Popcorn ceilings were introduced as a solution in the 1930s as an affordable alternative to applying plaster ceiling coatings. Installing popcorn ceilings became popular as they were easier to apply, cheaper, and required minimal maintenance compared to other available ceiling textures.
It is important to be aware of the potential health hazards that accompany living in a home with popcorn ceilings. The main issue with popcorn ceilings is that they contain friable asbestos. Although ceiling mixtures made with asbestos were banned in 1979 through the Clean Air Act, mixes that were not purchased by then were still allowed to be sold, so homes built well into the 80s with popcorn ceilings may have lingering asbestos.
The two kinds of asbestos are friable and non-friable. Unfortunately, friable asbestos, which is the kind found in popcorn ceilings, is the most dangerous of the two. Any kind of disturbance of friable asbestos causes particles to become airborne which can scar your lungs and even cause serious forms of cancer.
Removing Popcorn Ceilings
Now if you have popcorn ceilings in your home, or you move into a home with popcorn ceilings in the future, there are some things to keep in mind before you remove them. In order to remove this texture from your house, it needs to be scraped off. However, if asbestos is present, anyone around will be exposed to its harmful effects through this process. Due to this, it is vital that you test for asbestos at a lab. You should also send a sample to a lab to check for lead based paint as if you are dealing with popcorn ceilings, the home is likely older and may have lead based paint.
If either lab reports your home has asbestos or lead based paint, we recommend calling in a professional. They will have the proper equipment and know how to keep themselves and any future inhabitants of the house safe.