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How Much Does Popcorn Ceiling Removal Cost?

How Much Does Popcorn Ceiling Removal Cost?

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As summer rolls around and people begin thinking of home improvement projects they can work on to make their home look great, some folks might want to start with popcorn ceiling removal. Many homes come with popcorn ceiling (also known as cottage cheese or textured ceilings) pre-installed, and many homeowners find them dated or just not very aesthetically pleasing.

The good news is that the popcorn ceiling is relatively simple and inexpensive to have removed, whether you choose to hire a professional or opt for the DIY approach and handle everything yourself. Determining your popcorn ceiling removal cost will be a good way to decide which option to go with.

What is Popcorn Ceiling?

If you aren’t already familiar with a popcorn ceiling, it is the type of ceiling that is usually white and is standard in many manufactured and mobile homes. It is so popular among home builders because it is inexpensive and abundant.

The problem with popcorn ceilings these days is that they aren’t as in style as they were just several decades ago, and they can actually lower the value of your home if you choose to sell it. A good deal of homeowners finds them dated, not particularly pleasing to the eye, and flaky.

Thinking about removing the popcorn ceiling in your home? You’re probably going to be wondering how much this whole process might set you back financially, as well as some easy tips to take care of the job (especially if you’re choosing to tackle the task yourself).

What is the Typical Cost to Remove Popcorn Ceiling?

What is the Typical Cost to Remove Popcorn Ceiling?

The average cost to remove popcorn ceiling depends entirely on whether you plan on doing it yourself or hiring a contractor to take on the job. If you opt to handle it yourself, then the only things you will need to pay for are the materials and tools necessary to take on the job, as well as some paint if you plan to give the ceiling a new paint when you’re done.

If you’re planning on hiring a contractor to remove your popcorn ceiling, then you might be looking at an average total cost of around $1000 to $2000, depending on the size of your home (many contractors will charge $1-$2 per square foot of the ceiling) and the contractor you choose to work with, since you’ll have to cover labor costs, too. On the upside, when choosing a professional to handle the job, you won’t have to worry about providing any materials or tools, since they are usually fully equipped to handle the task.

While you can definitely save a pretty penny handling the job yourself, you should keep in mind that removing a popcorn ceiling, while not a difficult process by any means, can be very messy. If you’re pressed for time or just don’t want to handle the arduous cleanup process by yourself when the job is done, then hiring a professional might be your best bet.

There is one important caveat that you should be aware of, however.

The Asbestos Factor

If you have a home that was built before 1978, then your best bet it going to be to hire a professional to remove your popcorn ceiling for you. This is because popcorn ceilings made prior to 1978 typically contain asbestos, which is known to cause lung problems in people.

Asbestos was banned for the creation of residential domiciles, but found its way into ceilings made all the way up to 1986 because contractors still had some in stock. If you have an older home, the absolute first thing you need to do is have professionals test for asbestos. This is for the safety of yourself and your family.

Tips to Easily Remove Popcorn Ceiling

Once you know your home is clear of any asbestos, you can get down to the popcorn ceiling removal process.  Here are some helpful hints for the DIYers who want to save some money and deal with the popcorn ceiling themselves.

1. Make sure you cover the room

Utilize drop cloths on the floor and some plastic sheeting on the walls to collect all the popcorn flakes that will litter the room during the removal process.

2. Eye and face protection are a must

To make sure you don’t breathe in the dust from the ceiling or get anything in your eyes, make sure you have the proper facial protection before beginning the job.

3. Use water and a scraper to make it simple

To minimize the mess and the work you’ll need to do, you should spray the ceiling with warm water and then begin to use your scraper to scrape the popcorn evenly from the ceiling. People familiar with DIY projects may already have a pump sprayer or water mister that they can use for spraying the ceiling with water.

4. Smooth it out when finished to make painting easy

Once all the popcorn is removed, you’ll want to make sure you have a smooth ceiling so that painting is simplified. You can sand it down quite easily, being careful not to overdo it since this could potentially damage the ceiling and create more work for you down the line.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Removing popcorn ceiling can seem like quite the process to someone who has never done it before. If you have any questions about popcorn ceiling removal, check out some of these common questions from DIYers just like you:

How much is the cost of popcorn ceiling removal?

