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by Wendy Stackhouse · June 07, 2013

Popcorn: Good Snack, Bad Ceiling

Popcorn Image by shannahsin via stock.xhcng

My best friend and her husband just bought a new house, very exciting! We gave them some advice about how to choose interior paint on the AirTek blog, but I noticed that they do have one popcorn ceiling in their new place. Is it safe? Should they remove it?

From the 1950’s to the 1980’s, popcorn ceilings were a popular low-budget choice for ceilings. Easier to apply than paint, they were often used in motels as well as homes. It was also good for masking damage, stains, uneven surfaces or poor workmanship. It had noise reduction properties and was often used in bedrooms and hallways for that reason as well.

But guess what makes those little bumps? Sometimes it’s styrofoam, but often it is asbestos! Builders believed that the fire-resistant properties of asbestos added value to this ceiling treatment, but of course today we know better.

Today’s home fashion has moved beyond popcorn ceilings to panels, beams and even newer methods for a tin or coffered ceiling looks. More stylish than popcorn, they are also easier to clean and maintain. If you are thinking of replacing your popcorn ceiling with something more attractive and modern, you need to think about:

Removal is messy—Popcorn ceilings are removed by spraying them with water and then scraping the material off the ceiling. Worth the trouble, but not the neatest project!

Test First—If your home was built before 1980, that popcorn ceiling could be full of asbestos and taking it down exposes those fibers, making them unsafe. Have your ceiling tested for the presence of asbestos before trying to remove it.

Hire a professional—If your popcorn ceiling does contain asbestos, it must be removed by certified, licensed asbestos abatement pros. It is absolutely not safe to remove an asbestos ceiling yourself.

Remember, no exposure to asbestos is safe! The filaments are tiny and, if breathed in, can lodge in the lungs and cause cancer!

Alliance Environmental Group offers all kinds of asbestos abatement services, including the safe removal and disposal of asbestos-containing popcorn ceilings. Let us get your ceilings ready for their new look so that you will get many years of enjoyment out of them!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for Alliance Environmental Group and AirTek Indoor Air Solutions. We welcome your comments! For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! For updates on indoor air challenges, Like us at AirTek on Facebook!

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