I just moved into a house build in 1971 and the living room has a
popcorn or acoustic ceiling. It looks like it's been painted, probably
a few times. It doesn't look the best anymore, so a friend of mine
offered to re-popcorn the whole ceiling for me. He said I just have to
prime it first. However, I'm debating if I really want to do this.
I've read that the bond of the "popcorn" is very week and the more
stuff you add to the ceiling the more weight and the possibility of
patches coming down due to the weight of a couple layers of paint and
new texture. Is re-popcorning such a ceiling a common practice? Does
it usually come out good when done by someone who knows what they are
Or should I just get rid of it. I'm concerned about asbestos though.
I've called around to get a sample tested, but it's quite expensive and
it takes a long time for results. I've got about a weeks to figure out
what to do and actually do it, since that's when the floor guy is
comming to refinish the floors, after that I'd rather not mess with the
Thanks for any input,
If it was built in 1971 I would just assume it contains asbestos and have it
removed accordingly. I had a house built in '71 and contacted the local
health department to find out what I should do to prevent exposure to
asbestos fibers. They sent me a book about 1 1/2 inches thick. It all
boiled down to "if you don't disturb it it's not s significant health
hazard." Personally I think I would patch any empty spots and just paint
over it. More paint might keep any loose fibers where they are.
You also probably have asbestos heating ducts, water heater insulation (on
the pipes), asbestos on the furnace ducts, and possibly even asbestos in
any linolium flooring. Do you have aluminum wiring too? That is a
potential fire hazard.
Ya, I'm rewiring the house in a few months to get rid of the aluminum
My biggest concern with keeping the ceiling is that I might be covering
things up nice and good now, but if things do in fact get too heavy to
stay put, I'll have a ceiling that's going to start falling down and
release asbestos over time ...
There is absolutely nothing wrong with AL wiring. Utilities rarely use
copper. The problems come from the guy installing and TERMINATING the AL
wiring. If you use the labled and listed equipment for the purpose there
nothing wrong with AL. If it was so bad then why is your house still
You are probably in for a surprise when you remove the popcorn. I did this
in 1/2 of my old home. Found out VERY quickly that the ceiling was not taped
and finished for a "flat texture".
I putzed with it for a couple of weeks and then hired a contractor to finish
the job right. 4 trips that made. Smoothing the joints larger and larger.
Last coat they were using 24 inch wide tools.
I primed two coats, painted two coats and I could still see the joints in
certain light angles. I got ready to sell the home and did not have the
time to paint so I hired a contractor to do the painting. He endded up
putting 3 coats on the ceiling. I STILL could see the joints under certain
Contractor used a splatter then knock down texture for the ceiling to
complement the kitchen area. I hope yours goes better.
I just had it taken off the ceiling in my family room and dining room. I
wonder why I didn't take it off ten years ago.
Take it off! Makes it easier to paint, keep clean, all sorts of stuff.
But, when you do have it taken off, I would suggest that you have it
retextured to match the walls. Not really expensive, and with a new coat of
paint, will look like a totally different room.
If you are going to have other work done, and have to clear the floor, NOW
is the time to get it done.
I guarantee you will not regret it.
I got rid of it. Asbestos is not a threat if handled properly. It is
rather miniscule in scope and the popcorn is best removed when dampened to
further eliminate breathing fibers.
Spray with water containing a little detergent. Scrape, then wipe with a
wet sponge. Just roll up hte newspapers or plastic drop cloths and trash it.
I don't believe you'll find asbestos to be an issue here..
If you scrape old texture off and hang plastic to protect all walls
and windows,, it shouldn't be very expensive to have pro come in and
re-apply fresh texture...
I helped a friend,, He already had air compressor on hand, no
experience with spraying ceilings or spraying paint for that matter.
This was new construction, (office for a garage)
He rented the special sprayer and bought the "texture" at big box
store. Had to experiment with how much water to add to get texture to
flow properly. Couldn't tell the results from a pro. It's been 17
years now.. Still looks great.
