popcorn ceiling

hello and more ?s
If there is accustic spray (ppcorn ceiling as you may call it) on a interior of a house built in the early 80s and asbestos was ban in the 70s would it be safe to that there is no asbestos ceiling or is there some rule about these ceiling that automaticaly popcorn ceilings are all asbestos. can you still find asbestos mixture in these as far as 1986?
Thanks again

Have it tested, that would be the definitive test. Anything short of that is an educated guess at best.

I was reading a site last year, probably at inspectionnews.com, where they found a house built in 1995 in Chicago (or somewhere around there) that had asbestos in the cottage cheese ceiling. Further investigation revealed that dad was a general contractor or drywall installer or something, and when dad died, he left son a lot of money as well as a lot of stuff on his property. So the son built a new house and used dad’s cottage cheese for the ceilings in his new house.

I also had a Client test his cottage cheese ceiling on a 1993 build in National City. It also had asbestos in it, according to the testing company. Sometimes I wonder if the testing companies find asbestos in anything that looks like cottage cheese because they they make more money to remove it. For example, I got quotes from a company to remove cottage cheese in a 4000-SF house I renovated from 1999-2001. If it did not have asbestos, quotes ranged from $1.25 to $1.75 per square foot, or about $6,000. If it had asbestos, quotes ranged from $72.50 to $75.00 per square foot, or about $293,000, All the companies would not proceed without testing, so I simply chose to install a new ceiling over the old ceiling and seal the cottage cheese in the ceiling, regardless of whether or not it had asbestos in it. Probably solved. New drywall and painting, including labor, came to $8,250.

Well the company was right to not proceed without testing. It could have been extremely hazardous.

There are companies that will seal the popcorn. Very effective. And less expensive.

I get a kick out of " there are companies that will seal the popcorn." A good coat of latex paint will seal the popcorn and if you don’t disturb asbestos it is not dangerous. It only becomes hazardous when it becomes “friable”. All of us are exposed to friable asbestos everyday. I believe this whole debacle of asbestos is a money grab. The panic it has caused is nothing short of a joke. There are far more serious issues in a home than asbestos. Mold can and will cause more serious illness than asbestos but we don’t see half the concern over mold.

I agree with Larry this to my way of thinking is just a rape industry perpetuated by many who can make the most from it .
My Rec room had it on the ceiling .
I took a pail of warm water put in a little soap rolled the ceiling with warm water took a 10 inch dry putty knife and it came of so easy I was surprised . Washed the ceiling fixed the few scratches and painted .
I am more concerned with Fiber Glass and Bat dung as well as Mould .

Roy Cooke sr… RHI… Royshomeinspection.com

The hazardous is as you stated - over rated

I’m sure that you guys know more what you are doing though then the average homeowner that might get a faceful of the stuff if they think they can do the same.

I have a family member who died of lung cancer from asbestos. It’s just a sensitive thing for me personally.

Another idea that just popped into my head was that latex paint is most likely more porous than whatever the “companies” use, and therefore may “breathe” asbestos.

I dunno…

The companies that seal cottage cheese ceilings do more than just paint it. There’s a big difference. Additionally, sealing the ceiling still leaves the cottage cheese in place, which means the place still looks dated.

Many companies that seal the ceiling actually do as I have done, and that is to install a new ceiling over the old ceiling, thereby sealing the cottage cheese in place while providing a new, updated ceiling. When doing that type of work, though, one has to make sure that one has the appropriate quarter to three-quarters inch everywhere, such as around vent registers, tops of doors and windows, etc. Otherwise it will look tacky.

Asbestos isn’t something to play around with. We’ve know since the first death by asbestosis (1929, I think) and the first research (1930, I think) that it’s a very dangerous substance. There was a very good 1-hour program on the History channel a couple of nights ago about the history of asbestos and asbestosis. Just because you can remove it easily doesn’t mean that you should. Removing it would be one of those things that I’ll let the professionals do.

Check with your state about guidelines for removing or covering accoutic ceiling material or any other material that has the potential to contain asbestos. I’ll send my clients to the Oregon website, http://www.deq.state.or.us/aq/asbestos/patching.htm. I’ve also read Utah’s guidelines which are quite permissive compared to ours.
But deflect the liability by having them test and telling them to follow the advice given to them by the state. Can’t go wrong!
I have been a drywall finisher and contractor for the last 20 years. Refuse to mess or even comment on the stuff due to the liability. Home inspectors should do the same.

Also, I met a guy named Kurt Hamilton less than a month ago, who claimed his father invented sprayed on accoustic. He said his dad was a spray man when he came up with the idea, then when on to start the Hamiliton company that manufactures joint compounds. Anyway, his brother runs the company now, and he told me that they stopped putting asbestos in accoustic spray material in 1974 and it had to be off of the shelves by '77 or’78, can’t remember which year. But as a drywall contractor, I know that left over bags of material can sit in shops for months or years, so never conclude that because a house was built in the 1980’s it will be asbestos free. Have your clients test and remove according to your state’s guidelines.

The lady I worked with a few months ago had her ceiling sealed and yes it does look dated, but she also got it done for far less than installing another ceiling over the top, plus it was just as safe.

I agree. Don’t mess with asbestos. Not wise. Funny how as generations progress they forget…

thanks everybody i appreciate it.

I think that refusing to comment on it would be akin to gross negligence since we have knowledge about the stuff that needs to be conveyed to our Clients. Educate, educate, educate. Ignorance, or pretend ignorance, doesn’t cut it in my book.

Ray, you’re right, I overstated the case. What I do as a drywall contractor is tell them that it may contain asbestos (usually they already know this and that is why they are calling me, they want to know if there is some cheap way to get rid of it) so have it tested and follow the state’s guidelines. It isn’t what they want to hear. I also tell them that we don’t patch, cover or seal accoustic.
As a home inspector they’ll get the same information. Test because it may contain asbestos. If there is no asbestos they can do as they please. If there is, follow the state’s guidelines.

If in doubt- have it tested. The “other” material used for this type of texture was often ground up corn cobs.


I’ve have asbestos certifications however I’ve let them expire because of some of the idiots I’ve had to work with in the remedial side of the industry. I send the samples to a lab that does not perform remediation for analysis. I find it sad that the Romans knew of it’s potential for being a health hazard yet it was used again. There are still products in which asbestos is present so never assume it’s clean. Removing and discarding asbestos improperly can get you some very heavy fines by the EPA and other regulatory agencies. Make sure the lab you send the samples to can discern the difference between actual asbestos fibers and background debris such as spider webs or fiberglass.