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Asbestos Popcorn Ceilings: What Should You Do?

Posted on by Asbestos Waste Solutions Limited

Asbestos is employed for a multitude of uses, predominantly for insulation as it is highly resistant to heat and electricity. Asbestos was used heavily in the construction industry for many decades, before the discovery of the effect it has on human health. Slowly, asbestos-related deaths began surfacing in the news, leading to the eventual ban in 1985. When asbestos fibres are inhaled into the lungs, it can cause a range of health issues, from cancer to asbestosis.


It has become public knowledge that asbestos needs to be removed when it is discovered in a property, but many people don’t know that asbestos was used in textured paint between the 1930s and 1980s in order to mask imperfections in ceilings. There were a few reasons why asbestos was used, including:

  • Low in weight
  • Strong material
  • Fire resistant
  • A cheaper alternative to wood

What does an asbestos popcorn ceiling look like?

An asbestos ceiling is difficult to detect, as it won’t look any different from other popcorn ceilings, so you won’t be able to tell by simply looking at it. You can send a sample to a specialised laboratory and have it tested, but the most common technique is called Polarized Light Microscopy and is a highly reliable and accurate method for identifying asbestos. It’s within your best interest to hire professionals to do the testing, as asbestos is an extremely dangerous substance to work with when unqualified. 

How common was asbestos in popcorn ceilings?

It was commonly used during the 1930s to the 1980s, so any building that has lacked renovation since then must be checked for asbestos. In 2011 it was estimated 50% of homes have asbestos in them in some form, but it’s likely this has decreased since increased public concerns. 

How do I get rid of an asbestos popcorn ceiling?

The ceiling will not pose a risk to your health as long as it’s undisturbed. If you begin to disturb the surface, you may release some of the fibres. Although, it’s the percentage of asbestos that matters, it’s also the crumbliness of the texture. Even brushing your hand across the surface can release asbestos into the atmosphere. Due to this, it’s crucial you hire a professional to ensure the safe removal of asbestos. If you attempt to get rid of the asbestos yourself, you may end up causing detrimental health issues to yourself and others in the future. 

What should I do if I’m living with asbestos popcorn ceiling whilst awaiting removal?

You may not be able to get removal immediately, so here are a few tips on how to live with asbestos ceilings: 

  • Do not disturb any nails, screws, tape, or paint. 
  • Be careful not to scrape the ceiling with furniture if you need to remove it. 
  • Try and get children to avoid the room entirely, if not, make them aware they cannot touch or throw things at the ceiling. 
  • If the ceiling begins to peel, ensure you remove everything needed from the room and make sure you have the asbestos removed immediately. 

Here at Asbestos Waste Solutions, we believe a reliable and safe approach to asbestos removal is fundamental. Our friendly and knowledgeable team of experts can provide a comprehensive service that you can always rely on. For more information on our products and services, please get in touch with a member of our team today.

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