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What can I do to get rid of my bumpy stucco ceiling?

The question

I have popcorn stucco on many of my home's ceilings. How do I get rid of it?

The answer

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I'm with you: The only popcorn I care for is the buttered kind, preferably while watching Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo in my favourite movie, The Thomas Crown Affair. A bubbly ceiling is usually sprayed on by developers to cheaply cover a bad drywall job or concrete slab rather than spending extra labour on a beautiful smooth ceiling. Unfortunately for you, it's not easy to get that flawless look. If the ceiling is newer and the substrate is sound, you can usually wet the texture by sponging or spritzing and then scrape off the popcorn. This is a difficult physical job and it's hard on the lungs. Next, you need to apply a plaster skim coat, sand and paint.

For an older ceiling, forget the intense manual labour and go straight to laminating a new drywall ceiling over the popcorn, then skim-coat and paint. And if you have cracks in your ceiling and just cover them up without repairing, be warned that they might reappear in time, whatever method you choose.

Dee Dee Taylor Eustace is an architect and interior designer. Follow her on Twitter: @ddtaylordd. Have a design dilemma? E-mail

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