Popcorn ceilings, also known as textured ceilings, were popular in the 1930s, but they are no longer in style and tend to collect dust and mold.

Removing a popcorn ceiling adds value to your home and will help to increase the resale value. The removal process can be time-consuming, but it is worth the effort if you are looking to resell.

Your house will have a better market value as older textured ceilings, especially pre ’50s are linked to health problems including cancer.

Removing popcorn ceiling in a large estate lucrative home may add approximately $25,000 to $35,000 in value. A 1,400 square foot home that costs about $200,000 gets an added value of roughly $2,500 once the popcorn ceiling is removed.

The larger the house, the more expensive it is to remove the ceiling. However, the house attracts a better value, which means you will get back your money and a substantial profit.

Benefits of removing popcorn ceiling

Removing a popcorn ceiling has several benefits. These include:

  • Getting rid of asbestos: older homes with popcorn ceilings may contain asbestos, which is a severe health hazard. Once the asbestos is detected, specialized contractors use special equipment to remove it.
  • Updates your home’s look: popcorn ceilings are aesthetically unappealing to most people because of their outdated look. Removing it gives your house a new and appealing look. It also adds to the house’s resale value.
  • Ease of cleaning: the rough and bumpy texture of popcorn ceilings attracts dust particles and cobwebs. This makes it challenging to clean, especially if it is big. Removing the ceiling makes cleaning easier and faster and makes the room look vibrant.
  • Painting becomes easier: Painting a popcorn ceiling is difficult because of the crater-like surface. If you are tired of the ceiling and would like to repaint it, removing the popcorn texture offers better paint results.
Does removing popcorn ceiling add value

Cost to remove popcorn ceiling

There are two methods for removing popcorn ceilings. These include:

  • Remove and replace drywall with new drywall
  • Sand off popcorn finish, so it is smooth, then paint.
ServiceQTYAvg. Price
Remove & Replace popcorn ceilingPer sq. ft.$2 to $4.5
Remove & replace popcorn ceiling10 x 12 room$240 to $$540
Scrape popcorn ceilingPer sq. ft.$1 to $2
Scrape popcorn ceiling10 x 12 room$120 to $240
Average labor cost1 hour$15 to $40

Removing a popcorn ceiling costs about $1 to $2 per square foot for a house without asbestos. To replace the ceiling, you can spend an additional $1 to $2.5 per square foot. If the ceiling tests positive for asbestos, you can encapsulate or contain the asbestos for about $2 to $6 per square foot. Alternatively, you can hire an EPA-licensed contractor to get rid of the asbestos at about $10 to $20 per square foot.

Pros and cons of popcorn ceiling

Popcorn ceilings are no longer popular, but some people may still want to install them for personal reasons. Below are their pros and cons.

Pros

  • Hide imperfections
    The bumpy design of popcorn ceilings hides any imperfections on the ceilings. The texture creates shadows that darken the surface to hide cracks, leaks, and holes. The ceiling is an excellent choice if you do not want to apply a skim coat.
  • Noise deadening
    Popcorn ceilings offer soundproofing due to the thick texture and increased surface area. The raised bumps absorb sounds, making it an excellent choice for places with noise issues.

Cons

  • Difficult to clean
    The bumpy and rough texture of popcorn ceilings makes them challenging to clean. You can use a vacuum cleaner or brush head to clean the ceiling, but constant cleaning may break the ceiling.
  • Challenging to repair/paint
    If there is a crack or leak, you may be forced to cut out the affected area and replace it. This may not be easy because you will need to match the color and texture. Painting the ceiling is also more challenging to paint than a smooth surface.

Reasons to consider removing the popcorn texture

If you are still unsure whether removing a popcorn ceiling is a good idea, the following reasons will help you decide.

  • Appearance

A popcorn ceiling makes your home look as if it was built in the ’70s. The house’s appearance is usually unappealing, which may put off potential buyers if you are looking to sell.

  • Health concerns

Older homes with popcorn ceilings may have asbestos, which is a serious health hazard. Asbestos is carcinogenic and can cause malignant conditions and asbestosis. Once the ceiling tests positive for asbestos, hire a specialized professional to remove or encapsulate it.

  • Condition

If your popcorn ceiling is old or damaged, it is advisable to remove it as soon as possible. Besides affecting your home’s appearance, you may risk exposing yourself and your loved ones to asbestos.

  • Cleaning

Popcorn ceilings are challenging to clean because of the rugged surface. More so, they attract a lot of dust and cobwebs that need constant cleaning. However, cleaning the ceiling too often may damage it.

The process of removing the popcorn ceiling

If you want to remove your popcorn ceiling, it is essential to test it for asbestos first. You can take a sample to a local lab or buy a testing kit and test yourself. The removal process is as follows:

Preparation

Prepare the work site by moving furniture, removing light fixtures, fans, turning off heating and cooling systems, and covering vents. Also, cover the floors and walls using plastic drop cloths and plastic sheeting. Do not forget to cut off the power from the circuit breaker.

Pre-scrapping

Before you begin the scrapping, ensure you wear eye protection, a dust mask, and protective clothing. Then, spray the ceiling using a garden or pesticide sprayer and leave it for 15 minutes to soften.

Scrapping

Using a ladder, lift or scaffolding, reach onto the ceiling and scrape off the texture using a proper scraper. Use a container or mud pan to catch the scrapings to minimize cleanup.

Sand, repair, and refinish

Once you remove all the texture, you will need to sand the surface to have an even and finished look. Also, you may need to repair damaged areas caused by the scraping. After the ceiling dries up, prime and paint it using the color of your choice.

The process of removing the popcorn ceiling scrape ceiling

Can you DIY, or should you hire a professional?

As long as the popcorn ceiling does not have asbestos, you can easily DIY the removal over the weekend. However, the prepping and cleanup process may be quite challenging and time-consuming. More so, if asbestos is present, hiring a professional is the best option.

Even if hiring a pro may be costly, it is worth it because they will handle the job faster and safer. Pros are experienced in removing textured ceilings and will follow all safety protocols to prevent exposure to asbestos if present.

FAQ's

Removing a popcorn ceiling is time-consuming and will cause a lot of dirt and dust in the house during the process. If you really want to remove it and are okay with the dirt and dust during the work, it is worth removing it. Your home will have a new modern look, and its market value will increase.

Removing and replacing a popcorn ceiling may take about 20 hours using the traditional methods. This includes scraping off the ceiling and resurfacing. DIY projects may take longer, so it is better to hire a professional to complete the project on time.

Popcorn ceilings were popular in the 1980s, but they have now become obsolete in newer homes. Modern buyers and homeowners no longer find them appealing because they give a house an outdated appearance. These ceilings may, therefore, decrease the market value of a home. So removing them is an excellent idea if you are planning to sell.

If you do not have the time and money to remove and replace a popcorn ceiling, you can cover it up using new drywall sheets. However, buying and installing new drywall panels may be costly. A more affordable and stylish way to cover up your popcorn ceiling is using wooden ceiling planks. The planks are easy to install, making them a cost-effective and time-effective option.

It is not possible to tell whether your popcorn ceiling contains asbestos through the naked eye. However, you can test the ceiling for asbestos using DIY testing kits in online shops or local hardware. The kit goes for about $40, but you must be sure it is genuine. Alternatively, you can take a sample to a local lab for testing at about $70 to $150. Due to the risk associated with asbestos, it is best to look for a licensed professional to carry out the test.

FAQ’s  popcorn ceiling

Timothy Munene
Author: Timothy Munene - Timothy is a freelance writer and an online entrepreneur.