We all paint the walls to brighten up our rooms but have you ever considered painting the ceiling? Well, it’s a good idea to paint the ceiling and give your room a complete and neat finish. However, it’s not as difficult as you think. Once you prepare completely and follow the right directions, you can paint any texture easily with no confusions. This review contains complete information about painting the popcorn ceiling and step by step instructions to do this job. After this info, you will find painting the popcorn ceiling fairly an easy home improvement project.

See also: best paint sprayers for ceilings

Pros and Cons to Painting Popcorn Ceiling


Painting Popcorn CeilingPopcorn ceiling is becoming quite popular due to some obvious reasons. It comes with a great advantage of hiding anything wrong with the ceiling. With its uneven and irregular texture, it covers all sorts of minor flaws pretty impressively. You can paint the flat ceilings smoothly if you take some time to repair the breaks and cracks whereas a popcorn ceiling doesn’t require any fixes prior to the painting so that the quality will be increased.

The look of the popcorn ceiling is pretty different and catchy. Popcorn ceiling doesn’t only look attractive but it’s also simple and cheap to install.Unlike other ceiling types, you don’t particularly paint the surface for a fine finish but use a sprayer to get that irregular surface. Which means, you can complete the job faster than regular ceiling installation.

Another smart benefit of popcorn ceilings is that it reduces the amount of noise entering the room. The thick and irregular texture absorbs the sound and lets a little amount pass through. This means a study room is better with a popcorn ceiling than a regular one. All in all, the popcorn ceiling is budget friendly, looks incredible and requires less installation efforts.


Painting Popcorn CeilingWhere there are benefits of popcorn ceiling, you might face some difficulties as well. The biggest disadvantage of a popcorn ceiling is that its rough surface makes painting pretty challenging. Keep that in mind before installing because at some point in life, you will want to retouch the ceiling for a fresh look.

Another disadvantage of popcorn ceilings is that repairing it can be quite difficult. It’s obvious nothing lasts forever, likewise, ceiling also gets damaged at some point in life. And when it comes to a popcorn ceiling, performing repairs become extremely challenging. If there is even a minor leakage or cracking in one corner, you will be redoing the entire ceiling to make it look perfect.

Popcorn ceilings are also quite messy to maintain and repair. Due to the irregular surface, you will find it pretty hard to get into the crevices and clean it properly. That’s the reason, it’s not a right option to go with when it comes to installing the kitchen or bathroom ceiling. Such rooms gather more dirt and smoke hence it’s better to choose a smooth and flat ceiling for them that are easy to clean and maintain.

As we have already mentioned in the pros section that popcorn ceiling is thick hence restricts the noise. Well, this feature can also turn out to be a disadvantage especially if you’re living in a country with hot temperature. Thick ceiling can increase the room temperature and make it more suffocating. You should never prefer this ceiling type if you live in a hot country.

The biggest concern regarding popcorn ceiling should be the year it was installed. Popcorn ceilings from before 1977 contained a substance called asbestos that is hazardous for human health. In 1977, the authorities banned it and replaced it with a non-harmful substance. Just make sure, your ceiling doesn’t contain asbestos and if it does, replace it as soon as possible to keep everybody in your home safe. If you cannot afford replacing the entire ceiling, seal it properly to confine the asbestos and stop its integration with the environment.

How to Paint Popcorn Ceiling

Step 1 Preparing

Before you start painting the popcorn ceiling, test its water solubility. You can do it by examining whether it has been painted before or not. The popcorn ceiling that has not been painted ever before is usually more water soluble. You can spray some water on the ceiling and if it becomes soft, you will know the surface has not been painted previously. For best results, prefer using a paint sprayer for the water soluble popcorn ceiling. If you use a roller, the ceiling will absorb the moisture and texture will start coming off.

Paint Popcorn CeilingWhen it comes to painting the ceiling, you can reduce the paint dripping to increase the overall quality of your work. The drops will directly fall on the floor and furniture. Hence, it is best to cover everything from the room to paint the ceiling freely and keep your furniture protected and unstained. If there are large objects that are pretty heavy to remove or some fixed decorative features like floating shelves and wooden showcases, use plastic sheets and old pieces of cloth to cover them properly. Also cover the floor if you don’t want the beautiful tiles to look untidy due to paint drops.

