How to Smooth a Textured Ceiling

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Things You'll Need

  • Drop cloths

  • Spray bottle or electric sprayer

  • Water

  • Floor scaper

  • Drywall mud

  • Drywall trowel

  • Primer


Do this project in cool weather so you can have a breeze helping the ventilation.


Do not try to remove ceiling texture if it contains asbestos. Consult a professional.

Smooth out that textured ceiling with elbow grease.

Much like faux leather furniture and foil wallpaper, textured ceilings have come and gone in home decor trends. Maybe your home came with a textured ceiling, or you worked hard to apply a rustic finish. Then one day, you look up at that ceiling and realize it doesn't fit into your decor. You can smooth out that textured ceiling with some patience and effort. First, take a sample from the ceiling and send it to an approved asbestos-testing lab. If it comes back as having asbestos, you cannot do this project yourself. If it comes back asbestos-free, you may proceed.


Step 1

Lay drop cloths on the floors and secure them to the walls. Remove anything from the room that you can pick up and move out. Open windows and doors for ventilation.

Step 2

Do everything in 4-foot sections. Fill a spray bottle or use an electric sprayer with a water supply. Spray a 4-foot section. Let the water absorb into the ceiling for 15 minutes.

Step 3

Scrape the water-soaked texture off the ceiling, using the floor scraper. Remove only remove the texture material. Stop if you hit the drywall.


Step 4

Continue to scrape in 4-foot sections until all the texture is gone and the ceiling feels smooth. For stubborn areas, use more water and let it sit for 15 more minutes. If the texture is thick, you may have to repeat the process a few times to get it off.

Step 5

Fill in any areas that seem uneven or have holes in the drywall, using drywall mud and a drywall trowel. Do not be heavy-handed, as a light coat should suffice.

Step 6

Allow the ceiling to dry. Apply a coat of primer and allow it to dry before painting.




Based in New York, Tim Burgone has been writing technology-related content since 1991. His work has appeared in “Wired” magazine and “Mac Addict” magazine. Burgone received the Frank L. Kern Literary Award in 2002. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from St. John’s University in New York.