Tool Review: Homax Popcorn Ceiling Spray Texture

2011-11-29 by . 13 comments

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As detailed previously, I recently had the opportunity of patching a umm…vintage popcorn ceiling. I found the Homax Popcorn Ceiling Spray Texture at my local hardware store for about $10 a can. I had huge reservations, but decided to give it a shot.

Technical Details:

14 ounces
Contains actual polystyrene chips
Patches popcorn acoustic ceiling textures
Maximum coverage: 6 square feet

 

The manufacturer’s product description reads: “An easy-to-use vertical spray texture will patch Popcorn textured ceilings with acoustic chips. The texture is designed to match existing Popcorn ceilings. The special nozzle provides controlled delivery for the textured thickness.”

Here’s what is true in that description: “A vertical spray texture with acoustic chips.” The phrases easy-to-use and controlled delivery are outright lies.

That’s not to say this product can’t be used for patching a popcorn ceiling. Unfortunately the learning curve is steep and the product is expensive.

I was initially interested in the product because I’ve sprayed texture with a hopper before. I made a huge mess and only started to get the hang of it towards the end. With this product – I made a huge mess and only started to get the hang of it towards the end.

This really can’t be stated often enough:  the spray goes everywhere. Your eyes, hair, walls, floors, and if you’re lucky, the ceiling. There’s a cute little video on the Homax website of a gentleman holding a small cardboard box with the bottom knocked out, presumably to contain the overspray. This has no chance of working on the planet Earth.

Plan on gloves, multiple pairs of goggles, and sheeting off the work area with plastic curtains and floor covering. Here’s what my setup looked like.

First I primed the patch and let it dry overnight.  I cut plastic sheets to go floor to ceiling and thumbtacked those in place.  Then I used painters tape on the ceiling edge of the plastic to keep the spray from sliding underneath.  More tape down the sides to seal the corners.  Plastic tarp on the floor with canvas on top to keep from dragging the plastic around.  Goggles (only one pair, don’t make that mistake!), gloves, ladder and cans inside the curtain.

Now the claim is you can get 6 square feet of texture out of one can. Well you may be able to, but I sure didn’t. I had 16 square feet to cover and used 8 cans (one was a dud). If I did it again, I might be able to do it in 4 or 5, which was my initial estimate.

So if you’re with me so far, you’ve bought a can per two square feet of needed coverage, obtained enough plastic to sheet off the area completely, and have a few pairs of goggles and gloves ready.  (By the way, if you were with me, you should have volunteered to help me scrape the whole ceiling.  Where were you anyway?)

Let’s talk technique. Each can is good for around 10 sprays IF you only use about a second per spray. If you hold down the trigger, it’s going to run out of aerosol instantly. Additionally that first spray is going to splatter (high pressure) and the last will dribble out. This isn’t a normal spray paint button, you get this screw on plastic deal that puts the nozzle between your fingers, like a can of whipped cream.

I knew everything you’ve read up to this point and thought I could handle it. I crawl into my containment area, don gloves and goggles (and the stupid cardboard box for the first attempt – lets never speak of that again).   Next step, shake can vigorously for a couple minutes.  Climb ladder, put nozzle 12 inches from the ceiling.  Then I mentally prepared to spray short bursts, quickly, to get as much product out before I ran out of aerosol. Pull trigger. Nothing happens. Naturally my instinct is to put the can closer to the target and pull it again. BLAM. Wet goopy stuff dripping from the ceiling. Ugh. But can’t stop, hurry, hurry, hurry. I applied about 1 square foot of thick cottage cheese and it’s just glopped on there (see the top left corner below). And 10 or so ounces of additional spray on my curtain, hands, etc.

Here’s what worked for me. Hold the can 20 inches from where you’ll spray. Pull the trigger a little harder on that first spray to get it going, but keep your hand back. Keep with the short sprays and you’ll be able to cover a larger area and it won’t look as bad. If it’s too light, hit it again in an hour.

If you’ve taken the proper precautions the clean up is pretty easy. I’d recommend leaving the floor covering for a few hours as the texture takes a while to dry.

This review is pretty negative, but to be fair, this product is trying to do something quite difficult: provide a ready-to-use apparatus that can apply solid material in a vaguely liquid form while still being easy to clean up and relatively harmless. I applaud the attempt.

