Q: We have bumpy ceilings in all rooms of our home. They really need to be painted. When I tried painting the bathroom, the bumpy stuff started to come off. So we scraped it off and wallpapered the ceiling. However, it would be impossible to do the whole house. What is the proper way to paint them or clean them?
A: If your house was constructed after 1980, you can have it over sprayed with a new layer of acoustic or spray-paint (though it soaks up a lot of paint). Or, for a more updated, modern appearance, many homeowners choose to have it professionally removed, retextured like the walls, and painted. This is also easier to keep clean and repaint in the future.
However, if the home was built before 1980, the popcorn ceiling might contain asbestos, in which case you need to have it tested. If it contains asbestos, there are only two ways to deal with it safely and legally: "encapsulate" a new layer of non-asbestos acoustic sprayed over the top of it (the most economical solution). Or you may have it completely removed by a certified asbestos abatement company (which is extremely expensive) and then have the wallboard retextured and painted. It is illegal to paint acoustic with asbestos because rolling and spraying both release the dangerous fibers into the air, where they can be inhaled.
To have it tested, visit Service Magic, and fill out a service request for finding a toxicity testing service. Often they can advise you how to safely bring them a sample to test for a nominal fee. If testing reveals asbestos, you can get estimates for asbestos abatement by filling out a service request for abatement services.
To have it sprayed with a new layer of acoustic spray, type "popcorn" into the search box and fill out a service request for "Paint a Popcorn Ceiling." If it doesn't have asbestos, you could also hire a professional painter to spray it for you. It will look much cleaner and help prevent the "popcorn" from flaking off. To have the ceiling scraped, retextured and painted, submit a service request to be matched with the ideal service professional in your area.
by Kathy Maynard, reprinted courtesy of Service Magic