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Old 09-02-2013, 03:04 PM   #1
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Popcorn ceiling


Not what you think. I need to do some repair work on a ceiling in a church. The entire ceiling is covered in popcorn which was known for years as an acoustical ceiling finish. This church has it's own band. The question is what will removing this ceiling do to the sound in this large room. My fear is now you may get an echoing effect. Would appreciate if someone could point me to somewhere I may find an answer. Thanks

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Old 09-02-2013, 04:27 PM   #2
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What type of ceiling (shape), and height... as well as room measurements and wall surfaces?

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Old 09-02-2013, 04:35 PM   #3
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Rough estimate is 40' x 60' the walls are 8' and the rafters are about 18' at the peak.
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Old 09-02-2013, 05:16 PM   #4
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Not what you think. I need to do some repair work on a ceiling in a church. The entire ceiling is covered in popcorn which was known for years as an acoustical ceiling finish. This church has it's own band. The question is what will removing this ceiling do to the sound in this large room. My fear is now you may get an echoing effect. Would appreciate if someone could point me to somewhere I may find an answer. Thanks
So what if you get an echoing effect? Churches in Europe have no popcorn ceilings.....LOL. Notre Dame (Paris), Sienna, Florence, Rome, Messina, Siracusa............never saw popcorn on those ceilings.)

Ive been in many of them, actually been in one while a choir was performing. No popcorn there, and no problem! Actually, some echo is an enhancement!! You should have been there to hear it! Soooo mystical, hard to describe. True- those churches are bigger, still, I dont understand why popcorn is a must to enhance voice/choir.

Scrape it off.
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:08 AM   #5
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So what if you get an echoing effect? Churches in Europe have no popcorn ceilings.....LOL. Notre Dame (Paris), Sienna, Florence, Rome, Messina, Siracusa............never saw popcorn on those ceilings.)

Ive been in many of them, actually been in one while a choir was performing. No popcorn there, and no problem! Actually, some echo is an enhancement!! You should have been there to hear it! Soooo mystical, hard to describe. True- those churches are bigger, still, I dont understand why popcorn is a must to enhance voice/choir.

Scrape it off.
I can't see popcorn on the ceiling having much effect on sound quality. But quality can be a huge issue. Our six-year-old church is quite large, seating almost 1500 people. No curtains anywhere; floors are stone tile throughout. Ceiling is very high (50 feet or more) and dome-shaped. Acoustics are a real problem, not for singing but for normal speech. We have had a parishoner, who is an acoustical engineer, working on the problem for a while now. It is better, but still not perfect.
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:29 AM   #6
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So what if you get an echoing effect? Churches in Europe have no popcorn ceilings.....LOL. Notre Dame (Paris), Sienna, Florence, Rome, Messina, Siracusa............never saw popcorn on those ceilings.)

Ive been in many of them, actually been in one while a choir was performing. No popcorn there, and no problem! Actually, some echo is an enhancement!! You should have been there to hear it! Soooo mystical, hard to describe. True- those churches are bigger, still, I dont understand why popcorn is a must to enhance voice/choir.

Scrape it off.
I also have been in large buildings that sound great. The problem here is this is just a medium room. Had the popcorn never been put on no one would have thought any thing about it. Now there is a kind of argument. Some say removal will help the sound, some say it will hurt the sound. And I really don't know where to go to find the answer.
On a side note what happened to Jsheridan?
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:03 AM   #7
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Rough estimate is 40' x 60' the walls are 8' and the rafters are about 18' at the peak.
Ours is slightly larger with plaster wall/ceiling finish.
We hung 2x4 ft. acoustic panels around the perimeter- helped a lot
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Old 09-03-2013, 09:43 AM   #8
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You appear to have about a 26.6° ceiling. I doubt there will be much of a bounce problem down in the seats with that steep an angle. Where acoustical treatments on ceilings seem to do the most good are on flat ceilings.

Usually, wall panels seem to do the most good.
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Old 09-03-2013, 02:48 PM   #9
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Popcorn ceiling


I can't speak to the acoustics, except to say popcorn was often used in public assembly buildings as a sound absorption material to control echo. If you decide to take it off, just know that many popcorn ceilings contained a fair amount of asbestos and are very friable. Since you are talking about a place of public assembly, going at this helter skelter is probably not a good idea. A parochial school close to here removed popcorn from an auditorium ceiling all the while disregarding it's asbestos content and damned near landed a church member in jail. Granted your church is not covered by NESHAP law, but still...... My advice: Don't "just scrape it off".
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:02 PM   #10
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M6 makes a good point. It's never good to dry scrape that junk. If I can get away with it, I often even go so far as to use a garden hose with a good spray gun attached. The recommended spray bottle method usually doesn't deliver enough water, and takes forever.
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:45 PM   #11
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no way of telling if popcorn is made WITH asbestos, as much of it (after the ban in 1978, but still inventoried after that until depleted from stocks) has no asbestos. Still, dont breathe popcorn dust even if it has no asbestos. Irritant to lungs/respiratory tract. you can get a tiny sample, and send to local lab to test for cheap.
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Old 09-05-2013, 07:42 AM   #12
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M6 makes a good point. It's never good to dry scrape that junk. If I can get away with it, I often even go so far as to use a garden hose with a good spray gun attached. The recommended spray bottle method usually doesn't deliver enough water, and takes forever.
I never dry scrap it makes it much harder to get off. I use one of those pump-up garden sprayers. Put some fabric softener in the water seems to soak in a little better. Spray let set about 10 minutes to soak in then spray again.
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:39 AM   #13
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I never dry scrap it makes it much harder to get off. I use one of those pump-up garden sprayers. Put some fabric softener in the water seems to soak in a little better. Spray let set about 10 minutes to soak in then spray again.
If you can get away with it, the garden hose method lets you do a good-sized living room in about a half hour... total, done. Except for the cleanup. And Visqueen cuts that part down to about ten minutes.

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