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Test for Asbestos!
Any popcorn ceiling installed before 1980 might contain asbestos—a known cause of lung cancer. Before trying to figure out how to remove any popcorn ceiling texture, your local health department and ask about getting a sample tested. If the test comes back positive, cover the popcorn with new drywall or tongue-and-groove planks, or hire an asbestos abatement contractor to help in removing popcorn ceiling.
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Prep for a big mess
Cover floors and walls with plastic drop cloths as you begin your how to remove popcorn ceiling project. Don't use canvas drop cloths because water can soak through. Cleanup is easier with plastic too, because you can just ball it all up when you're done working and throw it in the trash. Leave the plastic in place after popcorn ceiling removal to catch the mess you'll make repairing and sanding the ceiling later.
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Get the furniture out
If possible, remove all furniture from the room you'll be working in. When learning how to remove popcorn ceiling, it is messy work, and you won't want furniture in your way every time you move the ladder around. If moving everything out of the room isn't possible, cluster it and cover it with drop cloths.