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Old 10-13-2012, 09:48 AM   #1
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What to do about asbestos-containing popcorn ceilings that have been damaged?


I recently learned that the popcorn ceilings in my (1970's) house contain asbestos ( yes, I had it tested by a lab). I understand that this wouldn't be a problem if they'd been left alone, but-- first, i painted a decorative mural on the ceiling of the downstairs half-bath. Then, the bathroom above the downstairs half-bath and adjoining laundry room leaked, and we had part of the laundry room ceiling and the adjoining hallway ceiling removed and replaced. Then we had plumbing problems in the same bathroom, water poured into the space below the bathroom and the downstairs half-bath, and the plumber cut the ceiling with a putty knife and tore out half of it (water gushed down).
So half the ceiling is gone, which I don't care about aesthetically, as we use that half-bath for cat littler boxes and storage, but I'm very worried about the health implications. We've also had water damage to the foyer ceiling repaired.
We've lived in this house since my 17-y-o son was 18 mos. old. Have we given him mesothelioma? What should we do about all this? We can't afford the expense of having it all removed, as we are working on paying for my son's college education.

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Old 10-13-2012, 10:19 AM   #2
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What to do about asbestos-containing popcorn ceilings that have been damaged?


You can fur-out the areas where there is any missing & removed ceiling material - using the same thickness sheetrock, or wood filler material (this process is to match the thickness of the remaining ceiling).
Then "overlay" the entire ceiling using 3/8" sheetrock and 1-5/8" to 2" drywall screws (be sure to determine where the strapping, or joists are prior to this - by measuring and marking them on the upper walls of the room).
You can corner-tape the new sheetrock to the room's walls, or you can leave it rough and install crown molding over the ceiling edge. Finish the new sheetrock and paint it. If it is in a bathroom, then make sure to use anti-mildew bathroom paint.

By following this method, you are "overlaying" the new material onto/over the asbestos and protecting it from becoming friable. This type of process, is generally an acceptable means of "encapsulating" the asbestos as recognized by the EPA - as long as the existing ceiling is kept from becoming disturbed, or airborne (friable), during the work.

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Encapsulation
  • There are ways to treat popcorn ceilings without removing them. Encapsulated asbestos is safe because it does not produce hazardous dust, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Painting a popcorn ceiling is one way to make it safer. Another method is to cover the ceiling with drywall. Not only does this encapsulate the asbestos, but it also hides the popcorn, providing a smoother, more modern look.
LINK HERE (For above information): What Is a Legal Popcorn Ceiling? | eHow.comhttp://www.ehow.com/facts_7223113_legal-popcorn-ceiling_.html#ixzz29C2ebhPe

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Old 10-13-2012, 10:27 AM   #3
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What to do about asbestos-containing popcorn ceilings that have been damaged?


Asbestos is not dangerous unless airborne. If it was sealed the odds of you breathing it are slim. Obviously it is dangerous if you breathe it now while you are getting rid of it. And you want to make sure it does not enter your cold air returns.

You should think about getting rid of it. Especially since you have to disclose it and if the popcorn ceiling is failing it is only going to get worse.

Close of each room with it as you work with plastic over the doorway. Wear disposable protective clothing and an aspirator. Keep the surface moist to minimize airborne particles. Abate and dispose of it according to regulations.

An alternative is to seal it in or cover it. Again the goal is to keep it from going airborne.

You probably have latitude for dealing with it and lead that a contractor will not.
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Old 10-13-2012, 10:28 AM   #4
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What to do about asbestos-containing popcorn ceilings that have been damaged?


Thanks. Yes, half the bathroom ceiling is gone; it's a void space with pipes in it between the upstairs and downstairs bathrooms. What does, "fur out" mean? And does the state of the ceiling pose any asbestos-related danger?
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Old 10-13-2012, 10:36 AM   #5
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What to do about asbestos-containing popcorn ceilings that have been damaged?


