Popcorn ceilings don't actually look like popcorn, but are more like cottage cheese in appearance. Mostly these ceilings come in white color, however you can find some which have a gold glitter to them. These ceilings are also called acoustic ceiling, and were used from the late 1950s to 1980s in American residential construction. It has its own set of pros and cons, which we shall look at in detail.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Popcorn ceiling is a spray-on or paint-on ceiling treatment which makes it cheaper than painting, as it can be quickly and easily sprayed on the new construction. Also, they are great for masking ceiling defects in older constructions like stains, cracks, uneven ceilings, or poor workmanship. A texturing gun can be used for applying it.
The mixture for the ceiling texture has to be perfectly prepared. If the mix is too runny then it can make the new ceiling crack, however it also needs to be thick enough so that it contains all the lumps. Before applying it, it will be good if you can practice applying the ceiling mix on a piece of cardboard or a scrap drywall. First the center part of the ceiling is sprayed with the mix, and a trowel can be used to spread it to the corners and edges of the ceiling.
Most popcorn ceilings contain asbestos to create texture, though there are some that use a paper-based or Styrofoam product, as compared to using asbestos. However, asbestos poses a lot of health threats. Asbestos is hazardous because the fibers of the material when airborne can cause a serious cancer which is called mesothelioma or sometimes referred as asbestos cancer. The symptoms of this condition don't show up for many years, but when they do the condition is in its advanced stage. Hence during the mid 70s the EPA (Environment Protection Agency) and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) put in regulations regarding the use of asbestos.
If you are thinking of ceiling repair or removal, then it is important that you do not remove the ceiling till it is tested to check if it contains asbestos. A small ceiling sample should be first taken out and tested by the EPA professional. Once it has been approved by the EPA for removal, then the process of ceiling removal should start.
These ceilings are easy to create, but they are considered outdated and undesirable today. However, they still have acoustic qualities which help to muffle sound and echoes. And this is the reason why they were very popular once in the construction of apartments. They were used in bedrooms where noise muffling was required. However, as cleaning these ceilings is difficult, these ceilings were not preferred for the kitchens.
Popcorn ceiling removal cost depends on what type of removal method is used. Asbestos tends to pose a health problem only if the fibers are released into the air. So, if the ceiling you have is in a good condition, then the easiest, safest, and least expensive way to repair is to just leave it alone. You can consider covering it up by spray painting on it. However, painting on it can make the removal of the ceiling in the future even more difficult.
But, if you wish to completely get rid of the popcorn ceiling, then contact a professional agency. This can be very expensive. However, considering the health risks involved with asbestos fibers, it is better that you let the professionals remove the popcorn asbestos ceiling.