How to Cover a Popcorn Ceiling: A DIY Guide

Popcorn ceilings were once the height of popularity, heralded for their ability to hide imperfections and enhance acoustics. However, as design preferences have evolved, so too has the desire to update these textured surfaces.

Removing a popcorn ceiling, while possible, can be fraught with challenges. In this post, we’ll explore the complexities of removal and propose a cleaner, more efficient alternative which is covering your popcorn ceiling.

The Problem with Removing Popcorn Ceilings

The first challenge in removing a popcorn ceiling is the mess. As you scrape away the texture, you release a flurry of dust and debris, which can infiltrate every corner of your living space. For anyone with dust sensitivities or in homes with pets and children this can be a real issue.

Moreover, the removal process isn’t always straightforward. Depending on the age and condition of the ceiling, the popcorn texture can be stubbornly adherent. Aggressive scraping might be necessary, which risks damaging the drywall beneath. This damage often requires extensive repairs, including skim coating the majority of the ceiling with drywall compound—a time-consuming and skill-intensive task.

An Easier Alternative: Covering Up

Given the potential complications of removal, many homeowners opt instead to cover their popcorn ceilings. While one approach involves installing new drywall directly over the old ceiling, this method has its drawbacks. It requires handling large, unwieldy sheets of drywall, applying compound to seams and corners, sanding everything smooth, and then repainting the entire room. This process is not only laborious but also very messy.

The Best Method: Tongue and Groove Wood Planks

Synergy Wood Ceiling
Synergy Wood Ceiling – Southern Pine Colonial

A more efficient and aesthetically pleasing method is to use tongue and groove wood planks. These can be directly installed over the existing popcorn ceiling without the need for extensive preparation or cleanup. A particularly good source for these materials is, which offers a wide variety of prefinished wood ceiling planks.

Benefits of Prefinished Wood Planks

  1. Easy Installation: Tongue and groove planks fit together seamlessly, making installation straightforward for most DIY enthusiasts. The interlocking design minimizes gaps and creates a smooth, cohesive appearance.
  2. No Mess: Since the planks are prefinished, there’s no need for sanding or painting. This drastically reduces the dust and debris typically associated with ceiling renovations.
  3. Aesthetic Appeal: Wood adds warmth and character to any room. With various finishes available, you can easily find an option that complements your home’s interior.
  4. DIY Friendly: Unlike the cumbersome process of hanging drywall, installing wood planks is something most homeowners can manage on their own, without professional help.

Step-by-Step Guide to Installation

  1. Measure Your Ceiling: Start by calculating the square footage of your ceiling to determine how many planks you’ll need.
  2. Prepare the Surface: Ensure your existing ceiling is stable and secure. If there are loose bits of popcorn texture, gently remove them without damaging the drywall.
  3. Install Furring Strips: Install 1″ x 3″ furring strips inline with your ceiling joists.
  4. Install the First Plank: Begin at one corner of the room and work your way across. Use a nail gun to secure each plank into place through the tongue of the plank blind nailed at a 45 degree angle, making sure each new piece locks tightly with the previous one.
  5. Continue Across the Ceiling: Maintain a straight line and be mindful of plank alignment as you progress. For the best visual effect, stagger the seams between planks.
  6. Finishing Touches: Once all planks are installed, you may choose to add trim around the edges for a clean, polished look.

Shop all wood ceiling plank options online

By opting to cover your popcorn ceiling with tongue and groove wood planks from, you can avoid the hassle of traditional removal methods and enjoy a beautiful new ceiling that enhances the overall look and feel of your home. Whether you’re a seasoned DIYer or a novice, this project is a manageable weekend endeavor that offers significant aesthetic and functional benefits. Happy renovating!

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