Removing a Slapbrush Texture on Ceilings

Slapbrush texture is a common type of texture for finishing the surfaces of walls and ceilings. Texturing is usually done at the time of new construction or when patching and repairing drywall. Removing a slapbrush texture from your ceiling allows you to change the look of your room either by creating a smooth finish overhead or replacing the texture with a different style of finish, such as popcorn or acoustical ceiling texture. Sanding provides a quick and simple method of removing slapbrush texture, while a wet removal method helps hold down dust.


Removing the texture from your ceiling allows you to create a new style of decor.

Step 1

Remove any movable items from beneath the ceiling. Cover all remaining items in the room with large sections of clear plastic sheeting. Take down any curtains, pictures and other wall hangings. Open windows and close any doors that lead to other areas inside your home.

Step 2

Attach an 80-grit sanding screen to the pad on your pole sander. Put on your respirator mask and sealed eyewear.

Step 3

Sand the slapbrush texture off the ceiling by using a pushing and pulling motion with the pole sander. Remove just the surface bumps to avoid damaging the underlying drywall. Start at one corner of the textured ceiling and work your way along the edge of the wall, creating a single strip of smoothness. Work your way across the ceiling in this manner.

Wet Removal

Step 1

Minimize airborne dust by using a wet removal technique to take unpainted slapbrush texture off your ceiling. Cover your floor with plastic sheeting to protect the flooring from drips and debris.

Step 2

Dampen the surface of a 10-foot square section of the ceiling with a texture sprayer, using warm water. Let the water soak into the texture for about five minutes. Test for dampness by scraping the ceiling with a fingernail. The texture should come off easily under gentle pressure.

Step 3

Scrape the dampened texture off your ceiling, starting at one corner and working your way along the edge of the wall. Use a 10-inch drywall knife attached to an extension pole. Hold the blade of the knife at a 90-degree angle from the surface of the ceiling, using the tip of the blade to scrape the texture from the drywall. Apply light pressure to avoid gauging the underlying surface.


  • Always wear eye protection when working on a ceiling.