How Do You Fix Stippled Ceilings? 6 Easy Steps

Popcorn ceilings, also known as stipple or stucco ceilings, are a form of textured ceiling that have a paint-on or spray-on treatment that creates unique ceiling textures. These variations in ceiling texture can range from small bumps to tiny particulars or swirls and lines.

Either way, a textured ceiling adds a lot of fun and life to homes and businesses. The problem with a textured ceiling? They can eventually wear down and become an eyesore. They may even become discolored. Here’s a cool fact too: stipple ceilings were invented in the 1930’s and popular until the 90’s, and since then, many homeowners have sought ceiling repairs.

If this sounds like your situation, don’t panic. Fixing stipple ceilings isn’t as hard as you might think. You simply have to understand the right steps or hire stucco painters like Earls Paintworks. Whether you decide to take this on as a DIY project or hire professionals, knowing the steps will help out. Let’s get into it!

Step 1: Address the condition and type of damage

No stipple ceiling repair project is the same. Some are worn because of age. Some have physical damage, scratches, or have been damaged by water. Assessing the damage and the condition will help you take the right steps to performing the necessary ceiling repairs.

For example, if it’s water damaged, then you will have to completely strip the entire ceiling of stucco to ensure that no mold or mildew has formed underneath. All of the moisture will have to be removed.

If it’s just some simple wear and tear  on a popcorn ceiling affecting the ceiling texture, you don’t have to stress; you can simply remove it, apply more stucco, and give it a fresh coat of ceiling paint.

The process of complete ceiling repairs can be cost effective, ranging from $200 on the low end all the way up to $2,000.

Cost of repairing ceilings

 For this reason, seeking ceiling repairs for textured ceilings as soon as possible is extremely important. It can also be a cost effective investment to hire painters or repair it yourself before costly problems arise in the future. 

That brings us to our next step.

Step 2: Remove any loose debris or texture

Over time (and depending on the damage to the textured ceiling), some stucco creating the ceiling texture may be loose, worn, or other debris may be lodged in between. Give it a thorough inspection before taking a damp cloth and wiping it clean.

Step 3: Soften the damaged area with water and a sponge

The third step is to take a sponge, dunk it in water, and apply it to the damaged area. Once enough water softens the stucco, it is easier to remove. At this point, you can take a drywall knife or similar tool to carefully scrape the texture off of the ceiling.

If you don’t shave the texture down enough, you may end up with clumps or large blotches. Ensure that it is removed down to the surface and completely flat for effective ceiling repairs.

Step 4: Stir and apply stipple compound

Once the ceiling is assessed, cleaned, and any problems areas are thoroughly repaired, you can take stipple compound (found at any home hardware store) and shake it thoroughly.

Hold the aerosol can approximately 12 inches from the area and spray in a circular motion to build up the texture. Apply a second coat if necessary and wait until the first is completely dry.

You can also purchase stipple texture in cans to apply with an applicator brush.

Step 5: Paint the area your desired colour

Once the ceiling texture, created by the stucco, has dried, it’s time to apply the ceiling paint to the entire ceiling area! Begin by covering everything in the room you don’t want to get paint on. This includes the floor, glass, window sills, furniture, and belongings. Since you are painting the ceiling, it’s easy for it to fall onto things or if you use aerosol cans it can easily splatter.

Watch this video to learn how to blend new texture into the old for a seamless finish on your textured ceiling.

If you are painting smooth stucco finishes on a textured ceiling you’re in luck. These are the easiest to paint as they have a smooth surface you can use a roller on. Sprayers work for this type of stipple ceiling as well. Backrolling is ideal because it softens the overall appearance. We recommend using a roller with ½” nap.

Medium types of textures on a textured ceiling will need a ¾” to 1” nap because it requires more surface to get into the small grooves. Apply two coats of paint.

Now, if you have a rougher type of stipple ceilings, it will require more paint and a thick nap on your paint roller. It will also require more attention to detail since the surface is so hard to paint.  

If you want to skip all of the hard work and have an incredible job done, we recommend hiring professional painters like Earls Paintworks. You can learn more about our painting services in Calgary. We pride ourselves in doing an incredible job in a reasonable timeframe while respecting your property. Imagine how beautiful your ceiling and home will look once the ceiling repairs on the stipple ceiling are completed!

Wrapping up how to fix stippled ceilings

Stippled ceilings, also known as stucco or popcorn ceilings, are a textured material applied to ceilings to give it a specific appearance. They were first introduced all the way back in the 1930s.  They were quite popular from then to the 1990’s so if your home was built in between then, there’s a good chance you’ll have stippled ceilings in some rooms.

Certain people like them. Others don’t. Either way, like other parts of our home, it will age and wear down over time. This is why eventually you will need to undertake ceiling repairs on the stippled ceiling to get it looking brand new. It also prevents further damage like mildew or mold that can cause very expensive repairs.

