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Old 01-09-2009, 07:07 AM   #1
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Popcorn ceiling / Asbestos


Can anyone define for me what is specific to a "popcorn" ceiling finish I've read about her that creates the concern. Was there an asbestos texture additive which created the popcorn look? and if so is it easy to recognize or was the asbestos a general component of drywall, or plaster or similar wall board materials used in the 70's. Can you post photos?

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Old 01-09-2009, 08:12 AM   #2
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Popcorn ceiling / Asbestos


The popcorn finish is a heavy dimensional finish that was sprayed onto surfaces, usually ceilings. In place, it resembles balls of popped corn. Hotel room ceilings were notorious for having it because it has some good sound absorbing qualities. Asbestos was used as a binder in many, many cases. The finish is relatively soft and easily friable, meaning that it can be reduced to powder with only light pressure, thereby releasing airborne asbestos fibers. Some drywall and drywall compounds have been found to contain asbestos fibers, although they are more rare than the asbestos found in popcorn ceilings.

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Old 01-09-2009, 10:12 AM   #3
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Popcorn ceiling / Asbestos


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Originally Posted by Chemist1961 View Post
Can anyone define for me what is specific to a "popcorn" ceiling finish I've read about her that creates the concern.
As covered by Maintenance6, it's the material within the popcorn mixture itself.

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Originally Posted by Chemist1961 View Post
Was there an asbestos texture additive which created the popcorn look?
No, popcorn, is a type of texture, which can still be applied to this day (modern material - without asbestos in it). It all looks the same, or very similar, even the older material.

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... and if so is it easy to recognize or was the asbestos a general component of drywall, or plaster or similar wall board materials used in the 70's. Can you post photos?
Popcorn is Popcorn, whether it contains asbestos or not, it looks very much the same, that is why there is so much discussion about not knowing, and confirming by test kits and lab determination.

Popcorn Texture looks like the photo on this link (Scroll Down):

http://www.drywallschool.com/textures.htm
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Old 01-09-2009, 10:32 AM   #4
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Popcorn ceiling / Asbestos


Thanks... My ceilings have been painted but I have a repair to do. My texture is relatively fine like small cottage cheese at most. House was built mid 70's. Where do I get a test kit, retail box stores or online? I'm in Canada, have Lowes , HD here
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Old 01-09-2009, 10:33 AM   #5
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Popcorn ceiling / Asbestos


Thanks for the "skoolin" AB, I love to read you concise answers. I learn so much even when it isn't my question. Plus the visual link was very clear. AND I saw a new decor technique I may want to try!
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Old 01-09-2009, 10:55 AM   #6
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Popcorn ceiling / Asbestos


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Thanks... My ceilings have been painted but I have a repair to do. My texture is relatively fine like small cottage cheese at most. House was built mid 70's. Where do I get a test kit, retail box stores or online? I'm in Canada, have Lowes , HD here
Big Box stores like HD and Lowe's may have them.
Paint store, also online...like Amazon, etc.

Good Luck.
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Old 01-09-2009, 04:18 PM   #7
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Popcorn ceiling / Asbestos


If it's got a texture like cottage cheese, then it doesn't sound like a popcorn ceiling. That in itself would reduce, but not eliminate the chance of it containing asbestos. If you test it, repost and tell us the results.
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Old 01-09-2009, 09:24 PM   #8
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Popcorn ceiling / Asbestos


In the 70's was the time that I was employed in construction and asbestos was used indiscriminately. I would suggest that there's a 90% chance that your 'popcorn' is asbestos based! It must be tested and if it is in fact asbestos, only professionals should remove this!
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Old 01-09-2009, 09:46 PM   #9
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Popcorn ceiling / Asbestos


Hi there, I worked with popcorn ceilings in the early 1970s.I heard then that ceiling texture had asbestos in it up to
1974 and was banned after that, but who knows how many old bags of ceiling texture was applied or was left over
and used after 1974.I think but not sure, you can buy a test kit at H.D or a paint supply outlet for asbestos.
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:32 AM   #10
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Popcorn ceiling / Asbestos


