How Much Does It Cost to Remove Popcorn Ceiling?

Average Cost
(Removal and replacement with a smooth texture)

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How Much Does It Cost to Remove Popcorn Ceiling?

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(Removal and replacement with a smooth texture)

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Almost half a century ago, popcorn ceilings 1 were a popular choice for homeowners. You saw them with psychedelic patterns with bright walls and shiny furniture. The inexpensive hand-troweled plaster 2 with its spray-on technique was convenient. It looked like cottage cheese, which provided fire-resistant and noise-canceling effects. However, over time, it was found that popcorn ceilings are less than charming. They can be difficult and costly to repair, hard to clean, and do not age well. Moreover, the speckled ceilings are now considered to be outdated and out of style. And since it can also contain asbestos, it is wise to remove it.

Fortunately, removing a popcorn ceiling is much easier to do. Whether you want to DIY or hire a professional, there are many options. The national average for removing a popcorn ceiling is from $900 to $2,500. Most homeowners spend about $1,700 on removing the popcorn ceiling from a 10’ x 30’ room, replacing it with a smooth ceiling texture. However, the cost varies from as low as $300 for removing a thin layer of popcorn ceiling from a 10’ x 30’ room with no finishing to about $4,800 for removing an asbestos popcorn ceiling and completely refinishing and painting it.

Cost to Remove Popcorn Ceiling

Popcorn ceiling removal prices
National average cost$1,700
Average range$900-$2,500
Minimum cost$300
Maximum cost$4,800

Updated: What's new?

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Cost by Project Range

Removal only with no finish work
Average Cost
Removal and replacement with a smooth texture
Removal of asbestos popcorn ceiling with refinishing and repainting

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Cost per Square Foot

The cost of removing a popcorn ceiling is usually calculated per square foot. The average cost for removing a popcorn ceiling is $1 to $4 per square foot, depending on how thick the texture is and the ceiling height. These costs do not include any testing for asbestos, supplies, or disposal fees. This is just the cost of removal by a contractor or painting professional.

The table below summarizes the average costs per square foot of a popcorn ceiling removal project. It also lists the average square footage of each room, which helps provide a better estimate for your popcorn ceiling removal project.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Cost

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Cost

Ceiling Square FootageAverage Costs
Dining Room (200 sq.ft.)$200 - $800
Bedroom (200 sq.ft.)$200 - $800
Master Bedroom (300 sq.ft.)$300 - $1,200
Living Room (330 sq.ft.)$330 - $1,320

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Factors Affecting the Cost to Remove a Popcorn Ceiling

You may need to consider other factors that affect the cost when removing a popcorn ceiling in your home. Some of these factors are listed below:

  • The project size and ceiling height: If you only want to remove a small section of the ceiling drywall, the project cost will be fairly small. When considering a larger square footage, the cost increases.
  • The texture thickness: If the popcorn is thick, it takes more work to remove it, increasing your costs.
  • Removing asbestos: Although every popcorn ceiling does not contain asbestos, there is a chance that yours might. Have your ceiling checked by taking a sample for analysis. This can only be done by a certified professional, which means you also have to spend money on the test. If asbestos is in the ceiling, your removal costs will be substantially higher. This is because safety precautions have to be taken when removing it from your home to prevent health hazards.
  • Moving furniture: You may also need to hire professional help to move your furniture during the popcorn ceiling removal process. Professional furniture movers also charge a fee, ranging between $80 and $125, depending on your location.
  • Painting and texturing: Your project is not going to stop after the popcorn ceiling is removed. This is usually just the beginning. You also have to consider the costs of new paint and texture to replace the removed ceiling. This means your project may become more expensive, depending on what you decide to do after removing the popcorn ceiling.
  • Repairing the drywall: Removing the popcorn ceiling may uncover new faults in your drywall, which means more repair costs. Some companies do not charge for the cost of repairing drywall after removing a popcorn ceiling. Factor in drywall repair estimates before you hire a company.

