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The Home Depot

Why Should I Remove a Popcorn Ceiling?

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Handyman > Why Should I Remove a Popcorn Ceiling?
Why Should I Remove a Popcorn Ceiling?

That extremely textured ceiling in your home that resembles popcorn, known as a popcorn ceiling, may have some significant issues that warrant removal from your home. Although popcorn ceilings were a common interior decorating surface for a number of years, homeowners eventually realized that some serious problems can occur with this ceiling texture.


As you explore the task of removing your popcorn ceiling, consider important reasons and cautions for removing a popcorn ceiling to determine whether you should proceed.

  1. 1.Asbestos

    It’s possible that your popcorn ceiling contains asbestos, which can cause serious health issues if you disturb the particles. The process of spraying on the textured popcorn ceiling involved applying coatings that contained asbestos. Any popcorn ceilings that predate 1978 likely contain asbestos. Because you may not be able to determine the exact date on which your popcorn ceiling was installed in your home, you should assume that it contains asbestos. Even popcorn ceilings installed into the 1980s contained asbestos.

    If you leave a popcorn ceiling undisturbed, it will not pose health risks. It’s the process of disturbance or damage that causes asbestos fibers to fly into the air. Once the fibers become airborne, it’s possible to breathe them into the lungs, which can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma or asbestosis.

    If you decide to remove a popcorn ceiling, test the materials for lead prior to proceeding with the work. If testing indicates asbestos, hire an expert to remove the popcorn ceiling and abate the asbestos from your home.

  2. 2.Hard to Paint

    The extreme texture of a popcorn ceiling, with deep ridges and valleys, makes it exceedingly difficult to paint. The most common technique for painting a ceiling involves using a paint roller on an extension handle. With a popcorn ceiling, a paint roller does not have sufficient nap to effectively apply paint to the valleys of the textured ceiling. This leaves painting the ceiling by paint brush, which would be a time-consuming process.

  3. 3.Dated

    Popcorn ceilings were popular in home design between the 1950s and 1980s. Because of this strong prevalence during this era, the presence of popcorn ceilings in a home today creates a dated appearance to the interior décor. The appearance of dated décor can be even more pronounced if walls have color and the ceiling remains stark white.

  4. 4.Hard to Repair and Maintain

    A popcorn ceiling does require regular maintenance to keep it attractive. Because of the crevices and recesses of the ceiling, it can become dirty and dusty. To keep the ceiling clean, use a step ladder and a brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner to brush the surfaces of the ceiling to remove dust. Take care as you perform these cleaning tasks, because if you disturb any of the popcorn textures, you may be releasing asbestos into the air.

    If damage occurs to the popcorn texture, call a professional for assistance due to the possibility of asbestos contamination. The professional will need to remove textured material from around the hole, sand the drywall and fill the space with new texturing material. After the texturing material dries, repaint the ceiling to match the surrounding ceiling.

  5. 5.Hard to Remove - Hire a Pro

    If you decide the popcorn ceiling needs to go, it’s prudent to hire a professional to assist you with this potentially dangerous task. One easy option for finding a professional involves visiting the Pro Referral website to submit a work request. You will then receive a list of qualified professionals who have the expertise necessary to work with popcorn ceilings and the potentially hazardous asbestos that might be present in your home.


    After deciding it’s time to ditch the popcorn ceiling and bring your home décor up to meet current trends, find the professional help you need to do the job correctly. Pro Referral has a wealth of information to offer regarding this common home environment risk as well.

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