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Thanks. Yes, half the bathroom ceiling is gone; it's a void space with pipes in it between the upstairs and downstairs bathrooms. What does, "fur out" mean? And does the state of the ceiling pose any asbestos-related danger?
It means to build-out using other materials - to match the thickness of the adjacent material (in this case, the ceiling areas that possess the existing popcorn-coated sheetrock material VS. the framing areas where the ceiling was removed). The thickness is likely to be between 1/2" and 5/8".

As sdester stated, you can also seal the old ares of ceiling and/or the entire ceiling (using a 4 mil poly plastic sheet and tape), prior to performing the furring installation, and the drywall work.

Realize that we are offering suggestions based on general information, and do not know the actual condition of the remaining ceiling, the ceiling framing, the area, ventilation, etc. Removal of the entire ceiling may be the best option, or, the furring method and overlay may be another option - based on the circumstances.
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Old 10-13-2012, 10:38 AM   #6
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What to do about asbestos-containing popcorn ceilings that have been damaged?


Fur strips are used to level an existing ceiling for something like, in your case, 1/4" drywall right over the top. You would need them for sure if part of the ceiling is gone but there is still drywall and popcorn on part of it.

As for your other question if I understand it, it is unlikely there is asbestos in whatever the popcorn was applied to---it is most likely just in the popcorn itself. Some older ceiling tiles had asbestos but that is not your situation.

Since half the ceiling is shot and already gone though? I would just take the rest of the popcorn down. Seal it in contractor bags along with your disposable clothing, drop cloths, etc. and figure out how to get rid of it properly. Be done with it all.
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Old 10-13-2012, 12:40 PM   #7
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What to do about asbestos-containing popcorn ceilings that have been damaged?


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Fur strips are used to level an existing ceiling for something like, in your case, 1/4" drywall right over the top. You would need them for sure if part of the ceiling is gone but there is still drywall and popcorn on part of it.

As for your other question if I understand it, it is unlikely there is asbestos in whatever the popcorn was applied to---it is most likely just in the popcorn itself. Some older ceiling tiles had asbestos but that is not your situation.

Since half the ceiling is shot and already gone though? I would just take the rest of the popcorn down. Seal it in contractor bags along with your disposable clothing, drop cloths, etc. and figure out how to get rid of it properly. Be done with it all.
Question: If half of the ceiling is already gone would it be better as in disturbing the popcorn less (the asbestos) to simply remove the rest of the drywall, popcorn attached, ceiling. Then re-drywall, the thought being to just remove the popcorn even though damp, or wet will put a lot more fibers in the air
Plus it would probably be easier to hang the drywall rather than have butt joints.
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Old 10-15-2012, 01:58 AM   #8
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What to do about asbestos-containing popcorn ceilings that have been damaged?


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Question: If half of the ceiling is already gone would it be better as in disturbing the popcorn less (the asbestos) to simply remove the rest of the drywall, popcorn attached, ceiling. Then re-drywall, the thought being to just remove the popcorn even though damp, or wet will put a lot more fibers in the air
Plus it would probably be easier to hang the drywall rather than have butt joints.
That's how I would do it. You'll get little or no dust from the popcorn. There's not much asbestos content in that stuff anyway. Something like 3-10% of the texture will be asbestos fibre.
I have done the same with VA floor coverings when the substrate is rotted, dispose of substrate with the VA still attached.
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:38 PM   #9
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What to do about asbestos-containing popcorn ceilings that have been damaged?


Vinyl asbestos floor tile is a completely different animal than popcorn ceiling. VATs are not even considered friable unless they are disturbed. Asbestos in floor tile is in a very heavy matrix that makes it difficult to aerosolize (make airborne), while popcorn ceiling material is very light and will easily become airborne and can stay airborne for an extended period of time. And the settled dust can easily become airborne over and over again. That is the problem with an improper approach here. You risk breathing certain amounts of the dust over long periods of time which carries the highest risk for long term health effects. It is possible to abate this yourself, but the sledgehammer approach isn't it. You need to decide whether you want to encapsulate it, or remove it. There are pros and cons to each.

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