Popcorn Ceiling Removal

Along with bathroom carpeting and sunken living rooms, popcorn ceilings are another retro home trend that’s fallen out of fashion. Even though they lost their popularity in the 1980s, you can still find them in many homes today.
If you’re tired of those bumpy cottage cheese ceilings, you might want to scrape them off yourself.
But, popcorn ceiling removal is more complicated than you might think. Here’s what you need to know about popcorn ceiling removal before you start. 

(1. It Can Reveal Structural Issues)
While popcorn ceilings helped with noise reduction, they were also a popular coverup for structural issues. If you get rid of the popcorn ceiling, you might find problems with the drywall installation or ceiling cracks. That can lead to more renovation expenses. ​
 
(2. It Can Lead to a Cleaner Home)
The texture of a popcorn ceiling traps more dirt and cobwebs than a smooth ceiling. They’re also harder to clean. By removing your textured ceiling, you’ll have an easier time keeping your home free from dust and grime.
 
(3. Removal Is a Messy DIY Project)

If you plan to go the DIY route, know that it’s extremely messy. Make sure to wear a respiratory mask and cover everything in the room with a drop cloth. Scraping the ceiling will release a fine white powder that you’ll have to clean up when you’re done. 
Some DIY guides recommend spraying the ceiling with water to capture some of that dust, but it can make removal messier. 

(4. There Are Creative Alternatives to Popcorn Ceiling Removal)

If you’re not up for the hassle of removal, you can cover your popcorn ceiling instead of removing it. You can try the skim coat drywall method where you cover the texture with drywall joint compound and a squeegee. 
You can also cover it with ship lap or wood planks, pressed tin, or drywall. This will add to the room’s design without the mess.

(5. You May Need Asbestos Abatement)

If your home predates the 1980s, your ceiling might contain asbestos, a heat-resistant natural fiber that can cause cancer. Before you start a DIY removal, you need to get your ceiling tested first. 
If it tests positive, you’ll have to hire an asbestos abatement contractor who can safely remove it for you. 

(6. Removal Isn’t Always the Right Choice for Asbestos Ceilings)
Asbestos isn’t dangerous until it’s disturbed or damaged. That’s why removing it isn’t always the right choice. In some cases, it’s more cost-effective to cover it up instead of scraping it off. 
Asbestos removal is expensive but it can cost even more if the contractor finds structural damage too.  
Did you know that asbestos was an essential “ingredient” in at least 5,000 different products? It was that common considering how strong, heat-resistant, and non-flammable this material is. All these properties made it an ideal construction material.
That was the case until medical experts revealed in 1924 that it could cause asbestosis. Many other studies soon came out to show how asbestos can also cause various cancers.
Today, asbestos has become a highly-regulated material with certain bans in place.
Since it’s not 100% banned, you may be wondering, is there asbestos in popcorn ceilings? After all, popcorn ceilings used to be very popular during the time that asbestos was still in use.
To that end, we came up with this guide covering the crucial facts you need to know about textured ceilings. Read on to learn how you can tell if your home’s ceilings have asbestos in them
A Quick History of Popcorn Ceilings

Popcorn ceilings also go by the name “acoustic” or “stipple” ceiling. Either way, these are ceilings made with various paint-on or spray-on treatments. The term “popcorn” came from the fact that they had bumps all over them, making them look like cottage cheese.
Textured ceilings like these were very common back in the mid-1940s up to at least 1980. They became popular because their “bumpiness” made it easy to hide surface flaws. They were also affordable and easy to apply.

So, Is There Asbestos in Popcorn Ceilings?
Unfortunately, yes. Researchers say that the use of asbestos in popcorn ceilings was pretty common from 1945 to 1980. These materials utilized white asbestos fibers (the type known as serpentine mineral chrysotile)
 
 
When Was Asbestos Banned in Popcorn Ceiling?

