From the day we first saw the house, we knew it was something that would have to be addressed at some point. The question of when to do it became obvious when we discovered the wood floors. It just made sense to do it before having the floors refinished. However, the question of what to do with it wasn't so obvious. We considered scraping it off, skim-coating the ceiling to level out the valleys, covering it with drywall, covering it with ceiling panels, or covering it with birch plywood. There were pros and cons to each potential solution.
Finally, it came time to begin and we decided, almost by default, to scrape it off in hopes of leveling out the ceiling. We thought that if we could scrape it, do a bit of sanding to level it off enough and then use a good flat ceiling paint, it might hide the craters enough that we could live with it. So...the scraping began. Using hats, leather gloves, eye protection, dust masks and a paint scraper, we took short shifts scraping. In the picture below you can see a row where we managed to scrape away the major texture -- what was left was a crater-looking surface, much like that of the moon.
I can't even begin to describe the mess. There are no other pictures of the process because, frankly, after taking these two pics, it was the very last thing on our minds! And here's the kicker...after we had finished scraping more than half of the ceiling, I removed the light and vent you see in the first picture, and what do you know, the texture started to peel away from the original drywall like it had in the guest bedroom. Time to make another decision -- stick to our original plan, or try and remove all of the texture down to the original drywall?
We went with option #2 and the long and tedious process of chipping away began. Much like our experience in the guest bedroom, there were some spots that peeled away with ease, but this was definitely the minority. In a number of spots we had to resort to water and sponging to loosen the plaster texture in order to scrape it down with the putty knife. The final step was drywall patching and finishing. Did I mention the mess?? A number of evenings and some very sore necks and arms later, it was another memory to be tucked away (and quickly forgotten) in this greater remodeling scheme!