Popcorn ceiling texture - when introduced?

How early was this stuff used? Did a 1931 house with it today but appeared to be hiding old cracks and deviations in the ceiling. The popcorn had no cracks however. So when was this stuff first used?

Anecdotal evidence here, and probably not much help, but I lived in a house that was built around '68-'69 and it had it (we moved in when the house was new). All other houses in the neighborhood had it also.

I was an asbestos abatement contractor/supervisor from 1987-2000. Popcorn texture ceilings in older buildings were some of our abatement projects.:frowning: :frowning:

The application of sprayed-on asbestos-containing coatings was banned in 1978, but a lot of popcorn ceilings installed as late as 1986 contain asbestos in the mixture (because existing inventories were exempt from the 1978 ban.)

When* it was applied* to the ceiling would be a question, since the ceilings could have been modified many years after the original construction, including after 1986.

A small sample the size of a pencil eraser can be submitted to a lab for analysis for about $25. Then you know for sure what you’re dealing with.

I am a drywall contractor to the south of you and we run into projects where people want the sprayed on acoustic (popcorn) removed. That finish would not be the original finish in a '31 house. It was probably sprayed on in an attempt to hide cracks in a plaster finish.
I met a guy named Kurt Hamiliton who claimed his father invented the acoustic spray finish. He said his father was a “spray-man” when he came up with the idea and then started his own line of taping and coating compounds. Hamilton Drywall Products still manufactures joint compounds and other wallboard related materials; Kurt’s brother now runs the company. But to answer your question, If I remember correctly Kurt Hamilton told me that his father invented the sprayed on acoustic finish in the late 1950’s.

Can not find the year it was introduced, but can personally acclaim that I personally applied the product in 1972-1973, if that helps. I would have to guess that it must have hit the industry in the 60’s .

Hope this helps.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

I lived in a house built in 46 that had popcorn texture and I believe it was original. Maybe. Still, 1931 seems really early for this stuff.

Back in 2001 or 2002, over on either inspectionnews.com, ashi.org, or creia. org, there was a report of a cottage cheese ceiling with asbestos in a house constructed in 1995. If I remember correctly, that was in the Chicago area.

Some Clients of mine found it in their house in National City, which had been built in 1993 (the house, not National City).

So if I see it, I don’t care when the house was built, I note it and advise appropriately.

I did that in a 4,000-SF house that I renovated from 1999-2001 (I lived there while I was renovating it). It had been built in 1971. When I went to remove the cottage cheese ceiling, the removal companies quoted me a low of $1.75 per square foot if it did not have asbestos in it, and up to $75 per square foot if it did have asbestos in it. $75 for 4,000 SF equaled a cool $300,000, or fully 75% of what I paid for the house in 1999. Needless to say (hopefully), I wasn’t going to pay that.

What I wound up doing was buying $10,000 of drywall, paint, and labor, and re-installing a new ceiling in all the rooms, basically sealing the stuff up there. Much faster and much, much cheaper.


Circa 1930 is most likely originally lath and plaster. You could evidence this by pulling back the attic insulation if present and would see the lath strips with plaster squeezed through. Most of this around here has contained asbestos when tested.

60’s is the earliest I can recall seeing popcorn used around here, but we were a little slow and behind the times back then.

The guys at http://www.inspectorsjournal.com/ have a special forum thread
“inspecting and appreciating old homes” I’d post there.

I have to respectfully disagree with you. Acoustic (popcorn) has to be sprayed on and that was not commly done here until many years after drywall type finishes replaced lath and plaster here in the west. I understand in other parts of the country blue board (which replaced lath) and plaster are still common, but it hasn’t been used commonly in the NW for several decades.
As a drywall contractor we have refinished quite a few old plaster walls. When we are called in, we will use an oil based primer to seal the wall and ceiling surfaces, then tape, coat and sand to a smooth finish. I’ve seen several jobs over the years where drywall finishers just sprayed on a brocade finish, or a popcorn finish, or applied a hand brocade finish. It’s not long however, before the cracks that are in the plaster come through those kinds of finishes unless the cracks have been taped, and then the surfaces skim-coated before applying those kinds of textures.
I do not think that acoustic (popcorn) was commonly sprayed on the ceilings in homes until the 1960’s. To the best of my knowledge, it was invented in the late 1950’s as Hamilton Drywall Products was started in 1959.
There are however, some very heavy aggregate type plaster finishes, heavier than a sand plaster finish, you could have that type of plaster. But if you have the popcorn, I believe it would have been sprayed on much later.


Do you think there is a way to find the History of this Product?

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


Sorry Troy;

Misprint. ha.ha.


As I wrote in an earlier post, I met Kurt Hamiltion a few months ago. We met because a mutual friend hooked us up because Kurt wanted to test some of his new products and needed a couple of drywall contractors that were willing to help him out. He parted ways with his brother who now runs Hamilton Drywall Products but is still developing on his own.
Kurt is the one who told me that his father was a spray-man and developed the acoustic spray texture (popcorn). I can call Kurt and get more information about anything you’d like to know about this popcorn. If others are interested they should post their questions on this thread and I’ll call Kurt and get the answers.
Be prepared for a little “spin” if you have questions as to how dangerous it is to remove this product. Whatever information he provides may be slanted toward protecting the financial interests of the company that his father founded and his brother now runs. I’ll give you a little sample of what I mean. Kurt told me that the problem with asbestos fibers is that they have little barb like hooks. When these barb like hooks get into lung tissue they can only go one way, that is further and further into the lung tissue, the barb like hooks will not let the fiber release itself from the lung tissue. He said even though their product contained asbestos, the asbestos fibers were coated with the spray material in such a way that the barb like hooks were covered and this would allow the fibers to be released from lung tissue.
My opinion: That might be true, or it might be cya for the company his father started. But if you and others would like to throw some questions at Kurt, I would be glad to get the answers from him and post them on this thread for you.

I’m leaving for about 4 hours, but will answer posts later this evening.


I also have a Brother-in-law up North in Madawaska, Maine that used to spray this product in the 60’s, and can ask as well, but still curious as to when it hit the Market. (Year)

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile: