Cleaning a Popcorn Ceiling

Although not the rage anymore, popcorn ceilings are still very common in homes. From the 1950s to the 1980s, the popcorn ceiling was inescapable. They were the best, quick, and inexpensive way to add a finish to ceilings in apartments and homes across the nation. The process was simple: spray a stucco mix on the ceiling, which left a bumpy lumpy texture. Hence, the “popcorn”. Many homeowners have foregone the popcorn ceiling in the last half century. However, many ceilings still show that sign of the 1900’s. And if you live in a house that does… your ceilings are bound to need a good cleaning.

Check out the following tips to clean the popcorn ceiling, remove cobwebs and stains, and bring them back to their former glory.

(At least until a ceiling renovation is in the budget,)

Basic Cleaning

Cover the ground and furniture in the room with tarps to protect them from the dust and dirt that will come off the ceiling during cleaning. Use your vacuum cleaner with the brush attachment to gently vacuum over the ceiling. This should remove the basic cobwebs and dirt. Feather dusters may be useful as well, but if you have dirt buildup, the feather duster is not going to be strong enough to get the job done.

Deep Clean

In the case of cigarette smoke and cooking grease, you’re going to need a liquid cleaner. Popcorn ceilings cannot withstand much moisture, so you much be careful when removing built up stains such as grease and smoke. Test a small portion to see if it will disintegrate, and then proceed to gently clean the ceiling with the liquid cleaner.

Your liquid cleaner will be a mix of warm water and dish soap. Wet a soft wash cloth, wring it out and use it to gently dab the stains on the ceiling. Be careful not to get the ceiling too wet.

Water Leaks

If your roof has leaked previously, water damage may cause yellow discoloration on the ceiling or even mildew. Use a solution with a small amount of bleach and dab the stains with a wet wash cloth. Again, take caution to not over dampen the ceiling.


It is possible that over the years, the stains may become too tough to remove. You can simply repaint your ceilings as an alternative to replacing the popcorn ceiling. Purchase pain specified for ceilings.

Note of Caution

Homes constructed before 1979 could contain asbestos. If you have an older home, have a professional inspect for asbestos. In the event of asbestos, you will need to replace those parts affected, such as the popcorn ceiling.


Bathroom Updates in a Weekend

Bathroom Updates in a Weekend

Sometimes you just need a refresher, but do not have the time or the money for a major overhaul. If you are looking to update your bathroom without a complete remodel, we have some great suggestions.

New Bathroom Paint

If your bathroom is already furnished the way you like it, a simple coat of paint may be all you need to add the magic touch. Make sure you’re happy with your cabinets, mirrors, vanity, and other pieces in your bathroom before deciding to repaint. You can sand old cabinets and apply new paint and you can paint the walls as well. Don’t forget to buy the paint specifically made for bathrooms, otherwise you risk peeling!

Add Shelves

You can add pull out shelving in your cabinets to help keep things organized and easy to find. Pull out shelves will make reaching the back of your deep cabinets much easier. This simple addition will make your cabinets feel brand new!

Accent Tiles

You can change the entire look of your bathroom by adding tile. Connect your shower and sink areas or add tiles above cabinets to give the room a completely new focus! The sky’s the limit with color and patterns, so get creative!

Go Retro

You can find old tables and unique vanities at flea markets and other crafting locations. If you moisture proof a wooden cabinet, you can fit it with a sink, and make a really neat rustic space.

Switch the Lights

Bathrooms seem to have the worst lighting! Go for an upgrade by either adding pretty light fixtures or changing up the type of lighting you have in the bathroom.

Change a Counter top

If the cabinet is in good condition, consider switching the counter top (especially in an older home). Choosing a fresh laminate or a remnant piece of granite will update your bathroom faster than you can say “Help me, HGTV!” Check out a Habitat for Humanity Restore for extra items for your upgrade.

Get a Handle on Things

Updating little accessories, like cabinet handles, makes a big difference in the overall look of the room. So, check out your toliet paper holder, your shower faucet handles, the toilet seat, and the cabinet handles for little things that can be changed for an entirely new look.

Flood Safety and Preparation

When you think of flooding and flood safety and protection, you may most likely think of gulf and coastal areas, especially this time of the year. The low land level combined with hurricane season means some areas are far more prone to flood conditions than other areas. Researching flood protection for your home may yield similar results, as many sites are focused more heavily on safety and hurricane evacuations, water rations, and survival.

