My partner and I just moved into a house (rental) that was likely built in the 1930s. We've been doing some home installs, including mounting a projector and pot rack to the ceiling. The ceiling appears to be drywall - flat texture, painted, no popcorn. It struck me that asbestos might be a concern given the building's age. We wore KN95 masks (the only type we have) while working with it, but did do some drill about 5 holes into the ceiling before realizing the asbestos risk. It got some drywall dust on the ground and in the air. We wore our masks during (as a normal dust control measure), and cleaned up very carefully with an air purifier on, wet wipe down, and windows open to air it out once we realized the potential asbestos contamination.

Does drilling into these old ceilings a few times pose a significant threat? We probably have <10 holes more, plus a few screws and nails to finish all home installs for the move in.

We'll keep wearing a mask and cleaning up appropriately, but I'm just curious whether it's something I should hold off on until getting a sample tested.

  • 2
    Get the sample tested, but still protect yourself from the dust as a minimum.
    – Solar Mike
    Sep 7, 2022 at 8:08
  • KN95/FFP2 is not suitable. You might as well not wear it. The particles are too fine - you require an FFP3/FMP3/N99 respirator, contamination type 5 overalls (e.g. Dupont Tyvek as @Ruskes points out), disposable gloves. All PPE must be treated as contaminated and disposed of accordingly. Even better, get a professional analysis. Down tools until you get appropriate PPE at the very least. It's not expensive price to pay to avoid a lifetime of crippling chronic lung problems.
    – Rab
    Sep 7, 2022 at 9:50
  • 1
    See this.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 7, 2022 at 11:22
  • 7
    Asbestos is bad if working with it day in day out for years/lifetime. A few holes and your precautions should be enough to keep you safe. Start ripping all the stuff down you will probably want much more protection and should be left to professionals in asbestos removal.
    – crip659
    Sep 7, 2022 at 11:25

3 Answers 3


Get a sample tested. Request owner to take remedial action. Owner may indicate you created the problem,...tell owner you only identified the problem. Question: Did you ask permission to drill into the ceiling?



If you are only making small holes and are concerned about possible asbestos, just wet the area down prior to drilling the hole, so that no dust is created and the asbestos cannot become airborne.


Better be Safe than Sorry.

Invest $50 in complete and proper Asbestos removal gear.

Includes head to toe Tyvek suit, full facial mask.

Example: Asbestos

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