The Clean Air Act of 1970 was the first attempt by the United States to regulate asbestos. Under this law, asbestos became classified as a hazardous air pollutant.
However, the law was only successful in banning some types of asbestos-containing products. Some of these products include spray-applied asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). The list includes the treatments used in creating popcorn ceilings.
Note as well that the law’s application on textured ceilings only took effect in 1977. This means that there were still ACMs already manufactured before the Act. That’s why researchers say popcorn ceilings with asbestos can be in homes built up to 1980

How Can You Tell If You Have Asbestos-Containing Ceilings?

A 2018 housing report revealed that half of US homes had been around before 1980. It also showed that the construction of 38% of owner-occupied homes (in 2016) dates back to 1970 or earlier.
With that said, the first thing to do if you have popcorn ceilings is to date your home’s construction. If it has been around on or before 1980, its textured ceilings may have asbestos in them

Why Should You Care About Popcorn Ceiling and Asbestos?

Long-term asbestos exposure is hazardous and life-threatening. It can cause asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer. In addition, the CDC says that lung problems caused by this mineral can also lead to heart problems.
All that should be enough reason to make you concerned about your textured ceilings.
However, there are several other reasons that you want to remove popcorn ceilings. Let’s take a look at some of them.

They Can Contribute to Reduced Indoor Air Quality

The bumps and lumps in popcorn ceilings trap more dust and debris than smooth surfaces. Now, keep in mind that no matter how much you clean your home, outdoor air can still affect indoor air quality. For starters, two-thirds of indoor dust actually consists of outdoor dust.
A lot of those airborne pollutants can then collect in your textured ceilings. As if that’s not enough, the rough surface of such ceilings makes them a pain to clean. All these can then result in your indoor air quality suffering.
As such, it’s best to consider hiring professionals to remove your popcorn ceilings. This way, you can replace your dirt-catching ceilings with cleaner, smoother surfaces. Most importantly, this can help you get rid of the materials in your home that may have asbestos.

Most Home Buyers Don’t Like Them

With the dangers that asbestos brings, most homebuyers don’t like textured ceilings. Even if they do purchase such properties, they still end up removing the ceilings.
So, if you plan to sell your home, you should consider getting rid of its popcorn ceilings first. You’ll still be able to sell your home even with textured ceilings, but you can expect buyers to negotiate. They’re sure to ask you to lower your selling price if they see that your home has popcorn ceilings.

Is Removal the Only Way to Deal With Popcorn Ceilings?

No, however, your ceilings must be in good condition. If they are, meaning they don’t have any kind of damage at all, then you can have them covered instead. In this case, one of your top options is the skim coat drywall method.
“Skim coating” involves layering the textured ceiling with a drywall joint compound. This then covers all those rough spots and bumps, creating a smoother surface. In addition, the compound can help reinforce the existing ceiling structure.
If your ceiling shows signs of damage, though, then it’s best to get them tested for asbestos. If the results reveal that they do contain this mineral, get them removed as soon as possible. The sooner you do, the lower your risks of breathing in those dangerous fibers.

Stay Safe by Letting the Pros Deal With Your Popcorn Ceilings

There you have it, the guide that answers your question, is there asbestos in popcorn ceilings? Now that you know, you should decide on a plan that safely deals with your textured ceilings. Start by getting them tested for asbestos so that you can decide if you want to get rid of them completely.
In any case, JCN Painting & Drywall LLC can help you deal with your popcorn ceilings. Our team of painting and drywall experts can remove or cover them for you. Give us a call now, and we’ll be happy to help you figure out the best way to address your textured ceiling woes.

Hire the Pros for Your Popcorn Ceiling Removal

Transform the style of your home and keep it cleaner. But, it’s a messy task that’s often better left to the pros. 
​If you’re looking for popcorn ceiling removal, drywall installation, or drywall repair, we can help.
At J C N Painting & Drywall, we provide a range of painting and drywall services to the Reno area. 
Contact us today to get an estimate or learn more about our services