A popcorn ceiling (slang), also known as a cottage cheese ceiling, a stucco ceiling or formally an acoustic ceiling, is a ceiling with a certain spray-on or paint-on treatment. It was the standard for bedroom and residential hallway ceilings for its bright, white appearance, ability to hide imperfections, and acoustical characteristics. In comparison, kitchen and living room ceilings would normally be finished in smoother skip-trowel or orange peel texture for their higher durability and ease of cleaning.
In early formulations, it often contained white asbestos fibers. When asbestos was banned in ceiling treatments by the Clean Air Act in the United States, popcorn ceilings fell out of favor in much of the country. However, in order to minimize economic hardship to suppliers and installers, existing inventories of asbestos-bearing texturing materials were exempt from the ban, so it is possible to find asbestos in popcorn ceilings that were applied through the 1980s. After the ban, popcorn ceiling materials were created using a paper-based or Styrofoam product to create the texture, rather than asbestos. Textured ceilings remain common in residential construction in the United States.
- http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/ashome.html#example Asbestos in Your Home at EPA.com
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