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How Much Does It Cost To Remove The Popcorn Ceiling: A Complete Calculation

Removing your house ceiling has a lot of benefits. It updates your interior look, gets rid of asbestos, and many more. But removing a ceiling is considered a complex job and thus requires a good plan. That’s why you’ll need to calculate the estimate accurately.

How much does it cost to remove the popcorn ceiling? 

The total cost to remove a popcorn ceiling averages between $725 and $2,925. And that’s only for 500 sq. ft. of the ceiling. For 1500 sq. ft., the price range will be $2,175 to $5,475. Ceilings with asbestos cost almost triple to remove; depending on the severity. Other than that, you can scrap the ceiling and repaint it to reduce the overall cost. 

That was nothing but just a short answer to the question. There are clearly a lot more to talk about and compare. 

Keep reading to know more about ceiling removal and related works.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Cost Calculator

I can just start a big discussion right away. But I decided not to because the numbers may get confusing. Instead, I’ve made you a chart so that you can easily calculate. 

This will save your time and give you a surface idea about the price range. 

Total Cost For 500 Square Feet of Ceiling

Cost FactorsBudgetAverageHigh-end
Labor Fee (Full Scraping Only)$500$1,000$1,500
Supplies Cost$75$100$125
Debris Disposal$150$175$200
Asbestos Removal (If Needed)$1500$2,500$3,500
Asbestos Testing Fee$100$100$100
Total (Without Asbestos) $725$1,100$2,925

Total Cost For 1000 Square Feet Of Ceiling

Cost FactorsBudgetAverageHigh-end
Labor Fee (Full Scraping Only)$1,000$2,000$3,000
Supplies Cost$150$200$250
Debris Disposal$300$350$400
Asbestos Removal (If Needed)$3,000$5,000$7,000
Asbestos Testing Fee$100$100$100
Total (Without Asbestos) $1,450$2,550$3,650

Total Cost For 1500 Square Feet Of Ceiling

Cost FactorsBudgetAverageHigh-end
Labor Fee (Full Scraping Only)$1,500$3,000$4,500
Supplies Cost$225$300$375
Debris Disposal$450$525$600
Asbestos Removal (If Needed)$4,500$7,500$10,500
Asbestos Testing Fee$100$100$100
Total (Without Asbestos) $2,175$3,825$5,475

Total Cost For 2000 Square Feet Of Ceiling

Cost FactorsBudgetAverageHigh-end
Labor Fee (Full Scraping Only)$2,000$4,000$6,000
Supplies Cost$300$400$500
Debris Disposal$600$700$800
Asbestos Removal (If Needed)$6,000$10,000$14,000
Asbestos Testing Fee$100$100$100
Total (Without Asbestos) $2,900$5,100$7,300

Total Cost For 2500 Square Feet Of Ceiling

Cost FactorsBudgetAverageHigh-end
Labor Fee (Full Scraping Only)$2,500$5,000$7,500
Supplies Cost$375$500$625
Debris Disposal$750$875$1,000
Asbestos Removal (If Needed)$7,500$12,500$17,500
Asbestos Testing Fee$100$100$100
Total (Without Asbestos) $3,625$6,750$9,125

Are the numbers close to your expectation? If not, no need to worry. They often get confused. 

That’s why I’ve done my best to ensure you understand everything. For that reason, I’ve created multiple subcategories and discussed possible budget options for you. 

Popcorn Ceiling Removal: Everything That You Need To Know

If the ceiling is left neglected, it gets dirty over time. And we all know how crucial ceilings are when it’s about the overall look of the house. 

And I’ve seen people struggling to sell houses because of the old ceiling. After all, an old ceiling can easily ruin the freshness of a house. 

Besides, the removal of a ceiling has countless benefits other than reselling value. You can easily secure a better-painted finish. 

It also removes the chances of falling texture. That’s why every house renovation; big or small, demands ceiling removal. 

Luckily ceiling removal doesn’t cost that much. And it’s doable for under $3000. But still, you’re going to need a solid plan for that. That’s where I come in. In a way, it’s pretty similar to counting the total price for repainting a room. 

Here, I’ve discussed multiple options that you can consider. Just relax, spare some minutes for us and go through the discussion. 

