Safety a key issue in popcorn-ceiling removal

Renovation depends on presence of asbestos

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Q: My daughter just bought a fixer-upper. Do you know of any fairly inexpensive, somewhat-easy solutions for dealing with 1970s blown-on ceilings – you know, the kind that looks like flat popcorn? A: Blown-on acoustical ceilings were all the rage in new homes in the '60s and '70s. For the life of us, we can't understand why. We don't imagine they deadened sound to any great degree. As far as adding any architectural interest, well, fuhgeddaboutit. This ceiling came in two flavors that we've seen – plain and sparkles. We suppose someone thought the sparkles looked like starlight. How tacky! About the only good thing we can say about these ceilings is that they go on quickly. That was good for the builder. What we've come to know as a popcorn ceiling is really a cellulose concoction blown on with a sprayer. In new construction, before the carpet is down and the paint is on the walls, a little masking where wall meets ceiling, and voila! A worker can blow on the ceilin...