Rawk J Services Ltd.

man scraping off popcorn ceiling in home

Accidentally Disturbed Your Popcorn Ceiling?

Steps to Minimize Asbestos Exposure.

Skyrocketing in popularity around the 1970’s, popcorn ceilings (also called stucco or acoustic ceilings) became all the rage in home design. With its texture design, it’s hard to miss and was loved for its ability to accommodate some movement without showing cracks. Unfortunately, for the 70’s, that style has wildly fallen out of fashion, with good reason. Lurking underneath the texture can be something far more dangerous if disturbed. 

In deference to the trend, only a few years after its popularity, it was discovered that this previously loved design choice contained Asbestos or ACMs (asbestos-containing materials), leaving homeowners in an extremely hazardous situation when removing/scraping it from their ceiling. With this in mind, it’s important to modernize your home with caution and care, especially if it was built before the 1990s. 

Detailed Below is our crucial guide to help minimize your risk and ensure your home renovation is safe and stylish.

Popcorn Ceiling Containing Asbestos

What To Do When You’ve Disturbed Your Popcorn Ceiling

Suppose you’ve accidentally disturbed your popcorn ceiling and are concerned about potential asbestos exposure. In that case, taking immediate steps to minimize the risk to yourself and others in your home is crucial. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you manage the situation:

  1. Evacuate the Area: Once you notice the disturbance, promptly leave the area where the disturbance occurred. This helps to minimize your exposure to any potentially released fibers.
  2. Restrict Access: Ensure that everyone is kept out of the affected area. Limiting access to the affected area can prevent the spread of any fibers that might have been released.
  3. Avoid Further Disturbance: For your family’s safety, do not attempt to clean up or further disturb the debris. This includes avoiding sweeping, vacuuming, or using any air-blowing devices, as these actions can spread the fibers into the air, making them easier to inhale.
  4. Close-Off Ventilation: If possible, close off any ventilation systems or fans that could circulate the fibers throughout your home.
  5. Wet Wipes for Personal Cleaning: If you have asbestos fibers on your skin or clothing, gently wipe them off with wet wipes. Then, carefully dispose of the wipes in a sealed plastic bag. 
  6. Shower Immediately: After you use wet wipes, you should take a shower to wash off any particles that may have landed on your skin or hair. This reduces your risk of later inhaling any fibers that might have adhered to your body.
  7. Contact Professionals: As soon as you are ablecontact certified abatement professionals like Rawk J Services, who are trained and equipped to assess and safely remove ACM materials.
  8. Seal Off the Area Until Help Arrives: Keep the affected area sealed off until professional help arrives. The professionals will likely use plastic sheeting and tape to contain the area further and prevent the spread of fibers.
  9. Follow Professional Advice: Once the professionals have assessed the situation, follow their advice carefully. They may recommend specific cleaning procedures, air filtration, or other steps to ensure your home’s safety.
  10. Monitor The Air Quality in your home: After the removal and cleanup process, consider testing the air quality in your home to ensure that it’s free from fibers. Professionals can perform this testing to give you peace of mind.

Remember, the key to handling accidental disturbances of materials containing Asbestos is to act quickly but calmly. By following the steps mentioned above and utilizing professional assistance, you can minimize exposure and protect the health of everyone in your home.

fibers of Asbestos

What is Asbestos, and Why is it Dangerous?

While many of us have heard that Asbestos is dangerous, only a few individuals know why. This naturally occurring mineral was used widely in building materials throughout the 20th century for its strength, durability, insulation abilities, and resistance to fire and heat. It was only later discovered that exposure to fibers can lead to severe health conditions such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.

Now banned in 55 countries, the danger lies in its microscopic fibers that can easily be inhaled and lodged in the lungs. Over time, these fibers can cause scarring and inflammation, leading to long-term health problems like cancer. Exposure is especially dangerous for those who work with it regularly or have prolonged exposure, but even a one-time exposure can be harmful.

Identifying Asbestos in Your Popcorn Ceiling

Signs to Look For

If you are worried your ceiling might contain Asbestos, several signs and factors must be considered. It’s important to approach this material cautiously, as the fibers can pose serious health risks if disturbed. Here are some indicators that your ceiling might contain Asbestos:

  1. Age of the Building: If your home was constructed or remodeled before the late 1990s, it’s more likely to have materials containing ACM, including popcorn ceilings.
  2. Appearance of the Ceiling Texture: ACM-containing ceilings often have a distinct, rough texture similar to cottage cheese or popcorn. However, it’s important to note that not all textured ceilings contain this material, so it is important to consult a professional if you have any questions or concerns.
  3. Presence of Asbestos in Similar Homes or Buildings: If Asbestos has been found in other homes or buildings in your area that were built during a similar time frame, there’s a possibility your ceiling might also contain the material.
  4. Original Construction Materials: Some materials used for popcorn ceilings were known to contain this material. If you have access to original building records that list materials, this could provide clues.
  5. Condition of the Ceiling: Deteriorating, damaged, or crumbling ceilings are more concerning, not only as potential signs of Asbestos but also because they increase the risk of fiber release into the air. If you notice the popcorn ceiling starting to become flaky or crumbly, we advise you to reach out to a specialist right away.
  6. Prior Abatement: A history of abatement in other parts of your home, like your attic or insulation, might indicate that ACMs were used in the ceilings.

The Importance of Professional Testing

If you think you have Asbestos, purchasing a home testing kit as a quick fix can be tempting. Unfortunately, while convenient, these tests have been known to offer false negatives, which could put your home at risk. Alternatively, using a professional testing company ensures that proper protocol is followed for your safety and that your results are 100% accurate. 

interior of home taped off durring abatement to minimize asbestos exposure

Professional Consultation

Contacting the Experts at Rawk J Services

As lifelong residents of Red Deer, Rawk J Services has the experience and the knowledge to offer you informative and comprehensive services. Our experienced team can help address your concerns immediately and guide you through the entire process. Our team is happy to answer any questions, as we strive to provide every client with the best possible service. 

DIY vs. Professional Removal

While some homeowners might think that the DIY solution is the cheaper and more convenient option, one should consider the risks you are taking. Not only are you risking your health, but improper removal can also stir up the fibers that risk further exposure. Professional ACM removal specialists have the proper knowledge, equipment, training, and experience to handle Asbestos safely. 

a plastic covered entrance to building undergoing abatement after asbestos exposure

Precautionary Steps for Future Incidents

Avoiding Disturbance

To prevent further exposure, we recommend avoiding any further disturbance to your ceiling. You want to treat the disturbed space with care and ensure that you keep everything in place. On the other hand, if you find yourself with no other option but to drill or nail into the affected area, make sure that you do so using the proper procedures mentioned above to limit the risk of further releasing fibers.

Regular Inspections

It’s important to consider routine inspections. Just because your ceiling is undisturbed today doesn’t mean it’s not a problem waiting to happen. Regular check-ups can ensure that your living space remains safe for you and your loved ones.

Conclusion

Exposure to Asbestos is a serious health risk that requires proper handling. The team at Rawk J Services is equipped to guide you through the process and ensure your peace of mind.

If you’re in Red Deer, Alberta, and facing an ACM-related issue in your home, take immediate action! Don’t hesitate to seek assistance. Your safety is our top priority. Call Rawk J Services now for expert help with your asbestos concerns.