How Much Does It Cost to Remove Popcorn Ceiling?

Last Updated on June 8, 2022 by Kimberly Crawford

A popcorn ceiling refers to a textured ceiling finish common in residential and commercial properties. Its texture can be likened to freshly-popped popcorn, which is why it’s called popcorn ceiling. Generally, popcorn ceilings were popular a few decades ago due to several benefits, such as affordability and easy installation. Additionally, their popcorn texture can hide imperfections and can dampen noise.

With all these things mentioned, popcorn ceilings were indeed once a sought-after trend, but they can now depreciate the value of your home due to their antiquated appearance, not to mention their susceptibility to collect dust and spider webs. This is where the option of removing this type of ceiling finish enters the picture.

Unfortunately, popcorn removal is a dirty job that is not for the faint of heart. So, while it is much more time-efficient to pay a professional to do it for you, not to mention the convenience of having someone else clean up the mess, you can do it yourself.

Related: 34 Different Types Of Ceilings and Their Pros and Cons

Why would you need to get rid of a popcorn ceiling?

Popcorn ceilings are not considered an attractive feature by potential buyers because of their archaic appearance. 

They aren’t visually appealing, and they offer no genuine use (unless your builder was hiding flaws in the ceiling finish). They’re also difficult to repair and not easy to paint because of their uneven texture.

They aren’t visually appealing, and they offer no genuine use (unless your builder was hiding flaws in the ceiling finish).

Popcorn ceilings are also difficult to clean because of their high texture. Dust and cobwebs can appear quickly, making it difficult to maintain your property spotless while it is for sale.

Another healthy reason is when you want to sell your house, removing your popcorn ceiling before that may just improve the appeal of your property to potential buyers, resulting in more offers and a higher selling price.

Why should you budget for the removal of your popcorn ceiling?

Popcorn ceilings, also known as cottage cheese or acoustic ceilings, have a similar appearance and feel to popcorn. 

As texture helped disguise defects like nail holes, screws, and water damage places, textured ceilings were quite popular in the twentieth century. 

Popcorn ceilings, on the other hand, have lost their allure today. In fact, an out-of-date ceiling diminishes a home’s market value. To potential house buyers, it’s a big no-no. 

Since repairing or even repainting an old popcorn ceiling can be costly, it’s preferable to just replace it. This is especially important if the owner intends to sell the home for a profit.

If you don’t plan your home repair project correctly, removing your popcorn ceiling can cost a lot more. Obtaining a free estimate will assist you in developing a realistic budget, laying the proper foundation, and employing the proper methods and materials. In addition, you should also consider the search for professionals who can do the removal process for you.

Naturally, you’ll need an estimate of the cost to figure out how much you can spend. That’s also the greatest method to make sure you don’t run into any unpleasant surprises while working on your project. Also, if you’ve decided to hire experts to perform the Popcorn ceiling removal in Toronto, you certainly need to know how much these professionals charge for their services. That way, you’ll know how much budget you need to allocate to cover the cost of popcorn ceiling removal. 

This leads us to the main question…

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How much does it cost to remove the popcorn ceiling?

The cost of removing a popcorn ceiling ranges from $1 to $2 per square foot, with the average homeowner spending $1,800 on it.

The average homeowner spends $899 to $2,800 on the endeavor. In addition to removing the original finish, adding texture, painting, or other alternatives like decorative tiles will increase the final expense.

People may desire to remove popcorn ceilings from an existing structure for a remodel, before selling a home, or after buying a home. 

While the technique might be quite simple in some circumstances, it can be more difficult if the popcorn ceiling material contains asbestos. For safe and successful removal, you need to see a licensed specialist. Do take note that removing popcorn ceiling with asbestos might be costly due to the complicated techniques, tools, expertise, and skills associated with the process.

Rate of Popcorn Removal Per Hour

When hiring a professional to do the basic work, such as scraping and disposing of waste, planning, area preparation, and cleanup, homeowners may expect to pay between $15 and $40 per hour. 

A 500-square-foot space could require up to 20 hours of work, with costs ranging from $300 to $700.

The average cost of removal is simply one component of the puzzle. Understanding all of the factors that go into this project might help you create a more accurate budget. 

It’s also worth noting that these costs vary depending on the contractor and area. So, it’s best to perform thorough research first before hiring a professional for your popcorn ceiling removal needs. For instance, you can request a price estimate to know their rates and figure out if it matches your budget. 

Factors Affecting the Cost of Popcorn Removal?

