Should You Buy a Home With Popcorn Ceilings?

Buying a house is one of our biggest investments and some of us are doing it more than once during our life.When we decide to buy a house we need to think  of all the aspects that could cause us trouble in the long run.


Texture No. 4 - largestartist/Creative Commons/Flickr

Question: Should You Buy a Home With Popcorn Ceilings?

A reader asks: “After looking at what seems like hundreds of homes that we can not afford, my husband and I finally found our dream home. It’s within our budget, and it’s located in a good school district, which is very important to me. Everything about this home is perfect except for one thing. It has popcorn ceilings. My husband says that popcorn ceilings are no big deal, but what would he know? He smokes like a chimney and shows no signs of stopping. He says a popcorn ceiling won’t kill him any faster. What do you think? We have twin girls who are not yet three. Should we buy a home with popcorn ceilings?”

Answer: I hate to say this, but when it comes to popcorn ceilings, your husband is partially correct. Whether you call them popcorn ceilings, acoustic ceilings or textured ceilings, it’s all the same type of cottage cheesy ceiling. That bumpy stuff stuck to the ceiling. If you’re really unlucky, some popcorn ceilings have sparkles.

This reminds me of my neighbor who could not sell her home. She asked me what she could do to improve her odds of selling. I suggested she remove the popcorn ceiling. This was something that had not occurred to her. After the workers scraped away the mess, it revealed a beautiful plaster ceiling practically intact. My neighbor liked it so much that she decided not to sell after all. The project encouraged her to tackle other home improvement projects.

Many homes built in the late 1930s through the 1990s have popcorn ceilings or some type of texture applied to the ceilings. This was before the government discovered that asbestos was a bad thing. According to the EPA, the use of asbestos in textured ceiling paint was banned in 1977. Inhaled in large quantities, asbestos fibers can cause lung disease, scarring of the lungs and lung cancer. However, not all popcorn ceilings contain asbestos. Moreover, if left undisturbed or contained, asbestos is not dangerous.

You might be wondering why would anybody spray a ceiling to start with? I suspect in part it’s because they did not want to finish the ceiling or could not conceal imperfections. Sometimes, a popcorn ceiling covers up s bad drywall and mudding job. That’s because mudding a ceiling is an art. Not every contractor or homeowner turned weekend …


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