However, even for people not living in traditional flood zones, flooding is always a possibility, and you should take precautions to protect yourself and your home from floods. In North Texas, we tend to have more flash floods than prolonged flooding disasters. Flash floods can pop up almost anywhere, and their sudden occurrence is what makes them so dangerous. However, a longer rainy, wet season can lead to more flooded areas and higher water levels than average. In those rainy seasons, it is good to have additional safety and protective reminders.

During Building and Reconstruction

Many of the considerations for flood protection will be taken by the builder of your home, but if you are renovating or building additions to your home, you’ll want to remember to:

  • Design with sockets, switches, wiring,  and circuit breakers at least one foot over the expected flood area.
  • Anchor outdoor equipment such as air conditioners well above ground (and expected flood levels).
  • Plan your build with the grading of your land away from the house, so that water flows away.
  • Homes can be retrofitted if recurring flooding is likely. Additional physical barriers can be put in place, and mold resistant paint can be applied.

During Rainy Seasons

  • Clear gutters and drains around your home.
  • If water rises, move electronics and appliances off the ground to protect them.
  • If needed, shut off electricity to the home.

Flood Safety

As a reminder, the American Red Cross recommends the following items for flood protection (and general natural disaster preparation).

  • 3-days worth of food and water on hand
  • Flashlight
  • Battery powered radio, with batteries
  • Fit Aid Kits
  • A week supply of medication, as well as regular medical items
  • Your personal documents together in one easy location
  • Cell phones and chargers
  • Cash
  • Emergency blankets
  • Pet supplies
  • Extra clothing, keys, rain gear, etc

Of course, we want to remind everyone not to drive through any flooded road. If you can not see the road under the water, you should not cross it.

Although we may not be in a huge flood zone in the same sense as those in hurricane paths, flash flooding is a very real and very dangerous natural condition that occurs in North Texas. Even if you’re not in a flood prone area, it is good to be prepared and know what to do if the water levels get too high. It is much easier to be prepared and move appliances before water comes in than it will be to replace all your appliances and electronics after a flood. As always though, the safety of you and your family comes first.

If you have any questions regarding flooding, flood zones, or flood safety, you can learn more from the American Red Cross, and you can learn more about your specific area by contacting your home insurance agency.

Curtains: A Necessary Accessory

When choosing window treatments, it seems like there are an unlimited number of options for every window. Curtains, blinds, drapery: each treatment serves an important function for the various rooms in your home. So, in addition to knowing the types of window treatments available, you’ll want to know how to choose curtains for each room … Read more

Baseboards: Functionality Meets Fashion

They’re in every room in the house, but did you ever give much thought to your baseboards? We usually don’t even think about them, until guests are coming over or it’s time to sell the house and you realize how dirty they are. But, baseboards are more than just dust and dirt collectors. They serve … Read more

Wallpaper or Paint for a New Look

Wallpaper is making a comeback. So disregard those images from grandma’s kitchen and start planning how you can add wallpaper accents to update your home. Whether on TV or in design magazines, you can see new, sleek wallpaper designs that combine colors, patterns, and textures to add a pop of excitement in various rooms of your house.

Pros of Wallpaper

Color: Like paint, wall paper comes in an endless selection of colors. But, you can also get one of a kind patterns and textures as well, meaning unlimited options for paper and paint combinations.

Durability: Paper holds up well against wear and tear. It doesn’t scratch easily and many varieties are even washable. If you have kids, being able to wash dirty fingerprints off the walls will definitely come in handy.

Price: Wall paper comes in a variety of price points, so you’ll be able to find something that fits your needs and your budget.

Ease: While paper takes a little more work to apply and remove than paint, if you are looking for a customized look, the design options with wallpaper will be easier than hand painting designs with paint.

Choosing the Right Look

Room Purpose: Calming colors in the bedroom? Vibrant colors in the kitchen? Let the purpose and the feel of your room decided which direction you want to go with style.

Room Size and Brightness: Busy and bold patterns can be overwhelming in small spaces or they can be a reflection of your personality, and may be a perfect fit for you.

Updating Often: There are removable paper options if you plan on changing your design within a few years. Wallpaper removal takes time and energy, so pick something (more) permanent or pick a removable option.

Scared of Wallpaper? If you’re afraid of overdoing it, or not liking it, try using paper as an accent. Try a small, half wall or a bookshelf, or check Pinterest for other ways to add accents to rooms without overdoing it.