One of the biggest DIY questions is how to remove popcorn ceilings. Once the “groovy” feature of ’70s and ’80s homes, popcorn ceilings are now passé. The problem is that many of them contain asbestos, particularly those installed before 1980. While the standard advice is to wet the ceiling down and scrape the popcorn off, test the material first. Do not sand or scrape the ceiling until you know if it contains asbestos, which is dangerous to humans only if it is disturbed. It’s simple to take a sample to the lab—just call your local health department and ask for guidelines. Results usually come within two weeks. There are also testing services and kits that can be ordered online and mailed to the lab for analysis. If you find you have asbestos, you can always encapsulate the paint with fresh wallboard. Releasing carcinogens into the air you breathe is just too big of a risk to take when updating your home.

Asbestos Test Kit