On average, popcorn ceiling removal costs $1,000. Low-end costs for removal start at around $120, and high-end costs typically reach about $3,000.
Popcorn ceiling removal costs:
|National average cost
|Typical cost range
However, costs can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the project and labor costs in your area. A quick search for popcorn ceiling removal in your area will help provide a good baseline for costs in your area.
If you want to know how much you should budget for popcorn ceiling removal, this guide is for you. From the average cost per square foot to tips on how to hire a contractor for the job, the following piece will break down what every homeowner needs to know before removing a popcorn ceiling.
A good way to estimate costs is to utilize the average cost per square foot. Depending on where you live and labor costs, you can expect to pay an average of $1 to $2 (sometimes $3) per square foot.
The following table utilizes the average popcorn ceiling removal cost per square foot paired with the average square footage of a room that commonly contains this ceiling type to help you determine what you can expect to pay.
|Ceiling square footage
|Estimate price range
|Living Room: 330 Sq. Ft.
|Master Bedroom: 300 Sq. Ft.
|Bedroom: 200 Sq. Ft.
|Dining Room: 200 Sq. Ft.
As you build out a budget, try to measure the total square footage in your home that will need to undergo the removal process. Knowing how many square feet of ceiling drywall you need to be removed will help you know what to expect when you’re requesting price quotes from various professionals.
When you’re determining a cost estimate for popcorn ceiling removal, it’s important to understand the role labor costs will play. Most professionals will combine both the cost of materials and the cost of labor into your total bill.
While labor costs will vary depending on where you live, you can expect to pay somewhere around the average costs in the chart below.
Average hourly rates:
Remember, the best way to gain a better understanding of the labor costs is by reaching out to local contractors for free estimates. From here, you can better calculate your total project cost.
There are several other factors that will also impact the bottom line. Here are some things pros will keep in mind when calculating a cost estimate for your project:
Project size and ceiling height. Removing a small section of ceiling drywall with popcorn texture might be a quick and low-cost job. However, if your home has a large amount of popcorn ceiling, your project costs will increase.
Asbestos removal. While not all popcorn ceilings contain asbestos, some do. To find out if your ceiling has asbestos, a professional should take a sample for analysis. According to the EPA, if you’re concerned about the presence of asbestos in your house, you should hire a certified professional to come to take samples of the area.
If it turns out that you do have asbestos in your ceiling, removal costs will be higher. This is due to the safety precautions that must be taken when removing popcorn texture with asbestos.
Moving furniture. If you need professional help to move your furniture, the company might charge a fee. Or, you can hire professional furniture movers. Costs tend to start between $80 and $125 for this service.
New paint and textures. The removal of the existing popcorn texture is just the start. Companies have different rates for new paint and texture. Some may charge $2 to $2.50 per square foot, while others charge $0.80. If you would like to have your ceiling retextured or repainted, be sure you calculate in those costs as well.
Drywall repair. Depending on your popcorn ceiling’s condition, you might discover you need drywall repairs. Some professionals don’t include the cost of drywall repair in their popcorn removal services, so it’s important to ask for estimates if you suspect you might need to fix your drywall too.
Perhaps you purchased a home that checked all your boxes — except for one unsightly popcorn ceiling. Or, maybe you’ve been living with a cottage cheese ceiling for years and you’re ready for something more modern. Whatever the case, there are numerous reasons why you should consider removing this textured ceiling.
Many homeowners scrape away their popcorn ceiling due to the high risk of asbestos being present in these spray-on ceilings. Asbestos poses a serious health risk. Inhalation of asbestos can lead to lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
If you aren’t sure if your ceiling contains this deadly fiber, it's better to assume it does than to disturb the ceiling without knowing. Professional sampling and removal (by a certified expert) are crucial.
Popcorn ceilings are not only potentially hazardous to your health, but they are also notorious for being difficult to keep clean. Cobwebs, dust and other debris can easily get caught in the bumpy texture of the ceiling, leaving rooms looking dirty.
Over time, popcorn ceilings can start showing imperfections. This is particularly true if your ceiling was installed over 20 years ago. And repairing popcorn ceilings is extremely difficult due to their textured surface.
Once upon a time, people thought popcorn ceilings were a thing of beauty. But today, these ceilings don’t match current styles or design trends. Removing this ceiling can provide a much-needed upgrade to any room.
Finally, if you plan to resell your home, popcorn ceilings can be a major detraction to potential buyers. Removing popcorn ceilings and installing a modern style instead might improve the resale value of your home. If you’re in the process of listing your home on the market, ask your real estate agent (or an expert) if you should get rid of your popcorn ceiling.
Removing popcorn ceilings is a fairly involved process. Here’s a summary of what you can expect:
The area will be prepped and sealed. During this stage, floors, walls and furniture will be covered with sheets, plastic or drop cloths. Popcorn removal services might even remove your furniture and fixtures from the room. The room will also be sealed.
