Many homes built in the mid- to late 20th century featured popcorn ceilings. These ceilings are also known as acoustic ceilings, stucco ceilings, textured ceilings and cottage cheese ceilings. Many people simply don’t like the way they look, but often popcorn ceilings installed from the 1930s through the 1980s also pose a potential health hazard because they contain asbestos. Realtors suggest that because popcorn ceilings are outdated and often unhealthy, they can have a negative effect on the value of a home, which gives people even more reason to replace them. Several factors affect the cost of getting a popcorn ceiling removed.
It’s a good idea to get a sample of the ceiling and have it tested for the presence of asbestos before it’s removed. This simple but essential test costs $50–$100. While asbestos is not harmful just by its presence in the popcorn ceiling, it can be harmful if it is damaged or if it gets in the air during removal. Removal experts will take extra security precautions if asbestos is present, which will likely increase the time and cost of removal.
Size of ceiling
Most contractors charge $1 to $3 per square foot to remove popcorn ceiling. Some contractors charge by the hour instead. Materials to do a job are usually included in the per-square-foot or labor cost. Contractors may charge extra if ceilings are particularly high.
Some contractors charge extra to move furniture from the room or rooms to be worked on. This additional cost is often about $100, depending on how much furniture must be moved.
The work itself is rather simple. If asbestos is not present, contractors simply scrape off the popcorn ceiling, using plastic or paper materials to protect the floor. If asbestos is present, contractors must seal off the space to do his or her job, which can double the cost.
Renovating the ceiling
After removal of a popcorn ceiling, homeowners must deal with what remains underneath. Popcorn ceilings were often sprayed on to cover up imperfections such as nails, stains and marks, so those are likely to be visible again. Contractors can help by retexturing the ceiling, sanding it down, priming and painting it, or covering it with a new drop ceiling. These tasks will cost extra, and depending on the work, it may make sense to hire a different contractor than the service provider who removed the popcorn ceiling.