accidentally removed asbestos popcorn ceiling

Accidentally Removed Asbestos Popcorn Ceiling

It is very likely to face a serious incident if you have asbestos in your ceiling and remove it accidentally. 

So, what actually happens when you accidentally removed the asbestos popcorn ceiling?

Accidental removal of popcorn ceiling can release asbestos particles into the air, which can be inhaled and lead to health risks, including lung cancer. To detect asbestos, proper testing is required as visual inspection alone is not sufficient. Normally, asbestos removal is a complex process that should be done by certified professionals.

There is a lot more to know about popcorn ceiling removal. Go through this whole article to gather more knowledge about it.

What Can Happen if You Accidentally Remove Asbestos Ceiling

Accidental removal of the asbestos ceiling might release asbestos particles into the air.  Inhaling this air could expose adjacent residents to health risks including lung cancer.

can you remove popcorn ceiling with asbestos

If dust from asbestos is inhaled or ingested, the fibers become permanently trapped in the body. The presence of these particles in the human body can lead to cancer. 

A single exposure to asbestos, however, might only be a moderate health risk if asbestos tiles are unintentionally removed. But you must take the appropriate steps to stop additional harm and shield yourself from asbestos fiber exposure.

How to Detect Asbestos in the Popcorn Ceiling

Unfortunately, a visual inspection usually won’t reveal if a popcorn ceiling contains asbestos.Your popcorn ceiling likely contains asbestos if your house was constructed before the mid-1980s. 

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Currently, asbestos testing is the only technique to establish if popcorn ceilings contain asbestos. You can take a sample of the popcorn texture from anywhere in the home and bring it to a local lab for testing. 

Depending on the lab and the region, testing might cost anywhere between $25 and $75 per sample. It is essential to remember that asbestos removal is a challenging and sensitive procedure. 

Sometimes you can also face black molds in your basement. There are also some other ways to remove those molds without worrying. But you have to maintain safety guidelines always. 

Step-by-Step Guide to Remove Asbestos Popcorn Ceiling

Remove Asbestos Popcorn Ceiling

It is not advised that you try to do it yourself because doing so might put you and your family in danger of exposure. A qualified and certified asbestos specialist should remove the material.

If you want to do so here are the general steps you could take to remove asbestos popcorn ceiling:

Step 1: Take Safety Measures 

Before starting the removal process, you need to wear protective clothing, gloves, and a respirator to avoid inhaling asbestos fibers. After that, carefully examine the popcorn ceiling. 

To understand the degree of asbestos exposure, examine more possibly impacted sites. Additionally, you need to design the removal process and evaluate the state of the items.

Step 2: Set up the Room for Removal

To stop the spread of asbestos fibers, you must prepare the space by covering the floors and walls with plastic sheeting. Next, switch off any lights, HVAC units, and other appliances that can have an impact on the air circulation in the space.

If available, consider using an air purifier, but make sure the air conditioning is off while you remove the popcorn ceiling. Also, you can use painter’s tape to secure your plastic covering.

Step 3: Scrape off the Popcorn Texture

In this phase, the popcorn texture on the ceiling needs to be physically removed. Scrape the textured substance off carefully with a putty knife or a scraper.

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The emission of dust and fibers must be kept to a minimum, especially if the popcorn ceiling includes asbestos. To prevent exposure, maintain appropriate safety precautions and methods advised by experts.

Step 4: Complete the Process and Repair Damage

Any damage or flaws on the ceiling may need to be fixed once the popcorn texture has been removed. This phase is basically looking for any holes, cracks, or uneven surfaces in the ceiling. 

Fill up any holes or cracks to repair any damage with the proper joint or patching material. Smooth out the repaired areas to create a uniform surface.

Step 5: Apply a Stomped or Painted Finish

After completing the repairs on the ceiling, you can choose between two common approaches for a new finish:

  • Stomping: This involves using a specialized stomping brush or roller to create a textured pattern on the ceiling. It helps conceal imperfections and adds visual appeal.
  • Painting: Alternatively, you can opt for a smooth and clean look by painting the ceiling. Use high-quality ceiling paint and apply it evenly with a roller or sprayer.

It’s essential to ensure proper asbestos removal procedures were followed if asbestos was present in the popcorn texture before applying the new finish.

Precautions While Working with Asbestos Popcorn Ceiling

Working with asbestos-containing popcorn ceilings can be risky, and should be approached with caution. Before working on an asbestos popcorn ceiling, take the following safety measures into account:

  • The first step is to test the popcorn ceiling for asbestos. Currently, asbestos testing is the only technique to establish if popcorn ceilings contain asbestos.
  • Be cautious not to damage the texture of the popcorn if you need to clean the ceiling. To prevent the spreading of asbestos fibers, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.

You can also use wall tile to cover the walls if you want, as this is risk-free. Now porcelain tiles are also on the market so you can easily make use of them. 

Symptoms of Asbestos Related Disease

Numerous illnesses, such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis, can be brought on by asbestos exposure. 

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Here are the signs of illnesses caused by asbestos:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent cough
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Clubbed fingertips
  • Abdominal swelling and distention

It is essential to remember that asbestos exposure can cause illnesses whose symptoms may not manifest for many years. You should consult a doctor if you have been exposed to asbestos and are suffering any of these symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What Are the Chances of Asbestos in Popcorn Ceiling?

Between 1 and 10% of popcorn ceilings installed before 1980 or so contain asbestos. When asbestos isn’t disturbed, it doesn’t provide much of a problem. But if it starts to disintegrate or if you sand it down and renovate, the airborne particles may be quite dangerous.

Is All Popcorn Ceiling Asbestos?

No. Only up to 10% of popcorn ceilings may be contaminated with asbestos. Although not all popcorn ceilings contain asbestos, those constructed in the 1980s and earlier may be particularly in danger. 

How Do You Test for Asbestos?

A stereo microscope, which offers a three-dimensional picture of the materials, is used in the analysis of asbestos. Every sample is opened in a dust cabinet, put in a single-use petri dish, and then visually inspected. By examining fibers, analysts can determine their physical characteristics.


Now you know what to do if you accidentally removed the asbestos popcorn ceiling. It is very harmful to your health if asbestos releases into the air. 

So, it is necessary to check for asbestos in your popcorn ceiling if you live in an old house. Though you can only have a sign of asbestos-related disease if you have long-term exposure to asbestos.

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