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Depending on what year your house was built, you might have asbestos in that popcorn ceiling. Typically, anything older than 1979 is a good chance that it could have asbestos; our company regularly finds that with popcorn ceilings. We always send a environmental hygenist out to our jobs to confirm whether or not a house is "hot" for asbestos. It's preventative protection for our workers.
Removing popcorn ceilings requires a lot of preparation to prevent contamination of the other areas of your home. You will need to cordon off the area (room) with some kind of plastic covering the walls, floor, and entry area - this is for your own protection. Also, you will need to wear personal protective equipment including a tyvex type of suit that covers you from head to toe, gloves, safety glasses, and most importantly - a respirator. These things are necessary to keep you safe from breathing in the microscopic fibers of asbestos and preventing you from getting asbestosis or mesothelioma (a tumor of the mesothelium, often malignant and thought to be caused most commonly by the inhalation of asbestos particles.)
If it is a small repair, you may want to test out a product at Lowes. Homax ceiling texture. I'd suggest trying it on a scrap piece of drywall (make sure it's at ceiling height for testing). Jayme and Phillip both had great ideas. Perhaps yet another would be to just remove the popcorn all together.
Typicaly most repairs are noticable and replacement it best. If you simply need to cove the hole and this is a typical way you keep puppy indoors, you may consider purchasing a piece of metal to cover the hole and prevent more damage. Home Depot #800537 is a quick idea.
this is very common in new homes. I would work with the builder first. That is the easiest way to correct the problem. They are in the buiness of building home and need good referrals I would try the builder again and you would be surprised at the outcome with a softer approach.
Cracks can occur for a multitude of reasons. I would recommend hiring a home inspector to take a look at your situation and get his professional unbiased opinion.
Usually cracks in wallboard or ceilings indicate movement or settling in the structure. This is not uncommon in new home construction as footings and foundations cure and the moisture content stabilizes in the framing. It can also be caused by frost heaving in colder climates during freeze / thaw cycles. If your builder won't address it, hire a structural engineer. An engineer should be able to identify what is causing the movement to occur. Good Luck!
I would look for a framer to look at this. most likely you have either some thermal movment, settling, or it may just need braced against small movements cauise by other forces (wind etc..). You could fix the ceiling endlessly, but until you find the issue the ceiling is just the symptom.
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