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How do I dismantle the safety setup after removing the popcorn ceiling?

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QuestionAfter I've researched the removal of a popcorn ceiling that contains asbestos, done all the prep work, and actually removed the popcorn ceiling in a safe and legal manner, how do I dismantle the safety setup?

AnswerThe clean-up phase of the project is very important and no shortcuts should be taken. Everything has been contaminated with asbestos fibers, so a careful removal is required to prevent asbestos fibers from being released into the home.

Plan your final exit before you remove any of the plastic sheeting. Along this route make sure that you have plenty of disposal bags and tape. The goal is to dismantle the work area and bag the debris in an orderly fashion, literally working your way outside the containment area to the final exit spot.

Follow these steps:

  1. First, spray down all the plastic sheeting one last time to make sure that the asbestos debris is thoroughly wet before removal.
  2. Begin at the point that is highest and farthest away from your final exit. Remove the plastic from the wall and lower the sheets to the first layer of plastic on the floor.
  3. Carefully roll up the top layer of plastic on the floor and place it into a disposal bag. The second layer of sheeting on the floor will guarantee that you stay on plastic at all times.
  4. Once the perimeter plastic sheeting and the top layer of floor plastic have been bagged, roll up the second layer toward yourself while you remain on the sheeting.
  5. Continue removing and bagging plastic sheeting until you reach the final exit point. However, do not remove the last plastic sheeting on the floor at this time. Instead, you and your work partner should (in this order) spray each other down with water, remove your boots, turn gloves inside out as you take them off, remove your coveralls, and finally take off the respirators. Place all the removable items on the plastic including the respirator filters.
  6. Standing off the plastic, wipe down all safety equipment and tools used in removing the popcorn ceiling with a clean wet rag as you lean over the plastic. If you plan to keep any of these items, place them in a plastic bag for further cleaning outside. However, since asbestos fibers can remain afloat for a long period of time, it may be better to simply dispose of the items and purchase new. Finally, roll up the plastic sheeting along with the clothing and seal it all in double disposal bags.
  7. Make sure that all the debris is properly packaged and labeled for transport to the waste disposal site—and take a shower before transport.

Now you are ready to apply a finish texture to your asbestos-free ceiling. You may wish to hire a contractor to do this work; however, if you want to save money by doing the work yourself, my book, Remodeling A Bathroom, Chapter 5, Working with Wallboard (pages 79 - 93), offers lots of ideas on different textures and how to apply them to walls or ceilings. If you just want a smooth ceiling, the book covers that as well.

The stringent requirements regarding asbestos abatement cause many homeowners to turn the project over to the pros, something I heartily recommend.

I've been in the construction field for over 25 years and wish I'd known then what I know now about asbestos. I would not have tackled a lot of projects because of the asbestos content of so many building products.

If you're addressing asbestos in your home, e.g., you want to remove your popcorn ceiling, I recommend that you purchase my informative 10-page article, Asbestos In Popcorn Ceilings.Purchase this article to learn about asbestos in popcorn ceiling and how to patch them!

In addition to a thorough discussion of the potential asbestos risk presented by popcorn ceilings, the article includes information about asbestos abatement procedures as well as links to government and state agencies where you can get more information, locate state-certified professional asbestos contractors for removal, and find other documents that address removing the asbestos yourself.

As an added bonus, Patching a Popcorn Ceiling has been added to Asbestos In Popcorn Ceilings to help those who need to make repairs to their ceilings. The process is about the same whether the ceiling contains asbestos or not; however, for your own peace of mind, you still need to determine if your ceiling contains asbestos, and the article describes procedures to follow to safely take a sample for testing.

Click to Purchase Don't forget—before starting this project get your informative 10-page PDF article titled Asbestos In Popcorn Ceilings and Patching a Popcorn Ceiling. To order your downloadable .pdf printable copy, click here or click the purchase button to the left!

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Question answered by Leon A. Frechette.

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