Acoustic ceilings / asbestos

Given that a popcorn ceiling screams 1970’s in particular, I’d like to remove such. Problem is, I had samples tested and they came back positive for asbestos - not surprised at all, just hoping against hope… My choice seems to be to just leave it alone (because undisturbed, it’s not a problem) or to remove it properly by having an asbestos abatement firm remove it. That costs about $3/sf and at the end, you get a letter saying it was done in accordance w/ EPA guidelines - important because of potential liability being eliminated. (There’s a 3rd option - “encapsulating” it - by having sheetrock installed over it.)

This is all a cosmetic issue - don’t have to do it all. Would just rather not have it now and do think it advertises age of house which sort of dilutes all other updates made so far. I could scrape it myself, but then don’t have that layer of protection from liability and of course, I’d never lie on a disclosure as to existence (former) of the popcorn crap. Thoughts, please? :help


yep, those are your options.

I’d vote for encapsulating it, if you didn’t make room for the removal in your budget.

where are some common places you all have found asbestos?

im beginning to wonder if the ceiling insulation in our house we are working on has it?

Only problem with encapsulation is that you have to disclose it to buyers and some might shy away (even though you and I both know that if you don’t touch it the stuff won’t harm anything). It might also cause those that don’t shy away to lower their price a good deal. It might be cheaper in the long run to pay the abatement team to get rid of it once and for all. How many sq/ft total is the house? What would the total cost be at $3/sqft?

As noted here, acoustic ceilings and ceiling tiles, “popcorn” ceilings, floor tiles, pipe insulation, vermiculite, cement board on the exterior, door gaskets around fireplaces and wood stoves, to name a few places…

More at:


I lived in a house as a kid that had asbestos around the hot water pipes in the basement and around the boiler. Cost my mother a good deal of money to replace the boiler and remove the asbestos.

Hi all,
Thanks to those who posted helpful replies…

Rich - the house is 1,851 sf so that would be $5500 at $3/sf. I’ve found a firm that’ll do it for $1.75/sf, or $3,239. I wonder why such a discrepancy and if I’ll “get what I pay for” quality-wise?"

Phatman5 - seems most houses from the 70’s and up until 1982 that have popcorn ceilings will have asbestos. Or so the testing lab told me ( they had no exact idea as to the age of the subject house). Am in San Antonio, Texas - don’t factually know about elsewhere, but usually trends are/were widespread trends…

It’s a risk/reward proposition: Spend the $$ to remove or cover the popcorn in hopes of improving the SP and if so, by how much might my SP increase? (Bare minimum, I’d hope to recover my abatement or encapsulation cost.) Against this is Rich’s point that encapsulation might cause those who don’t freak out, to actually lower their offer…

Decisions, decisions…


I think the first mistake was to test for asbestos. Once you know, you have to disclose. You don’t have to disclose what you don’t know. Or rather, you disclose that you don’t know.

Anyway, now that you know, you’re probably stuck. The easiest way from a resale standpoint is to get rid of it, but it’s also the most expensive way. You may want to get a few more quotes. I had some asbestos removed from a basement and I got quotes ranging from $1100 to $2700. I went with the $1100 guy and he was fine. He spoke english, but he was working with an immigrant crew which was why he was able to quote such a low price. I did check him out and he was licensed in my state and we went through all the inspections required.

If you’re not planning on selling soon, the cheapest way is to probably just sheetrock over it.

As long as he has a license and signs off on his work when its done I wouldn’t worry too much about price. After all, the most important thing is that paper saying its gone.

Does that quote for removal include re-mudding, and/or texturing the ceiling?

Hi all,

Henryinma - thanks for your suggestions! Also, while I hear what you’re saying about the disclosure, according to my Realtor I don’t have to disclose it because it is a condition that if left alone, poses no health issue and is not considered a defect. It’s only when disturbed in some manner that the asbestos fibers/particles are released and only over many years might cause problems. She mentioned that if such weren’t the case, every buyer would be demanding a seller remove or make an allowance for removal of the popcorn; also, it’s so prevalent in 70’s homes that if it wasn’t safe when left alone, it’s a good bet that the state would be mandating removal/mitigation. But, your point is well-taken nonetheless!

Abc123 - those quotes are for removal only. Mudding and of course painting, would be an extra cost.