What Does it Cost to Remove a Popcorn Ceiling?

Cost to Remove Popcorn Ceiling

Cost of Popcorn Ceiling Removal and Refinishing on Average

The typical cost of hiring a contractor to scrape, sand, and prep your popcorn ceilings with basic repair work is roughly $2.25 per square foot. More if there are damaged areas or if asbestos, which was widespread in textured ceilings in earlier homes, is discovered.
This usually involves the cost of moving or replacing furniture, as well as the cost of covering things up. Installing ceiling equipment such as lights and ceiling fans. All labor for scraping the popcorn off the ceiling, preparing it for new paint with minor mud work and sanding, repainting, and cleanup.
Average Average Contractor Installed Cost $2.20 / Square Foot Typical Cost Average $1.50 – $3.25 per square foot

Removal and Refinishing of Popcorn Ceilings

Popcorn is a term used to describe any form of textured ceiling, which is also known as a stucco ceiling or an acoustic ceiling. When changing a home’s décor or when the ceiling requires repair, a popcorn ceiling is removed. Perhaps you’re simply sick of staring at a dingy ceiling that’s impossible to clean and has gaps and texturing that accumulate dust. But be warned: the dust will be significantly worse for a few days throughout the cleanup procedure.
This popcorn ceiling removal cost guide covers all possible options and their associated expenses. The average costs are shown in the table above, and they are further broken down below. Cost considerations and potential additional costs are discussed. Prices from several websites are mentioned below, and homeowners who have engaged professionals for this project disclose their textured ceiling removal cost.
There are three basic methods for removing popcorn ceilings. Their price ranges varied slightly.

  1. Scrape it off: This is the most basic method of popcorn ceiling removal. To remove the texturing, a 4″ to 6″ metal drywall taping knife is utilized. After the drywall compound has been removed, a skim coat is applied to create a flat surface for priming and painting. This is a time-consuming, labor-intensive method.
    Scrape and Refinish — In some circumstances, such as if someone painted over an existing popcorn ceiling with a latex paint or another type that bonds all of the popcorn together, you may need to scrape and refinish more thoroughly. Due to this identical issue, a level 5 drywall finish was required in my most recent project, depicted above, and the cost with a contractor was exactly $2.17 Per square foot. At the time, I had 1,400 square feet of ceilings installed.
  2. Retexture it: If you’re rebuilding a home and want to bring it back to its original appearance, adding a new texture is an option. To produce a smooth ceiling, you might also use a skim coat to fill in texturing known as knock-down texturing. Both are time-consuming. While fresh texturing can be a do-it-yourself project, it takes experience to get the ideal aesthetic and uniformity.
  3. Cover it with drywall: To cover the ceiling, lightweight ceiling gypsum board is utilized. Before the ceiling is primed and painted, the joints are taped and mudded. This is a labor-intensive procedure, but in some cases, such as with an old wavy ceiling, it is preferable to just build a drywall ceiling over the old popcorn.
    Asbestos and Lead The ceiling in your home may contain lead if it was built before 1978, when lead paint was banned. Asbestos-containing popcorn was also utilized in paint and ceiling treatments. DON’T SKIP THE CEILING. Cover it with new drywall or have a lead/asbestos contractor cut it out and remove it. If it is drywall, the cost will be $3 to $6 per square foot, but $8 to $12 if it is plaster. These are additional charges that are not included in the low/average/high costs indicated below.

Lead testing kits ($9-$14) and asbestos testing kits ($25-$40) are available online and at home improvement and hardware stores. They provide instant results or include lab tests in the price. They are a low-cost investment in your health.

Details on the Cost of Removing a Textured or Popcorn Ceiling


Cost Variables

These cost factors apply to ceilings that do not require the removal of lead or asbestos. They also do not include ceiling repair.

