Popcorn Ceilings: Pros & Cons

January 18, 2022

If you own a home made between 1930 and 1990 you probably have ceilings that have a specific texture known as a popcorn ceiling. This type of ceiling is also commonly called cottage cheese ceiling or for the audiophiles, an acoustic ceiling. 

No matter what terminology you like to use for this type of ceiling texture, there is quite a bit of controversy over whether it should be removed or embraced. 

Our blog today investigates the reasons behind each and where you may fall on the opinion spectrum regarding the controversial popcorn ceiling. 

popcorn ceiling

What Are Popcorn Ceilings? 

Let’s start our inquiry with a quick review of what a popcorn ceiling is. 

Popcorn ceilings are a specific texture used in ceilings, often applied through a spray-on technique. Their bumpy appearance is what caused the name popcorn (or cottage cheese) ceilings in the first place. They are easy to spot and can turn into a hot button topic quickly. 

The Pros

The heyday for popcorn ceilings was during the first few decades of their use.(1930s)  Not only were they beloved due to the fact that they were easy to apply in a spray technique, but they also had sound dampening characteristics that made them a great choice for apartment complexes or multi-family dwellings. 

This textured ceiling technique was often praised by contractors and homeowners alike because it was able to cover up imperfections that often resulted during the drywall, seeming, and taping process. 

The Cons 

Popcorn ceilings fell out of style beginning in the 1970s and became less popular throughout the next two decades. In fact, removal of popcorn ceilings is one of the most requested projects from handymen and contractors alike. 

More and more homeowners are opting for the smooth clean finish of a modern ceiling as opposed to the bumpy wonderland of a popcorn ceiling. Oddly enough, some homeowners still request them and prefer them in their homes. 

Make it make sense. 

One of the top reasons why popcorn ceilings are removed is due to the hazardous material that was once mixed into the texture – asbestos. It was used in early formulations of the ceiling treatment until it was banned by the Clean Air Act in 1978

Even to this day, however, the  EPA advises against removing asbestos-bearing ceilings, stating, “Asbestos-containing materials that aren’t damaged or disturbed are not likely to pose a health risk.” 

Modern popcorn treatments do not contain the hazardous material and are created using sand, stucco, or other mixtures. 

A final reason why some homeowners prefer to rid their home of this type of ceiling is the amount of dust that a popcorn ceiling can accumulate. The grooves and bumps can catch and trap dust that can become an allergen for some. 

Let’s face it, popcorn ceilings are not for everyone. It is one of those things that is either beloved or scorned. Where do you stand on the topic of popcorn ceilings? 


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