Asbestos Popcorn

15 Replies

It is extremely friable if disturbed. I would call in a professional asbestos abatement company to handle the removal of any asbestos, especially popcorn asbestos. I happen to be a certified asbestos abatement specialist. Asbestos is very dangerous and not something to be taken lightly. Hope this helps.

If it's not real thick you might be able to mud over it with a new texture and not disturb it at all. Find a good "rock n' roller" (sheetrock person) and see if he/she can cover it.

Or, Get a hoe or spade with a flat blade and drag it toward you to scrape off the ceiling, if you push you will usually dig into the rock and scar it, so pull evenly. This old house has a video on it, lots of sheet plastic, duct tape, rain suit, mask, goggles, big wetvac, fan and boxes to dispose of the waste. There are steps to take officially and most will require a licensed type.

I'm aware of the military decontamination procedures, it was odd to watch the pros go in and do a job and not decontaminate any tools or the large fan they used to suck dust out into a controlled area, they just put it in the truck and left after all the care taken to control the site. But, it's not anthrax nor were they a military unit.....just saying :)

As kids, we use to pull asbestos off the radiator pipe in school and make spit wads to shoot, I'm not dead yet, but it's not good stuff.

My suggestion is to cover it and paint over it. :)


I put up 3"x1" strapping & re drywalled 12ft(x1/2") lengths were perfect.
1100 sq ft ranch (but we also took out several walls & dropped in ceiling pot lighting)
2 days to hang & a week (part-time)to finish mudding etc.

I did a rehab last year with 1500 square feet of popcorn ceiling. Unfortunately, removal could not be an easy or economical job. It had been painted over with heavy coats of semi gloss paint. Brown semi gloss paint on all the ceilings. Sigh. You can't use water and scrape when it has been painted over. I debated whether to sheetrock over it. In the end I had the painters spray it white again. I had no trouble selling it. I spent way too much time thinking about how much I hate those ceilings and not enough time learning what sells and what doesn't in the current market.

@Account Closed so u are saying buyers don't really mind the popcorn ceiling?
I just bought an old 1929 Spanish style house with popcorn ceilings and not smooth plaster walls. I also was thinking just to leave those alone and focus on details that stand out; floors, paint, trim, kitchen, bathrooms etc.

Originally posted by Mauricio Hernández:
K. Marie Poe so u are saying buyers don't really mind the popcorn ceiling? I just bought an old 1929 Spanish style house with popcorn ceilings and not smooth plaster walls. I also was thinking just to leave those alone and focus on details that stand out; floors, paint, trim, kitchen, bathrooms etc.

My thinking is that the buyer for a $150K starter home built in 1980 probably cares less about the popcorn ceilings than a buyer paying $750K for a period home. You have to look at what sells and what is customary for the area. If all the rehabbers are removing popcorn ceilings, then it might be a very good idea to do so to make sure you home can compete.

There's also a big difference between an original popcorn ceiling in 1970-80s construction and one that shows up in an older Spanish style home in CA. Popcorn ceilings in older homes are almost always covering up defects.

Sorry i did not see this thread sooner, but I'll fix that now. I'm an expert on asbestos, so don't hesitate to ask any and all questions. In many states there is a certification or license for asbestos consulting. As with any other business, there are good and bad consultants. There are also licenses for removal (abatement) contractors. Roughly 1/2 of the textured ceilings actually contain asbestos, as there were other types of the "cottage cheese" texture, and they all look the same. The peak for asbestos usage was the late 1970s, but it was used in many common building materials up through the middle 1980s, and is still legal, although not widely available, in many materials. The most common materials containing asbestos are stucco, tar paper (roofing felt), roll roofing, plastic roof cement (at joints between roofing and other materials and at penetrations), window putty, asbestos-cement siding, asbestos cement flues, pipes, and roofing, drywall joint compound, sheet vinyl flooring, acoustic ceiling texture, vinyl floor tile, floor tile mastic, mirror mastic, HVAC ducts made of corrugated asbestos covered with aluminum on the inside and outside, corrugated insulation for use over metal ducts, pipe insulation, boiler and tank insulation, structural steel fireproofing, light fixture insulation, gaskets, paper duct insulation, and appliance wiring. There are more.

@stephenmasek I have a ranch house built in 1965 with all popcorn ceilings. They look pretty new and very white. Maybe they were painted? Either way, am I best to put 1/4" over it and re mud and tape and just not disturb it?

@Stephen Masek

I’m new to bigger pockets bought a house built in the 1960s in Corpus Christi, Texas. I have a contractor about to do a major rehab ( electrical replacement, A/C , water heater , fix plumbing, removing most Sheetrock, kitchen , bathroom demo)

No popcorn ceiling , no 9x9 tile. Wood siding, I’m removing and replacing all insulation. I was wondering if I should get it tested for asbestos? I got a quote for $1500 just to have it tested.

The contractor said he worked on lots of houses in the area and no issues with asbestos. What should I do?

Originally posted by @Linda Mc fadden :

@Stephen Masek

I’m new to bigger pockets bought a house built in the 1960s in Corpus Christi, Texas. I have a contractor about to do a major rehab ( electrical replacement, A/C , water heater , fix plumbing, removing most Sheetrock, kitchen , bathroom demo)

No popcorn ceiling , no 9x9 tile. Wood siding, I’m removing and replacing all insulation. I was wondering if I should get it tested for asbestos? I got a quote for $1500 just to have it tested.

The contractor said he worked on lots of houses in the area and no issues with asbestos. What should I do?

 Linda, I’m curious to what contractor you’re working with? I’m looking to purchase a rental property next year, but I would like to work with a contractor like you have. 

Well because everything I’m reading says it could have asbestos, the contractor says a possibility that it may be in insulation,  But he says I’m getting rid of all that anyway.   I read that the airborne fibers can stay around for years??  Don’t want to expose future renters. 

@Bill Gulley everyone I have ever talked to in the asbestos or lead abatement game all says it’s a scam. Much like Simpson lobbying for $10 worth of their hardware on each piece of framing lumber, the asbestos and lead abatement industry has created a huge business around this

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