Why Was Popcorn Ceiling Popular? 

By PropertyClub Team
Jan 5th 2022
Popcorn ceilings were one of the most popular trends of the 1970s and were commonly used in houses from the 50s through the 80s. Chances are you’ve seen a popcorn ceiling in person because a lot of them are still around today. 

There are just a few problems with popcorn ceilings that you should know, especially if your home has one or more of this style of ceiling. 

From why popcorn ceilings were so popular in the first place to the potential health risks they pose today, here’s what you need to know about popcorn ceilings. 

hash-markWhat’s The Point Of Popcorn Ceiling

There were a lot of reasons popcorn ceilings got so popular for a while. There were a lot of benefits that came from including popcorn ceilings in homes. 

For one thing, popcorn ceilings did a great job of deadening sound and improving the soundproofing between rooms. They were also one of the more affordable ways to prevent sound transfer, which made them especially appealing for residential buildings. 

Popcorn ceiling was also a popular option because it helped hide imperfections in the ceiling. Like other textured paint styles, popcorn ceiling made it harder to find seams, bumps, or other flaws after the ceiling was finished. 

That combination made popcorn ceiling incredibly popular because it improved the appearance of your home without adding a lot of costs. 

It’s also worth noting that popcorn ceilings were part of a larger trend of textured surfaces in homes. It wasn’t just ceilings, walls were being textured at the same time, and having contrasting textures was one way to make a room seem more interesting and dynamic. 

hash-mark4 Reasons Why Popcorn Ceilings Are Bad

Of course, popcorn ceilings aren’t all upside. Here are some of the most common problems associated with popcorn ceilings. 

Health Risks

One of the most common ingredients in popcorn ceilings is asbestos, a highly dangerous mineral that can cause a range of diseases and problems if exposed. 

When asbestos is left alone it’s usually stable and relatively safe. However, it limits what you can safely do with your ceiling. Breaking off little pieces of popcorn ceiling, for instance, can release harmful asbestos fibers into the air. 

There is no safe level of asbestos, so it’s best to be careful around any ceiling that might contain asbestos and to consider getting your popcorn ceiling removed and replaced if it was made with asbestos. 

Lower Home Values

Because of the known risks of popcorn ceiling, it’s also a feature that can lower the value of your home, even when it’s still in good condition. 

In addition to lowering home values, popcorn ceilings can make it harder to sell your home, especially if the prospective buyer knows that popcorn ceilings were made with asbestos. 

You should also know that popcorn ceilings are mostly considered outdated these days. While the treatment was popular for a long time, a lot of homeowners prefer clean lines and untextured ceilings these days. 

If you're planning on selling your home, you might want to consider removing your popcorn ceiling. Popcorn ceiling removal costs average around $2,000 and your home might sell for tens of thousands more. 

So, even if you know there isn’t asbestos in your popcorn ceilings, you still might have slightly lower home values because they’re outdated and unpopular. 

Hard To Maintain

One of the biggest problems with popcorn ceilings is that they don’t hold up very well and are difficult to take care of. Popcorn treatments are often delicate, which means you can’t really clean the ceiling without risking breaking the treatment and breathing asbestos fibers. 

Popcorn ceiling treatments can also start to break apart or peel on their own, especially as they age. Once your popcorn ceiling is starting to shed or peel, it’s not just harder to maintain, it’s also potentially dangerous for you and your family. 

Difficult To Remove

Because asbestos fibers are easy to release, getting rid of popcorn ceilings can be a challenge. The treatments were also designed to be long-lasting, which means that it’s not as simple as painting over the finish. 

If you want to remove your popcorn ceilings, you’ll probably need to hire a professional asbestos abatement team that knows exactly how to handle the material in popcorn ceiling, and how to make sure all traces of asbestos fiber are removed from your home. 

After the popcorn ceiling is removed, you can replace it with a different color or ceiling treatment. 

hash-markBenefits Of Popcorn Ceilings

Popcorn ceilings do have some advantages, despite the problems. 

For one thing, popcorn ceilings that are still in good condition are usually perfectly safe. You need to make sure your popcorn ceiling stays in good condition and try not to disturb the popcorn treatment, but otherwise, you don’t need to worry about them. 

If you currently have popcorn ceilings, you’re also probably benefiting from their sound-canceling properties. They’re incredibly effective for preventing sound from traveling from room to room or between floors. 

That means if you get rid of popcorn ceilings you might notice that your home seems a little louder. At least, it will probably seem louder unless you decide to install additional soundproofing! 

Popcorn ceilings also make your ceiling look a lot smoother and more even than it probably is. Removing the popcorn texture may reveal flaws in your ceiling. Thankfully these issues are usually cosmetic and don’t need any additional treatment, but it may be easier to see them with your new ceiling. 

hash-markPopcorn Ceilings Bottom Line

At the end of the day having a popcorn ceiling isn’t a big deal until it starts to break down. If you have popcorn ceilings right now and like them, that’s great! 

But, if your popcorn ceilings are starting to show signs of wear and tear, or you are thinking about getting rid of them and going with something else, there are a few things you should do. 

First, get your popcorn ceilings professionally tested for asbestos. If you know you have asbestos in your ceilings you can plan for the extra cost of getting them removed. If you don’t have asbestos, now you have peace of mind and can move ahead with whatever plans you have for your ceiling without worrying about it. 

Popcorn ceilings can be made without asbestos, but they're relatively rare since most of them were installed while asbestos was an incredibly popular building material. If you have a popcorn ceiling and aren’t sure whether it has asbestos or not, it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

Always treat your popcorn ceiling like it contains asbestos until proven otherwise.