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Cost By Square Footage

Ceiling removal has multiple types of pricing. Among them, square footage, hours, and service packages are more common. When you hire services, they’ll give you a price quote. 

After that, they’ll send a professional and he will update the total cost. It helps the service to estimate the total accurately. 

For now, I’m going to talk about the square foot pricing first. 

The average popcorn ceiling removal cost is between $2 to $4 per sq. ft. This price may differ depending on where you live. But even in New York or California, this price range is available. 

There are also other cost factors depending on your ceiling. For example, you’ll have to pay for the supplies. On top of that, you’ve to spend some money on the disposal of debris as well.

Labor Cost 

The first thing that you need to consider is the total labor cost. Labor cost has always been one of the biggest portions of the whole budget. That’s why you need to make sure you have enough for labor.  

The bigger the house is, the more labor you’ll need. That’s why square foot pricing is super viable for labor. 

In this discussion, I’ve counted the square footage of flat ceilings. If you have a triangular ceiling, divide it into multiple flat surfaces. 

After that, count the square footage and add them to get the total. Anyways, I’ve modeled some approximate prices based on ceiling size. 

The labor cost for ceiling removal averages between $1 to $3 per sq. ft. But some high-end services may quote you an additional price for asbestos removal. They are usually between 4$ and 8$ per sq. ft. 

Here, I’ve come forward and made you a short table-

Ceiling AreaBudgetAverageHigh-end
500 sq. ft. $500$1,000$1,500
1000 sq. ft.$1,000$2,000$3,000
1200 sq. ft.$1,200$2,400$3,600
1500 sq. ft.$1,500$3,000$4,500
2000 sq. ft.$2,000$4,000$6,000
2200 sq. ft.$2,200$4,400$6,600
2500 sq. ft.$2,500$5,000$7,500
2700 sq. ft.$2,700$5,400$8,100
3000 sq. ft.$3,000$6,000$9,000

As you can see, the bigger the house, the higher the cost. But if you’re doing a single room, it’ll cost significantly less. That’s why many homeowners choose to remove old ceilings one room at a time. 

This is just the cost of removing the ceiling. But there are more to consider. And that’s where I’m going next. 

Supplies Cost 

After labor, you’ll have to consider the supplies. There are two options to choose from. One, you deliver the supplies yourself. And the other option is you let the service bring their supplies. 

Obviously, the latter is going to cost you more. If you let the services bring their equipment, they’ll try to profit off you. That’s how the services function anyways. 

But you can certainly choose to buy the supplies for the servicemen. They’re not going to object to this. But remember that, this will also cost you some time. But it’s more cost-efficient. 

Luckily, there isn’t too much equipment so managing them will be fairly easy. For ceiling removal, you’re going to need ladders, protective gears, etc. You can easily look them up online and get them. 

Here, I have the prices that services charge you instead. With this information, you can then easily compare them yourself. 

The average cost for supplies is between $0.15 to $0.25 per sq. ft. This includes scrappers, ladders, gears, etc. 

Here’s what you’re looking at-

Ceiling AreaBudgetAverageHigh-end
500 sq. ft. $75$100$125
1000 sq. ft.$150$200$250
1200 sq. ft.$180$240$300
1500 sq. ft.$225$300$375
2000 sq. ft.$300$400$500
2200 sq. ft.$330$440$550
2500 sq. ft.$375$500$625
2700 sq. ft.$405$540$675
3000 sq. ft.$450$600$750

These are estimated prices that you should expect for ceiling removal. Bigger projects require more workers, hence the price increase. 

You can now look up supplies online and compare them with this. But let me make this a little easier for you. I’ve picked some scrapers for you; the most important tool for ceiling removal. 

Here are our top picks regarding scrapers- 

Scraper 1
Scraper 2

You can now easily pick whichever you like to get started. 

Debris Disposal Cost

Scraping off the old ceiling is going to create debris. There’s nothing you can do about it. And trust me, there’s going to be a ton of it. That’s why a good portion of the budget goes to debris disposal. 

For debris disposal, expect to pay around $0.30 to $0.40 per sq. ft. This cost is directly related to the size of your ceiling. The bigger it is, the more debris you’ll need to dispose of. 