I'm starting to lean towards scraping the old stuff off and leaving it
flat. I've got a professional respirator (P100 filters), I can get
those disposable full body overalls for a few dollars each, and I can
tape up the whole living room to prevent anything from espacing into
the rest of the house. I'm thinking getting rid of this stuff will be
better in the long run.
I would echo SteveB...take it off.
When I did mine I was on a step ladder, spraying the ceiling about an
arms length at a time (a radius out away from where I was on the
ladder). Allow the water to remain on the ceiling for a bit, then
scrape with a 4-5" taping knife. If it comes off too hard, try more
water, more wait time etc. I was able to scrape the texturing into an
old cake pan, and dump it into a trash can...MINIMAL clean up. The old
texturing stuck significantly harder where the seams were taped and
nails mudded, not so much that I couldn't make it work for me.
Patch and/or repair drywall dings, prime and texture. Coincidently, I
didn't like the texturing on the walls, so when I sprayed the
ceiling, the walls received a coat also. It looks like a new room when
painted. I'm on the last room of my 1974 ranch house...it looks MUCH
Best of luck...
It's easy to remove with a taping knife and spray bottle of water.
Don't worry about the asbestos. There isn't enough in the popcorn to be
concerned about and you'll only be exposed to it for a day or two. Note
that the only confirmed cases of asbestosis are in people who had
heavy, long-term exposure to the raw fibers, such as miners, e.g.
Virtually no consumers have been affected.
Your primary concern will be what's under the popcorn, likely to be
unprimed, poorly taped gypsum board. Skim-coating and texturing that
surface (with the inevitable dings and scraps from the taping knife)
will take practice, practice, practice . . . or a pro.
Here\'s some of my work:
Can anyone here give some very accurate info on asbestos?
Mainly, when was it used. I believe the OP said the house was done in '74.
If it was me, I would not be concerned about asbestos, as everything is
going to be wet. Were this a demolition, then, there would be more dry dust
and fibers to float around.
This will be about the consistency of pudding, and the likelihood of any
fibers floating around would be very slight.
Still, I would put a very large fan pointed into the room, and open windows
for ventilation. I don't know what it is, but fresh drywall mud irritates
my chest. To me, it has an ammonia smell. Perhaps it is the same when
water is added for removal.
Anyone know when asbestos was used?
Oh, hell, I know I can find out on Google, but going to Google is like
having sex with yourself. It's more fun when someone else is there.
No really. Thee is a lot of over-reaction to asbestos, but there is still
plent of it around and it is SAFE in place. It is not like it is going to
grab you as you walk by and strangle you. If anything, the house is safer
if it is removed.
Under the popcorn is drywall. In my case, it was perfect and was then
primed and painted. As for disposal, it can be landfilled. It is not going
to leach out and contaminate the earth. Honest. You can legally dispose of
asbestos in many forms just by trashing it or wrapping and trashing. Please
take the time to get the facts.
So I went ahead and removed the popcorn on the ceiling ... boy was it
tough ... there were so many layers of paint that I went thru 5 gallons
of water for a 300 sq ft ceiling in order to get the stuff wet enough,
and even then almost half the ceiling didn't want to come off without
major persuation. At the end of it, the whole ceiling needs a skim
coat, which fortunately a friend of mine has offered to do (he's a
pro). Looking back, it would have been way way way easier to just
drywall over the ceiling with quarter inch drywall.
Thanks for all the answers,
Sorry to hear you had to hassle the ceiling so much...I did another
room the other evening, maybe 200 SqFt.
A couple of quarts of water in a spray bottle and an hour and a half it
was done. My ceiling didn't have any paint...which I'm sure made a
huge difference. Regardless, when it gets done, you will be happier
with a refreshed look and feel.
One of my neighbors did the 1/4 inch drywall...and ended up with a
bigger mess than he started with...I'm guessing he didn't' screw the
drywall consistently and the existing acoustical texturing would
collapse near the screw and not so away from it. Regardless, he
ended up with some really large divots where the screws were located,
had a devil of a time trying to get the ceiling smoothed out. The
seams were a bear to tape.
You did the right thing no matter the pain.
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