Is Popcorn Ceiling Bad for Your Health?

The biggest concern with popcorn ceilings is the risk of asbestos. If you are exposed to asbestos, its fibers can enter your body and cause serious health problems. These fibers cannot be naturally broken down by the body and can get lodged in your lungs or body tissues. It usually affects the respiratory system. Some primary diseases that are directly linked to asbestos exposure include lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma.

In 1978, the Clean Air Act was passed, which placed a ban on the spray-on asbestos due to its harmful effect on workers. It was creating serious respiratory problems for those workers. However, buildings still used asbestos popcorn ceilings until the 1980s, overlooking the health concerns. After 1980, a new formula was introduced where popcorn ceilings were free from asbestos. They used paper fiber or Styrofoam for creating its texture. Thus, there are no serious health concerns for popcorn ceilings that were made post-1980s. However, if your house was built before 1986, there is the risk of asbestos in your ceilings.

Asbestos Popcorn Ceiling Removal Cost

The problem with asbestos is that it is airborne, so even a slight disturbance can cause the particles to be released into the air and contaminate it. This can affect anyone who breathes the contaminated air, which can be harmful. Thus, taking care of the risk of asbestos should be a priority. The first step that a homeowner should take is to get their popcorn ceiling tested. Asbestos testing should only be carried out by certified professionals. It is done in several formats, which cost from $250 to $800. The national average cost of asbestos testing is $500, which includes a physical sample test conducted by a professional.

If the test comes back positive for asbestos for more than 1%, you need to remove it. To safely remove an asbestos ceiling, expect a cost of $3 to $7 per square feet. Removing an asbestos popcorn ceiling from a 15’ x 20’ room ranges between $900 and $2,100. For a 2,500 sq.ft. house, the total cost is between $7,500 and $17,500.

Never start the popcorn ceiling removal process yourself until you get it tested for asbestos. Otherwise, you risk your health and the health of your family if they come in contact with airborne asbestos, which can cause lung disease. Also, note that homeowners’ insurance does not cover asbestos removal costs.

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Cost to Remove a Popcorn Ceiling and Retexture It

After removing the popcorn ceiling, it is recommended to retexture it to match the walls. The national average cost to remove a popcorn ceiling and retexture a 10’ x 30’ room ranges from $900 to $2,500.

The best part about retexturing is the variety of options. If you want to add a detailed texture to your new ceiling, it costs about $200 to $250. For simply repainting the new ceiling, prices range from $75 to $125. Most ceiling textures cost between $0.60 to $2 per square foot. However, the cost of each texture varies if they require additional materials and tools. Some of the most common texture types are mentioned below:

Cost to Remove Popcorn Ceiling

Cost to Remove Popcorn Ceiling

Smooth Ceiling

After removing a popcorn ceiling, many people prefer to keep a smooth ceiling. This texture is the most popular because it is the cheapest option, requiring minimal skill. You can also DIY at a minimal cost. It provides a consistent look and is much easier to remove with future renovations. The smooth ceiling is easy to apply and provides a simple and modern look that is appealing to everyone.

Cost to Remove a Popcorn Ceiling and Replace it with a Knockdown

The knockdown texture uses a soupy or watered-down compound to cover the drywall. The compound drips, which creates stalactites when it dries. These stalactites are then knocked down with a trowel that creates the texture. The texture hides any holes and other flaws, which may be apparent on smooth surfaces. The national average cost of replacing a 10’ x 30’ popcorn ceiling with a knockdown texture ranges from $900 to $1,800.

Santa Fe Ceiling Texture

The Santa Fe ceiling texture is very subtle. It consists of two smooth layers. One layer of thinly skimmed drywall mud is placed on top of a much thicker layer that is visible from below. This texture is popular in the southwestern states of the U.S.

Decorative Ceiling Tiles

To cover up the drywall, another popular option is to use decorative ceiling tiles. These tiles come in different designs and colors and can give your room added pizzazz. The best part about these tiles is that they cover up any imperfections in the ceiling and prevent water leaks. They are also conveniently installed and can be cleaned easily.