To help you out, I’ve made a small table-

Ceiling AreaBudgetAverageHigh-end
500 sq. ft. $150$175$200
1000 sq. ft.$300$350$400
1200 sq. ft.$360$420$480
1500 sq. ft.$450$525$600
2000 sq. ft.$600$700$800
2200 sq. ft.$660$770$880
2500 sq. ft.$750$875$1,000
2700 sq. ft.$810$945$1,080
3000 sq. ft.$900$1,050$1,200

As you can see, you’ve to spend a considerable amount on the disposal. That’s why make sure to add this to your budget. This way you can avoid any unnecessary situation. 

You can also consider the cost of buying a dumpster if you want to. This will make your debris disposal easier and comparatively reduce the cost. Knowing to pick the right dumpster is going to give you an edge. 

Luckily, there’s an alternative to this dumpster option as well. And that’s bagsters. These are temporary dumpsters that you can buy online. These are easy to set up and manage. You can buy dumpsters too. 

Here, I’ve picked our top picks-

Dumpster 1
Bagster 1

You can now get whichever you like more and get started!

Ceiling Painting Cost

Another way to deal with popcorn ceiling removal is ceiling painting. The main difference is you’re not going to scrape the ceiling completely. Instead, you’re going to repaint to achieve a smoother finish. 

This option is pretty useful as it saves money. In my experience, I’ve seen a lot of homeowners go for this option. After all, it’s all about getting the most while spending the least. 

In this option, you lightly scrape the ceiling first. This will not require a professional anymore and you can do it instead. All you have to do is to remove any bumps that you find and scrape them off. 

Instead of paying a scraper, you’re going to pay a painter. Well, technically, you’ve to paint the ceiling anyway; should you consider a full-scraping. 

The average painting cost of a ceiling ranges between $1 to $3 per sq. ft. This includes both labor and materials so no need to worry about spending more. If you paint the ceiling yourself, expect to pay around $35 to $350 in materials.  

For your convenience, I’ve made you a small chart- 

Ceiling AreaBudgetAverageHigh-end 
500 sq. ft. $500 $850$1,500
1000 sq. ft.$1,000 $1,700$3,000
1200 sq. ft.$1,200 $2,040$3,600
1500 sq. ft.$1,500 $2,550$4,500
2000 sq. ft.$2,000$3,400$6,000
2200 sq. ft.$2,200 $3,740$6,600
2500 sq. ft.$2,500 $4,250$7,500
2700 sq. ft.$2,700$4,590$8,100
3000 sq. ft.$3,000$5,100$9,000

From this chart, you can easily realize that it still costs a ton. But on the brighter side, you won’t have to pay for full-scraping. 

Material Cost

With that aside, let’s talk a little bit about the ceiling paints. I’ve seen many people make that one mistake I totally hate. That’s mistaking ceiling paints with wall paints and vice versa. 

That’s why I’ve decided to spare a little extra time to help you out. There are mainly two types of paint that you can use. The regular ceiling paint and the latex paint. Oil-based paint is also used but that’s up to you. 

For ceiling painting, you’ll need to coat the ceiling twice. It gives you a more durable finish than a single coating.

Paint TypeCeiling AreaPriceTotal Paint (2x Coating)Total Cost
Ceiling500 sq. ft$25/gal2.5 Gallon$62.50
Latex500 sq. ft.$30/gal2.5 Gallon$75.00

Hopefully, this will give you a more technical picture. If you use latex paint, expect to spend $75 per 500 sq. ft. 

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Cost By Hour 

After square footage pricing, it’s time to talk about the hourly rate. Obviously, not all services aren’t the same. Some services are going to give you a quote based on total hours. 

A general rule of thumb is to count by hours for smaller projects. These types of projects can be finished within a day. Hence, some services charge hourly. That’s why the ceiling removal of a single room is often counted by hours. 

The hourly rate for popcorn ceiling removal is between $15 and $40 per hour. This is considered the average. But remember that, removing an area of 500 sq. ft. ceiling can take 20 hours. 

Based on that, you can easily expect to pay between $300 to $800 as total fees. For your convenience, I’ve made some estimates. 

