AgentNews Brief

Restore popcorn ceilings to 1960s luster

Primer, airless paint sprayer among must-haves

Q: I have a popcorn ceiling that has been stained a rust and oil color when a cast-iron pipe leaked. The ceiling is more than 40 years old but is still in perfect condition. I don't know whether asbestos was included in the ceiling material. My questions are: 1. Can I use a stain blocker primer on these stains before a color coat that matches the popcorn color? 2. Should I apply the new paint with a brush, roller or sprayer? 3. How do I cover the stain without brushing off the popcorn material? A: We've responded to a number of readers over the years who have wanted to get rid of popcorn ceilings, but you're the first who wants to keep one. For the uninitiated, "popcorn" is the nickname for sprayed-on textured coating. It was "the look" in the 1960s and '70s. Some ceilings even had sparkles mixed in. Until around 1978 there was a good chance the sprayed-on coating contained asbestos -- we suppose for its fire-retardant qualities. In 1978, asbestos was ba...