The steps needed to repair stippled ceilings can be summed up as followed:

  1. Address the damage and situation. Every project requires different approaches and materials.
  2. Clean the area to ensure there are no debris or excess texture hanging off.
  3. Use a wet sponge to soften the area of the popcorn ceiling that you would like to fix.
  4. File this area down with a drywall knife or another tool in a safe and slow manner.
  5. Apply the texture via aerosol can or other method to the area.
  6. Let it dry before applying paint.

Reach out to us for a free no-obligation quote if you want professional painters in Calgary to take care of your textured ceiling for you.

Pamela Vigneault
Pamela Vigneault
We hired Earl and his crew to paint the baseboards & walls of our basement. He is very good at answering emails and texts. Also is punctual when meeting for quotes and doing the work. I specifically wanted our baseboards lacquered and NOT brush or roller painted. It cost more, but the results speak for themselves. The basement was left clean and the furniture well covered. Great work from this company. Would recommend
Lorraine Townsend
Lorraine Townsend
Recently Earl painted the exterior of our house. The structure was very challenging and needed an enormous amount of prep work. Earl and his crew showed up every day on time and went full tilt for 4 days to get all the prep and painting done. The paint was all brushed and rolled.They were very professional and it was obvious that they take pride in their work.I did have trouble deciding on the colours and after a couple of stressful months, I followed up with a colour consultant that Earl recommended. It was money well spent and we are very pleased with how it turned out.I would not hesitate to recommend Earl and his crew.
Earl and his team helped me dramatically improve the interior of a recently purchased 1960 Bungalow. They prepped and painted the main level completely (ceiling, walls, windows, door jams, etc.) and did some painting in basement as well. Easy to work with from the start to finish. Great job, on time, and at a reasonable price. I highly recommend Earl’s Paintworks. I will most likely be using their services again soon!
Jenn Balderston
Jenn Balderston
Earl is the best in the business! We hired Earl to paint the exterior of our 106 year-old heritage home that was in disrepair. Our house is a craftsman bungalow that required highly detailed workmanship. Because of the uniqueness of the house, and its heritage value, we were nervous to hire the job out to just anyone. We met with a number of companies and Earl's Paintworks stood tall above the rest. We loved that Earl was an owner/operator and knew after talking to him that he'd take great care with our beloved home. We weren't wrong! Earl and Jeremy were meticulous - sanding every nook and cranny to ensure a perfect finish that would stand the test of time. We wanted a tri-colour scheme to show off the home's craftsmanship, which required a lot of taping, cutting, and intricate work. Our neighbours would stop by to compliment Earl and Jeremy - blown away by the precision and quality of their work. Both my fiancé and I were sad to see them leave. Earl and Jeremy had become fast friends, always making time to stop and visit with us (despite putting in long days of hard labour). Couldn't recommend them enough! If you are looking for a painter, do yourself a favour, and stop here.
Julie Sontag
Julie Sontag
We recently hired Earl's Paintworks to repaint the entire interior of a newly-purchased home and could not be more pleased with the quality of the work and exceptional service provided from start to finish. We were on a very tight timeline & Earl (the owner) and Jeremy showed up ready to work 30 minutes after we took possession of the house. They put in long hours to finish the job in only 8.5 days, despite the fact that it was a massive project (3 storey house with over 30 windows/doors to paint around and some 20ft ceilings). The care they took to cover our hardwood floors, carpeting and cabinetry was remarkable - not a drop of paint left anywhere it didn't belong.Earl was truly a pleasure to work with, responded to our questions in a timely & friendly fashion, and provided knowledgeable (and realistic) advice on different finishes and colour options. He even went above and beyond to point out some small repairs that needed to be addressed around the house which was helpful to us as new owners. We had 4 different companies quote on the job and chose Earl's Paintworks based on a gut feeling that Earl was the right choice. Very happy with our decision - so much so that we're hoping to have them back this summer to do the exterior of our house as well.We would recommend Earl's Paintworks to anyone without hesitation. If you're looking for a hardworking, locally-owned company to do an efficient, professional, super high quality job, this is it!
Ken Cheung
Ken Cheung
We wanted the interior and doors repainted in our home in preparation for selling. We obtained a couple of quotes from painters. We ended up choosing Earl due to our positive interactions with him.This is a small but very professional company. It was good to work with a smaller company where the person painting your home is the actual owner and therefore, someone who took full responsibility for the work. Earl was very helpful with colour suggestions. He was easy to communicate with via both emails, phone calls and text. Earl was a perfectionist. He finished our 2 level 2000 sq ft home in about 6 full days. He came a few weeks later to do the exterior doors (garage and entry) when the weather was warmer.I would not hesitate to recommend Earl's Paintworks.