Orange Peel Ceiling Texture

This ceiling texture resembles the skin of an orange. It is also sometimes referred to as the eggshell texture. This texture is created by applying thin mud to the wall or ceiling with a spray gun set at very high pressure. The orange peel ceiling texture is very subtle and adds an artistic ambience to any room.

Skip Trowel Ceiling Texture

The skip trowel drywall texture is very popular and can also be used to plaster ceilings. Usually, a plasterer’s tool is used to create this texture on ceilings. It can also be applied by using a trowel. All you need to do is dip the trowel in a joint compound and slowly drag it across the entire ceiling. The compound should not cover the entire area. This will create small circles in the texture.

Crow Foot Ceiling Texture

The crow’s foot ceiling texture is made with a stipple brush. This texture usually requires two people with one person applying the stipple brush pattern while the other applies mud in the rest of the area. The project can be very messy, so the floor should be covered with a plastic sheet before starting.

Sheetrock Ceiling Texture

This ceiling texture has been around since 1917. It is a rough texture that you can create using just your hands. No special brushes or spray paint is required. It gives a room a modern style with a touch of elegance.

Stipple Brush Ceiling Texture

The stipple brush ceiling texture is very challenging to achieve and requires a lot of time and skill. It requires a slap brush and roller. It is commonly used to cover up imperfections in the drywall, such as holes, because the texture is rough in appearance. A thick layer of mud is applied to achieve this texture, and the process can get very messy.

Swirl Ceiling Texture

The swirl ceiling texture can be applied using a sprayer or roller. A trowel can also be used to do the basic swirl technique, providing the same results. This texture can be challenging to create because the pattern must be created before the mud dries out. Depending on the tool used, this can take a lot of time. If the ceiling is large, it is better to involve another person in the process.

Stomp Ceiling Texture

The stomp ceiling texture requires a stomp brush and roller. This texture is created by using a drywall joint compound that is thinned down with water to a paintable consistency. This compound is painted onto the drywall, and then the stomp brush is used to create the texture.

Tree Bark Ceiling Texture

This is a popular choice for nature enthusiasts. The tree bark ceiling texture resembles tree bark. It is created with a heavy roller, which gives a simplistic yet artistic texture that provides more personality to your ceilings. They are commonly used in farmhouse-style homes and provide a rustic aesthetic to the room.

Slap Brush Ceiling Texture

The slap brush ceiling texture is a popular choice, but its application process is a bit challenging. It is created by using brushes with very stiff bristles and mud that is thinned down with water. The ceiling is initially covered with the mud using a roller. Then, the brushes are used to slap the ceiling from the edges. If this is not done correctly, the results can be very messy. Therefore, you leave it to the professionals.

Cost to Skim Coat a Ceiling

Skim coating your walls and ceilings is a great way to make them new again. It is a thin coat of a light joint compound applied with a spray rig, paint roller, or by hand to smoothen out ceilings and walls. A drywall knife or trowel is then used to flatten it out. It is a simple technique that helps create a smooth ceiling so that it can be retextured or painted.

Rosebud Ceiling Texture

The rosebud ceiling texture is a trendy choice and is simple to apply. It is created by first applying a very thin layer of the mud onto the ceiling and then using an airless paint sprayer or stomp brush to create a texture that resembles rosebuds. It can be applied to a smooth-walled room to give an elegant aesthetic.

Removing Popcorn Ceiling and Refinishing Cost

The national average cost to refinish a ceiling is around $2 to $2.50 per square foot. This is in addition to the cost of removing the ceiling at $1 to $4 a square foot. To remove your ceiling and give it a new finish, expect to pay $3 to $6.50 per square foot in total. This does not include the cost to paint the ceiling when you are done. This adds an additional $1.25 to $2 a square foot for a total of $4.25 to $8.50 for a complete popcorn ceiling removal and refinish. For a 10’ x 30’ room, costs around $1,275 to $2,550, including all material costs.

