One of our frequently asked questions concerns a dangerous material found in many homes built prior to the mid-1980s. No, not shag carpeting (although that’s scary too). It’s asbestos in popcorn ceilings. Many people have heard it’s bad, but they don’t really know what asbestos is or what can be done about it.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a type of mineral fibre. It is naturally occurring and is obtained from the earth by mining. One of the biggest mines is in the town of Asbestos, Quebec. Asbestos has been used in various products for thousands of years, however modern usage began around 1880. There are several types of asbestos, but since this article deals with ceilings, we’ll refer to the one that is most commonly found in ceiling texture: chrysotile. It’s sometimes known as serpentine asbestos or white asbestos.
Asbestos in Popcorn Ceilings
Asbestos was thought to be a miracle material. It’s resistant to chemical and biological degradation, so it’s virtually indestructible. It’s even fireproof. You can see how great it seemed, yet this cheap miracle fibre turned out to be a health disaster. Once a link was established between certain cancers and asbestos, Canada banned its use in building materials. This ban took effect in about 1978, but existing stock was allowed to be used. Because of this, homes built into the early 1980s could also have asbestos in popcorn ceilings.
What Health Complications Can Asbestos Exposure Cause?
Exposure to asbestos can cause all sorts of respiratory problems and cancers. The World Health Organization states:
All types of asbestos cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, cancer of the larynx and ovary, and asbestosis (fibrosis of the lungs). Exposure to asbestos occurs through inhalation of fibres in air in the working environment, ambient air in the vicinity of point sources such as factories handling asbestos, or indoor air in housing and buildings containing friable (crumbly) asbestos materials.
Most of these health issues are recorded in people associated with the asbestos mining industry, but for safety, any asbestos exposure should be avoided.
How Do I Know if There is Asbestos in My Ceiling Texture?
Asbestos fibres are microscopic and the only way to know for sure if your ceiling texture has them is to take a sample to an independent lab for analysis. At RemoveCeilingTexture.com we offer a service to come and take a sample to a third-party lab for analysis.
Can I Still Get Smooth Ceilings if the Texture has Asbestos?
While the only way to get rid of asbestos is to hire an abatement company, the cost can be prohibitive. If you’d like smooth ceilings but don’t want to go through the expensive process of abatement, RemoveCeilingTexture.com can help. Our process for asbestos ceilings will not disturb the ceiling texture, which is important because you don’t want the asbestos fibres becoming airborne. We apply our compound directly onto the texture to seal in the fibres. You’re left with smooth ceilings.
Asbestos in North Vancouver
This homeowner in North Vancouver was doing extensive renovations in her basement suite and wanted modern smooth ceilings. The home was built in 1974 and so she had the ceiling texture tested for asbestos. The results came back positive. Asbestos abatement was not in her budget, but she still wanted the ceilings to match the rest of the updates. She got a few quotes from drywall specialists, but in the end decided to go with us at RemoveCeilingTexture.com because we are experts in this field. We applied our compound directly to the texture and soon the ceilings were smooth and matched the new contemporary feel of the suite.
If you’d like to find out more about ceiling resurfacing, or would like RemoveCeilingTexture.com to come out to take a sample for asbestos testing, please give us a call at 604-420-7578 or contact us by email.