Asbestos in Popcorn Ceilings
Between the decades of the 1950s and the 1980s, there was a surge in the popularity of spray-on textured ceiling. This was largely because it provided an easy method for builders to conceal imperfections. It typically contained between 1 and 10 percent asbestos and was more commonly referred to as “stucco ceiling,” “cottage-cheese ceiling” and “popcorn ceiling.”
To figure out if asbestos is in your old popcorn ceiling, you have the option of hiring an asbestos abatement professional or buying a test kit. If a test kit is purchased, a sample of the ceiling will have to be taken and mail to a lab. It is more costly but safer to hire a professional.
Important Steps to Take if Asbestos is in Your Popcorn Ceiling
Regardless of the quantity it contains, asbestos popcorn ceiling is hazardous. it is important to make sure it is not disturbed and decide whether to remove or encapsulate it. Many precautions are required for removal; therefore, this should be left up to qualified professionals.
Popcorn ceilings are damaged quite easily and when this happens, toxic dust from the asbestos materials is released at the least disturbance. Inhaling this dust could result in serious diseases like mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.
Whether your ceiling contains 1 percent or 10 percent asbestos, the recommendation does not change. Your health will not be endangered providing the ceiling is properly encapsulated or remains totally undisturbed. Professionally removing the material is the safest option.
In 1978, the Clean Air Act prohibited the use of spray-on asbestos products because of the associated health risks. However, businesses were permitted by the law to exhaust their current product inventory; therefore, asbestos ceilings were used up until the 1980s.
Popcorn ceilings have the issue of crumbliness, which places them in a different category than other familiar asbestos materials. For instance, vinyl asbestos floor tiles do not pose the same amount of risk providing they are not scraped, smashed or sanded.
Guidelines for Living with Asbestos Ceiling
- Do not use tape, screws or nails to disturb the ceiling
- Avoid scraping the ceiling when moving long objects or furniture
- Shelves should be placed at a height that prevents the ceiling being scraped by items
- Bunk beds should not be used in a space that has asbestos popcorn ceiling
- Ensure pillows or toys are not thrown at the ceiling
- If peeling starts, the ceiling must be removed or encapsulated
Removing Asbestos Popcorn Ceiling
Having asbestos abatement properly done from the start is always wise; it is more costly to clean up pollution after the fact. A number of homeowners prefer to hire a professional and this is recommended highly.
In the majority of places, qualified asbestos abatement professionals are required by law to carry out asbestos removal in multifamily homes and commercial buildings. Typically, single-family homeowners are given the option of removing asbestos on their own. However, each city and state has its own regulations and leaving it to the professionals is the safest.
Encapsulating Asbestos Popcorn Ceiling
Encapsulation is basically using methods like vinyl paint or ceiling panels to cover asbestos materials and prevent them from releasing dust. Gypsum board ceiling panels can also be used; this is a material that is similar to drywall but lighter and it is designed to be screwed into the ceiling frame. Getting it professionally done is the best option.
Encapsulation is a safe solution; however, future demolition or renovation projects will make the asbestos dangerous again. Additionally, if the home is put on the market, potential buyers will have to be informed of the presence of the asbestos.
Precautions for Removing Asbestos Ceiling Safely
- Rid the room of all furniture and use plastic to cover anything that cannot be removed. The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system in the home should be turned off to avoid the contamination getting in other parts of the building
- Use plastic flaps to seal the windows and doors
- Keep individuals people without protective gear and pets from the polluted area
- A respirator that has a high-efficiency particulate air filter should be worn. An air purifier should also be set up
- Disposable coveralls should be worn; your hair and skin should be cover to protect yourself from any debris
- The ceiling material should be kept wet as this helps in preventing dust from polluting the air
- Asbestos-containing waste must be placed in plastic bags which must be sealed and properly labeled
- Locate a trash-pickup or landfill service that is equipped to accept asbestos; ensure that they are called in advance
Failure to stick to these guidelines can be expensive. Typically, asbestos contamination that result from careless renovations are not covered by insurance policies. Therefore, besides the health risks, asbestos abatement could end up costing homeowners significantly.
The cost of removing a popcorn ceiling is between $3 and $6 per square foot, on average. The average homeowner pays approximately $1,765 to get job done. The majority of homeowners pay roughly between $900 and $2,755 to complete the project.