The term used to refer to any type of textured ceiling is popcorn or cottage cheese. This was a common decorative application for American homes built in the 1960s all the way to the 1980s. Its popularity can be attributed to its ease of application and its ability to hide imperfections as well as insulate noise. This type of ceiling, however, was treated with the harmful fibrous material known as asbestos. Asbestos fibers are so small that a polarized light microscope is necessary in order to see it. This makes it impossible to determine whether or not a textured ceiling contains asbestos, unless there’s a label on it that says so. This also makes asbestos testing in homes a necessary pre-renovation procedure.
A test for asbestos done on textured ceilings should be trusted to qualified asbestos testers alone. Never touch, scrape or remove the ceiling on your own as this will increase the chances of asbestos contamination in your home. Call an accredited asbestos testing laboratory to be properly advised on how to safely take a sample of a material suspected of containing asbestos. It is not ideal for homeowners to be the one doing this, but if you absolutely have to, then there are steps that should be followed to make the procedure safe for you as well as for the rest of your family.
The first thing that should be done to test asbestos in textured ceiling is to isolate an area suspected of asbestos content. Turn off all appliances that could aid in releasing asbestos fibers into the air. Put on protective gears for the face and hand, as well as a plastic sheet on the floor to keep it safe from asbestos contamination. Use a spray bottle to mist the ceiling before carefully cutting a sample off. It is necessary to cut into the substrate of the popcorn ceiling to get the appropriate sample for asbestos testing. Scraping off the paint layer will not do.
The sample should then be sealed in a canister or re-sealable plastic, labeled with information such as when and where the sample was taken.
Some people who would like to keep their homes in style may consider scraping the popcorn texture off themselves. Unless it is absolutely necessary, popcorn ceilings should be left undisturbed to keep your house safe from contamination of asbestos in textured ceiling. Consult an asbestos testing professional to be properly advised on the best thing to do. Removing this type of ceiling is best done by a professional who knows how to safely handle asbestos-ridden construction materials. It may be more expensive than doing it yourself, but you can be sure that it will be a lot safer.