just pulled the drywall down and put new. Neither option is really that hard and is well worth the work for a house you care about.
    – J...
    Nov 4, 2015 at 19:08
  • @DMoore in this case, you're probably right and you'd need to at least remove the texture first. Dropping the entire ceiling may be a much larger project if there's insulation above, particularly blown in. It's a lot less work and easier to cover everything over with 1/4" drywall and only mud the seams/screws than it is to mud the entire ceiling.
    – BMitch
    Nov 4, 2015 at 21:16

You can't just hang drywall right on top of this - I have tried. If you do the drywall will be wavy. Also that leads to issues with ceiling heights, fans, outlets, and lights. That is just a big mess.

The easiest way to do this is boil some water and vinegar, get an aluminum paint tray, dump water, and roll the hot water mixture on ceiling. Then scrape off any texture. After that you need to skim coat the whole ceiling, sand, and paint.

A good drywall crew (2 people) can do the whole first floor of a house in basically two days. If you just have a room you can do this yourself for sure. It is just messy and you will take a lot longer.

Note: After thoroughly wetting you will scrape with a long drywall knife - at least 8 inches but probably better at 12".

  • I am inclined to believe that you are right. Hanging the drywall will be a mess and patch work... It is just that room, the living. ..Are you saying that they can install drywall or that they can remove that ugly finish?
    – MiniMe
    Nov 4, 2015 at 16:36
  • You can't hang drywall on a bumpy surface. The screws will pull the drywall to the lowest point. This would be especially true for thinner drywall.
    – DMoore
    Nov 4, 2015 at 16:38
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    Also the trim looks fine. Just do one thing at a time.
    – DMoore
    Nov 4, 2015 at 16:38
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    I agree, you don't want to create more work for yourself than what is needed. The crown molding looks perfectly fine to me, and the texture is actually not bad looking either. If it was my house, I would leave it alone and save my money, or concentrate on a different project. Honestly, this would be the least of my worries. Nov 4, 2015 at 16:47
  • I just updated my post with a picture and a link to a page. The guy on that page is steaming the Artex..how does this work?
    – MiniMe
    Nov 5, 2015 at 14:10

A note of caution. This finish may possibly contain asbestos, don't think about sanding it if you aren't 100% sure it doesn't.

If it is safe to abrade then one trick I've seen used is to just "shave" the high spots with a long handled scraper, then plaster over the remainder to smooth it out. It worked very well.

  • Asbestos is an utter bastard - you don't know its there, and any plaster done as late as the 70s may have asbestos in it. Even later, if it was a DIY job. If you have any doubts at all, get a sample tested. Don't assume your breathing mask will save you, and the asbestos fibres will float around for ages contaminating other rooms in your house. They do not decompose or break down over time. Source - I have asbestos stippling.
    – Criggie
    Nov 5, 2015 at 0:16
  • Is it the finish or the drywall that contains asbestos?
    – MiniMe
    Nov 5, 2015 at 1:09
  • The finish. There are many houses here in the UK that still have "Artex" for this reason. People board over it or whatever rather than try to remove it.
    – Lefty
    Nov 5, 2015 at 6:53
  • 3
    Asbestos was only finally banned in the EU/UK in 1999
    – Morphed
    Nov 5, 2015 at 13:31

This looks very like Artex to me, it's a common finish in older British houses. It was popular in the 70s. It looks like you have a relatively light dose of it, I have seen worse. It is unfortunately quite hardwearing.

The best bet is to skim over it. Brush on 3 coats of 50% PVC to provide a key for the plaster, then skim over the top. You may wish to hire a professional for this as plastering well is difficult.

We had to do every single room in our current house, we had a bad dose of Artex. We did the prep work ourselves, then it took a professional plasterer a day to finish the job and cost a few hundred quid.

  • 1
    Yes. At first I thought it was anaglypta but a closer look shows that the pattern does not repeat. Artex is applied by hand like plaster but with a swirling pattern instead of flat and smooth. Here is a youtube video (it looks like an advert so apologies for that) that shows how to cover Artex. youtube.com/watch?v=SZPrcwkruwY There are several other videos on the subject. Nov 5, 2015 at 10:03
  • 1
    OMG - someone else on here has heard of plaster! I'm amazed so many answers on here just don't mention it as a possibility. Do Americans not plaster walls?
    – AndyT
    Nov 5, 2015 at 14:38
  • 2
    @AndyT - we plaster all the time. But it takes more skill and is a bit messier so we usually opt for something easier.
    – DMoore
    Nov 5, 2015 at 20:31
  • You could of course hang sheetrock over the top, but then you lose just a little bit of ceiling height. A skim will take it flush with the high points. Nov 5, 2015 at 23:59
  • a few hundred quid... man thats a nice quote... i just got a quote of $6k for 800 sqft to skim coat our ceilings...
    – g19fanatic
    Jun 6, 2018 at 12:50

That type of textured ceiling seems to have been very popular with every house I've owned. The easiest (not that it's easy) way I've found to remove it is to wet it down using a garden sprayer (with just water) and scrape it off with a stiff drywall knife.

  • Is there any special tool that can be used to help me with the scrapping ?
    – MiniMe
    Nov 4, 2015 at 18:51
  • No, no special tool, just a drywall knife. You'll probably want to experiment to see which width works best for you. For me, anything wider than 4" required too much effort to cleanly scrape the surface and anything much narrower made it too easy to gouge the underlying drywall.
    – Michael J.
    Nov 4, 2015 at 19:25

You could buy a few large cans of a specialty lightweight Spackle and fill over the texture, if its moderately shallow, then repaint. Adding the standard orange peel texture afterwards would cover any variations.

Try it in an inconspicuous area to see if it would yield positive results. Don't use standard drywall mud as it would yield poor results.

  • I have no guarantee that the result would be aesthetically satisfactory .. I won;t try that
    – MiniMe
    Nov 4, 2015 at 19:53
  • 1
    Just tear out the drywall and replace it then. It's the only thing that would give you the guaranteed results your looking for. Stripping paint then sanding is a totally nightmare. Your going to end up tearing the paper and having to fill everywhere anyway. Also fill will take about 1-2 hours, strip sand your gonna be there for 10-20.
    – Greg
    Nov 4, 2015 at 20:00
  • Yeah ...it sounds like I will have to do that. I was thinking about that paper layer that covers the drywall and which I will indeed end up tearing off..
    – MiniMe
    Nov 4, 2015 at 20:10

How about adding wood planks over the existing finish? http://edithandevelynvintage.com/how-to-plank-a-popcorn-ceiling/


OK this is GONE GONE GONE. I hired a guy who plastered this using Sheetrock 45 and then he coated that with mud and sanded it. Took him 10h one day and another 2h next day to sand it with a drywall sanding machine It looks like this right now enter image description here

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