How to Tell If Popcorn Ceiling Has Asbestos? Let’s Find Out

In this post, we’ll explore everything you need to know how to tell if popcorn ceiling has asbestos. From asbestos testing to DIY inspections and removal options, we’ve got you covered. 

So sit back, grab some popcorn (sans texture), and let’s dive into this important topic together!

What is a Popcorn Ceiling?

Via: Square space

A popcorn ceiling, also known as a textured ceiling or acoustic ceiling, is a type of finish applied to ceilings in order to hide imperfections and achieve a certain look. 

The finish consists of small polystyrene beads that are sprayed onto the ceiling and then left to dry. Popcorn ceilings were popular in the 1970s and 1980s but have since fallen out of favor due to the health risks they pose.

Popcorn ceilings can be difficult to clean and are often covered in dust and cobwebs. They can also be dangerous if they contain asbestos fibers, which can be released into the air and inhaled. 

Asbestos is a known carcinogen and exposure to it can lead to lung cancer. If you suspect your popcorn ceiling contains asbestos, do not attempt to remove it yourself—call a professional who will know how to safely handle the material.

How to Tell If Popcorn Ceiling Has Asbestos? 

If your popcorn ceiling was installed before 1980, it may contain asbestos fibers. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was commonly used in building materials and insulation because of its fire-resistant properties. 

However, asbestos exposure can lead to serious health problems, including lung cancer. If you suspect your popcorn ceiling may contain asbestos, look for these common signs:

  • Cracks or holes in the ceiling
  • Discoloration of the ceiling tiles
  • Flaking or peeling of the ceiling surface

If you see any of these signs, do not attempt to remove the popcorn ceiling yourself. Contact a professional who is trained in handling asbestos-containing materials. 

In addition, a professional can test the ceiling to determine if it contains asbestos. If it does, they can properly and safely remove it from your home.

How to Test for Asbestos

Via: 5microns

If you suspect that your popcorn ceiling may contain asbestos, it is important to have it tested by a professional. While it is possible to test for asbestos yourself, it is not recommended as it can be dangerous if not done properly.

There are two main types of asbestos testing: bulk sampling and surface sampling. 

Bulk sampling involves taking a sample of the material and sending it to a lab for analysis. 

Surface sampling involves using a special adhesive tape to collect a sample from the surface of the material.

Once the sample has been collected, it will be sent to a lab for analysis. The results of the test will determine whether or not the material contains asbestos and, if so, what type of asbestos it is. 

If the material does contain asbestos, you will need to take steps to have it removed by a professional.

What to Do if You Find Dangerous Levels of Asbestos in Your Popcorn Ceiling

If you find dangerous levels of asbestos in your popcorn ceiling, you should immediately contact a professional to have it removed. Asbestos is a serious health hazard and should not be left in your home. 

When you contact a professional, ask them to evaluate the condition of your ceiling and determine the best course of action. Depending on the severity of the asbestos contamination, they may suggest encapsulation or complete removal and replacement. 

Do not attempt to remove the asbestos yourself, as it can be dangerous if handled improperly.

Alternatives and Solutions to Removing or Replacing the Popcorn Ceiling

Via: Centsational style

If the thought of removing your popcorn ceiling makes you dizzy, there are a few alternatives and solutions. 

One is to simply cover the popcorn ceiling with drywall. This will give you a nice, smooth surface to work with and will also help to insulate your home.

Another alternative is to add a layer of beadboard over the popcorn ceiling. This will give your home a more finished look and will also help to protect your walls from any water damage that may occur. 

If you are really set on removing the popcorn ceiling, there are a few companies that specialize in this type of work. They will come in and remove the popcorn ceiling for you, leaving you with a clean, new surface to work with.


How is popcorn ceiling tested for asbestos?

Unfortunately, a quick glance at the ceiling won’t reveal much. A little sample must be properly scraped off and sent to an approved laboratory.

Are popcorn ceilings bad?

If the popcorn ceiling comes loose, asbestos could be released into the air. Then, after being inhaled, these asbestos fibers can become lodged in your lungs and result in conditions like mesothelioma.

What is non asbestos popcorn ceiling?

In place of asbestos, paper-based or Styrofoam products were used to make popcorn ceiling materials after the ban. In the US, textured ceilings are still often used in home building.

How long does it take to remove popcorn ceiling with asbestos?

500 square feet of popcorn ceiling removal, according to estimates, might take up to 20 hours for seasoned DIYers or contractors.


Popcorn ceilings can be a great way to make your home look more aesthetically pleasing, but they come with some potential hazards. We hope that our article has provided you with the information you need to find out if your popcorn ceiling is safe or not. 

If it isn’t, then we recommend taking measures to remove it as soon as possible. After all, the last thing you want is for something in your own home to become a hazard!