So lets have a quick discussion about a sometimes sensitive subject during real estate transactions – Popcorn Ceilings. People ask us all the time during home inspections whether it’s a myth about the presence of asbestos in Popcorn Ceilings. And of course home inspectors can never say conclusively whether the ceilings do or do not contain asbestos. So most of the time, home inspectors tend to not even broach the subject. But maybe that should change…

Lets look at some of the facts regarding these types of ceilings:

1.) Do all Popcorn Ceilings contain asbestos fibers?

The answer is no. Not all Popcorn Ceilings have asbestos fibers in them.

2.) When was asbestos used in Popcorn Ceilings?

Asbestos was used in spray applied textured ceilings from 1945 to at least 1980.

3.) Are asbestos ceilings dangerous?

If you do have a Popcorn Ceiling with asbestos and the fibers are released, you may inhale those fibers, which increases your risk of developing serious diseases such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. Exposure to asbestos and the probability of developing lung disease is high in individuals who lived with these types of ceilings in their home.

4.) How to remove Popcorn Ceilings with asbestos fibers:

It is recommended to either leave the ceilings alone or hire an asbestos abatement contractor to do the work. If you remove this ceiling dry, you will contaminate your home with asbestos and expose yourself and your family to potentially high concentrations of airborne asbestos fibers. These fibers may remain in your home indefinitely.

5.) Can you paint over a Popcorn Ceiling?

You can paint over the Popcorn Ceiling. Paint in one direction and stop. Don’t roll back and forth because once the popcorn gets wet it starts to peel. For stains, roll or spray paint the stained spot, with the same color the ceiling will be painted with, and let dry completely before painting the entire ceiling.

The best recommendation is to find a qualified asbestos abatement contractor to perform the scope of work necessary to properly remove the material from the home.

At First Choice Home Inspection, the safety of our clients in their new homes is paramount!

Mike McCarty
NH Licensed Home Inspector # 316
HUD 203k Consultant License # 1939