What is an Asbestos Popcorn Ceiling?
Sometimes referred to as an acoustic ceiling is a term that started in the late 50s. It was a quick and easy ceiling treatment very commonly used in residential construction. The great thing about it was it added a little flair to the ceilings of a home. When normally ceilings are flat dull and boring but the cottage cheese look added some personality. Sometimes glitter was added to the mix to give the twinkling affect like stars.
A number of materials were used over the years to make the textured ceilings one of which was asbestos. Other types of material used were paper and Styrofoam. Asbestos used in building materials got banned in 1976 which allowed builders to use up the material they had left in stock. So you may find asbestos popcorn ceilings in homes built as late as 1984.
The popcorn ceiling fell out of favor over the years for many reasons. One is that is gets dirty very easy and is impossible to clean. Builder’s still like to use it from time to time because it covers a multitude of sins and cheap to install.
How to Remove an Asbestos Popcorn Ceiling
First thing you want to know is it an asbestos popcorn ceiling? Was the home built prior to 1984 even the homes that had some remodeling done prior to this time frame? To determine if the popcorn ceiling contains asbestos, testing may be required for verification before you try to remove it.
For the do-it-yourself person you can safely moisten four small spots of about one square inch. Then with a putty knife scrape the material into a zip lock plastic bag. Refer to asbestos testing for information on where to get it safely tested.
Removing the Asbestos Popcorn Ceiling
When you get the results back and asbestos is found in the material an asbestos abatement contractor will be needed to remove or seal up the contaminated ceiling. Trying to remove the contaminated material on your own is very unsafe. Asbestos removal causes the fibers to become airborne and the fibers can be inhaled by anyone. The fibers can create many unwanted health problems.
It is even possible the acoustic ceiling in your older home may be in good shape. Every now and then popcorn ceilings received a cost of paint which did an excellent job of sealing them. If you have the older ceiling that was painted and want to remove it this type of asbestos popcorn ceiling should only be removed by an asbestos removal contractor. The spray water method will not work on a painted popcorn ceiling.
Other solutions involve installing tiles or other ceiling material over the asbestos popcorn ceiling. Many times this is a much safer way of dealing with the problem. The reason is the asbestos fibers and not disturbed so no fibers are released into the air in your home.
Once you have determined the popcorn ceiling is made of a safe material is can easily be removed. It is messy but getting it off the ceilings is not very difficult at all.
You will need to remove all your furniture and or cover it along with your carpet. Plastic tarps to cover everything work best removing the furniture insures you have room to work safely.
There are two ways to do the job yourself. The best way is a spray bottle of water and a scraper. When you wet down the popcorn it scrapes of very easy. You only need to dampen the area you are removing. Too much water will stain the ceiling. The second choice is to sand it off but the dust created by this gets into everything and makes a horrible mess. This method is best left up to professional contractors that can deal with all the dust.
Removing a popcorn ceiling is not the hardest thing there is with a little preparation and safety the process can be painless. The asbestos popcorn ceiling is best left up to the asbestos contractor.