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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Got a job coming up on a friends investment property. Wants to have acoustic ceiling removed, then paint the unit.
I’ve done it plenty of times. Not
My first choice of work that’s for sure.
Anyways, typically after removal the ceilings always seem to need a skim coat(shoulder is sore just thinking about it lol)and then sometimes texture. Outside of just skim coating with a taping or large broad knife, what are some of the ways others have applied a skim coat?
I was thinking it could be rolled on and someone could follow with a large knife. Or, has anybody ran thinned out mud thru a spray rig with tip off and then troweled smooth?
Suggestions please!


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IMO, you don't always have to skim after popcorn removal, but it's rather hard to bid imo, as you never know the state of what's under popcorn. If everything goes well and you're not an ape while removing it and have a sharp knife and use enough water, ideally you should have minimal gouges or problems anywhere, and ideally too the drywallers did at least an OK job, and didn't use popcorn to cover their sins. I got very lucky on my first popcorn removal jobs as all those conditions applied, but then later I got the hard ones where they didn't. So I actually honestly wasn't even aware of skimming popcorn removals when I first started painting, as they just went so ideally and looked great when done with no skimming.

Problems I've had are besides popcorn painted too much (but most flat paints it's not a big deal and water still absorbs) is people spraying popcorn onto wet primer and then you scrape the primer off the wall with the popcorn and end up with a giant mess of torn drywall paper. Other big issue I come across more often is popcorn is sprayed while the joint compound is still wet, so then you need to reskim at least the joints but then you end up just doing it all anyway. Third problem sometimes is popcorn is put on top of painted popcorn or texture to hide problems, and in that case you need to just take off what's failing and skim over the whole mess or just redrywall it all.

But, if everything goes well, just fix your small gouges or your small tape peeling at the corners, and use a dead flat cheap slightly gray ceiling paint ala an SW Masterhide, and that's it. Especially on an investment property/rental.

That said, for skimming, I've rolled and used a Magic Trowel, which is a rubber knockdown knife. It worked, but you still get lines, but it's pretty user friendly. I really am looking to get some sort of Speedskim style tool, I think the Marshalltown Proskim is probably the cheapest one in USA now.

Marshalltown one, they come in blade lengths up to 4 feet.

Personally as far as a method maybe not often talked about on PT, but that I personally like, is depending on how thick of a layer of skimcoat you need to do, skip the All Purpose and paint roller until the end, and use hot mud applied with a trowel and knock it down plaster style. (Very hard shoulder work, though.) Then you can go 1/8" or so per layer and knock down any lines without sanding, and ideally you can do zero sanding if you're super duper skilled and trowel down any holidays and use water to build up a little fat to spread around to fill stuff in. But, if it doesn't go that ideal, basically the idea is to build/shape it with the setting compound, and then use a very thin skim of All Purpose just to fill in your holidays everywhere and give an easy to sand layer (since hot mud doesn't sand too great.) To use water with the hot mud, you need a bonding agent like Plaster Weld or Quikrete Concrete Bonding Agent, though, or else it can blister off, and you have to wait just at the Goldilocks moment of hardening up. Doing multiple layers of All Purpose never ends up as good as layers of something that actually sets, as you can't knock down the All Purpose to flatten it, you can sand between layers, or sand in one big pass at the end and sand deep, but a last layer of All Purpose if you do want to sand is more ideal just to give an easy to sand layer.

Personally it depends a lot on the room itself you want to do, and how bad off the condition is. If it's absolutely wrecked and you need a thick layer then imo, the trowel and hot mud is way more ideal (though you can use a Speedskim type tool on hot mud as well...) if it's not too bad you just want it "Level 5" kinda for the hell of it, roller is probably more ideal, just keep in mind, too, with the roller the joint compound needs a fair amount of thinning thus your layer likely will be thinner than you expect.

For spray application that's seemingly a thing, but I'm ultimately not sure if they'd warranty it or if it would be all too efficient. In some other countries they market a sprayed on joint compound knifed down as a "spray plaster" system, though. Another option that's more simple is just using a high build primer sprayed on. There's a few, but they need to be sprayed to work as sort of a sprayed on light skim coat that levels itself out, you can't brush or roll them. So I've never messed with them or personally seen them used. Builders Solution® Surfacer - Sherwin-Williams I think that's one.


According to USG this exists in USA, but the video is from Australia.

Sorry for giving you too many options.
 

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IMO, you don't always have to skim after popcorn removal, but it's rather hard to bid imo, as you never know the state of what's under popcorn. If everything goes well and you're not an ape while removing it and have a sharp knife and use enough water, ideally you should have minimal gouges or problems anywhere, and ideally too the drywallers did at least an OK job, and didn't use popcorn to cover their sins. I got very lucky on my first popcorn removal jobs as all those conditions applied, but then later I got the hard ones where they didn't. So I actually honestly wasn't even aware of skimming popcorn removals when I first started painting, as they just went so ideally and looked great when done with no skimming.