  1. Square footage – The amount of popcorn ceiling in a room is used to assess the size of a job. For simple works like a bathroom or a tiny bedroom, most contractors will charge a minimum of $200. Larger jobs are priced per square foot, with additional aspects taken into account.
  2. Texture thickness – Heavier texturing and texture with numerous coats of paint on it might be more difficult to remove, increasing the expense.
  3. Popcorn Texture Condition – As previously said, if past painting of the ceiling makes it difficult for the contractor to simply scrape and conduct small repairs, the entire item will need to be sanded, recoated with drywall compound, and sanded again before painting. This will increase your expenses.
    Method employed — While the three approaches mentioned above are close in cost, there are minor differences.
  4. Who does the work – The cost of DIY jobs only includes the cost of tools and supplies.
  5. Ceiling height – The cost will be lowest if the work can be done from the ground, such as scraping or retexturing. Two-story ceilings are the most expensive to install since enormous ladders or scaffolding are required.
  6. Crown molding – If molding must be removed and reinstalled, your total cost will be at least medium, if not high.
  7. Where you live — Prices for home repairs are higher in Alaska and Hawaii, as well as on or near the coasts. Prices are lowest in rural areas and average in the rest of the country.
  8. Obstructions – If you have ceiling fans or several light fixtures, such as recessed lighting, that need to be removed, the contractor will account for the time it takes to remove and replace them. In most situations, the lighting fixtures will be removed, but the fans will be taped up and the cover where it attaches to the ceiling will be lowered. There is no need to remove the fans entirely.


Supply Prices

This list isn’t just for do-it-yourselfers calculating project costs. If you want to engage a contractor for the work, the rates will help you comprehend the costs. Each approach does not require the use of all tools and supplies.

  1. $12-$50 | Safety equipment such as a mask or respirator, goggles, and gloves.
  2. Drop cloths or tarps range in price from $5 to $25. Drop cloths made of plastic are inexpensive and disposable. Canvas drop cloths are more long-lasting. Vinyl tarps are reasonably priced.
  3. Rental of an 8′ to 16′ ladder is $20-$30 per day.
  4. Taping knife | $6-$15
  5. $14-$58 | 1-gallon to 5-gallon all-purpose joint compound Applied to gypsum board joints and new texturing.
  6. Drywall primer costs between $13 and $18 per gallon. Per gallon, coverage is 250-350 square feet.
  7. Ceiling paint, flat finish, 300-400 square feet per gallon when put over priming, $17-$24 per gallon
  8. Lightweight ceiling-grade gypsum board, 4’x8′ sheets, $13-$18 per sheet


Permits, Inspection, Costs, and Installation Time


Costs of Permits and Inspections

0–$50 | Scraping, texturing, and hanging drywall do not require a permit. If lead and/or asbestos abatement is required, a permit may be required. For more information, contact your local building inspection office.

Costs and time required for installation

Let’s look at the professional expenses for the three methods: scraping, drywall covering, and retexturing. The price will be decided by elements such as the amount of ceiling involved.

  1. $0.75-$1.35 per square foot | Texturing removal and job site cleanup
  2. Installing and finishing ceiling drywall over a popcorn ceiling costs $2.15-$2.80 per square foot.
  3. $1.40-$1.95 per square foot | Ceiling filling and/or retexturing. If the ceiling is scraped first, the price per square foot will increase to $2.00-$3.15 per square foot.


Timetable for Popcorn Removal

Because the work is done fast, these are not expensive house upgrades. The timetable is based on a two-person crew. Scraping and texturing can be done by a single person, hence the time frame may be extended.

  1. Scraping off texturing and cleaning up the site takes 1-3 days, based on 1,000 to 2,000 square feet per day.
  2. Texturing a ceiling after or instead of scraping it takes 12 to 2 days.
  3. Covering a ceiling with gypsum board/drywall takes 2-5 days. The board will take 1-2 days to hang. If the joint compound is a fast-drying mix, three coats can be applied and sanded in an additional day. Otherwise, the three coats will be applied and sanded over the course of three days, a few hours every day.


Should you do it yourself or hire a professional?

Right now, we have popcorn ceilings in various areas of our house. While I scraped the bathroom ceilings to make them smooth when they were remodeled, the older home has a lot of waves on the ceiling that the popcorn hides. We fixed and repainted them in the prior update, however our drywall contact will likely scrape and re-cover with new drywall in the upcoming update. I will not undertake the project myself because of the time and mess involved, as well as the talent required for a smooth finish.

  1. Very messy – bring plenty of drop cloths and have a volunteer clean up as you go.
  2. A smooth, perfect finish necessitates a high level of talent.

This article is accurate and true to the best of SmartLiving’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

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