Many people forget about covering the light fixtures and later on face extreme difficult in cleaning them. It’s for the best if you cover them by using painter’s tape and plastic. Other than that, also cover the walls, windows, fans and vents to keep everything in its best condition and looks. As long as you’re painting the walls along with the ceiling, you don’t need to cover them. But make sure you paint the ceiling first and then move to the walls.

Before you start painting the popcorn ceiling, make sure you use the right protective gears to stay safe during the whole project. When working on the ceiling either for painting or repairing, it’s obvious to get debris, paint and other materials on your head and face. The dust and waste can also get into your eyes and cause serious infection. Thus, do wear dust masks and eye glasses to paint the ceiling safely. Also make sure you are wearing old clothes because it might be difficult to get paint off from your favorite shirt or pants.

Preparing Popcorn CeilingOnce you have dressed up well, emptied the room and covered fixed things, you’re ready to make necessary repairs before you start painting. Although popcorn ceiling doesn’t require minor fixes prior to painting but for perfect and long-term finish, it’s best to repair the cracks and breaks. Use acoustic spray to fix the small damages as they work fine on areas of 16 inches by 16 inches or less. Whereas for larger cracks, you should prefer the powder texture that is mixed with water to apply.

Step 2 Pay attention to Your Paint

For painting projects, choosing the right paint is a crucial step. When working on the popcorn ceiling, you should prefer using flat or matte finish because they do not draw attention to the areas with uneven texture and look perfect. However, if you want to use something semi-glossy or satin, you can use those as well. In fact, for ceilings of rooms that are prone to humidity like bathroom and kitchen, satin and semi-gloss paints are the best options.

Other than quality, color of the paint also plays an important role in enhancing the ceiling. Usually people go with white color because it’s a traditional ceiling shade and highlights the walls. White ceiling makes the room look brighter and larger. Even if the ceiling is low, white color will make it appear high. However, you can go with any light shade you like such as sky blue and pale yellow. For high ceilings, you can choose darker shades. They will make the room look more imposing and warmer.Moreover, make sure you don’t paint the ceiling and walls with the same shade as it will look more like a cube than a room.

Pay attention to Your PaintAnother most important thing you need to know about the paint is that it should be thinned before application. When it comes to painting the popcorn ceiling, thin paints is highly advisable because it’s suitable for ceiling and easy to handle. It’s best to thin the paint by simply adding the clean water. Approximately, ½ quarter of water for each paint gallon will serve the purpose pretty well. Never add too much water altogether because you don’t want to dilute the paint much. Add Slowly and keep testing on the corner to see if it’s thin enough to adhere to the surface properly.

Step 3 Spraying the Ceiling

When painting a popcorn ceiling, it’s best to use an airless paint sprayer. It allows painters to achieve an even coat effortlessly because the nozzle discharges the droplets pretty uniformly with pressure. For a ceiling painting project, the best option is to choose a model that comes with a suction set and a portable paint reservoir. A sprayer with a backpack is usually an ideal model for ceiling projects because it’s easy to carry and handle. Make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions before using the unit and install it carefully to enjoy its functioning.

Paint sprayers come with an impressive feature of tip adjustment and if you don’t know, using the right tip is the key to successful painting. For acrylic paints that have been thinned, tips ranging from 415 to 515 work perfect. You can use a piece of cardboard to check that your chosen tip is creating a fine pattern or not. Make sure that you spray the cardboard without taking any pauses and the pattern is intact. Also check if the tip looks fine because worn out tips project poor results and must be replaced immediately.

Once you have installed the sprayer and adjusted the tip, you’re all good to start painting. Use a ladder to reach the ceiling easily and keep the nozzle of sprayer 1 foot away from the surface. Start spraying in one direction steadily without pausing or breaking the motion. Hold the sprayer in a way that it makes an angle of 90ᵒ with the ceiling.

Spraying the CeilingAfter you have covered the entire ceiling with first application in a single direction, let it dry properly. Once it has dried well, you’re ready to apply the second coat. This time, you will apply the paint in the direction opposite to the first coat. The applications in opposite directions allow the coats to bond strongly and cover the surface in a better way. Let both coats set properly by consuming enough time to dry. After it’s dried, if you see any patches or fadedness, apply the third coat to make it look perfect.

