Should I Remove an Acoustic Ceiling? Should I Remove an Acoustic Ceiling?

Spray-textured, acoustic or "popcorn" ceilings date your home, and many people find them unappealing. Consequently, removing this type of finish might add value to your home. It still might not be worth it, though, because of the potential safety hazards and associated costs.

Costs of Removal

Some of these ceilings contain asbestos, so you should have yours tested before removing it. If asbestos is found, it's health risk, and only certified professionals should remove it. This can cost $1,200 per room or more. It's considerably less expensive if there isn't any asbestos and you do the work yourself. Expect to spend 20 to 30 dollars on cleaning materials, depending on the size of your ceiling.

The question remains: should you, or shouldn't you remove a popcorn ceiling? Two experts weigh in on opposite sides of the issue below.

Learn to Live With It

By Homeminders Expert Jim Rooney

Unless you applied the material yourself, think twice before removing it. Acoustic ceiling spray might be masking another issue, such as persistent cracks caused by settling or other damage.

Acoustic ceilings have some positive aspects: they help deaden sounds to make rooms quieter, and they are also very forgiving and easy to maintain. If you elect to keep the material in place, restore deteriorating sections with inexpensive patching compound.

If you absolutely can't live with the ceiling, you can cover it up. Fasten some 3/8-inch drywall to the ceiling with 1 1/2-inch drywall screws and then finish the drywall as you wish. It costs 3/8 inch in height, but that is imperceptible.

Get Rid of It - Carefully

By Homeminders Expert Roger Faris

If the popcorn ceiling is flaking, shedding dust, or otherwise deteriorating, it might not just be unattractive but dangerous as well. If the material was applied prior to 1980, it could contain asbestos, a health hazard. Take a small sample to a testing laboratory. If there is asbestos, it must only be removed by a professional.

If you have determined that the material does not contain asbestos, you can remove it yourself. Keep the popcorn wet as you remove it to minimize dust. Also, wear a good respirator during the process and be prepared for a lot of work to create a smooth, attractive ceiling.

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