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How to Paint Acoustic Asbestos Ceilings

Do not disturb the material.
Known as popcorn ceilings, this asbestos material was popular in the 1960s, and contractors applied the material by spraying it on. If the asbestos texture is crumbling or coming off, painting it may only add weight and make it fall off faster. However, if the texture is still secure on the ceiling, it may be easier and safer to encapsulate it with a coat of new paint. Since this type of ceiling is highly textured, you’ll need to spray on the new paint.

Use an airless sprayer.
  1. Remove ceiling light fixtures with a screwdriver. Wear a full respirator with interchangeable filters. As long as the asbestos is on the ceiling, you’re safe; but once you disturb the material, it can crumble into fine filaments. Inhaling these filaments is dangerous.
  2. Tape off the top edge of adjacent walls with the type of painter’s tape that includes a roll-out plastic drop cloth.
  3. Strain stain-blocking primer through a paint sprayer before adding it to the reservoir of an airless paint sprayer, available for rent at construction rental stores.
  4. Spray the entire ceiling with a light coat of the primer, using even side-to-side strokes from a minimum of 12 inches away from the ceiling. Wear the respirator and splatter-proof goggles.
  5. Inspect the dry primer coat for areas you may have missed, which may appear as stains bleeding through. If you see any, apply another thin coat of primer.
  6. Let the primer dry completely. Fill the reservoir of the sprayer with ceiling paint that you have strained as you did the primer. Adjust the nozzle to deliver a fine mist. Spray the entire ceiling. Let it dry.
  7. Apply one or more light coats of paint to the ceiling, letting each coat dry completely before adding the next one.
  8. Strip off the painter’s tape and reinstall the light fixtures.

  • Contact your local building authority before painting over an asbestos ceiling. The authority may require an additional coat of a shellac-based solution.
  • If you’re unsure about the stability of the asbestos on your ceiling or the possibility of asbestos in it, consult a certified asbestos abatement contractor.
  • You must let each coat of primer or paint dry completely before adding another. The dampness adds weight to the textured ceiling, which could encourage the bits of texture to fall.
  • If the asbestos is crumbling, you cannot paint the ceiling until a professional removes the texture.


  1. you can do it with many tools; brush, paint roller, and etc but I have to admit it that airless spray gun is the best tool for this job!

  2. Thank you for sharing. Its informative and full of information.

  3. Hello, your DIY works are awesome! Thank you for sharing the tips! It is very helpful and informative. Would love to see more updates from you.

    airless spray


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