List of Recommended Products for Painting Popcorn Ceiling

Wagner 0529010 FLEXiO 590 HVLP Paint Sprayer

1. Wagner 0529010 FLEXiO 590 HVLP Paint Sprayer

This tool by Wagner Spraytech is ideal for interior as well as exterior paint projects. It offers fine finishing for any type of ceiling and works perfectly with undiluted oil based and latex paints. This sprayer allows painters to enjoy versatile painting by adjusting its iSpray nozzle for horizontal, vertical, wide and narrow applications. It comes with two nozzles and cups and an impressive feature of lock-n-go for quick and easy cleaning. This sprayer model saves the time with smooth and quick application and is totally recommended for popcorn ceiling painting.
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Hiltex 31229 Pneumatic Air Texture Spray Gun, 1.2 Gallon Hopper

2. Hiltex 31229 Pneumatic Air Texture Spray Gun, 1.2 Gallon Hopper

From the Hiltex brand, here comes the pneumatic air texture spray gun. Thousands of people are using this model for DIY home projects and it’s time that you try it to spray paint popcorn ceiling of your room. It’s pretty comfortable to hold because of the easy grip design of its metal handle. It’s Trigger has a locking control for spraying to enable a smooth and uniform application. This model is versatile due to its interchangeable nozzles that allow painters to use liquids with varying viscosities. Overall, it’s a perfect sprayer with a right angle option for the ceiling projects.
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Super buy 1.45 Gallon Air Hopper Spray Gun Paint Texture Tool Drywall Wall Painting Sprayer w/3 Nozzle

3. Super buy 1.45 Gallon Air Hopper Spray Gun Paint Texture Tool Drywall Wall Painting Sprayer w/3 Nozzle

This Super Buy spray gun is also highly recommended for ceiling projects. The spray gun is made up of aluminum alloy and features dark red color whereas the cup is totally a plastic piece n white color. It’s an elegant gun with the weight of 3.3 LBS hence pretty comfortable to handle. The nozzle has two adjustments i.e. small and medium that work perfectly fine with medium viscosity materials. The cup is big enough to contain 1.45 gallon of paint that is fine for a do-it-yourselfer. Painting textured ceilings problems with this gun becomes an easy job because it’s easy to use and light to handle.
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MARSHALLTOWN The Premier Line 693 SharpShooter I Hopper Gun with 45 Degree Angle Adapter

4. MARSHALLTOWN The Premier Line 693 SharpShooter I Hopper Gun with 45 Degree Angle Adapter

Here comes the outstanding invention of MARSHALLTOWN the Premier Line! It’s an ideal product for DIY home improvement projects. Now you can paint all ceiling textured types with this durable sprayer in a quick. This model offers impressive texture variety and reduced overspray with its seven orifices size in addition to tubular design. This product is also environmentally friendly as it is made with global materials in the USA. This gun has many benefits such as preventing leakage, controlled spray flow and easy orifice plate adjustment.It’s a perfect tool to give your popcorn ceiling a fresh look.
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Wagner 0520000 PowerTex Texture Sprayer

5. Wagner 0520000 PowerTex Texture Sprayer

There is no doubt in the high quality and excellent functioning of Wagner sprayers. This particular model is quite good for texture spraying. You can use it to get a popcorn paint spray for your ceiling. Other than that, knock-down and orange peel patterns can also be obtained with this model. It provides a smooth coverage and enhanced spray control for diverse surfaces. It requires a maximum pressure of 2 psi that is generated through its built-in air turbine hence no separate compressor is required at all. Overall, it’s a good tool to enjoy flexible applications and flawless finishes.
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How to Paint Popcorn Ceiling Video

Currently, these products are the hot tools for spraying in the market but if you find them unsuitable or unaffordable, check out some more impressive paint sprayers here to get done with your popcorn ceiling project.

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Popcorn ceilings are cheap to install and look pretty unique than regular ceiling types. You might find them challenging to paint but it’s not impossible at all. By following the right directions and making proper preparations, you can do this job smoothly with no problems or confusions. Just make sure you choose a right paint sprayer and complete every step carefully. Check out the sprayers mentioned above as they can make popcorn ceiling painting projects easy and quick!