Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Updating a Popcorn Ceiling

Popular from the 1950’s into the early 1980’s, popcorn ceilings were used in most residential homes. Second to the inexpensive application and availability, the natural insulation and acoustic qualities were it’s biggest draw. It also efficiently covered up wallboard joints and seams.

It was only after the 1978 Clean Air Act was passed, were these ceilings no longer installed in homes. The popcorn material contained white asbestos fibers, which can cause serious health problems if the fibers are exposed and inhaled. As these dangers came to light, the popcorn ceiling fad faded away. However, because many manufacturers still had a large surplus of the materials in their stock and to prevent economic hardships, they were allowed to continue using the substances well into the 1980’s.

Removing Your Popcorn Ceiling

Aesthetically speaking, popcorn ceilings are very unattractive. They can darken a room and light fixtures bounce ugly shadows on the ceiling, as well as distorting the light. While some homeowners take it upon themselves to remove the texture, it is recommended that a professional tests the material. In some municipalities, there are enforcement codes that do not allow you to handle this task. If your home was built after the 1990’s and has popcorn ceilings, you should be fine to remove it yourself. As always, it’s best to find out the rules and regulations in your community.

If the ceiling tests positive for asbestos, a licensed technician will have the proper equipment and knowledge to handle the removal of your ceiling. They will be wearing protective masks, respiratory gear, and special clothing. They also will dispose of the offensive substance according to OSHA standards. Dependent on your region and how much you’d like the worker to do, this job can cost anywhere from $1-3 per square foot.

Installing New Ceilings

If removal is not something that you are interested in undertaking, using alternative ceiling designs may be the answer.

Tongue and groove boards can be applied to your ceiling giving the room some farmhouse charm. If you are living in an older home where the wiring may be questionable, try using this innovative approach. Attractive paneling is used to cover the popcorn ceiling with the addition of the beams, which contains new wiring and covers the seams of the new paneling. On a budget? Stick up tiles can give the look of luxe on the cheap, all while covering up your textured ceiling.

Why Can’t I Just Paint The Ceiling?

Painting over top of the existing popcorn ceiling is an option as well, though not ideal. You are still left with the unappealing texture and darkness of the room. However, it’s a good alternative if you are looking to conceal stains or other blemishes. One major drawback of this remedy is using too much paint, due to all the hills and valleys of the texture, which can absorb into the popcorn and make it wet. This could lead to damage of the ceiling and the asbestos could be released into the air.  

We hope that these tips have been informational and helpful to you if your home has popcorn ceilings!

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