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Can I remove our asbestos popcorn ceiling myself?

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QuestionOur lab results just came back and the popcorn ceilings in our 1979 home contain asbestos. We'd like to remove these ceilings—can I perform this work myself?

AnswerThe short answer is "Yes." Homeowners can remove an asbestos-containing popcorn ceiling themselves. However, just because you can do it doesn't mean you should. Stringent requirements must be met and it is an arduous process, even if the asbestos concentration level is only 3 to 8 percent.

You will need to file applications, pay any fees that may be required by your local/regional/state building and air quality authorities, and carefully follow the applicable regulations. You will need to purchase or rent the proper equipment and wear the proper protective clothing.

This is a project that requires more than one person, but homeowners cannot hire anyone to perform, or assist in, removal of a popcorn ceiling except for a state-certified asbestos contractor. They can perform the work themselves and receive assistance from live-in family members.

Taking all this into consideration, I strongly recommend that you turn the popcorn removal over to the pros.

Asbestos exposure is risky business and asbestos abatement is challenging work. Even performing minor repairs yourself is not recommended since the improper handling of asbestos materials can create a hazard where none existed.

I encourage you to carefully read all the Q&As here, check out all the links to read what others have to offer—especially the information and regulations on the EPA website—and consult your local/regional/state air quality authorities about the applicable regulations before you begin the project.

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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