There are many factors that determine that cost of removing a popcorn ceiling from a house:

  • square footage to be removed,
  • height of the ceilings,
  • if the ceiling is already painted,
  • location of the house, and
  • warranty length

You should be ready to pay about $1.15 to $2.25 per sq-ft for the removal of the popcorn ceiling in Kansas City. You should get ready to pay about $2.00 to $2.50 per sq-ft if you want to apply a new texture and paint. Note that drywall repair is not included in this pricing.

Is it right to remove the popcorn ceiling?

Any realtor out there will tell you that having popcorn ceilings in your home will not sell it faster. If you look at this from the selling aspect, you can definitely agree that it worth it as your house will look more attractive and less out of date when you apply the beautiful texture.

The best time to remove the popcorn ceilings in your newly purchased home is before you move your furniture in. This way, you have not many obstacles to face and less clean up to do after the task. Looking at this from an updating angle, your ceilings will remain cleaner and brighter when you remove the popcorn ceilings.

You may be seeing cobwebs or dirt that hangs to the popcorn kernels on your popcorn ceilings.

Can I tackle popcorn ceiling removal on my own?

A lot of patience and relevant tools are required to handle a popcorn ceiling removal and texture application. If wrongly done, you may end up damaging the drywall or have a surface that doesn’t blend with the newly applied texture. The worst that could happen after applying the new texture is to peel off or flake immediately. This is certainly one of those domestic projects you may want to consider hiring someone to handle.

Will popcorn removal leave a mess in my space?

YES. If not properly done, it may result in one of the messiest domestic tasks you will ever handle. Experts have come up with an effective and simple process to reduce mess with their years of experience and many successful projects. You should still schedule timing for dust and clean up right after completion of the project.

The removal process involves dust. Dallas Paints usually performs a general clean up after project completion using a vacuum machine and dusters. You may still see little dust after our departure. We suggest you do another vacuuming the next day after the project completion.

What technique is the easiest to remove popcorn ceilings?

Grab a garden sprayer to apply moisture to the ceiling and soak for about twenty minutes. This will enable easy scrapping with no dust flying around when removing the popcorn ceiling. Make sure the misting is done lightly to prevent the water from damaging the drywall or loosening the tape.

Is home value increased after removing the popcorn ceiling?

About $25,000 to $35,000 would be added to the value of a large estate executive structure when popcorn ceiling removal is done as estimated by Schutte. He further estimated that about $2,500 is added to a home of about 1,400 sq-ft, which costs about $200,000. This is almost equal to the amount a homeowner might invest in the project.

How long scrapping a popcorn ceiling takes?

An approximate of 20 hours may be required to scrape, remove, and replace a popcorn ceiling or about 500sq-ft area traditionally.

Couldn’t I just paint over the popcorn ceiling?

Yes, you could. It is incredibly easier to handle the paint job after scraping off the popcorn, but it is entirely possible to paint over it without removing it if you wish. If you intend to do this, make sure you paint in one direction and don’t roll back and forth, because this could make the popcorn flakes begin to peel and flake off, creating quite the mess for you.

What tools will I need for popcorn ceiling removal?

To easily handle the popcorn ceiling removal process yourself, make sure you have some of the essentials. These include plastic sheeting and drop cloths, painter’s tape, a water pump sprayer or mister, some rags, a putty knife, and a scraper.

How does removing popcorn ceiling increase my home’s value?

Many people these days see popcorn ceilings as dated and would prefer a more modern look in their homes. If you ever plan to put your home on the market, removing your popcorn ceiling and refinishing it could boost your home’s value.


Before beginning any home improvement projects like popcorn ceiling removal, it is always good to make sure you have the budget allocated to get the job done. You can save quite a bit of money by doing it yourself, or you could choose to hire a professional contractor for the job. Most contractors are happy to provide free estimates, so weigh your options and your budget carefully to decide the best course of action for you.

No matter how you do it, once finished, your ceiling will look brand new, fresh, and modern.

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