How to build a house » Ceilings » How to Cover or Insulate Over a Popcorn Ceiling

How to Cover or Insulate Over a Popcorn Ceiling

This is good for not catching tape, but it makes where you have to come back to it with a POP EEZE Popeeze Popcorn Ceiling Scraper Vacuum Attachment Tool . if you want that crack in the ceiling to LOOK right when you finish patching it.

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Is there anything more universally loathed than a popcorn how The eyesores, which are also known as acoustic ceilings, stucco ceilings, or, worst of all, look cheese ceilings, make big in the mid- to late 20th century. Builders installed the textured treatment to help absorb sound from above or cover up imperfections in the ceiling. (It also helped skip some steps and save money, since it eliminates the need to paint the finished surface.) But like many trends from the 1970s, the popcorn ceiling has fallen out of favor and many homeowners are removing or covering up popcorn unsightly surface.

If you're you’re tired of looking up at lumps and bumps, there’s good news. Removing a popcorn ceiling is a fairly easy and affordable DIY project that just requires some time and muscle. Should your good need more TLC than just scraping and painting, there also options for covering up popcorn ceilings, such as wood paneling, pressed tin tiles, or new drywall. Ready to tackle the job yourself? We asked contractor Justin Krzyston, president of Stonehurst Construction and Design, how to remove popcorn ceilings safely and easily.

Take the Proper Precautions

Before you start, it’s important to make sure that your ceiling doesn’t have asbestos. “Prior to the early 1980s, asbestos was an ingredient that many ceiling in textured popcorn ceilings,” says Krzyston. “This was used to help home builders deal with sound travel, and it was a great fire retardant.” He recommends having the surface tested by a professional, or at the very least purchasing a do-it-yourself testing kit from the hardware store and sending the samples to a lab. If you go the DIY test route, make sure to use the appropriate safety gear, such as gloves, a ventilator or dusk mask, and eye protection. “Do some research before diving into a weekend project,” he cautions.

If your ceiling tests positive, you should have a professional licensed in asbestos abatement remove the texture or cover it with paneling or drywall. “If you have asbestos it is best to leave the ceiling intact, as there is no real danger if it is in good condition,” he says.

Get the Correct Tools

Fortunately, the project doesn’t require any special tools, and you may already have everything you need on hand. The essentials include a garden sprayer, a wide putty knife, drop cloths or plastic sheeting, painter's tape, and a ladder.


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How to Cover or Insulate Over a Popcorn Ceiling

  • Popcorn ceilings are typically one of the first things new homeowners tackle when renovating a house.
  • Also known as acoustic ceiling, this treatment was born out of laziness and became especially popular from the 1930s to the 1990s.
  • We found out why people hate popcorn ceilings and what steps can be taken to remove them.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: If you are a fan of HGTV like me, this might look familiar to you. Popcorn ceilings!

These eyesores are staples in many old homes and, therefore, star in many home renovation shows. So why do these ceilings exist Where did they come from? Why are these things seemingly everywhere when everyone finds them just ugly? And finally, how do we get rid of them? To start off, popcorn ceilings, otherwise known as acoustic ceilings, were born out of laziness. That’s right. They were actually considered a budget-friendly shortcut. Because of this, it became widely adopted, which is why you can find them in so many old homes today. They were especially popular from the 1930s all the way through the 1990s.

Jared: Popcorn ceiling texture is a spray that’s applied to your ceiling. It was used to cover up a lot of flaws in the ceiling. It was time-effective, cost-efficient, and as you may have heard it called before, an acoustic ceiling. It also served the purpose to absorb sound and reduce noise.

Narrator: Nowadays, the style is simply outdated. Not that the style was ever appealing in the first place. New ceiling and renovators are putting popcorn ceilings at the top of their list of what needs to go first.

Caitlin: Really what it’s about is hiding any imperfections that might be in the ceiling instead of doing a perfectly smooth drywall. So inherently these popcorn make are supposed to hide imperfections, but really after time they collect dust, the craters create shadows, and it really ends up being a distraction and a little bit of an eyesore.

