The national average cost to remove popcorn ceiling is $1-3 per square foot. The total cost of popcorn ceiling removal can vary depending on several factors, including square footage of the space in question. An asbestos test may cost $50 to $100, and should be completed before any other work is done. Other cost considerations include moving of furniture in the affected space and renovating the ceiling after the texture removal.
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.
This makes them a popular home improvement choice, but due to the mess, not always an ideal DIY project. Realtors suggest that because popcorn ceilings are outdated and can pose health risks, they can have a negative effect on the value of a home, which gives homeowners even more reason to replace them. You'll enjoy the fresh look of a smooth ceiling, and how it updates the feel of each room. Here are a few things to consider if you want to remove popcorn ceiling, and what questions you should ask the pros when you call.
What’s in this cost guide?
- What affects the cost of popcorn ceiling removal?
- Testing for Asbestos
- Size of Ceiling (Square Feet)
- Furniture Moving
- Removing Popcorn Ceiling
- Renovating the Ceiling After Removal
What affects the cost of popcorn ceiling removal?
Asbestos tests, the size of the ceiling that needs to be worked on, and additional costs such as furniture moving and ceiling renovation after removal all affect the total cost of the project.
Testing for Asbestos
This simple but essential test typically costs between $50–$100. 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, especially in older homes. 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. Asbestos removal experts will take extra security precautions if asbestos is present, which will likely increase the time and cost of removal.
Size of Ceiling (Square Feet)
Most contractors charge on average $1 to $3 per square foot to remove the popcorn texture from ceilings. 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.
It's a good idea to move your furniture while popcorn ceiling is being removed. Even if drop cloths are used, it can be a messy job. You can do this yourself or ask if your local pro can take care of it when they arrive. Note that 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.
Removing Popcorn Ceiling
The removal project itself is rather simple. If asbestos is not present in the popcorn finish, contractors simply scrape off the popcorn ceiling, using plastic sheets 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
After removal of a popcorn ceiling, homeowners must deal with what remains underneath. If the goal was a smooth ceiling, there may be a few more steps before the project is complete. Popcorn ceilings were often sprayed on to cover up imperfections such as nails, nail holes, 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. They can offer advice on what renovations might be best for your home, and give you a better idea of project costs.