Home popcorn ceiling drywall demolition

Cost to Add Drywall over a Popcorn Ceiling

You also have the option of adding drywall over the popcorn ceiling. Drywall is composed of paper and gypsum and is an ideal choice if you want your ceiling to be resistant to mold and moisture. Special coatings can be applied to the drywall to make it more resistant. Drywalls are easy to install compared to plaster and other materials. The national average cost of adding drywall over a popcorn ceiling is between $450 and $600 for a 300 sq.ft. project.

Popcorn Ceiling Repair Cost

Over time, popcorn ceilings can get damaged. Cracks and unsightly stains might start appearing, which can look ugly. Popcorn ceilings are also susceptible to water damage, meaning the affected parts can sag, flake, or shed. Consider repairing the damage. The average cost to repair a damaged popcorn ceiling is about $70 per patch. The average range is from $63 to $76. The typical one-patch project costs an average of $340 after factoring in the material and labor costs.

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Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Popcorn ceilings must be replaced if they begin to crack and are seriously damaged. Not only does it give your house an outdated look, but there may also be a risk of asbestos, which has serious health effects. It also reduces the value of your home. Having it removed helps attract more buyers when you sell. It can even increase the resale value if you remove the popcorn ceiling and replace it with drywall.
  • To reduce popcorn ceiling removal costs, remove the furniture yourself, have your ceiling tested for asbestos beforehand, and handle the post-ceiling removal project like painting yourself.
  • You must get your popcorn ceiling tested for asbestos. Removing a popcorn ceiling is easy to do, but it can be dangerous if asbestos is present in it. Consult with a professional before taking on the project entirely yourself. You do not want to risk your family’s health.
  • You do not need a permit to remove a popcorn ceiling yourself. However, there are some regulations regarding the removal of asbestos. Homeowners are banned from removing asbestos from their houses themselves. They must hire a professional.


  • How much does it cost to remove a popcorn ceiling with asbestos?

A popcorn ceiling that tests positive for asbestos can be encapsulated or removed entirely. If a popcorn ceiling tests positive for asbestos, expect to pay between $3 and $7 per square foot.

  • When did they stop using asbestos in popcorn ceilings?

In the late 1970s, the use of asbestos in ceilings was banned by the U.S. government due to its potential health concerns. Most ceilings made after this date do not contain asbestos. However, it is still possible that materials that were manufactured before that date are installed in homes even after the ban was imposed.

  • How much does it cost to scrape popcorn ceilings?

The national average for removing a popcorn ceiling is from $900 to $2,500. Most homeowners spend about $1,700 on a single project. However, the cost varies from as low as $300 for the ceiling of a smaller room to $4,800 or more for a larger ceiling.

  • How long does it take to remove the popcorn ceiling?

If you use traditional methods to remove a popcorn ceiling, such as scraping, removing, and resurfacing your ceilings, the process can take an average of 20 hours of work to complete a project of 500 square feet.

  • Does removing the popcorn ceiling increase home value?

Having popcorn ceilings in your home can give it an outdated look and make it seem less appealing. Thus, removing the popcorn ceiling helps raise your home’s value and removes the outdated look that usually puts off buyers.

  • Are popcorn ceilings out of style?

Popcorn ceilings are usually present in older homes and give a more dated look to any room. In modern homes, textures or smooth ceilings have now become a popular choice for ceilings and walls.

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Popcorn Ceiling 1 Popcorn ceilings: A spray-on or paint-on treatment for the upper interior surface of a room which has a rough curd-like texture and is used to hide imperfections, absorb sound, and reduce echoes
glossary term picture Plaster 2 Plaster: A paste composed of sand, water, and either lime, gypsum, or cement, which forms a smooth hard surface on walls, ceilings, and other structures upon drying

Cost to remove popcorn ceiling texture varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources
Popcorn texture on a white ceiling
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Cost to remove popcorn ceiling texture varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources