Yes, you should. Popcorn ceilings contain asbestos which is hazardous for your health and could lead to diseases like asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Below are some articles with more information and one with details on how to remove one if you are sure it does not contain asbestos. If it does contain asbestos, you would need to call in a professional to handle it.
People that have popcorn ceilings are not required by law to remove them, but it is not advisable to paint over the popcorn ceiling as the possible asbestos contained in the paint could be released into the air when painted.
If you want to replace your ceiling it is advisable to let a professional agency remove the asbestos containing popcorn ceiling and repaint it. They are trained and will make sure that neither is the environment in / around your home contaminated with asbestos fibers after the job is over. Disposal of all asbestos containing waste matter too will be taken care of by them as per the existing rules and regulations.
If your ceiling is in good condition, there is typically no danger of asbestos fibers being released and inhaled into the lungs. However, if the ceiling is damaged (water damage, tears, dents, abrasions from sanding, drilling or cutting), the breakdown releases fibers into the air…THIS IS BAD…”severe disease…lung cancer…scarring of the lungs…”…bad.
If doubt or concern about your ceilings, hire a professional tester to remove a sliver of the ceiling or purchase a do-it-yourself kit to remove and send a sample to a testing laboratory.
No, you are not required to remove the popcorn ceiling. As stated by kress, not all popcorn ceilings have asbestos in them. It is a matter of taste. Popcorn ceilings do have some acoustic qualities to them that flat ceilings do not. Popcorn ceilings have the ability to make a quieter house by reflecting the sound waves in different directions.
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