Does anyone know if the US banned it first and we in Canada followed or did Canada start the ban and if so when?
The ceiling is painted so I'm assuming it's somewhat sealed for now but I will look for a test kit.
Was the popcorn typically white all the way through or was it a diifferent colour under the skin?
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Old 01-10-2009, 01:46 PM   #11
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Popcorn ceiling / Asbestos


I think Atlantic has posted before the exact dates when asbestos was "banned" in drywall (and likely other) products. Late '70s I think, but mfgrs. were working toward eliminating it in the mid '70s. I recall we started having problems with acoustic spray (popcorn) coverage around '75 because USG (for one) was working on latex based compounds (mud also had asbestos in it). We had to "flash coat" ceilings with white primer to assure good coverage for several months until the "new formula" was worked out. Even if you don't have "popcorn", there may be an asbestos issue. Any texture of the era could be a problem. Testing is the only sure way to find out.......
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Old 01-10-2009, 03:05 PM   #12
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Popcorn ceiling / Asbestos


As an afterthought, there are two ways of working with asbestos issues! One is removal and the other is encapsulation.
For a ceiling issue, new drywall is placed over top of the old ceiling, then finished in the usual manner!
"let sleeping dogs lay! so to speak!"
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Old 01-10-2009, 04:29 PM   #13
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Popcorn ceiling / Asbestos


Some of the largest asbestos mines were located in Canada, so there's probably plenty of it in building products. I'm not sure when Canada banned it. Contrary to popular belief, it was never completely banned in the U.S. until just recently. There were plenty of loopholes in the original laws banning manufacture in the U.S. Realisticly it is rarely found in normal building materials manufactured in the U.S. beyond the early 1980s. Manufacturers were allowed to use their remaining stock until it was depleted. Dealers were allowed to continue selling off asbestos containing materials that were on stock until it was gone. If wholesalers still had stuff on the shelf, it could have been installed much later than the manufacturing ban. It could still be found in specialty materials where it was non-friable or encapsulated, such as fibered roofing materials where it could not become an airborne hazard. It was also still in use as breaching in some boilers and high temperature wire insulation like you would find in ovens and kilns. That includes residential kitchen stoves. It was still allowed to be used in areas where a "suitable" replacement could not be formulated. Not exactly places where a DIY person would be likely to encounter it.
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Old 01-10-2009, 05:38 PM   #14
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Popcorn ceiling / Asbestos


Quote:
Originally Posted by Maintenance 6 View Post
Some of the largest asbestos mines were located in Canada, so there's probably plenty of it in building products. I'm not sure when Canada banned it. Contrary to popular belief, it was never completely banned in the U.S. until just recently. There were plenty of loopholes in the original laws banning manufacture in the U.S. Realisticly it is rarely found in normal building materials manufactured in the U.S. beyond the early 1980s. Manufacturers were allowed to use their remaining stock until it was depleted. Dealers were allowed to continue selling off asbestos containing materials that were on stock until it was gone. If wholesalers still had stuff on the shelf, it could have been installed much later than the manufacturing ban. It could still be found in specialty materials where it was non-friable or encapsulated, such as fibered roofing materials where it could not become an airborne hazard. It was also still in use as breaching in some boilers and high temperature wire insulation like you would find in ovens and kilns. That includes residential kitchen stoves. It was still allowed to be used in areas where a "suitable" replacement could not be formulated. Not exactly places where a DIY person would be likely to encounter it.
From Wikipedia! The American Bar Association states that a growing number of claimants do not, and may never, suffer from asbestos illness. Because of the fear of a running statute of limitations, many people file claims who are not presently ill, but have had X-rays that show changes 'consistent with' asbestos disease. According to the Environmental Working Group Action Fund, 10,000 people a year die from asbestos-caused diseases the United States, including one out of every 125 American men who die over the age of 50. [18] The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has no general ban on the use of asbestos. However, asbestos was one of the first hazardous air pollutants regulated under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act of 1970, and many applications have been forbidden by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). [19] According to a September 2004 of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, asbestos is still a hazard for 1.3 million US workers in the construction industry and for workers involved in the maintenance of buildings and equipment.

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Last edited by Wildie; 01-10-2009 at 05:41 PM.
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