These costs are for ceilings that do not involve the removal of lead or asbestos. They also do not include ceiling repair.

  • Texture thickness: 

Heavier texturing and texture with multiple coats of paint might be more difficult to remove, increasing the expense.

  • 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 at least $200. Larger jobs are priced per square foot, with additional factors taken into account.

  • Popcorn Texture Condition

If past ceiling painting makes it difficult for the contractor to simply scrape and make minor repairs, the entire item will need to be sanded, recoated with drywall compound, and sanded again before painting. This will increase your expenses.

What does the cost estimate include?

Costs for local material/equipment delivery and service provider transportation to and from the job site are included in the cost estimate.

Expenditures associated with preparing the worksite for popcorn texture removals, such as costs associated with protecting existing structures, finishes, materials, and components.

Small popcorn texture removal services frequently require labor setup time, mobilization time, and minimum hourly expenses.

What does the cost estimate don’t include?

Costs associated with dismantling, relocating, repairing, or modifying the existing frame, surfacing, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems – or bringing those systems up to code.

Costs of hazardous material testing and remediation (asbestos, lead, etc.)

Overhead and markup for coordinating and supervising the popcorn texture removal by a general contractor. If the project will be overseen by a general contractor, add 15% to 20% to the total cost above.

Also, it excludes materials and supplies with sales tax.

Your local building department may request permit or inspection fees (or a portion thereof) for your whole project.

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Fundamental Methods for Removing Popcorn Ceilings

fundamental methods for removing popcorn ceiling

Popcorn ceilings were very popular among homes. They had patterned decorations on their walls and gleaming furniture. 

The spray-on procedure of the low-cost hand-troweled plaster proved convenient. It had the appearance of cottage cheese and had fire-resistance and noise-canceling properties. 

Popcorn ceilings, on the other hand, have proven to be less than lovely with time. They can be difficult and expensive to repair, as well as difficult to clean and age well. 

Furthermore, speckled surfaces are now deemed out of style and antiquated. It’s also a good idea to get rid of it because it could contain asbestos. Thankfully, removing this style of material is a lot easier now.

Easy Steps for Removing Popcorn Ceiling

When it comes to removing a popcorn ceiling, there are five essential stages to follow:

  • To avoid a mess, cover the room’s walls and floor with plastic sheets.
  • If you reside in an older home, test a tiny part of your popcorn ceiling for the presence of asbestos. If your property was built before 1980, an asbestos test is definitely necessary.
  • Using a garden sprayer to spray water over the ceiling in portions. You must stay away from locations near electrical devices like ceiling fans and light fixtures. Instead, use sandpaper to loosen the ceiling.
  • Once the water has been absorbed completely, scrape off the popcorn ceiling material. Use a putty knife or a scraper to remove the putty.
  • Repainting and smoothing the ceiling.

Alternatives to Popcorn Removal

If your current substrate is outdated and unable to withstand scraping, you can go with one of the following options:

  • Beadboard 

Nail beadboard sheets to the ceiling. Your ceiling will have a soft cottage feel to it. It can cost $2 to $4 per square foot.

  • Metal 

Patterned metal tiles in brass, copper, chrome, white, or lacquered steel can be nailed or screwed in. This can cost around $4–$9 per square foot.

  • Ceiling planks 

Appears like wood and is perfect for a country home. These can cost anywhere between $2 to –$4 per sqft.

This will lower your ceiling by roughly 1″ and may affect your resale value, but it will also improve the insulation of your attic. Because gypsum board is lighter than normal sheetrock, some contractors recommend it. Before painting, screw it into the frames and mud and tape it.

So, Is It Worthwhile Removing Popcorn Ceiling?

popcorn removal

Taking down a popcorn ceiling isn’t at the top of the list of home improvements that will raise the value of your property, generally.

But in most cases, removal is a wise investment. Covering the surface may be a more cost-effective solution for individuals on a budget. However, given that removal can boost a home’s value, it’s usually a good investment.

So, before you start removing your popcorn ceiling, there are a few things to think about your property.

Examine the Market

Buyers will bid on your property regardless of whether you have popcorn ceilings in a strong sellers’ market with low housing availability.

Take into account the cost of your listing

Buyers will expect to see these types of changes if you’re selling a large property in a posh neighborhood. A relatively minor investment could increase the value of your home by $35,000 in this case.

However, in a smaller property, the expense of removing a popcorn ceiling will most likely cover the entire sale amount. It might not be worth it in this scenario.

