Many homes in Boston were built over a hundred years ago, and renovated many decades ago, if they were renovated at all. Many homes renovated between the 1950s and the 1980s feature what has been called a popcorn ceiling. Even if you do not have a popcorn ceiling in your home now, you have likely seen one. They are created by spraying on or painting on a textured level giving it a popcorn-like look. There are a few claimed reasons this was done, from reducing noise from people walking above, which was helpful in any multi-family dwelling, to making it much harder to see any imperfections in the ceiling plaster or drywall. A large ceiling space, which is flat, will easily show off any imperfections in the material.
The main reason, however, they were so heavily used is because they became very popular in the 1960s,and this continued until the late 1970s. The problem with ceilings today, aside from looking outdated, is the popcorn material was largely created with white asbestos fibers. This made it very dangerous to those who were painting the ceilings and many of these victims developed the deadly form of cancer known as mesothelioma decades later as it will typically take between 20 and 50 years for those exposed to asbestos to develop symptoms, forcing them to go to a doctor for a diagnosis. Continue reading