Hello everyone, this is Mario, a licensed contractor. Today, I want to share a story about a call I received regarding asbestos in popcorn ceilings.


The story begins with an email from a college friend, whose daughter is buying a home with popcorn ceilings. Being a Georgia Tech engineer, he purchased a homeowner test kit for asbestos to check the ceilings himself.

The Test

After conducting the test and sending a sample to a lab, the results showed a 5% asbestos reading. He then reached out to me for advice on how to proceed, particularly concerning the cost of removing the asbestos-containing popcorn ceilings.

Education on Asbestos

I took this opportunity to educate him about dealing with asbestos in home construction materials:

  • Asbestos was commonly used in homes built in the 50s, 60s, 70s, and up to the 80s. It’s less likely to be found in homes constructed after 1990.
  • If asbestos is found in one material, such as popcorn ceilings, there’s a high chance it might be present in other materials like drywall, joint compound, HVAC tape, and more.

Removal Options

When dealing with asbestos, there are two main options:

  • Containment and Removal by Licensed Contractors: This involves removing the popcorn ceiling under containment to prevent asbestos fibers from spreading. It doesn’t eliminate asbestos from the home but offers an aesthetic solution.
  • Complete Removal: This more costly option involves gutting the entire house, including ceilings and drywall, to eliminate all asbestos-containing materials. It’s comprehensive but requires removing all cabinets, trims, and fixtures first.

Additional Considerations

  • If the joint compound tests positive for asbestos, it complicates matters because the joint compound covers a significant portion of surfaces within the home.
  • The only safe and recommended approach for dealing with asbestos is either complete removal or leaving it untouched if it’s in good condition, as per EPA guidelines.


Dealing with asbestos is a serious matter that requires professional guidance and intervention. For more information or if you find asbestos in your home, refer to EPA guidelines and consult with licensed asbestos removal contractors.

Thank you for watching.