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We have talked at length about the wonderful substance that is textured or “popcorn” ceilings. Of course they have somewhat fallen out of style, but before you decide to remove that popcorn ceiling, particularly if your home was built before the mid-1980s, it is critical that your ceiling is tested for the presence of asbestos. While looking around on the internet it may seem like every textured ceiling is riddled with deadly asbestos, that is not always the case. Of course, the risk of asbestos exposure is always a possibility when working on an older home and the easiest way to ensure your safety is to have an indoor environmental assessment performed on your home. NOW Environmental Services has been serving the environmental testing needs of Seattle, Federal Way and Tacoma for over 25 years. We offer a wide variety of services from asbestos and mold testing to asbestos building inspector courses. Our training department is extremely respected in the asbestos removal community and we have trained thousands of remediation technicians and building inspectors. Aside from the exceptional training we offer, NOW Environmental is a full service testing facility and we can help you ensure that your home is asbestos free.

The Ceiling

Way back in antiquity, the ceiling was simply a way to keep the rain off, and unless the roof/ceiling was made from solid stone, not many have survived. Early ceilings were pretty much made of wood and as you can imagine, sealing technology was not up to current standards. The renaissance period is known for a opulent ceilings that, in their own right, are exceptional works of art. The Sistine Chapel, Versailles and many more opulent ceilings of the period are famous for their beauty. Away from Europe the mosques of the islamic world are extremely ornate and intensely beautiful. The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem was completed almost a thousand years before the renaissance and remains today one of the most gorgeous representations of islamic architecture. As time went on the decorative use of the ceiling fell by the wayside, that is until the early 1900s.

Textured Ceiling

Asbestos was very well known as a fireproof material by the time acoustical ceilings came into fashion. The original purpose for textured ceilings was simply to cover up imperfections. Before drywall, both ceilings and walls inside of a home were made of slats of wood with plaster over the top. Texturing was an effective way to cover up the small imperfections involved with the process. As texturing evolved into almost an art form in itself, the materials used moved from wood slats to drywall. With the advent of drywall, the challenge became hiding tape, nails and seams, not much different than using boards but due to the weight of drywall a lighter weight substance needed to be utilized. Thus, the popcorn ceiling was born.

Fire Resistant Ceiling

The fire resistant properties of asbestos were well known long before acoustical ceiling became popular. During the 1930s through the 1980s asbestos was used in many building materials, everything from flooring to roofing contained asbestos. After the Clean Air Act of 1978 the use of asbestos in ceiling covering was not allowed. Of course simply because that was the law does not mean that every contractor followed it to the letter. A contractor who buys materials is generally going to utilize what they have available due to the fact that it is extremely expensive and not good for business to throw away inventory. Needless to say, simply because a law was passed, the use of asbestos ceiling texture was discontinued forever, it was probably utilized for many years after the Clean Air Act. Generally when these types of situations occur, the government allows for the supplies to run out without penalty to the applicators, and the main purpose is to curb the production. Regardless, if a home has a popcorn ceiling, removal is one of the most desirable upgrades to the home. The process is extremely easy but also very time consuming. Next time we will discuss the process of how to remove your popcorn ceiling. Of course, the the removal process should begin with a call to NOW Environmental Services for comprehensive testing of the material for asbestos. Contact us today with any questions you may have about popcorn ceiling removal.