Formally a very common finish, simulated acoustic popcorn, or popcorn ceiling texture, now seems to be on the decline. Of all the finishes highlighted, this was the only “ceiling-only” finish. The beauty of popcorn finish is that it also requires the least amount of drywall finishing, and can hide a multitude of sins. Although still used on some applications, use of it has greatly diminished in the last 10 years, being replaced by other finishes or a smooth wall. To quote a contractor in the texture spray business, “There’s more popcorn coming down, than going up”, referring to the remodeling market.
What makes popcorn ceiling texture stand out is the fact that it actually contains pieces of solid particles (such as styrofoam) which give it a textured look. None of the other finishes we have described have this. It’s really what gives this texture its distinctive look. The material is marketed with different sized particles for different looks - Fine, Medium, and Coarse. It is typically mixed to a near water consistency, and can be applied very fast.
Ideal equipment solutions for this will have medium to high air volume (CFM). This means either a large internal air compressor or the capability to add a lot of air from an external compressor. Nozzle selection is pretty straight forward, whereas you need the particles to be approx. 4-5X larger than the largest solid particle. This typically is in the 6-8mm range.