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How do I clean up the room after removing the popcorn ceiling?

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QuestionOnce I've actually removed an asbestos-containing popcorn ceiling, how do I clean up the room?

AnswerWhen removing a popcorn ceiling that contains asbestos, fine asbestos fibers are released into the air. Eventually they settle onto the floor, windowsills, woodwork, and walls. Plastic sheeting isolates the room so the fibers are not released into the home, but these fibers still need to be cleaned up.

Once the asbestos-containing popcorn has been completely removed from the ceiling, use clean wet white rags to wipe down the ceiling and walls to the top of the tape used to secure the plastic sheeting. This wipe-down will remove any remaining asbestos, so turn the rag frequently and wipe with a clean surface to help prevent smearing the asbestos fibers around. These rags are contaminated and should not be rinsed; instead, dispose of them in an asbestos waste disposal bag.

During cleanup, work with rubber gloves and continue to wear your protective clothing (coveralls with built-in booties) and eye protection as well as your approved respirator (half-face, dual-cartridge, each equipped with purple color-coded P-, N-, or R-100 [HEPA] filters).

Even with your best efforts to carefully remove the asbestos and contain the fibers, there will be residual asbestos. After the ceiling dries and before you remove the plastic sheeting, paint the ceiling with two coats of latex primer to encase any remaining asbestos fibers. After the paint has thoroughly dried, patch any areas that may have sustained damage. Apply the compound so it's not too heavy; you want to avoid having to sand these surfaces and possibly release any residual asbestos fibers. Use light coats and allow each coat to dry thoroughly.

Once the paint has dried you can proceed with final cleanup and removal of the asbestos-tainted plastic sheeting.

Before you pull down the plastic, I encourage you to read all the Q&As here carefully, check out all the links to read what others have to offer, and consult your local/regional/state air quality authorities about the applicable regulations before you begin the project.

Asbestos abatement has stringent requirements. When you finish your research, you may decide to turn it 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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