How Much Does Popcorn Ceiling Removal Cost?

When it comes to modernizing and upgrading your home, removing that outdated popcorn ceiling can be a transformational step. But a common question many homeowners ask is, “How much will this renovation project set me back?” Well, the cost of removing a popcorn ceiling varies considerably based on several factors. In this blog post, we will explore the components that influence the cost and compare the DIY route to hiring professionals.

Factors Influencing the Cost of Removal

Size of the Area

The cost directly correlates with the area’s square footage. Larger spaces require more labor and materials, hence they incur higher charges.

Ceiling Height

Tall ceilings present a challenge, often necessitating scaffolding or specialized equipment. This not only prolongs the removal process but also adds to labor costs.

Condition of the Ceiling

Issues like water damage, mold, or excessive layers of paint add complexity to the task. Such complications demand additional preparation and repair post-removal, which, in turn, hikes up the price.

Asbestos Considerations

Safety first! Ceilings crafted before the 1980s may harbor asbestos — a health hazard when disturbed. Professional testing and asbestos abatement can be costly but are essential for safety.

Desired Finish

Once the popcorn texture is gone, you’ll need to decide on the new finish. The complexity and quality of the finish will affect your budget.

Geographic Location and Labor Rates

Depending upon where you live, labor rates can significantly differ. Always consider the local economic factors when budgeting for your project.

Permits and Regulations

Make sure to factor in the costs for any required permits, which vary by location and can impact your overall expenditure.

DIY vs. Professional Removal

The DIY Option

Roll up your sleeves and you could save on labor costs. However, DIY involves risks and might lead to unexpected expenses if you encounter any of the issues mentioned above. If your ceiling turns out to contain asbestos, professional removal becomes non-negotiable due to health and legal implications.


  • Potential savings on labor costs
  • Flexibility in scheduling and work pace


  • Possibility of inadequate removal or damage
  • Safety concerns, particularly with asbestos
  • Lack of professional finish

Hiring Professionals

Professionals come with experience, expertise, and the right equipment. They can handle unexpected issues and finish the job efficiently.


  • Expert assessment and handling of asbestos
  • Guaranteed safety compliance
  • Professional results with less effort from your side


  • Higher upfront costs
  • Necessity to schedule and possibly wait for availability

Cost Estimates Based on National Averages

The financial outlay for removing a popcorn ceiling ranges between $2 and $6 per sq ft, translating to an average total cost of $2,000 to $9,000 once refinishing is factored in. The breakdown of these costs includes $1 to $2 per sq ft for the actual removal of the popcorn texture. Following this step, retexturing and painting each command an additional $1 to $2 per sq ft. It’s worth noting that the estimates provided by contractors typically encompass both texture and paint in their quotes.

Below is a table detailing the average costs associated with popcorn ceiling removal across different project scales:

  • 500 sq feet > $1,000 – $3,000
  • 1000 sq feet > $2,000 – $6,000
  • 1500 sq feet > $3,000 – $9,000
  • 2000 sq feet > $4,000 – $12,000
  • 2500 sq feet > $5,000 – $15,000

Additional Considerations in Popcorn Ceiling Removal Costs

When planning your popcorn ceiling removal project, there are pivotal components to consider that significantly influence the overall cost.

Job Complexity

Professionals often encounter variations in job complexity, such as higher ceilings or layers of paint on the popcorn texture, which require more sophisticated techniques, additional time, and effort for removal. This complexity can affect the total cost.

Handling of Asbestos

Popcorn ceilings applied before 1986 might contain asbestos, posing serious health risks if not handled correctly.

  • The cost for asbestos testing falls between $250 and $850.
  • Removing asbestos-infected popcorn ceilings can cost between $4 to $20 per square foot.

Removal Methods

Contractors employ different methods for popcorn ceiling removal. Some may use a simple telescoping scraper, while others opt for specialized sanding equipment coupled with a vacuum to minimize mess and expedite the process. The latter method tends to be pricier but offers efficiency and less cleanup.

Furniture and Preparation

Proper preparation is crucial to avert potential damage and mess during the removal process. Most professionals will cover the space with tarps or plastic sheets, and moving furniture out of the way can eliminate risks of damage and injury. It’s wise to inquire whether there’s an additional charge for moving furniture.

Resurfacing and Texturing

Once the popcorn ceiling is removed, resurfacing and applying a new texture becomes necessary.

  • The cost for retexturing is generally $1 to $2 per square foot, with options that include orange peel, sand, knockdown, lace, or smooth finishes.
  • While many contractors include retexturing in their quotes, some may charge extra for this service.


After resurfacing, painting the ceiling is usually the next step.

  • The painting cost averages between $1 to $2 per square foot, encompassing both labor and materials. To paint a 12’x12’ ceiling, for example, the cost ranges from $150 to $300.
  • It’s important to verify whether the popcorn removal estimate includes the cost of painting.


Ceiling repairs may also factor into the overall cost, especially if there are existing damages like small holes or cracks.

  • Repair costs can vary, often standing at $50 to $100 per square foot or $200 to $500 for minor fixes.

Labor Costs for Popcorn Ceiling Removal

The typical hourly rate for labor in popcorn ceiling removal ranges from $15 to $50 per individual involved. On average, a 500 square feet area can take more than 20 hours to complete. Throughout this duration, the contractor’s responsibilities include:

  • Shielding the floors and personal items with protective coverings.
  • Moderately moisten the ceiling to loosen the popcorn texture without compromising the integrity of the sheetrock beneath.
  • Thoroughly scraping off the popcorn finish.
  • Properly disposing of all resulting debris.

Average costs and data sourced by Home Guide


As seen in this guide, the cost of popcorn ceiling removal depends on various factors, including job complexity, asbestos handling, removal methods employed by contractors, furniture and preparation needs, resurfacing and texturing costs, painting charges, repair costs, and labor expenses. Having a comprehensive understanding of these elements is essential for budgeting successfully for your project. Ultimately, whether you choose to tackle the project yourself or hire a professional, the benefits of removing popcorn ceilings are well worth the investment. Better aesthetics, potential savings on labor costs, and improved health safety all make it a worthwhile endeavor.

So, if you’re ready to say goodbye to the bumpy textured finish and hello to smooth, modern ceilings, start planning your popcorn ceiling removal today! Make sure to weigh the pros and cons, and get multiple quotes from reputable contractors to ensure you’re getting the best deal. With careful planning and budgeting, you’ll have a beautiful, updated space in no time! So don’t let that outdated popcorn ceiling hold you back any longer – it’s time for a fresh start with smooth, modern ceilings.

Hiring the Cova Team for Your Project

At Cova, we understand the importance of quality work and transparent pricing. That’s why our team of professionals is dedicated to providing exceptional popcorn ceiling removal services at competitive prices. With years of experience in the industry, we have the expertise and skills needed to complete your project efficiently and effectively.

Contact us today for a consultation and quote for your popcorn ceiling removal needs! Let us help you transform your space and create a more modern, updated look.