How to Repair a Damaged Popcorn Ceiling: A Step-by-Step Guide

Popcorn ceilings were popular in the mid-20th century due to their affordability and acoustic properties. However, over time, they have become less popular due to their outdated appearance and potential health hazards. If you have a damaged popcorn ceiling, it’s essential to repair it promptly to avoid any further damage and improve the overall look of your home. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to repair a damaged popcorn ceiling.


Step 1: Prepare the Room

Before starting any repair work, it’s crucial to prepare the room properly. Remove any furniture or fixtures from the room to avoid damage or obstruction. Cover the floor and walls with plastic sheets to protect them from dust or debris. When preparing the room, it’s essential to make sure that there’s enough ventilation. Open windows and doors to ensure proper airflow, and consider using a fan to help dissipate any dust or debris. If you have any allergies or respiratory issues, consider wearing a mask to further protect yourself.


Step 2: Identify the Damage

Inspect the ceiling carefully to identify the extent of the damage. Look for any cracks, holes, or water damage. If you’re dealing with a small area, you may be able to repair it without cutting out the damaged section. However, if the damage is extensive, you may need to cut out the damaged section and replace it with a new piece of drywall or plaster.

While inspecting the ceiling, make sure to look for any signs of water damage, mold, or mildew. These issues can lead to serious health concerns and should be addressed immediately. If you notice any signs of water damage, make sure to fix the underlying issue before repairing the popcorn ceiling.


Step 3: Remove the Damaged Popcorn Texture

If you’re working with a larger damaged area, consider using a drywall saw to cut out the damaged section. Be sure to measure the area carefully and use a straight edge to ensure a clean cut. Once you’ve removed the damaged area, install a new piece of drywall or plaster to fill the gap. Be sure to secure it with screws or nails and use joint tape to cover the seams.

If you’re dealing with a smaller area, you can patch it using a popcorn ceiling repair kit. These kits usually contain a spray can of popcorn texture, joint compound, and a taping knife. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure a successful repair.


Step 4: Apply Joint Compound

After installing the new drywall or plaster, it’s essential to apply joint compound to cover the seams and create a smooth surface. When applying joint compound, use a drywall taping knife to create a smooth surface. Start with a thin layer and gradually build up the thickness until it’s flush with the surrounding ceiling texture. Be sure to feather the edges to create a seamless transition between the repaired section and the surrounding texture.

Once you’ve applied the joint compound, let it dry completely before sanding. The drying time may vary depending on the thickness of the joint compound and the humidity in the room. It’s essential to wait until the joint compound is completely dry before moving on to the next step.


Step 5: Sand the Surface

After the joint compound has dried, it’s time to sand the surface to create a smooth finish. When sanding, use a sanding pole to reach the ceiling’s higher areas, and use a sanding sponge for any corners or edges. Be sure to sand in a circular motion to create a consistent texture. Start with a low grit sandpaper, such as 100 or 120, and gradually move up to a higher grit sandpaper, such as 220 or 240, for a smoother finish. When sanding, be sure to wear a dust mask to protect yourself from inhaling any dust or debris.


Step 6: Apply the Popcorn Texture

After sanding, it’s time to apply the popcorn texture. Popcorn texture comes in a spray can and can be found at most hardware stores. Before applying the texture, practice on a piece of cardboard or scrap drywall to get a feel for the spray nozzle’s pressure and texture.

When applying the popcorn texture, hold the can at least 18 inches away from the ceiling


Step 7: Paint the Ceiling

After the popcorn texture has dried, it’s time to paint the ceiling. Be sure to choose a high-quality paint that matches the color of the existing ceiling. Use a roller with a thick nap to apply the paint, making sure to cover all areas evenly. If necessary, apply a second coat after the first has dried completely.


Step 8: Clean Up

Once the paint has dried, it’s time to clean up. Remove any plastic sheeting or drop cloths from the room and carefully dispose of any debris. Use a vacuum or broom to clean up any remaining dust or debris from the floor and surrounding areas.


Step 9: Admire Your Handiwork

Congratulations! You have successfully repaired your damaged popcorn ceiling. Take a step back and admire your handiwork. Not only have you saved money by doing it yourself, but you’ve also restored the beauty and value of your home.


Tips for Repairing Popcorn Ceilings

  • Always wear protective gear, such as goggles, a dust mask, and gloves, when working with ceiling texture, paint, or other materials.
  • When removing damaged popcorn texture, work slowly and carefully to avoid damaging the underlying drywall.
  • If the damaged area is too large to repair with a patch, consider hiring a professional to do the job.
  • If you’re unsure about which type of popcorn texture to use, consult with a hardware store professional.
  • If you have pets or small children, keep them out of the room while you’re working on the ceiling to ensure their safety.



Repairing a damaged popcorn ceiling may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be done quickly and easily. By following these step-by-step instructions, you can restore the beauty and value of your home while saving money on expensive professional repairs.

Remember, always take the necessary safety precautions when working with ceiling texture, paint, or other materials. And if you’re unsure about any part of the repair process, don’t hesitate to consult with a professional.

With a little patience and a lot of elbow grease, you can transform your damaged popcorn ceiling into a beautiful and functional part of your home.