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How Much Does It Cost To Remove Popcorn Ceilings?

Most homeowners spend between $1,211 to $2,102 nationally.
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Also known as "cottage cheese ceilings" or "acoustic ceilings," popcorn ceilings were once a popular method decades ago to hide imperfections with a bumpy texture that resembles popcorn. However, this old-fashioned style ceiling treatment, which was normally sprayed on or painted on with plastic or Styrofoam texture, makes a room look dated. Many homeowners wish to remove their popcorn ceilings — especially when moving into a new home — but don't wish to go through the hassle and potential health risks associated with the extremely tedious chore. Below is a guide to understanding the costs involved with hiring a contractor to perform the work.

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National Remove Popcorn Ceiling Costs

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Median Cost


Minimum Cost


Maximum Cost
Average Range:


National Average Cost $1,824
Minimum Cost $100
Maximum Cost $5,000
Average Range $1,211 to $2,102
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Table of Contents

  1. Cost To Remove Popcorn Ceiling
  2. Popcorn Ceiling Removal Cost Factors
  3. Other Popcorn Cost Considerations For Removing Popcorn Ceilings
  4. Reasons To Remove Popcorn Ceilings
  5. How To Remove Popcorn Ceilings
  6. Find A Remodeling Contractor

Cost To Remove Popcorn Ceilings

In general, contractors charge per square foot for removal of popcorn ceilings. On average, the cost is between $1/sf and $2/sf, with the average homeowner spending around $1,565 to remove the outdated and possibly cracked texture from the ceiling. However, that cost will increase if the popcorn ceiling had been painted over, and the addition of asbestos will also increase the cost of removal. Asbestos removal can cost between $3/sf and $7/sf, with entire homes costing up to $4,500 for treatment. Homeowners should also consider the cost of painting or adding another ceiling treatment once the popcorn ceiling is removed.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Cost Factors

Popcorn Ceilings Removal Cost Factors

The most important factor for determining the cost of popcorn ceilings is whether there is asbestos that also needs to be removed. Costs for asbestos removal can range between $60 and $2,750, with the average cost of $882. Professionals are necessary to do this work, as the material is hazardous to your health. Even touching it is risky. Asbestos was used in construction because of its fire-resistant properties; however, it is now linked to many deadly diseases including mesothelioma cancer. There are six types of asbestos, and they are all considered carcinogenic. If the popcorn ceiling has been tested not to have asbestos, homeowners are able to remove it themselves in an effort to reduce labor costs. However, it’s a surprisingly labor-intensive project. Larger rooms mean more work and more mess. There are often additional costs associated with the project that can be overlooked when setting a budget.

Other Popcorn Cost Considerations For Removing Popcorn Ceilings

There is more to removing popcorn ceilings than just the simple labor of removing it. Is it part of a bigger remodeling project? Regardless, a new ceiling treatment will be necessary, such as the addition of a tin ceiling or a coffered ceiling. It will be necessary to apply drywall mud to the ceiling and sand it flat to create a clean surface for any final treatment. This cost can be an additional $160 to $200 per room. Other materials that are necessary for the project include disposal of scrapings and installation waste, as well as the materials needed to remove the texture itself like seam tape, corner beads and topping compound. Debris disposal costs around $75, while additional supplies can cost around $35.

Reasons To Remove Popcorn Ceilings

Reasons To Remove Popcorn Ceilings

There are many reasons to remove popcorn ceilings, and the most important is the associated health risks for homes that added the texture before the Clean Air Act of 1978. Before then, contractors used asbestos to create the look. But even more recent popcorn ceilings can become cracked or damaged, making the room unsightly and highlighting the imperfection. When homeowners are considering selling their homes with popcorn ceilings, it's also a good idea to get rid of the old-fashioned look to increase the potential interest for buyers. Popcorn ceilings can decrease the value of the home by simply making it less likely to sell, according to real estate agents.

How To Remove Popcorn Ceilings

The first step to removing popcorn ceilings is to ensure there is no asbestos. Have the home tested before doing any work or contacting a professional to reduce the costs and potential health risks associated with handling asbestos. This test could cost between $400 and $800, and a follow up inspection after a project is complete — to ensure complete removal — can be another $200. If the home was built before 1977, consider this cost when determining a remodeling budget. Having asbestos requires hiring an accredited asbestos inspector and contractor who are licensed to deal with asbestos in a safe manner. If the home is more modern and testing is not necessary, removing popcorn ceilings is possible as a DIY project, but it’s extremely labor-intensive and messy. Materials, such as a large drywall scraper, drywall knife, paint roller, spray bottle, water and a drop cloth are needed for the work. Contractors will prep the room fully by covering all items, such as fans and floors, with plastic sheets. The ceiling will need to be sprayed with warm water, but it is easy to over-saturate the ceiling and cause added damage to the drywall that is underneath the texture. Next, the scraper is used to remove the texture, but again it is wise to have a professional, as it is very possible to gouge the ceiling and leave marks that will need to be filled in or covered as part of the final ceiling treatment. Cleanup and final treatment of the ceiling rounds out the project.

How To Remove Popcorn Ceilings

Find A Remodeling Contractor

Especially if the presence of asbestos is a possibility, work with a professional to remove outdated popcorn ceilings and finalize the room with a new ceiling treatment. Use our free lead generator tool to find a trusted ceiling professional in your community today.

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