The Hidden Danger That May Be Lurking In Popcorn Ceilings, According To HGTV's Property Brothers

What was once a decorative home trend back in the 60s may actually pose a health hazard. The popcorn ceiling, which was all the rage just over 50 years ago, has made its way to a list of unseen dangers — and not because it's such an eyesore. In an episode titled "New Generation New Design," the Property Brothers tackled a reno on a home that's been in the same family for generations and discovered that removing the popcorn ceiling was going to require extensive work.

Drew and Jonathan Scott were tasked with renovating Jericka and Matthew's new home, which they had recently bought from Matthew's grandparents, explains Though the house was in excellent condition, it had undergone very few alterations — or in the case of the ceiling — none at all! Moreover, the Scott brothers suspected that the ceiling contained asbestos, considering the age of the dwelling. This substance was once commonly used in textured paint between the 1930s and the 1970s. However, it has recently been proven to be dangerous, since it can cause mesothelioma or lung cancer, according to

Putting safety first

The Property Brothers recommended a safe method of revamping the ceiling to avoid any possible exposure to asbestos, notes "You have the popcorn ceilings throughout most of the house, which is obviously dated," says Jonathan. "We'd have to test it because it could have asbestos, and there's a whole process in removing that." As suspected, "Matthew and Jericka's house was built in 1968, so it's no surprise we found asbestos," says Jonathan. "So we've allocated 10 grand of the budget to asbestos remediation."

Having a sufficient budget for this part of the renovation proves to be imperative. Usually, professionals who specialize in asbestos remediation require specialized safety equipment, they will also need to seal off any parts of the house that are affected, so that the asbestos can be carefully removed. Alternatively, the crew can perform what's called an abatement, where the ceiling is coated with a substance that prevents the asbestos fibers from escaping into the air (per 

An instant update

Aside from the hazards posed by asbestos, popcorn ceilings make a room look dated and can spoil the overall aesthetic of a space. For homeowners who are lucky enough to have a textured ceiling that doesn't contain asbestos, then a simple hack can be used to change up its look. During another renovation project, Jonathan and the crew attached a thin layer of drywall to the original ceiling, thus covering up the popcorn plaster, notes The result is a new, texture-free ceiling that's ready for painting.

Being that the drywall layer is only a quarter of an inch thick, there is little worry about added weight to the structure or the ceiling being significantly lower. Likewise, this fix is not only inexpensive but less time-consuming. And the change dramatically updates the room. However, when in doubt, testing the plaster for asbestos is still an important part of the process if the house is over 40 years old.