Removal and scraping begin. The ceiling will be sprayed down with water. Once the ceiling is wet enough and the water has been absorbed, the professional will begin scraping away the textured surface. As the pros are removing the popcorn, they’ll keep an eye out for sheetrock or drywall damages and make repairs as necessary.
Retexturing, painting and finishing. After the bulk of the texture has been removed, it might be necessary to sand the area to create a smooth surface. Additionally, a skim coat of compound might be added to the ceiling to create a level surface.
The pros can also replace your popcorn ceiling with a different texture, such as knockdown, skip troweling or an orange peel texture. Or, you can ask for a smooth and flat texture. Then, the professional will begin painting your ceiling with a sprayer.
Clean up commences. Finally, any plastic that was laid down will be rolled up and debris will be removed.
Hiring someone to remove your popcorn ceiling can be a stress-free, simple process. Follow the steps below to ensure that you hire the right team for the job.
- Check for licenses and credentials. Depending on where you live, specific licenses and credentials might be required for the removal of your popcorn ceiling. If asbestos is involved, this is particularly true. Check your official state government website to find out how to confirm credentials and licenses in your state.
- Read online reviews and ask about past projects. Take the time to read through any online reviews you can find before hiring a company. Look for patterns in the feedback the pros received. Additionally, request pictures or information about past projects. This will help you understand what to expect from a team.
- Ask for free estimates. Before you hire a company, be sure you ask for a quote from several pros. This will help you compare different companies, allowing you to find the best deal for your needs.
Visit Thumbtack’s Smart Hiring guide to learn more about finding and choosing a professional for your project.
Whether you’re worried about asbestos or you simply want to get rid of an outdated ceiling, finding a popcorn ceiling remover near you is one quick search away. Search Thumbtack to find popcorn ceiling removers near you.
Is it worth it to remove popcorn ceiling?
Removing your popcorn ceiling can be worth the time, effort and money — especially if your popcorn ceiling contains asbestos. A smoother ceiling can also be more attractive to potential homebuyers in the future.
How much does removing popcorn ceiling add to home value?
Removing the popcorn ceiling in your home may increase your home's value. According to HomeLight, one real estate agent estimates that this project can "add $25,000-$35,000 in value for a large executive home. For a home of about 1,400 square feet costing about $200,000, he estimates an added value of about $2,500 — essentially, close to what a homeowner might put into the project."
Is it cheaper to remove popcorn ceiling or cover it?
Is it cheaper to remove popcorn ceiling or replace drywall?
Contact a few popcorn ceiling removal pros in your area. Ask them for estimates for the following to make a decision:
- Cost to remove popcorn ceiling
- Cost to cover popcorn ceiling
- Cost to smooth popcorn or textured ceiling
- Cost to replace drywall
How much does it cost to smooth a textured ceiling?
The cost to smooth a textured ceiling will depend on the professional or company you hire. Be sure to get several quotes before you make a decision.
How hard is it to scrape off a popcorn ceiling?
The difficulty in scraping off a popcorn ceiling varies depending on the type of paint that covers the ceiling. If you can wet down the material, the actual process of scraping off the texture is not as difficult.
Asbestos can also complicate the process. If there is asbestos in your ceiling, the process will need to be handled by a professional trained in the careful removal of this dangerous material.
How can you tell if a popcorn ceiling has asbestos?
You can’t tell whether a ceiling — or any other material for that matter — has asbestos in it simply by looking at it. Instead, it’s important to hire a trained professional to test the area, according to the Environment Protection Agency.
Can I remove popcorn ceiling myself?
Removing a popcorn ceiling can be a DIY project — but be careful. If your popcorn ceiling has asbestos, you could end up causing more damage by trying to remove or scrape off the popcorn ceiling.
If you're thinking about painting a popcorn ceiling, read this guide first.
Is it dangerous to remove a popcorn ceiling?
Removing popcorn ceilings is not a dangerous activity in and of itself. Rather, it becomes dangerous if it contains asbestos and if you don’t know what you’re doing. Consult with a professional before removing your popcorn ceiling.
How do professionals remove popcorn ceilings?
Professionals will take many steps to remove your popcorn ceiling. First and foremost, yo should have a professional check your popcorn ceiling for asbestos and lead paint. If it's safe to proceed, a professional will likely take the following steps:
- Protect the room by covering the floor and any items left in the room.
- Spray the ceiling with water.
- Scrape off the popcorn texture
- Sand the ceiling.
- Apply a primer.
- Paint the ceiling.
How long does it take to scrape a popcorn ceiling?
Scraping a popcorn ceiling is a bit of an arduous task. The total length of time will vary depending on how large your ceiling is and the services needed. Contact popcorn removal specialists near you to set up a consultation and get a time estimate.