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How can I learn if asbestos is present in my popcorn ceilings?

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QuestionMy home was built in 1980 and has popcorn ceilings in many of the rooms. How can I learn if I asbestos is present in my popcorn ceilings?

AnswerYou're smart to even be asking the question. Even though the application of sprayed-on asbestos-containing coatings was banned in 1978, a lot of popcorn ceilings installed as late as 1986 contained asbestos in the mixture. It's possible that your ceiling contains an asbestos level of 3 to 8 percent.

It's basically impossible to determine the presence of asbestos with just a visual inspection. Until reliable independent laboratory analysis proves otherwise, it is important to treat your ceiling—and other building materials—as though they contain asbestos.

You can find a laboratory in the yellow pages of your phone book under "Laboratories-Analytical" or "Asbestos Consulting & Testing." Also, a quick search on the internet for "Asbestos Laboratory Test" brings up over 100,000 listings.

You can call the laboratory or read the information on their website to find out what size sample is required and the costs involved.

If you are considering a home improvement project and asbestos is—or may be—a factor, e.g., removing a popcorn ceiling, 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 certain building products.

To get the whole picture, I recommend that you purchase my informative article, Asbestos In Popcorn Ceilings, Purchase this article to learn about asbestos in popcorn ceiling and how to patch them!which describes how to determine if asbestos is present and the steps a professional takes to decide if removal is the correct course of action. These same steps apply to homeowners facing the same decisions.

Included are links to government and state agencies where you can get more information on the subject, 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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