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Popcorn & Acoustic Ceilings


Have a popcorn ceiling in your home – you know what we are talking about those bubbly looking textured ceilings? Thinking of doing some DIY or a home renovation? Asbestos Removals Marlborough investigates popcorn and acoustic ceilings, and the dangers they pose in many older homes.


Back in the 1930s popcorn ceilings were all the rage! Many homes from the 1930s to the 1990s loved not only the look but the practicality these new-age ceilings attracted. Not only was the high-end fashionable look popular, but they also easily hide imperfections, were quickly installed, and due to their asbestos content, offered a decent amount of fire resistance. They were also well known for their ability to control acoustics – making them the perfect addition for downstair rooms and noisy areas (hence the name acoustic ceilings).


For any new build or renovation, they were the go-to for many builders and home designers alike. The problem is, they contain asbestos. Even though asbestos is banned in New Zealand, many older homes still boast these features, and when they are disturbed or removed, they can expose you and your family to asbestos.





What is a Popcorn Ceiling?


Also known as an acoustic ceiling, stipple, stucco, or cottage cheese ceiling, they were a very popular choice. This textured overhead ceiling was in hot demand as they were not only easy to apply, but they were also time effective and incredibly cheap. Popcorn ceilings were applied on drywalls with a textured sprayer or paint-on treatments, and you can guarantee at some point in your life you have slept or eaten, or lived under one of these ceilings. These sprayers can create different effects on the drywall producing a ‘popcorn’ or bubbly appearance. This surface is then able to trap sound and offer great acoustic protection – making them a great option in many double-story homes around the world.


Old popcorn ceilings have been shown to contain between one and 10 percent asbestos. The good news is modern popcorn ceilings are made from paper fibres meaning they are 100 percent safe for you and your family.


It’s also important to remember that if your popcorn ceiling is old and likely to contain asbestos it is completely safe unless disturbed or damaged.


How to Safely Remove Popcorn Ceilings?


It is vitally important that if you are considering removing a popcorn ceiling that you get professional advice. Asbestos Removals Marlborough highly recommends having the ceiling professionally tested to ensure it does not contain asbestos. Removing these ceilings creates a lot of dust. If you remove this ceiling dry with no protection for yourself or your home, you will ultimately be exposed to a high concentration of asbestos fibres. It is also important to note that these fibres can stay and live in your home for many many years.


Saving a few pennies doing it yourself, and worrying about it later could become a very costly and dangerous project. It is best to have the ceiling tested to know if you need to call in the experts for removal to protect yourself and your family. A trusted asbestos removals company can organise to have the ceiling tested, and remove the texture safely. If you think you have damaged popcorn ceiling issues, it is highly recommended you call in the experts to get the ceiling tested as quickly as possible. Shut off the room and ensure nobody enters the space until you have the all-clear from a trained expert.


Even though the ceiling (if not damaged or disturbed) can’t cause you any problems, it is advised you have it tested to check the levels of asbestos you are living under. Having it professionally removed is always the safest choice for you and your family. Regardless of the amount of asbestos the ceiling contains, it can still become quickly toxic if damaged. Particularly in New Zealand and the risk of earthquake, we recommend all popcorn ceilings be inspected and removed if needed by trained professionals.


If you think you have a popcorn ceiling issue – contact us today. We can organise your home to be safely tested, and the ceiling removed if it does contain asbestos.

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