Examine your home’s overall condition

Removing a popcorn ceiling won’t have as much of an impact if your home needs other repairs or cosmetic improvements. 

If your kitchen cabinets are coming apart, potential buyers will like your new ceilings. 

Before determining where to put your repair and renovation money, consider all of the possibilities.

Upsides of Removing Popcorn Ceiling 

home ceiling drywall demolition popcorn ceiling

Removing popcorn ceiling can be mandatory in some instances because: 

Reduces Serious Health Risks

The risk of asbestos is the most serious problem with these ceilings. Asbestos fibers can enter your body and create major health problems if you are exposed to them. 

These fibers are unable to be broken down normally by the body and can become trapped in the lungs or other body tissues. 

The respiratory system is frequently affected. Lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma are some of the most common diseases connected to asbestos exposure.

After 1980, a new formula was produced that made these surfaces asbestos-free. For the texture, they used paper fiber or Styrofoam. 

As a result, there are no severe health risks associated with surfaces manufactured after the 1980s. If your home was built before 1980, though, there are some serious chances that asbestos may be present in the ceilings.

Enhanced Interior Lighting

One of the issues with popcorn ceilings is that they alter the room’s illumination. Light bounces off the rough surface, resulting in some harsh shadows in the space. 

When you’re attempting to create a relaxing atmosphere in a room, the popcorn ceiling isn’t ideal, therefore you could wish to get rid of it.

If you don’t have the funds to remove it, the effect can be mitigated with the correct lighting. 

Table and floor lamps should be used instead of recessed and flush wall lights. This gives the room a softer hue, making it considerably more calming.

Gives Aesthetic Appearance to Your Room

Popcorn ceilings were the norm at the height of their popularity. People are now embracing a more modern approach to home décor. 

There aren’t many places for leftovers from the 1930s. Popcorn ceilings don’t work in modern homes unless you have a historical aesthetic.

The advantage of removing the popcorn ceiling for a modern design is that the contemporary look may be used in a classic home. 

You can still combine historical interior styles to replace popcorn ceilings. In some ways, removing the popcorn ceiling to improve your interior visuals will always work in your favor.

No Collapsing, No Deterioration 

A popcorn ceiling, like any other home improvement, won’t remain forever. 

It will ultimately start to dissolve, no matter how hard you try to keep it up. White specks will start to fall from the ceiling onto your flooring and furniture in most circumstances.

They can really damage surfaces if not caught in time. If this is the case, it’s time to replace or remove the ceiling completely.

How Long Will It Take for Popcorn Ceiling Removal?

Because the work is done fast, these are not expensive house upgrades. The time frame is for a two-person staff. Because scraping and texturing can be done by one person, the process may take longer.

  • 1-3 days: Scraping off the texturing and cleaning up the site at a rate of 1,000 to 2,000 square feet per day.
  • 2 days: Texturing a ceiling after or instead of scraping it can take anywhere from ½ to 2 days.
  • 2-5 days: Covering a ceiling with gypsum board/drywall takes 2-5 days. The board will be hung in 1-2 days. If the joint compound is a fast-drying mix, three coats can be applied and sanded in an additional day. If not, the three coats will be applied and sanded over three days, with a few hours of work each day.

Hiring Professional Roofers for This Job?

Most people have popcorn ceilings in various areas of their houses. If you scrap the ceilings to make it smooth, your old home’s ceiling can have a lot of waves that you can’t hide.

You would need to install drywall and of course, this is something you can’t do on your own.

So, because of the time and mess involved, as well as the skill required to achieve a smooth finish, you should not do the job yourself.

You need to get plenty of drop cloths and enlist the help of a friend to clean up as you go. And a clean, faultless finish necessitates a great deal of talent. That’s why you need professional roofers for this job. 

Cons to DIY Popcorn Ceiling Removal

  • This is not the job for you if you have any form of neck difficulties.
  • Damage to the substrate, which could result in a higher repair bill.
  • There can be a lot of clean-up before work and clean-up after the removal throughout the house.
  • The labor is not covered by a warranty.

The experts will take care of any project or repair problem with a guarantee of physical and financial success. 

The warranties cover performance and labor installs. It’s also completely transferable if you ever sell your home.


The popcorn ceiling removal process can be a challenging undertaking. There are many things to consider to ensure you carry out the project right and one of them is the costs involved. Hence, if you have an upcoming removal project, keep the information mentioned above in mind to have a clear idea of how much it costs to get rid of popcorn ceiling and help you prepare for the right budget.