Spray on asbestos acoustic ceiling


Popcorn ceiling is a term for a spray-on ceiling treatment popular from the late 1950’s into the 1980’s in American residential construction as well as some commercial structures. It was the standard for bedroom and residential hallway ceilings for its bright, white appearance, noise reduction qualities and ability to hide imperfections.

I have found this to be a very popular ceiling covering out here in Arizona and I have it throughout my house in the common areas as well as the bedrooms.

In early formulations it often contained white asbestos fibers. When asbestos was banned in spray applied surfacing by the Clean Air Act of 1978 in the United States, popcorn ceilings fell out of favor in much of the country. However, in order to minimize economic hardship to suppliers and installers, existing inventories of asbestos-bearing texturing materials were exempt from the ban, so it is possible to find asbestos in popcorn ceilings that were applied through the 1980’s.

Although the process is messy, popcorn texturing can be easily removed by spraying it with water to soften it, then scraping the material off with a large scraping trowel or putty knife. This is the case unless it has been previously painted which is a common technique to prolong its life. Prior to performing any removal it is highly recommended that you have it tested by an EPA certified asbestos inspector who will make sure the samples are analysed by a certified lab. It is important that you involve an experienced inspector to perform the sampling. This material can be easily sampled incorrectly thus the lab reporting negative results on a material that may in deed be positive. We a Arizona Environmental Services have the necessary experience to correctly identify your ceiling material and help direct you to re-mediate any issues.

As the popcorn may have been applied before the ban on asbestos, its removal should only be done by a licensed professional. What makes this material especially nasty is that it is considered highly “friable”, easily pulverized between your fingers. Disturbing this material  allows for an immediate release of asbestos fibers into the air making them airborne and easily inhaled. Spray on popcorn is strictly regulated by the EPA when your structure falls within specific criteria. In most, but not all, residential dwellings EPA does not regulate this material but it should not be ignored that there are potential major exposure issues and specific measures may need to be taken by licensed contractors to protect you and your family during its removal.

If your in Arizona and think you have an asbestos popcorn issue check us out at www.azenvsp.com. Give us a call and we will gladly answer any of your questions.

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