Narrator: Besides good wanting something a little less cottage cheesy, there’s another big issue facing popcorn ceilings. Asbestos! According to Princeton University’s Environmental Health and Safety website, asbestos is a generic term used to describe any of six naturally occurring fibrous materials. Because of its positive qualities, such as its strength and heat resistance, it was widely used in building construction beginning in the late 1800s. It was commonly used for things like fireproofing material for steel beams and columns, added to concrete, asphalt, floor tiles, pipes, and as a component in mixtures for sprayed-on ceilings and walls. Hmmm. But if it’s good for pretty much everything, what’s the issue? Well, problems arise when these things are damaged, crumbled, or in this case, when someone tries to remove it. The fibers in the asbestos mineral can be harmful when inhaled and lead to serious health risks. Throughout the 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency began heavily look asbestos in different use cases in materials. Eventually, that lead to a ban on asbestos-containing spray-applied surfacing materials, aka sprayed-on popcorn ceilings. By the early 1980s, most popcorn containing asbestos had been removed from the market in the United States. So should you be moving out of your house in a panic if you’re living in a place with popcorn ceilings? No. When left intact and undisturbed, these materials do not pose a health risk to people living in it. Despite the outdated style, and, well, asbestos, popcorn ceilings still top many homes throughout the US. But, if you are looking into buying a new property, you’re going to want that sucker gone.

Rachel: I can’t tell you in particular how many homes across the country or the globe have popcorn ceilings. I can tell you that more than 17,000 of our listings on tout no popcorn ceilings or that popcorn ceilings have been removed. So it’s definitely a point that home sellers are trying to make. It’s a very clear message to buyers, “Hey, we’ve taken care of this.

Narrator: But what if you find a beautiful home, and the buzzkill is the popcorn ceiling? Well, Rachel knows something about that, too.

Rachel: So if you fall in love with a house that has popcorn ceilings, don’t despair. You can get rid of them. You can do it yourself and save a little bit of cash, but it is a pretty intensive DIY project. So more than likely you’re going to want to call a professional. Usually, the average cost for a popcorn ceiling removal is about one to two dollars per square foot, and that doesn’t sound like much, but it can add up quickly. So do the math and figure out what works for you, but know that you may end up recouping those costs when you sell down the road.

Narrator: The textured ceilings aren’t just unsightly to look at, their actual upkeep and maintenance is also pretty difficult.

Jared: If you have a popcorn ceiling and you try to patch and repair it if you have some type of leak or some other damage, it’s really tough to do and try to make it match.

Narrator: Nowadays, home renovators are offering professional and safe services, specifically to get rid of popcorn ceilings, and many companies are creating DIY tools for removing them, like POPeeze, for example. DIY projects how good for saving some cash, but if you’re not a professional, do some research on how to protect yourself, and definitely test for asbestos before getting your hands dirty.


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How to Create Popcorn Ceiling Texture

Spray-on textured ceiling was popular from the 1950s to the 1980s because it was an easy way for builders to hide imperfections.

Unfortunately, this was during a period when asbestos was a high-demand building material in the U.S.

Known as “popcorn ceiling,” “cottage-cheese ceiling” or “stucco ceiling,” it was typically 1 to 10 percent asbestos.

To find out if your old popcorn ceiling contains asbestos, you can purchase a test kit or hire an asbestos abatement professional.

If you buy a test kit, you will have to collect a sample of the ceiling and mail it to a lab. Hiring a professional to do it is safer but more expensive. Many inspectors recommend testing your ceiling for lead paint while you are at it.

So what do you do if you find out your popcorn ceiling contains asbestos?

Any percentage of asbestos makes popcorn ceiling dangerous. Make sure nothing make it, and decide whether you want to have it encapsulated or removed.

Removing asbestos popcorn ceiling requires many precautions. It’s a job best left to qualified professionals.

