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I want to collect additional samples of an acoustic ceiling for the purpose of having it checked for asbestos. The previous test came back negative but I'm paranoid =)

The procedure as per instructions on my prior collection kit was:

  1. Spray water (light soap/water mix) while collecting sample.
  2. Double bag the sample.

What I'm confused on is:

  • What are the best areas in the ceiling to take a sample?
  • How large of a sample could I be collecting? The test is supposed to be able to detect 1% asbestos by volume.
  • How do I patch/seal the area where I took the sample?

Any thoughts? The ceiling is in great condition so far with no cracks or significant abrasions so I want to keep it that way (especially if there is asbestos).


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up vote 2 down vote accepted

My thoughts on your first question would be to take a sample from a few different rooms, if you can see any differences between color/texture on the ceilings. From asbestos.com:

If the material looks different (especially in color or texture) in different parts of the room, plan to sample each of those areas. For a ceiling surface in a large room, two samples may be needed to determine your asbestos situation. Try to balance the need to protect your family from exposure after you sample (to sample in an inconspicuous area) with the need to get a representative sample of the material (to sample in the center of the room).

I'm not sure about the size of sample required, but I don't think you'd need more than a few square inches.

As for patching the ceiling, you should prime the sample spot before painting. After that, you can mix some standard ceiling paint with a texture additive to match the consistency of your original ceiling. Since it's a small area, you can probably get away with using a brush, or possibly a small roller. Or, instead of bothering with texture matching, you could go the easy route and use spray-on popcorn ceiling texture after priming (beware the horrible product reviews though - it might be easier to use a pre-mixed product).

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Great feedback, thanks. Yea, I plan to sample various rooms. What's annoying is that the ceiling isn't in "inconspicuous" places like closets. It's only in the main ceiling portions of the bedrooms, hallways, living room, and family room. – Mike B Sep 29 '10 at 17:56
I'm also thinking that the homax patch texture (lowes.com/pd_14986-1168-8542-30_4294858284_4294937087_) might be better too. The reviews of the spray-on seem a little negative lol. – Mike B Sep 29 '10 at 17:59
Whoa, good point. I didn't notice the crappy reviews for the spray-on stuff. I just knew it existed and found a link. Now I'm all embarrassed - I'm usually obsessively checking user reviews for products before I buy. – Doresoom Sep 29 '10 at 18:50
@Mike B: Added your recommended product to answer. – Doresoom Sep 29 '10 at 19:08
Just a follow-up. I tried the pre-mixed product -- it was straight-forward to apply but the acoustic bumps weren't necessarily as large as the pictures implied. – Mike B Oct 16 '10 at 7:30

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