Changing colour and/or altering Popcorn Ceiling in Home Theatre room.

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Chris PC, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    I have a small bedroom that is just long enough and wide enough to use for a home theatre with a projector. The ceiling is popcorn, which is a stucco sort of texture surface. This place was built in the 1978. There is a possible concern that the popcorn ceiling has some asbestos in it. As far as the popcorn ceiling in the bedroom for use as a home theatre, I don't care about the texture and look, and if anything, the uneven surface can even help with acoustics (this ceilings were often called acoustic ceilings). For anybody who is wondering, when setting up a projector home theatre, particularly one with a large 100" diagonal screen, you're best to have a completely light controlled room, and, it is best that the walls and surface be a dark, flat colour. At the moment, the popcorn ceiling is a nice bright white.

    I am planning to paint the popcorn ceiling a flat black with an oil paint, but, I am hoping that if and/when I decide to sell this place in the future, say in 2 or 3 years, I can paint over the black ceiling and change the colour without applying 20 coats of paint.

    The idea of the oil paint is that it doesn't cause the water based popcorn ceiling to flake off, and, in case there is asbestos in the ceiling, the oil paint will create a somewhat effective seal. I have thought about having the popcorn tested for asbestos, but, I'm not planning to remove all of the popcorn ceiling. If anything, I may want to remove a small strip at one end of the room, and would probably only do that if I verified that there was no asbestos.

    So, does anybody have experience with popcorn ceilings? Have you re-painted a darkly painted popcorn ceiling? What were your results? Any other thoughts?

    I am in the Toronto area in Canada. I'm not sure whether or not asbestos was used in popcorn ceilings, but it is quite possible. The US and Canada probably differ in when asbestos was used or not, but...it just so happens that 1978 keeps coming up as a year that asbestos was banned. My townhouse was built in 1978, so...there is no way of knowing if there is asbestos, unless I test for it. Some of the units in my complex will be tested for asbestos in their popcorn ceilings, but it's not happening right now, and I need to complete my home theatre sooner than later. Also, even though asbestos may have been banned in 1978, the material was most likely kept in use by some builders until they exhausted their supplies of it.



    thanks in advance for any feedback,


    :)
     
  2. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    You may want to look into local laws. As of this year in the US, any change like you want to do on an older house (I'm not sure on the date) will require an asbestos test and a licensed contractor to do the work. I don't think this applies to painting but if you want to remove the popcorn texture.


    I think that any good primer will seal it up like you want. Kilz is a very popular brand. When you want to change it back, I another primer coat and paint should be enough. I wouldn't go black though. My ceiling is battleship gray and is great. It's a half-way between black and white.
     
  3. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Hmmm. I will look into that. I was told by a few different people that I don't need a primer if painting right on top of the popcorn ceiling, and the oil paint should be fine. I just realized that I am not 100% sure whether or not the ceiling has or has not been painted. I would rather have the darkest colour possible, and a flat black oil paint is still my plan at this point. My walls are going to be a very very dark blue.
     
  4. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    My walls are also a dark blue. The gray is nice.


    I'm talking about using a primer when you change the color back. I'm also not up to speed on the types of paints but I would use whatever the local paint store suggests. My favorite is the premium Lowes brand. I tried the cheaper stuff and it wasn't worth the few dollars I saved since I had to use multiple coats.
     
  5. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    There is the option of using the very dark blue latex paint I have, if I use the proper primer first. Can't use latex paint and/or primer because the popcorn ceiling is water based.

    If the ceiling is un-painted, what primer would I use to prepare the popcorn ceiling for a latex paint? I wonder if that primer would smell as much as the flat black oil paint I have.
     
  6. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    Those are questions for paint experts. I know that newer paints are low VFC (the stinky stuff).
     
  7. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Right. I'll check with the hardware store again. They seem to know their stuff, as they've been dealing with this stuff for many years.
     