I’d estimate 15 or so square feet is where this product becomes cost prohibitive. If I had to patch another ceiling of less than 10 feet I would consider using this again. Anything past that – rent the hopper. Prep and cleanup are nearly the same.  Considering you can practice with the hopper and not waste $10 worth of material in two seconds makes it a clear winner in my mind.

Apparently Homax also makes a roll on popcorn texture, which I didn’t know existed.  Does anyone have any experience with it?

I’m conflicted on where this rating should end up. On the one hand, it’s a pain to use, but it can be used to patch a popcorn ceiling and the alternative method isn’t that great either. So I’ll say this rates one Captain Construction. Poor guy took one for the team while his buddies went off to play with the cool tools.

1 Captain Constructions

 

 

 

 

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13 Comments

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  • Shirlock Homes says:

    Absolutely love your blog. made me laugh, even though an uncomfortable laugh as I have also suffered the insanity of learning to use this stuff. Sounded so easy, NOT! I do like how you describe the experience, and it gives a good heads up to others who are silly as me to believe the hype on the can.

    • says:

      Thanks for the compliment! I’m sorry you’ve also shared in this experience; hopefully anyone else that tries it will be well armed.

  • Laura F. says:

    Awesome, we also once sprayed that stuff on our ceiling and were less than impressed. Unfortunately it beat redoing the entire ceiling….

  • Steve B says:

    Have used it a couple of times. First was surprised at how hard that can kicks back. (repaired dent in floor later!) And it does cover less than the can says.

    My experience is that it does the job, although not cheaply. And it takes some practice.

    Tips: the cardboard box shield does work if you can hold it up against the ceiling tightly. IF you use that AND the plastic sheet wall, the mess is reasonably contained.

    Also: be aware that once you’ve sprayed the can, the propellant will slowly leak away. And that expensive can is dead. So, if you have several small patches to do, set up for every one of them, and move quickly from place to place, all in one session!

  • Donna Setzer says:

    Does Homax market a popcorn mixture to roll on ceiling rather than using a sprayer?

  • Jason says:

    Never been a fan of the popcorn texture. I wonder how much practice it would take or even if its possible to get the patch to match convincingly.

  • Jon Raynor says:

    Good review. I’ve used this a few times since our house has popcorn ceilings and it is difficult to use….and the stuff goes everywhere! Definately make a clean room where it is going to be used.

    Don’t spray as if you would a can of spray paint. Further back, way quicker strokes. Short bursts.

    Honestly if you hung the can with a string from the ceiling and exploded it I think it would cover more effectively.

  • Jason says:

    Thanks for the great review! I have a small patch to (<4 Sq Ft) and I’m about to use this stuff. I made a tent on the ceiling but I’m going to recheck everything before I pull the trigger. You are right about the video they use… They make it look easy.

  • Kris Brower says:

    I have used the popcorn ceiling patch spray many times (hoping that it would get better with experience), and each can has a different spray pattern or no spray at all. I have had cans that shot out a solid stream, much of which never went more than 2 inches from the nozzle before it fell on the floor. There is no way to know if a can of this stuff will actually get to the ceiling, much less give any kind of spray pattern. Part of what did get to the ceiling made 1/2″ wide snakes rather than a random spray pattern.

    The coverage is never even close to the advertised number of square feet, and the can is empty before you can spit, so there is no way to take it back and show the store how poorly it sprayed.

    The cost of this stuff is outrageous considering the quality and quantity of work you can do with it! I most certainly do not recommend the can that covers 2 SF–what a joke! The can that covers 6 SF is better, but only marginally. There ought to be an automatic refund for customer complaints!!

  • Rob Dove says:

    This product was a messy expensive can of crap Made such a mess and didn’t cover near what it said Misleading advertising on the video

  • Keith near Buffalo says:

    Just gave this stuff a try. Boy am I glad I read this review first and knew to totally cover everything including myself.

    It was like firing an artillery cannon filled with cottage cheese. I think I still managed to get some in my mouth.

    I only had about a 1 sq ft patch to cover, from water damage, so one can was plenty. In lieu of the hated box, it worked pretty well to make a rectangular shield of newspapers taped to the ceiling. I forgot it would drip like crazy for a minute afterward. I think the dripping helps create the texture, actually, like little stalactites.

    All that said I’m reasonably happy with the result. The worst thing is the color is way off, but I suppose that can be painted.

    Thanks so much for the review!

  • Steve in TC says:

    Haven’t even gotten to the explosion part yet. Bought 2 cans. Both duds. Shook for another 10 min. Still nada! Aaarg!!

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