Asbestos GONE-Ceiling Repair 101

by Emily on June 30, 2011

One of the big projects that we’ve avoided for nearly a year now, is repairing our ceiling.  When we purchased our home, we quickly had the popcorn ceiling tested for asbestos which came back positive.  Being in a scared new mother stage and doing minimal research on the topic, we chose to have the asbestos removed by professionals.  Asbestos is not great stuff.  Used in various forms of construction and manufacturing, because of its strength and resistance to fire, electrical or chemical damage it became very popular in the late 19th century.  Today it is banned nearly everywhere and is known for causing serious illness, including lung cancer if inhaled in significant quantities.

My minimal research on the subject included talking to my dad who said, yeah I’ve scrapped off a lot of that stuff over the years and I’m okay so far… the neighbor painter saying, yeah just scrap it off yourself or try to find a painter who will do it for you.  The other alternative was to try not to disturb it by painting over it by spraying it.  For a couple of new parents, we were scared to death at the idea that we may be harming our young daughter.  So, we found a company that would take it off for us.  This Seattle-based environmental (clean-up) company took it very seriously and sectioned off by lining the rooms with floor to ceiling plastic then installed a serious of separate shower off zones before then being exposed to open, fresh air.  The process took 2 days for our living and dining room and upstairs hallways to be cleaned up.  We hadn’t yet moved in yet so it was great timing to have this done.

When the project was completed, the asbestos team just tear down their plastic zones which left quite a mess on our walls.  When the staples that held up the plastic zones were torn down, we discovered up to 6 layers of wallpaper and paint combos covering our living/dining room walls.  Oh dear….now do we need to remove layer upon layer of wallpaper/paint of which may be lead based?  This clean up effort was turning into a major headache!

This is hard to see, but the corner along the wall to ceiling around the entire living/dining rooms and hallways were completely torn up.  Not only that, but the scraping off of the asbestos revealed a very large crack down the center of our living room.

Thankfully, Sid has had some drywall training over the last year with our project home and was up for tackling the project, maybe dragging his feet a bit.  But weren’t we both when you know how disruptive drywall mess can be over your living space!  We cleared out the hallways and rooms and placed large furniture in the center of the room covered in plastic.  We covered all the doorways with plastic and he got to applying the drywall mud over all the torn wallpaper and ceiling in upper corners.  He also had to apply various coats of drywall to the crack, feathering it out with each application.  Pip and I left for one day of the work because of all the dust that covered the rooms and inevitably escaped through the plastic doorways.  Sid was covered in white dust mess!

Chandelier….oh yes we got rid of that!  I added another headache for Sid by asking him to move the electrical hole for the dining room lighting too.  How did he do that?  Climbed into the attic, disabled the electrical lines, then cut a hole in the new area, extending the wires and hanging the new light!  Yippee!

So….how did he do?  After the application of drywall mud & sanding, over and over. He primed the entire upper floor with Kilz then we both got to paining.  It was hard to tell exactly how great of a job Sid did until we got the paint up.  Because of the flat ceiling post-asbestos, we decided to add a bit of texture to the paint.  We could have done the ceiling spray with ‘navel’ texture but most cans only cover small spaces and we didn’t want to spend the money hiring this out.  We ended up with a box, like the one below, that you pour into your paint can and then mix well.  It has enough of a thick texture which add some interest to the flat ceiling.  It’s funny to see this texture in different light because it shows off more depending on the light.

Here we have it…our new ceiling!  What’s the point of me telling a story of how my hubby fixed our ceiling?  Make sure you have a hubby/friend/partner/contractor/etc that is willing to fix your ceiling if it’s in bad shape.  Delegation is not bad, right?

The paint color you ask?  The brown is called Dancing Deer from the Mythic Paint line and the beige is Manchester Tan from Benjamin Moore.  We like the Ace Finest Paint line so we just had them both color matched.  All of our ceilings are White Dove by Benjamin Moore as well as the trim (which you can see that I’m still working on the front windows!).

info via Wikipedia & images via me & Lowes

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