Is this asbestos?

scarlett2001November 27, 2006

I have some brown areas on my living room ceiling that came when the roof needed replacing. Now I want to scrape off the old "popcorn" ceiling and repaint the whole ceiling. Went to the home store to buy a scraper and the label says "If your house was built before 1979, see if it is asbestos before you scrape". The house was built in 1950, don't know if the popcorn ceiling was put in at the time or later, but I have lived here for 22 years and it has been up all that time. Has anybody had this problem? How do I find out if it is asbestos and then what?

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From the date of the house, there's a reasonable chance that it contains asbestos. You can have it tested. Be aware however, that once you have it tested and if you find out that it has asbestos, you are under a legal duty to notify any contractor that it's there (if you don't and a worker later claims injury from exposure you could be on the hook for a lot of money) - so basically you will have to hire an asbestos abatement contractor to remove it - it gets expensive as they have high workers' comp rates. The other way to do it, is not to test and have a contractor remove it, but insist that they use the correct abatement procedures (double bagging, HEPA filters, etc.). Asbestos fibers can be released into the air during the removal process. It's all about your risk tolerance. Another option, is to leave it in place and paint it which encapsulates the asbestos fibers.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2006 at 7:17PM
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Whatever you do, don't try to remove it yourself unless a lab confirms it's not asbestos. I used to work in this area, and encountered many people who unknowingly removed asbestos ceilings and ended up contaminating their houses, and creating a health hazard. Here is a link that explains how to approach this in plain language.

Here is a link that might be useful: Popcorn ceiling removal...or not

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 1:43AM
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One other idea for you. Leave the ceiling exactly as is and sheetrock over it. It will lower the height slightly, but you can use 1/4" rock to reduce the impact. You'd obviously have to weigh the possible expense of asbestos removal against the sheetrock, but this is a fairly common solution to this very problem.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 11:21AM
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My house was built in 1996. We are remodling and I began to remove the original ceramic tile in my foyer. After removing several pieces my husband warned me to stop that
the black tar like substance remaining on the floor could be asbestos. Could this be right? What else could it be? And, why would anyone use this stuff even after it was proven hazardous and banned from use in 1979? What am I to do with this project? I need ans. now. Thank you

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 7:09AM
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1996? You're fine. It isn't asbestos.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 8:33AM
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