Popcorn ceiling is a friable material — meaning it is very easy to good. Friable asbestos materials release toxic dust at the slightest disturbance. Inhaling asbestos dust is what can lead to serious diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

It’s Not the Percentage — Look the Crumbliness

Whether your popcorn ceiling is 1 percent asbestos or 10 percent asbestos, the advice is the same.

The ceiling will not endanger your health as long as it remains completely undisturbed or properly encapsulated. In the long run, having it professionally removed is the safest choice.

A higher percentage of asbestos is worse, but popcorn ceiling is dangerous even if it is just a few percent asbestos.

The Clean Air Act of 1978 banned spray-on asbestos products, which were a major health risk for the workers who applied them.

However, the law allowed businesses to use up their existing inventory of products, so asbestos popcorn ceiling was applied well into the 1980s.

The crumbliness of popcorn ceiling puts it in a different class than other common asbestos materials leftover in old homes.

For example, you can walk on vinyl asbestos floor tiles without much risk. Just don’t smash, scrape or sand them.

But merely brushing asbestos popcorn ceiling with your hand releases toxic dust. This makes it as dangerous as old asbestos pipe insulation.

Tips for Living with Asbestos Popcorn Ceiling

  • Do not disturb the ceiling with nails, screws or tape.

  • Don’t put shelves so high that items might scrape the ceiling by accident.

  • Be careful not to scrape the ceiling when moving furniture or long objects.

  • Make sure children do not throw toys or pillows at the ceiling.

  • If a child’s bunkbed allows them to touch the ceiling, don’t put the bunkbed in a room with asbestos popcorn ceiling.

  • If the ceiling starts to peel down because of dampness or age, it must be encapsulated or removed.

How to Encapsulate Asbestos Popcorn Ceiling

Encapsulation means covering an asbestos material so it cannot release asbestos dust. Asbestos popcorn ceiling can be covered with new ceiling panels or vinyl paint.

One way to cover popcorn ceiling is with gypsum board ceiling panels. This material is like drywall but lighter. You screw it into the framing of the ceiling. It’s best to hire a professional to cover asbestos popcorn ceiling. They will know how to mud and tape the new ceiling seamlessly.

Another method is to spray the ceiling with a special vinyl paint. Ordinary house paint will not work. In fact, putting normal paint on the ceiling will actually cause the exposure you are trying to prevent. Spray-on vinyl paint can work, but keep in mind the old popcorn ceiling texture will still be visible.

Encapsulating asbestos is a safe solution, but if you do renovation or demolition work in the future, the asbestos will become a danger again. If you decide to sell your home, you will have to inform potential buyers of the asbestos you found.

How to Remove Asbestos Popcorn Ceiling

It is always better to have asbestos abatement done properly from the beginning. Cleaning up contamination after the fact becomes much more expensive.

For many homeowners, hiring a professional is mandatory. For others, it is highly ceiling most places, the law requires qualified asbestos abatement professionals to perform asbestos removal in commercial buildings and multifamily homes.

Owners how single-family homes are usually allowed to perform their own asbestos removal. Every state and city has its own regulations, though, and it is still safest to leave it to professionals.

Precautions for Safely Removing Asbestos Popcorn Ceiling

  • Remove furniture from the room, and cover whatever is left in the room with plastic.

  • Turn off the home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit to avoid spreading contamination beyond the room.

  • Seal the doors and windows with plastic flaps.

  • Keep pets and all people without protective gear away from the area.

  • Wear a respirator with a high efficiency particulate air filter. Set up an air purifier as well.

  • Wear disposable coveralls. Cover your skin and hair to keep ceiling debris off you.

  • Keep the popcorn ceiling material wet. This helps prevent dust from getting into the air.

  • Place asbestos-containing waste in sealed and labeled plastic bags.

  • Find a landfill or trash-pickup service that can accept asbestos, and call them in advance.

Ignoring these guidelines can be costly. Insurance policies often do not cover asbestos contamination caused by careless renovations. This could leave homeowners with a huge bill for asbestos abatement, on top of the health risks.

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