Popcorn Ceiling Removal

by Carmen Corbin on March 8, 2012

Popcorn ceilings have been frequently used in homes and businesses since the 1950’s, and even remained trendy through the 1980’s.  Since that time, the trend has moved back toward flat or low textured ceilings, and for some homeowners, removing the popcorn has become a priority on their home improvement project list.

The Pros and Cons of Popcorn Ceilings

Pros: One of the benefits of popcorn ceilings, also called acoustic ceilings, is their ability to absorb sound in a room.  Those with hardwood floors and a flat ceiling often notice harsh echoes, even with a room full of furniture.  So don’t be so quick to have your kitchen remodeling contractor remove a popcorn ceiling if you appreciate the sound quality you have.  Also, trends come and go over the years, so your ceiling might be back in vogue sometime down the road.

Cons: The bumpy texture of a popcorn ceiling is a great way to hide imperfections in the ceiling surface, but it also tends to attract dust.  Cobwebs are hard to remove without bringing down a few bits and pieces of the material.  Flaking particles can often aggravate allergies.  Painting over the ceiling helps, but the bumps make good coverage a challenge.

Safe Removal Procedures

Asbestos Ceilings: Sadly, some of the products used to create popcorn ceilings during their heyday contained asbestos, which is a known cancer causing agent if inhaled.  Popcorn ceiling products containing asbestos were banned in 1978, but the remaining products were still sold on store shelves until they ran out of stock.  If your home was built earlier than 1980 and you are considering removing your popcorn ceiling, break off a sample and take it to a professional for analysis.  If asbestos is found, do not attempt the popcorn removal yourself or hire a home repair handyman – hire a certified asbestos removal company to do the job (in some states it is required by law for asbestos removal).

Non-Asbestos Ceilings: If you are confident your popcorn ceiling does not contain asbestos, you can forge ahead on your quest for a smoother ceiling.  The basic process involves wetting the ceiling with water to soften the texture, then scraping it off with a putty knife or other flat tool to smooth the ceiling.  You’ll first want to clear the room of all furniture and objects, and then seal off the room with plastic to prevent any dust from migrating throughout your home.  Work in sections for easier removal.

For more information on popcorn ceiling removal, call or visit your local home improvement contractor.

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