Problems I've had are besides popcorn painted too much (but most flat paints it's not a big deal and water still absorbs) is people spraying popcorn onto wet primer and then you scrape the primer off the wall with the popcorn and end up with a giant mess of torn drywall paper. Other big issue I come across more often is popcorn is sprayed while the joint compound is still wet, so then you need to reskim at least the joints but then you end up just doing it all anyway. Third problem sometimes is popcorn is put on top of painted popcorn or texture popcorn to hide problems, and in that case you need to just take off what's failing and skim over the whole mess or just redrywall it all.

But, if everything goes well, just fix your small gouges or your small tape peeling at the corners, and use a dead cheap slightly gray ceiling paint ala an SW Masterhide, and that's it. Especially on an investment property/rental.

That said, for skimming, I've rolled and used a Magic Trowel, which is a rubber knockdown knife. It worked, but you still get lines, but it's pretty user friendly. I really am looking to get some sort of Speedskim style tool, I think the Marshalltown Proskim is probably the cheapest one in USA now.

Marshalltown one, they come in blade lengths up to 4 feet.

Personally as far as a method maybe not often talked about on PT, but that I personally like, is depending on how thick of a layer of skimcoat you need to do, skip the All Purpose and paint roller until the end, and use hot mud applied with a trowel and knock it down plaster style. (Very hard shoulder work, though.) Then you can go 1/8" or so per layer and knock down any lines without sanding, and ideally you can do zero sanding if you're super duper skilled and trowel down any holidays and use water to build up a little fat to spread around to fill stuff in. But, if it doesn't go that ideal, basically the idea is to build/shape it with the setting compound, and then use a very thin skim of All Purpose just to fill in your holidays everywhere and give an easy to sand layer (since hot mud doesn't sand too great.) To use water with the hot mud, you need a bonding agent like Plaster Weld or Quikrete Concrete Bonding Agent, though, or else it can blister off, and you have to wait just at the Goldilocks moment of hardening up. Doing multiple layers of All Purpose never ends up as good as layers of something that actually sets, as you can't knock down the All Purpose to flatten it, you can sand between layers, or sand in one big pass at the end and sand deep, but a last layer of All Purpose if you do want to sand is more ideal just to give an easy to sand layer.

Personally it depends a lot on the room itself you want to do, and how bad off the condition is. If it's absolutely wrecked and you need a thick layer then imo, the trowel and hot mud is way more ideal (though you can use a Speedskim type tool on hot mud as well...) if it's not too bad you just want it "Level 5" kinda for the hell of it, roller is probably more ideal, just keep in mind, too, with the roller the joint compound needs a fair amount of thinning thus your layer likely will be thinner than you expect.

For spray application that's seemingly a thing, but I'm ultimately not sure if they'd warranty it or if it would be all too efficient. In some other countries they market a sprayed on joint compound knifed down as a "spray plaster" system, though. Another option that's more simple is just using a high build primer sprayed on. There's a few, but they need to be sprayed to work as sort of a sprayed on light skim coat that levels itself out, you can't brush or roll them. So I've never messed with them or personally seen them used. Builders Solution® Surfacer - Sherwin-Williams I think that's one.


According to USG this exists in USA, but the video is from Australia.

Sorry for giving you too many options.
I have not done one of these popcorn removal jobs but I know USG does make a Level 5 primer that is self leveling. I'm not positive but I think Benjamin Moore makes one also. I would be curious to see if using one of these would work as opposed to skimming entire ceilings especially if it's a whole house.
 

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Got a job coming up on a friends investment property. Wants to have acoustic ceiling removed, then paint the unit.
I’ve done it plenty of times. Not
My first choice of work that’s for sure.
Anyways, typically after removal the ceilings always seem to need a skim coat(shoulder is sore just thinking about it lol)and then sometimes texture. Outside of just skim coating with a taping or large broad knife, what are some of the ways others have applied a skim coat?
I was thinking it could be rolled on and someone could follow with a large knife. Or, has anybody ran thinned out mud thru a spray rig with tip off and then troweled smooth?
Suggestions please!


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I typically farm it out to local plasterers.
 

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Aside from the obvious asbestos concerns, removing sprayed acoustic material from ceilings isn't that difficult. Although very messy.

As far as resurfacing the now bare drywall in all its hideous glory, I typically subscribe to the following procedures:

1. Seal the exposed drywall with a primer. I often preferred Zinsser BIN Pigmented Shellac because of the drywall discoloration, drywall paper separation, and questionable existing tape and joint compound.

2. Finish up the seams as if it were newly installed drywall that had only two coats of joint compound.

3. Depending on the paint finish I will either surface the whole ceiling with joint compound, or call it good with the seams completed.

