Popcorn Ceiling: Asbestos Precautions

A close-up of a popcorn ceiling.

Popcorn ceilings were installed in tens of thousands of homes across the country in the 1970s because they hide ceiling imperfections while reducing all sorts of noises. They were applied either with a polymer-type material or a silicate material called asbestos.

The extensive use of asbestos in popcorn ceilings predated our knowledge of the health problems (such as lung cancer) associated with it. If your popcorn ceiling contains asbestos, take the following precautions to avoid health problems.

Avoid the Room

Asbestos is found primarily in homes and ceilings that were built before 1978. If you suspect your ceiling is filled with asbestos, your first step should be to avoid the room.

Test the Ceiling

There are many professionals who will test for the presence of asbestos. It is fairly inexpensive and well worth it to protect your family's health.

Don't Try This at Home

Asbestos removal is not a DIY task. Because of the health risks and environmental considerations involved, it should only be done by a qualified asbestos-removal professional.

No Scrapes or Scratches

Scraping the ceiling can release small particles of asbestos into the air. Leave it alone until you can have it professionally removed.

Full Disclosure

Are you in the process of selling your house? Disclose the nature of your ceiling in writing. It's the law in some states and can keep you from being sued in others.