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Discussion Starter #1
I know this has been asked a lot, but probably not my specific question. I had the popcorn tested in my new home before agreeing to purchase and it came back negative for asbestos, granted they only tested one spot.

Originally I had planned to hang new sheetrock over the ceiling upstairs to avoid scraping an entire home, but the guy I had come in to quote finishing thinks he can make it look brand new. Obviously you his is much cheaper and keeps me from having to hang all that new sheetrock!

My wife has concerns about asbestos being in the joint compound/tape and the guy sanding and scraping. If the popcorn tested negative is it still possible it’s in the tape and compound? Since he’s going to do an entire house is this enough to be concerned about?
 

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retired painter
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Asbestos is only hazardous in dry breathable form. While a lot of popcorn had asbestos in that time period - a lot did not. I don't know anything about asbestos in joint compound, never heard about it on the job - only on forums.


The odds are your guy will moisten the texture and then scrape if off. The majority of sanding he will do will be the new j/c he applies to dress up the ceiling.
 

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At the school where I worked one school building had asbestos containing popcorn on the ceiling. The law says 1% or more asbestos deems it asbestos containing, anything less is not subject to acm laws. The stuff we had was just under 2%, so we had to abate. Just a little less and we could have ignored it. You should test more than one sample. How much you worry should be a function of how bad it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes, joint compound did have asbestos in it pre 1978. Get it tested to be safe!
Wouldn’t they likely have used the same joint compound on the seams and joints as they mixed the pop with? I guess I was thinking that most homeowners would be THRILLED with a negative asbestos test in their popcorn and proceed with having it removed, not even thinking about compound ? 🏼
 

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retired painter
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Most popcorn comes in bags that you mix with water although I have sprayed popcorn that came in 5 gallon buckets - I think it was oil base but that was a long time ago.
 

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I doubt you could successfully skim coat over popcorn texture. IMO the asbestos risk is minimal, you already tested the texture and there won't be much of the j/c removed/sanded.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So I tried my best to get some samples. I took a large piece of the ceiling where I cut to install can lights just to confirm the texture was clean again, and then a piece of ceiling from the edge where the wall and ceiling meet. I found some tape that looked like it was never even mudded over on the closet downstairs. Dropped it at the lab and the guy looked at all of it with his microscope and said he saw no asbestos, but he did see some in a floor sample I took last week. Said the tape I took had some JC on the back of it. I’m questioning the results as I’ve read it was used universally in JC. The lab guy said if it did have asbestos and was sanded it would go everywhere so I’m not sure what to do. Maybe try to get a better sample to ensure it’s got JC on it ?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I actually just realized the ceiling I took was from the kitchen and there was paneling there. Would they have mudded the edges of the ceiling bumped up against paneling ?
 

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It's possible but there should be little sanding of the existing j/c. Most of the sanding will be from the skim coat that will be applied to the ceiling after the popcorn is removed.
 

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If you can skim joint compound & it only requires a little sanding why not use a product that is applied like joint compound & requires NO SANDING?
 

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So I tried my best to get some samples. I took a large piece of the ceiling where I cut to install can lights just to confirm the texture was clean again, and then a piece of ceiling from the edge where the wall and ceiling meet. I found some tape that looked like it was never even mudded over on the closet downstairs. Dropped it at the lab and the guy looked at all of it with his microscope and said he saw no asbestos, but he did see some in a floor sample I took last week. Said the tape I took had some JC on the back of it. I’m questioning the results as I’ve read it was used universally in JC. The lab guy said if it did have asbestos and was sanded it would go everywhere so I’m not sure what to do. Maybe try to get a better sample to ensure it’s got JC on it ?
From your photo it looks like your popcorn ceiling has been painted, and with an eggshell or higher sheen of paint. If so, my advice might not work, but if it was painted with a flat or not painted at all, here is what I would look into doing:



There might be more videos on Youtube where the popcorn ceiling is sprayed down with water, then scraped off with a spackle knife taped to a wet vac.

If this was my task and the popcorn was not painted over, I would be using a wet vac in a similar fashion to what is done in the videos I posted.

siffleur
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I’m not there but he scraped it all on Sunday. I swept up all the texture to clean up a bit and he’s back today. I thought he would be skim coating before sanding, especially since it got down to the paper in lots of areas. Apparently not. He has a large sander and is sanding away?!?!

So..... this is no bigger deal than when the house was built right ? I mean, they had to sand the walls when it was original so it’s likely not a huge deal.
 

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retired painter
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As long as there is no asbestos all sanding does is make a mess. I assume your contractor feels sanding now will make skim coating easier. Hard to say without being there.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well the popcorn itself is negative for asbestos but I’m not sure about the joint compound. I assume it has it since it was pretty much universal during that time. My MIL is there with him and sent this,

“ I asked about the ceiling process. You scrape then sand to get all the loose paper and extra popcorn off. Then you skim coat and sand to make nice and smooth.”

I wasn’t too concerned about the joint compound since I didn’t think he’d be sanding it but now I’m wondering if it’s something to fret over since it’s the entire house and my kids are small.

I have plastic down on all the subfloor and will be painting top to bottom. This guy has like four teeth total. This is so stressful! I thought someone in the business would know not to sand old joint compound !
 

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retired painter
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I thought someone in the business would know not to sand old joint compound
I've been in the painting trade since the early 70s and have done some drywall work in association with painting. While I've been aware of asbestos popcorn from day one [even sprayed on a bunch of it] until recently I never heard of asbestos being in j/c.
 
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