Here is what you’re looking for-

Ceiling AreaTotal TimeBudgetAverageHigh-end
500 sq. ft. 20 Hours$300$500$800
1000 sq. ft.40 Hours$600$1,000$1,600
1200 sq. ft.48 Hours$720$1,200$1,920
1500 sq. ft.60 Hours$900$1,500$2,400
2000 sq. ft.80 Hours$1,200$2,000$3,200
2200 sq. ft.88 Hours$1,320$2,200$3,520
2500 sq. ft.100 Hours$1,500$2,500$4,000
2700 sq. ft.108 Hours$1,620$2,700$4,320
3000 sq. ft.120 Hours$1,800$3,000$4,800

And that’s all you need to know about hourly rates. This rate is the same almost everywhere in the USA. But based on your state, this may differ sometimes. 

This price can also vary depending on the skills of the contractor. Some contractors may charge you a higher price than others. They also take less time so it’s worth considering. 

Removal of Popcorn Ceiling With Asbestos 

If your ceiling has asbestos, then the project’s going to take a dark turn. Well, money-wise at least. 

Because scraping off asbestos is harder and requires a more cautious approach. 

If your ceiling has tested affirmative for asbestos, you’ve to remove it right away. Asbestos is toxic and inhaling those materials causes a health hazard. 

Besides, having asbestos in your ceiling also violates the US codes. 

Asbestos was banned in 1977. Before that, it was heavily used in American homes because it was legal. 

It was also pretty common that’s why the US had to ban it nationwide. That stopped the intoxication of asbestos. 

If your house is built before that period, asbestos might have been used. Luckily it’s easy to test asbestos. All you need is to spray some water on the ceiling. 

Scrape some particles off and send them to the asbestos testing center. 

The lab fee for asbestos testing is only $100. You can also hire a professional in asbestos testing instead. 

The one thing that you can do yourself is air testing. But you’ve to wait till the asbestos has been removed. You can test the air of your room afterward by yourself. 

I think we can all admit that it’s a lot of extra work. But it’s something that has to be done. If the ceiling is asbestos positive, it’ll affect the overall budget. 

The removal of the asbestos-affected popcorn ceiling costs between $3 to $7 per sq. ft. The cost varies mainly on the seriousness of the problem. 

But services may charge differently too. 

Like before, I’m going to give you an estimate based on different affected areas. You can use them as examples. 

Here’s what you need to check out-

Affected AreaBudgetAverageHigh-end 
500 sq. ft. $1,500$2,500$3,500
1000 sq. ft.$3,000$5,000$7,000
1200 sq. ft.$3,600$6,000$8,400
1500 sq. ft.$4,500$7,500$10,500
2000 sq. ft.$6,000$10,000$14,000
2200 sq. ft.$6,600$11,000$15,400
2500 sq. ft.$7,500$12,500$17,500
2700 sq. ft.$8,100$13,500$18,900
3000 sq. ft.$9,000$15,000$21,000

Obviously, you can see that it costs a lot of money depending on the house size. But if your ceiling does test positive, make sure to prioritize this. Because asbestos is really toxic and it’s best not to inhale them further. 


Question: Is removing the popcorn ceiling worth it?

Answer: Absolutely. Removing a popcorn ceiling can help you achieve a nicer look. At the same time, it also gets rid of toxic particles like asbestos. Having a fresh new ceiling can certainly increase your house value as well. 

Question: Can I remove the popcorn ceiling myself?

Answer: Ceiling removal can always be done by yourself but under one condition. And that’s asbestos. If you have asbestos in your ceiling, even 1%, you can’t remove that ceiling. This requires a professional scraper and must be dealt with in that way. 

Question: Will removing the popcorn ceiling increase home value?

Answer: Honestly speaking, having popcorn ceilings themselves can decrease the overall value of the house. They’re not polished, really ugly in nature as you can see bumps quite easily. Removing them will certainly increase home value. But be aware that popcorn ceiling removal isn’t cheap and often costs a lot.

Take Away

That was everything from me on how much it cost to remove the popcorn ceiling. Hopefully, that was enough to paint you a clear picture. 

One last piece of advice from me before you leave. Always make sure to get multiple quotes from different services. 

This helps you determine a better-valued service and keep $1,000 extra with you. You never know what you might need all of a sudden.

Finally, best of luck with your ceiling and happy scrapping!