How to Test for Asbestos in a Popcorn Ceiling

Asbestos was commonly used in construction up until the 1970's. While asbestos undisturbed does not cause any health concerns, during home improvement projects the asbestos fibers can fill the air and cause a host of medical problems. Popcorn ceilings were popular from the 1950's to the 1980's.

Almost all popcorn ceilings contain asbestos; therefore, if you are planing to patch or renovate your ceiling you should have it tested first for asbestos. Test for asbestos before causing health problems to yourself and your home occupants during renovation projects.

  1. Contact a laboratory that conducts asbestos tests. Make sure that the lab has been approved by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program. This program ensures that laboratories are following specific guidelines when conducting any testing.

  2. Use a ladder to reach the popcorn ceiling. With a trowel, scrap off some of the ceiling in a plastic bag. Seal up the plastic bag.

  3. Mail off the sample to the laboratories address provided on the testing kit and wait for the results.

  4. Call a professional asbestos contractor to remove the asbestos if you are replacing the ceiling. If you are leaving the ceiling, a professional can come in and seal the ceiling with a sealant to prevent the asbestos fibers from becoming disturbed.

  5. Avoid disturbing the asbestos material before it has been properly removed or sealed. Keep all home improvements around the ceiling down to a minimum.


Call around to get different prices for asbestos repair and removal. Asbestos repair is generally less expensive than removal.


Refrain from removing asbestos yourself or touching the walls with your bar hands. Sweep up and throw away any asbestos material that has fallen from the popcorn ceiling.