Cost of Redoing Popcorn Ceiling – A Complete Detailed Guide.

Textured Popcorn Ceiling

Popcorn ceilings, also known as “cottage cheese ceilings” were all the rage in the 20th century, with people finding the bumpy texture enchanting. They were either sprayed on or painted with a plastic Styrofoam, giving a nice, rustic look to rooms.

However, this decades-old style of textured ceilings can make a room look quite outdated. It doesn’t sit well with the chic look that most homeowners prefer now and can even reduce the value of your property since the texture quickly becomes a hub for dust and spider webs.

If you’re looking to sell the house, you’ll notice that these ceilings immediately decrease the interest of any potential buyers. So, the best strategy for maximum value would be removing the popcorn ceilings completely and perhaps opting for a different texture that is easier to clean and more liked by homeowners.

Here is everything you need to know about the general cost of redoing your popcorn ceiling.

Removing the Popcorn Ceiling

The general cost incurred to remove the popcorn texture ranges from $1 to $2 per square foot. The average total cost at this rate comes up to be $1500 for the whole project, with most homeowners spending $800 to $2000 on their ceilings.

However, these costs can vary greatly based on the home size, project complexity, and even the room you’re getting redone. Additional texturing, paint job and features like decorative tiles may further increase the total price. Remember to include labor costs in your final budgets to prevent any surprising increments later on.

Let’s have a look at what you’ll be spending on each room. These estimates were made taking into consideration the average removal cost per square foot paired with the average ceiling dimensions per square foot of each room.

Living Room

Average ceiling dimensions: 330 square foot

Estimated cost: $660

Dining Room

Average ceiling dimensions: 200 square foot

Estimated cost: $400

Master Bedroom

Average ceiling dimensions: 300 square foot

Estimated cost: $600


Average ceiling dimensions: 200 square foot

Estimated cost: $400

Labor Cost per Hour

When calculating the cost of redoing your popcorn ceiling, a major component will be the labor costs. The average labor rates range from $1 to $2 per square foot, making the total for a 500 square feet space almost $1000.

Although most professional contractors will combine the cost of materials and labor to give one final amount, it is still quite helpful to know where exactly your money is going.

National Average Rate – S50 per hour

Low-end Removal Rate – $35 to $40 per hour

High-end Removal Rate – $65 to $70 per hour

For better estimates of the labor cost specific to your region, reach out to the local contractors, and request free quotations.

Factors to Consider

There are several other factors involved in removing your popcorn ceiling that should be considered in your final budget.

Moving Furniture

To be able to properly redo the ceiling and prevent any damage to your furniture, you will need to move it out of the way. Most contractors charge an extra fee for this. You can also hire professional furniture movers who will take $80 to $125 to provide you with this service.

Additional Supplies

There are several tools required for safely removing a popcorn ceiling, including a high strength scraper, ladder, and some protective gear. This can cost homeowners up to $70.

Testing for Asbestos

If your home was built in the 1980s, it’s quite likely that the popcorn texture is made up of asbestos. Asbestos is a natural mineral which was used to ensure proper insulation and fire resistance in houses. However, it was deemed a carcinogen and banned for industrial usage back in 1978. Houses built before that still have asbestos popcorn ceilings which can cause a major risk to health.

Since asbestos is airborne, it is important to test for it before carrying out any removal to your ceiling. The homeowner is generally required to remove a sample from the ceiling and send it for testing at a facility before any renovations can start.

Professionals can also be hired to carry out the complete testing process to reduce the risk of contaminating the indoor air.

Costs of Professional Testing

Standard Onsite Sampling – $250 to $700

Air Monitoring Test – $400 to $1200

Official AHERA inspection – $250 to $1000 per sample

In case asbestos is detected, a further full inspection will be required which can cost from $400 to $800.

DIY Testing Kits

Asbestos testing kits can be purchased at about $40 at any local hardware store. Ensure you’re your kit has a lab test included or scrape a small piece of the ceiling and send it to your local labs to get it tested for $150.

Be wary that this isn’t the safest practice since asbestos is a hazardous material and can easily spread into the air to cause a significant health risk.

In the Presence of Asbestos

If the test results come back positive, you have an extra cost on your hands. The asbestos ceilings need to be removed by professionals since even touching this material is quite risky. Due to being highly labor-intensive, this cost can range between $100 to $2,750, depending on the room size as well as the type of asbestos used.

As per your state regulations, you can:

  1. Encapsulate the asbestos with drywall – $2 to $6 per square foot
  2. Get the ceiling completely removed and safely disposed of by a professional – $10 to $20 per square foot.

Be prepared for a minimum charge of at least $1500 for setup, asbestos containment, air quality handing, and the testing after clean up.

Replacing with Paint

One of the cheapest ways of redoing a popcorn ceiling is to have your contractor scrape off the texture, lightly sand the bumps to smoothen them out, and then paint over it for a beautiful, finished look. The painter will charge you from $1 to $3 per square foot for the completed paint job. But if you’re feeling crafty you can do it yourself with a scraper, new paint ($30 to $150), and some primer.

Replacing with Knockdown Texture

To replace your popcorn ceiling with a new knockdown texture, set aside almost $500 in your total budget. The average cost of knockdown ranges from $1 to $2 per square foot; including labor, special equipment, and all the material required.

Expect a little extra cost if any areas in your ceiling require some patching work to be done.

Other Texture Options

Since you’re redoing your popcorn ceiling, might as well use this opportunity to consider some other attractive options for a beautifully textured look. It is common for homeowners to match the texture of the ceiling to the walls.

Skin Coat

By adding a coat over your wall, you can get a wonderfully smooth texture for $1 per square foot. This is can be DIY-ed easily to save further cost but a downside is that it adds some extra weight which has the potential of disintegrating your ceiling structure.

Santa Fe Textured Drywall

For $1 to $1.50, you can get the Sana Fe drywall installed which has a nice, low profile look.

Decorative Tiles

Sold at most home décor stores, these tiles are from $5 to $7 and can be placed over your popcorn ceilings to give a whole new look to the room.

Alternatives to Removing Popcorn

It may be possible that the structure of your house is too old to be able to handle all the scraping and reinstalling. Don’t worry; there are still several options you can look into for redoing your popcorn ceiling.

Decorative Plaster

$1 to $2.5 per square foot

The plaster can easily be applied directly onto the ceiling using an industrial strength adhesive.

Bead Board

$2.5 to $4 per square foot

Sheets of beadboard can be nailed over the popcorn for a warm, homely feel.

Wood-like Planks

$2.5 to $4 per square foot

For a nice, country home look install these faux wood planks over the popcorn ceiling.


$4 to $9 per square foot

The metal tiles are screwed over your ceiling. These come in a variety of patterns and you can pick from copper, lacquered steel, chrome, or even brass.

How to Reduce the Cost?

Final Words

A general rule of renovating any part of your home is to get at least 3 to 5 quotations from different contractors before estimating your budget and signing up with any one of them. Since professional ceiling removal prices vary among remodelers, most companies in your region will offer you a different quote.

Another trick to get the best prices is to wait until late fall or winter. The cost of redoing popcorn ceilings will go down because most remodeling firms are in down season during this time and hence offer high discounts. Always try to add in an extra 5-7% to your total budget in case of any difficulties during the remodeling process. Enjoy your new and improved ceilings!

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