Acoustic Ceiling Removal – Quickly Increase The Value Of Your Home

The acoustic ceiling removal trend started in the early 80’s and has become a necessity in many areas when selling your home. Often, if they are not removed before placing your home on the market, potential buyers will request concessions for their replacement. With the average cost approaching $1.50 per sq. ft. and in some cases reaching $2.50 a sq. ft., it is easy to see this can be an expensive upgrade.

Many people simply hate the look of the cottage-cheese-like texture and wonder why they were applied in the first place. As with most construction trends you can follow the money trail for the answer; the widespread adoption of this finish practice by builders throughout America was simple economics. It was far less labor intensive and therefore cheaper to cover a partially finished drywall ceiling with a rough texture than to complete the drywall taping work to the stage needed for a smooth finish.

What started the removal trend? Some say it was the asbestos scare while others claim it was simply changing tastes of buyers. If your home does contain asbestos you must inform the potential buyers through disclosure or face possible legal action later down the road.

Prior to asbestos being outlawed in 1978, the natural but cancer causing fiber was added to the acoustic mix primarily as a binder to help hold the material together. Additionally the chrysotile asbestos used in popcorn ceilings is an outstanding fire proofing agent plus it increases the life of the pump used to apply the material by acting as a lubricant of sort.

But not all acoustic ceilings contain asbestos, and only lab testing can confirm its presence. You cannot smell it, taste it, or see it without a microscope and the training to know what you are looking for. Although acoustic was reformulated in 1978 existing stocks of the material were used well into the 1980’s.

By the late 90’s the use of this popcorn-looking texture fell out of favor with most builders because of public perception. It does, however, continue to this day with some builders, primarily those of lower end housing. Mobile homes are a great example of the cost saving building practice as most new units still contain machine applied asbestos-free acoustic.

The removal process is straight forward and fairly simple, although some practice is required to master it. Many that attempt to take on the job of popcorn removal as a do-it-yourself project without taking the time to learn the techniques needed for success will damage the drywall when scraping off the acoustic, resulting in even more work and expense than removing the material the right way the first time.

After removal of the acoustic ceiling, the drywall must be properly finished as this step was most likely skipped by the builder. This includes coating the nail or screw heads used to hold the drywall in place and application of the final coats of joint compound to the drywall joints, followed by a final sanding. The level of finishing needed depends upon what is desired of the final finish.

A sprayed on knock-down, or hand applied skip-trowel texture will not require the level of perfection that is needed for a smooth or texture-less finish.

If you are looking for a way to increase the value of your home, or you are just tired of looking at those spider web collecting, dust mite gathering, ugly popcorn ceilings, consider removing those eye sores and giving your home a fresh new look. This is a money making project you can do yourself with a little research and a lot of hard work.