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Popcorn/Stipple Ceiling Removal in Ottawa

Here's what they're not telling you:

Written January 1 2021

How we were doing it before investing $18,000 into equipment.

Stipple ceiling, popcorn ceiling, textured ceiling. These are all terms you’ve probably heard while hearing someone talking about a bumpy ceiling. Whether people are talking about, repairing it, or removing it goes by many names.

Stipple became popular in the 1970s when production housing or tract housing became popular. As builders were starting to build 100s of homes at a time, they started searching for and applying methods of building and finishing houses at a quicker and more affordable pace than custom homes. It became all about speed and cost rather than beauty and pride. As you can imagine, these ceilings are less labour intensive to put up than a conventional flat ceiling.

Until the clean air acts came out in the late 70s in Canada and the US, these ceilings contained asbestos. While harmless if left untouched, sanding these and allowing particles to become airborne creates a health hazard for owners within the home as well as workers in charge or its removal. If you do have a company come in to remove your stipple it is a wise precaution to have an air duct cleaning crew scheduled immediately after. You will want to have this done before sleeping in the home, unless your contractor is using a dustless setup.

Another issue that is often overlooked is home-owners having electrical work done without knowing whether or not there is asbestos present. Using Dust extractors is a good way to mitigate the dangers during times of uncertainty if someone forgot to test..

How do I know if my ceiling contains asbestos?

To test your materials for asbestos or other contaminants, you have but a few steps. One is to grab several small samples from your ceiling (or have a trained professional do it, such as PatchBoyz), open your favourite search engine on your phone and lookup “[city] asbestos testing”. Listed on the page will be a selection of local labs that will be able to tell you what the materials composition is and whether or not there is any danger.

Once you know the composition, the contractor can price the job appropriately as different contamination and disposal measures must be used depending on whether or not the stipple has contaminants. If your ceiling does have asbestos in it, be very weary of the contractor that prices the job cheaply. Cutting corners on a non-toxic job site can result in poor workmanship. Cutting corners on a toxic worksite, however, can result in health issues for yourself and your family. Not to mention the question of whether or not the contractor is in good enough health to complete your project, taking into consideration the fact that he or she may not have been taking the necessary measure to protect his or her own health over the years of having done this work. Common symptoms from breathing in airborne asbestos is the coughing up of white stones among many other things.

Make sure to ask your contractor what their abatement procedures are for removing asbestos from your home. If you are comfortable their answer after having done your research, move forward. Otherwise, feel free to call us or any 3rd party contractor for a second opinion.

Removing the “Popcorn" from your ceiling

Unlike the popcorn you put in your mouth, this popcorn is a bit higher maintenance when it comes to removal. The steps vary depending on the removal method, what you plan on doing after the removal and which tools are at your contractor’s disposal. The first step is to lay traffic paper down to collect the falling stipple. Many contractors like to put 2 layers down. One to catch the stipple which can be wrapped up and taken away, the next layer remains there to catch falling mud during the mudding/plastering application. To remove the stipple, several methods can be used. It can be wet with a sponge and then scraped off. Another method is to simply scrape off what easily comes off. The last method is to sand it off, usually using power sanders, preferably ones hooked up to a dust extractor. The method you choose will determine how many coats of mud will be applied after wards. Depending on the method and the contractor, you can expect 3 to 5 layers of mud. Some contractors will sand a bit between coats, others will not. There is no right or wrong way to do it here in terms of how many coats. What matters to you is that the final product be flawless.

Finding a Reliable and Professional Popcorn Removal Contractor

If a contractor explains that he/she will be using a power sander hooked up to a dust extractor, you can rest assured that this contractor is serious enough about his/her craft to have invested several thousands of dollars into the equipment in order to do his/her work and that you will be left with much less dust than the contractor that decides to do this by hand. Quality equipment can often be a sign of a good quality contractor that reinvest into his business to provide a top quality service for his or her clients.

Once the mud has been applied, the contractor will sand the ceilings down to a smooth finish and prime the surface, if this was agreed upon in the contract. Once the surface has been primed, it’s ready for paint, whichever finish you’re decided on. Congratulations, you’re on your way to a much classier look than your stipple finish.

Stipple removal is a common service that many homeowners decide to invest in to raise the value of their home. Believe it or not, once this is done, should you have any plumbing leaks, you will need less equipment to repair the ceiling in comparison to having a stipple ceiling. This will prove easier. Especially if you don’t have experience spraying ceilings and matching textures.

The benefit of stipple and the reason it is more cost effective in tract housing us that it usually requires less mud application before paint. Contractors can get away with 1 sometimes 2 coats of mud and sometimes no sanding, depending on the quality of the contractor and his staff. This makes it much easier to complete multiple homes a day and collect from the home builder, But you don’t care about that. You want a house that feels like a home, and PatchBoyz is here to help you with just that. We’re just a call away.

Thanks for reading

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