My apartment building is very old. It was built in the 1960s. I want to mount my projector in the ceiling but it is a popcorn ceiling, and an old building, so I am worried about asbestos. Although the building is old, there exists a few new (within 5 years) ceiling lights and the kitchen cabinets and appliances are updated. I attached a picture of the ceiling, it looks new. There is already a area that someone at one point patched up. Based on these circumstances, I am fairly certain there is no asbestos. However I have associated the words 'popcorn ceiling' with 'asbestos' so I am here hoping someone else can offer an opinion. I know I can get it tested, but is it necessary? Also, I imagine the test is only effective if I sample the entire depth of the wall? What if they just covered an old layer of wall with new drywall?

popcorn ceiling patched popcorn ceiling

  • 1
    Heh, I like that you call 1960s "very old". In New England we would call that a "modern" building. Anyway, I have no idea if there might be asbestos in your ceiling but I would never assume anything like that based on preexisting repairs. There are a lot of fools out there.
    – Hank
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 3:34
  • hah. Henry, I live in Brookline, MA... it's old :)
    – Michael
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 12:22
  • The current Family Handyman issue for October 2013 (Out right now) has an article about popcorn ceilings, should you test and provides several solutions to remove popcorn ceilings or cover them with thin drywall. The article is currently only in the magazine (and emagazine), not on their website. But check out the cover of the magazine at Amazon. Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 17:55

1 Answer 1


There's no way for anyone to say if there's asbestos in it by looking at it. You'd need to get it tested.

Is it a worry? Probably not. It's not friable in this state, so poses no real risk. It's only if you disturb it that it becomes an issue. For the amount you'd have to disturb to mount a projector I'd not lose sleep over it. If you must work with it a little bit, wet it down good before cutting/drilling (spray bottle--cuts down on dust), wear an appropriate mask (make sure it's asbestos rated), and get an appropriate filter for your shop-vac (also asbestos rated).

  • Thanks for the advice. That's what I was looking for. Now I just need a shop-vac...
    – Michael
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 12:25
  • 3
    Perfect! No job is worth doing unless you have to buy a new tool.
    – longneck
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 15:10

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