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How Home-Builders Duped us with Popcorn Ceilings

Popcorn Ceiling Removal

By Jud Menshal | Jul 28 2021 | Popcorn Ceiling Removal

The difference between Popcorn and Stipple

Stipple Ceilings

First off, stipple and popcorn are slightly different, while very much similar. Stipple ceilings are when you find small granules on your mostly flat ceilings. With stipple you can still see flat portions of your ceilings. Stipple is sprayed onto drywall after a level 3 finish. A level 3 finish is where the drywall has been taped, seams and screws covered with mud twice. This stipple spray will help cover any imperfections with ease and the builder won’t be called back to fix any deficiencies due to different lighting, be it natural through a window or artificial using household lighting appliances.


Popcorn Ceilings

Popcorn ceiling texture is a much rougher and thicker version of stipple wherein it could be applied to a level 2 or even level 1 finish. A level 2 finish is where the Drywall has the seams taped and 1 coat of mud over top of it and the screws. Level 1 is when the Drywall only has the seams taped. You might be thinking “how do I know the seams are even taped at all if I have popcorn”. And while there’s a small chance you could be right, you probably aren’t.


Here are the reasons:

  1. Taping seams will help prevent cracking of the ceiling surface.
  2. Drywall must be taped to meet fire-code in most scenarios.

When you have Popcorn ceilings in Ottawa, you can barely if even at all see the underlying flat drywall surface. This stuff is thick.

Have a question?

Why Are Popcorn and Stipple Used?

Jud the master mudder spraying stipple onto a ceiling in Ottawa

If popcorn ceilings were sprayed on, the builder was really looking to save a buck, maybe even two/sq.ft. Whereas if you have stipple ceilings, the builder was looking to reduce call-backs as well as save a bit of money along the way, which we can admit, are one and the same.

Here’s how Home-Builders make a KILLING with smooth ceilings

Home builders do sell flat ceilings as an option, but buying this option from the home-builder is a very expensive option with many homes now a days hovering around a $25,000.00 premium. And what do you think their actual cost to do it if their mudders are already on site? About $1700 extra. That leaves them with a nice $23,300 worth of profit.

PatchBoyz , on the other hand, charges a fraction of this, depending on the size of the home of course. We also don’t mind if you call us back, as it will likely be to invite us over for dinner.

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Removing Asbestos containing Popcorn Ceilings

Picture of a woman testing for asbestos in a regal home, while wearing full PPE including a P100 filter mask

Another important factor is whether or not you have asbestos in your stipple. Asbestos is a sensitive subject for some and a scary one for others. If you have asbestos in your popcorn ceilings or stipple ceilings, we can still help. There are different procedures for this, but you're not beyond helping if this is you.

We've written an article called "my neighbour doesn't has asbestos, so neither do I". To learn more about this subject and whether or not this is a valid statement, have a read.


Reasons to Remove Asbestos Containing Popcorn Ceilings

On top of the regular reasons such as appeal and being a dust collector poses a problem for asthmatics, we've had several clients bring to light a new reason to get asbestos containing popcorn ceilings remediated. Clients with young children are cognizant of the fact that their young children will grow into rambunctious kids throwing balls and swinging lightsabers around the house which could scratch or scrape the ceilings multiple times over the years. They're right. While one or two exposures over a couple decades won't really affect you, the consideration of a home being a closed circuit environment is not something to take lightly. Even more so if you have a carpet.

Accidental Asbestos Exposure from Popcorn Ceilings

This is a picture of a caved-in living room ceiling with asbestos. Fictional and dramatized image.

The air in your home is recirculated through your ducts and the furnace filter is not a HEPA filter. HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Arresting/Absorbing. This means that what you think is a one-time exposure "can" be a repeat exposure as those fibers recirculate.

While we professionally recommend that you leave them home and allow a professional company to handle this, we can give some tips for DIYers that have the proper training.

Here are some recommended steps for such a scenario.

1. Turn off your HVAC system as soon as possible.
2. Close doors branching off from that area.
3. Don full PPE (boots, suit and P100 filter mask)
3. Use a HEPA filter vacuum or wet wipe the walls and floors where the disturbance occurred
4. Rent a negative air machine. Run it for 24 hours.
5. If you have Carpet, this should be cut up and disposed of. If you HEPA Vacuum it, fibers would remain in the carpet as an asbestos fiber is 1/100 the thickness of a human hair. It is invisible to the naked eye and not removable from fabrics other than facilities that specialize in this.

Have a question?

Money or Value

In closing. What's the point of Popcorn and stipple ceilings? Money... sadly the point was for builders to save money. It wasn't about sound attenuation, it wasn't about insulative properties, it wasn't about adding texture or vibrant patterns in the 60s (haha), and it certainly wasn't about being trendy or in style. It was about saving time and Money.

Now's the time to take a stand against popcorn!

Call PatchBoyz Today and let us help you in your stand against your ugly living room ceiling! ;)

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Article By

Jud Menshal | 📚

Jud is a 14 year Asbestos Removal Type 3 & Supervisor certified remediation technician with additional experience and certifications in Mold, Lead and Finishing. He holds all mandatory safety credentials important for running a safe project site.

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