  8. Adam Gregorich

    Owner

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    I agree with Robert on the gray paint. I think black paint would really "shrink" the height of the room, especially if it is a standard 8ft ceiling. Everything I have ever read has said to use a heavy nap roller and only roll in one direction, not back and forth like you would on a wall.
     
  9. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    Have you thought about using a black felt or similiar fabric?


    It would save a lot of work now and in the future, if you sell the house.
     
  10. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    I am already planning to use a black or very dark blue paint. It's a home theatre/av room with a projector and that's it.


    I have thought of using black fabric, but it's more expensive and complicated. Also, because I don't know whether or not the ceiling has asbestos, I don't want to glue the fabric to the ceiling and then have to pull it off later. I have thought of using a rod at each end of the ceiling and tensioning a black velvet fabric, but I figured painting would provide a cleaner overall finish. If the black really makes the room look small, and low, I can just as easily get some white material to hang up when not viewing movies.
     
  11. CB750

    CB750 Screenwriter

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    Before I would paint a popcorn ceiling I would do a lot of research into the proper way to do the job as it is far different than painting dry wall or plaster walls. My understanding that when originally installed a popcorn ceiling was not painted and white its natural color. Builders liked them because they didn't have to tape, sand and paint the drywall ceilings.


    My sister found out the hard way as she tried to pant a original popcorn ceiling with regular latex ceiling paint with a roller. The paint was too thick and caused the part of the popcorn to flake off and adhere to the roller and the result was she ruined the popcorn ceiling. Then came the fun part removing the popcorn ceiling by scraping it off. What as mess and she found that wetting it down with water helped keep the dust down. When she was done she she had to tape and sand all of the edges and seams of the drywall. What stared out with a simple coat of paint ended up to be a nightmare.

    Another Sister who had a popcorn ceilings in her house called in a professional painter and they painted the ceiling with a airless spray gun which is the preferred method. I have read that a roller can be used but that the paint must be thinned with around 20% water which will make the job all that more messy. The theory is you want to use acrylic paint and you want it to be adsorbed into the popcorn material which is going to take a lot of paint.

    I suggest you take some time and go easy and don't cause any major problems for yourself especially if you ceiling has not been painted before. As Robert J says part of the Obama Health Care law in the US will require some sort of a national house inspection to take place before a home is sold, where regardless of the age of the home it must be brought up to current code and the appliances like furnaces and AC have to be energy efficient.
     
  12. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    I hear you. There are plenty of things to consider when looking at a project like this. For the most part, I have heard from many different people that painting the ceiling with an oil paint will avoid most of the problems with the popcorn coming off of the ceiling. I have an oil paint ready and waiting, and I also have a pile roller, which is better than the split-foam in that it won't require too much pressure to apply the paint. Either way, I will do a little bit more research before I go ahead with this.
     
  13. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    I never thought of the airless sprayer. A good drop cloth and tape plastic over all the walls (basically a Dexter kill room) and you are good to go.


    I brought up the law because Chris said he was in Canada and they are under a more oppressive regime than we are. And I don't think the asbestos law is part of the new health care because it went into effect earlier this year. It may have been part of "cash for caulkers" or "cash for air conditioners". It's just so hard to keep up.
     
  14. CB750

    CB750 Screenwriter

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    About the airless sprayer it was one of those commercial rigs that you can load up with 5 gallons of paint like you see on the home renovation shows where the paint a whole room in a couple of minutes.

    I think the common belief is that Canada has more oppressive building codes, In a recent Holmes on Homes show they had to remove asbestos from exposed pipes in a basement, and it had to be done using a rather complex procedure. I do know similar procedure's have to be used to remove exposed asbestos from commercial buildings in the US but am not sure how it works in residential homes.

    You may be right about the Health Care bill, but I do know that it has a provision for some sort of Federal mandated home inspection where the home has to be brought up to some sort of yet to be written Federal code. As Nancy Pelosi said we have to pass the bill so that we can find out what is in the bill.
     

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