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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Construction & Renovation > Removing a Popcorn Ceiling

Removing a Popcorn Ceiling Cost


How Much Does Removing a Popcorn Ceiling Cost?

 
average costWithout Asbestos Removal: $1,200-$4,800+high costWith Asbestos Removal: $4,500-$11,500
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Also called an acoustic or cottage cheese ceiling, a popcorn ceiling is a lumpy coating that can be quickly and easily sprayed (or sometimes painted) on a ceiling. The technique was used extensively from the late 1950s until the 1980s as a fast and inexpensive way to finish a ceiling while reducing noise and covering defects in the ceiling (stains, uneven surfaces or poor workmanship) However, some popcorn textures (especially the earliest ones) contained asbestos, which was banned in 1978. Today, in addition to concerns about asbestos in older homes, many people think a popcorn ceiling looks dated and unattractive.

Typical costs:

  • First, test to see if the popcorn texture contains asbestos. Wet several spots with water and scrape small samples of the material into resealable plastic baggies, then submit them to a lab. Lab tests typically cost $10-$60, depending on the lab and how long it takes to get the results. Having an inspector come to the house starts at $125-$300 depending on location and the number of samples, but can cost $400-$1,000 or more for a whole-house asbestos inspection and testing. The National Institute of Standards and Testing provides a list of accredited labs[1] by state. Or buy a home test kit ($5-$30 at stores like Ace Hardware[2] or online retailers like Amazon[3] ); some test kits include the lab fee in their price but others only provide sampling materials and the lab work costs extra.
  • For a popcorn ceiling without asbestos, expect to pay about $0.80-$3 a square foot, or $250-$900 for a 15'x20' room and $1,200-$4,800 for a 1,600-sqare-foot home, depending on the height of the ceiling, local rates and whether the price includes all needed steps -- scraping, sanding, retaping, retexturing, priming and painting the ceiling. For example, a Texas homeowner[4] reports quotes of $1,800-$3,000 plus materials for 2,100 square feet.
  • If the popcorn ceiling contains asbestos, removal by a qualified abatement contractor costs $3-$7 a square foot, or $900-$2,100 for a 15'x20' room and $4,500-$11,500 for a 1,600-square-foot home.
  • Do-it-yourself removal is possible if the popcorn ceiling does not contain asbestos. If the popcorn texture has never been painted, removing it can be relatively easy but messy and tiring, requiring standing on a ladder while spraying water on the ceiling and then scraping away the damp texture and sanding the surface. If the popcorn ceiling has been painted, the texture can be harder to remove. A series of short how-to videos[5] by Ron Hazelton demonstrates each step of the removal process.
  • Homeowners are legally allowed to remove a popcorn ceiling containing asbestos from their own residence as a do-it-your-self project, but all regulations must be followed and it is illegal to pay anyone (even a family member) to remove or to help remove asbestos from a home unless they are a qualified abatement contractor.
Related articles: Asbestos Removal, Handyman

What should be included:
  • All furniture should be removed and the floor and walls covered, typically with plastic. The electricity should be turned off, then the ceiling sprayed with water, scraped and sanded. This typically takes 5-10 hours in a 15'x20' room, although it will take longer if the popcorn ceiling has ever been painted. DIY Network provides a video[6] showing the removal process.
  • If the popcorn texture contains asbestos, plastic, tape and drop cloths will be used to create a containment area to isolate the work space from the rest of the house. All workers must wear approved respirators, eye protection and protective clothing. Debris must be contained and disposed of properly. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency in Washington provides instructions[7] for removing a popcorn ceiling containing asbestos.
Shopping for removing a popcorn ceiling:
  • If the popcorn ceiling doesn't contain asbestos, removal can be done by a local handyman or a painting or remodeling contractor. Ask family or friends for recommendations, or check with the local home improvement or hardware store.
  • If the popcorn ceiling contains asbestos, search for an asbestos abatement contractor through the National Insulation Association[8] .
  • Get several estimates. Ask for and check references. Verify that the company is properly bonded, insured and licensed by the state.
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Popcorn asbestos coiling
Amount: $4,800.00
Posted by: Karent in Covina, CA.Posted: August 22nd, 2013 07:08AM
Size of Ceiling: 1600Removal Method:
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Popcorn Ceiling Removal in Texas
Amount: $6,300.00
Posted by: Donnie in Colleyville, TX.Posted: August 21st, 2013 09:08AM
Size of Ceiling: 3850Removal Method: scraped
My ceilings had been painted - which eliminated their ability to wet and scrape. They had to do it dry and as hard as they tried to keep the dust down, it got everywhere on everything....glad it is over, not sure I'd do it again
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External Resources:
  1.  ts.nist.gov/Standards/scopes/plmtm.htm
  2.  www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId=1296032
  3.  www.amazon.com/s/nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=asbestos+test+ki...
  4.  www.city-data.com/forum/austin/177583-remove-popcorn-ceiling-cost.html
  5.  www.ronhazelton.com/projects/how_to_remove_an_popcorn_textured_or_acoustic_celiling
  6.  on.aol.com/video/how-to-remove-a-popcorn-ceiling-362337988
  7.  www.pscleanair.org/regulated/asbestos/homeowners/asb-popcorn.pdf
  8.  www.programs.insulation.org/Scripts/4Disapi.dll/4DCGI/directory/CoMemberSearch.htm...
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