4. A full coat of primer (Typically Zinsser 123)

5. Two coats of finish if I'm feeling frosty.
 

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Skimming is easy. Hawk and 12 inch trowel. Just plan on 2 thin coats. Sand with 180 pole sander. No better time to practice then on your buddies place..
 

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I have not done one of these popcorn removal jobs but I know USG does make a Level 5 primer that is self leveling. I'm not positive but I think Benjamin Moore makes one also. I would be curious to see if using one of these would work as opposed to skimming entire ceilings especially if it's a whole house.
I would think you still need to do initial filling and sanding prior to a level 5 spray coat..
 

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A majority of our interior work is popcorn removal, add recessed lights, new mounding and paint everything. Wet removal is the best. But you have to plastic everything. Think of it as spraying the interior of an occupied house. Wrap your boots with plastic and use your airless to wet the ceiling. Use a cross hatch method until the popcorn is so wet that the water is dripping off of it. Use a sharp 6-8” mud blade and scrape yourself out of the room and then pull your plastic. Make sure you bid an extra day for tape repair. If it’s on-a vaulted ceiling there will be extensive tape repair with wet removal. Put some heavy duty fans on the ceiling and Gardz and skim once with 90 before the end of the day. It’ll probably take 2 skims. Sand, prime, paint. Extremely labor intensive make sure your charge enough. We leave ceilings with a level 5 when we’re done. Popcorn removal is so popular with millennials. Get good at it now and make yourself “the guy” for it. We just bought a planex so I’m hoping to streamline the whole process. IMHO there’s lots of money to be made with popcorn removal for the foreseeable future.


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A majority of our interior work is popcorn removal, add recessed lights, new mounding and paint everything. Wet removal is the best. But you have to plastic everything. Think of it as spraying the interior of an occupied house. Wrap your boots with plastic and use your airless to wet the ceiling. Use a cross hatch method until the popcorn is so wet that the water is dripping off of it. Use a sharp 6-8” mud blade and scrape yourself out of the room and then pull your plastic. Make sure you bid an extra day for tape repair. If it’s on-a vaulted ceiling there will be extensive tape repair with wet removal. Put some heavy duty fans on the ceiling and Gardz and skim once with 90 before the end of the day. It’ll probably take 2 skims. Sand, prime, paint. Extremely labor intensive make sure your charge enough. We leave ceilings with a level 5 when we’re done. Popcorn removal is so popular with millennials. Get good at it now and make yourself “the guy” for it. We just bought a planex so I’m hoping to streamline the whole process. IMHO there’s lots of money to be made with popcorn removal for the foreseeable future.


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Is a lot of popcorn ceiling made from Asbestos?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
From what understand a lot
of popcorn ceiling was made from asbestos up to 1978. However the feds allowed the companies that made it, to use what they had until they ran out, which could have been early 80’s period. I don’t know for sure, which is why I don’t care to deal with them almost ever. I also find out how old house is before scraping and test if it’s in the 83’ and older age bracket.
I like the airless spray w water technique though! Good one! I’ve used a garden hose as well.


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A note on safety with ceiling/wall work removing media:
1991 is a (somewhat) magic year. Pre-91 I wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole (or pole sander for that matter). At least not before it's tested by a qualified testing agency.

Post '91, while there's still risk for asbestos, it's mitigated quite a bit. And even more so for products & houses '93 and later.

Read up more on asbestos legislation and regulation if you're curious here:

There's always risk... how much risk? That's a key question for me.

Wear a respirator:
Even still, if I'm doing any ceiling/wall remediation with removal of material of any vintage (even new), I'm in a half- or full-face respirator with at least 3M 2091 P100 Filters. (Those are the pink, round ones.) I'm also creating negative air pressure for air flow (meaning, creating the interior conditions so that dust is pulled outside). I'm also not doing this when others are around. I'm taping off the area. Etc.

No one taught me this stuff when I was a kid early in the trades. I shudder to think of the crap already in my lungs. I'm earnestly hoping you don't breath it in. Not worth it. Or, if you're curious, send me a private message and you can hear my cough.

Bidding & estimating:
It's why, frankly, I don't like doing it. Easiest thing pre '91 is to farm-out the remediation (because that's essentially what it is) to another contractor that focuses on it. Then step-in for the wall/ceiling work. Post '91 is a bit of a different story. And, yes, there's an economic opportunity. But, IMO, there's a risk/reward calculus for removing media that's quite a bit different from the risk/reward calculus of, say, no/low VOC interior repaints.

So I agree with what someone said above: tough to bid & estimate. I would bid on the high side of my range of hourly rates, do it as a time & materials bid for the ceiling/wall media work. Then possibly fixed bid for the prime/paint.

In terms of techniques:
There are quite a few good videos on this on YouTube. Particularly "That Kilted Guy." Awesome, eclectic outfits; even better drywall advice.
 
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