What Is The Cheapest Way To Cover A Popcorn Ceiling? (A Quick Guide)

While popcorn ceilings used to be highly fashionable, many people nowadays dislike having a textured ceiling. Once I inherited my house, I wasn’t ecstatic about my new textured ceilings. After extensive research, I discovered a few relatively inexpensive and quick ways to cover a popcorn ceiling.

Skim coating is the cheapest way to cover a popcorn ceiling at an inexpensive cost of around $100 or less. This process will smooth out your ceiling using plaster/drywall and is relatively easy as far as DIY jobs go, eliminating the need to hire a professional, which would cost extra. 

popcorn ceiling

Covering a popcorn ceiling can be pretty cheap, provided you already have most of the tools you will need and that you are no stranger to DIY jobs. After you eliminate the cost of hiring a professional, all you will need to spend money on is the materials. If you are used to DIY home improvement jobs, you might already have most of the required tools, making the job even cheaper.

Cheapest Way To Cover A Popcorn Ceiling

There are various methods by which you could cover your textured ceiling. The cheapest way would be a skim coating. I recommend trying this if you do not have lots of extra cash to spend. However, if you can afford something a little more expensive, affix ceiling tiles are one of the prettiest ways you can cover your ceiling, in my opinion.

Skim Coating To Cover Your Popcorn Ceiling

Skim Coating

Skim coating is the cheapest way to cover your popcorn ceiling. This is because all you will need is some joint compound and a few application products to smooth down your textured ceiling with the use of plaster/drywall. 

Skim coating is considered the cheapest way to cover a textured ceiling. Assuming you already have most of the equipment you will need, the entire job will likely cost under $100, as around 5 gallons of the joint compound could easily cover a 140 sq. ft room. 

Tools Needed: 

  • Joint Compound 
  • Roller
  • Mud Pan
  • 5-gallon Bucket
  • Drywall Sander
  • Mud Mixer
  • Taping Knife
  • Drill

How To Cover Your Popcorn Ceiling By Skim Coating

Skim coating is relatively easy, and almost anyone can do it. If you’re still unsure how this method works, I have provided a quick guideline below on the process of skim coating.

Dilute the joint compound – You’ll want to start by diluting the joint compound in your bucket, which can be done by using your drill with its mud mixer attachment. The consistency should be yogurt-like.

Apply the mixture to your ceiling – To ensure a smooth finish, you’ll need to scrape the mud while still wet. Apply the mud in small sections and use a roller to ensure an even application of the mixture.

Smooth the mixture out – Using your taping knife, remove any excess mud and smooth out the mixture on your ceiling. Leave the mud to dry before you attempt your second coat. You will need to reapply skim coats until you can no longer see the textured ceiling. 

Final Steps – Once your popcorn ceiling is no longer visible and your last coat is completely dry, you should sand the ceiling before painting it.

The cheapest way to cover a popcorn ceiling Sanding is a messy job
The easiest way for beginners who are new to DIYIt takes time to apply even coats

Other Cheap Methods For Covering A Popcorn Ceiling

Before choosing your method based on price alone, you will need to read through the different techniques, their pros, and cons before making an informed choice. Sometimes the cheapest way to do something at the moment could cost you more in the long run.

Covering A Popcorn Ceiling With Drywall/Gypsum Board

Another inexpensive way to cover your textured ceiling is by using drywall, as it could cost anywhere between $100 to $200 for a 150 sq. ft room. This is quite a comprehensive approach, but it is worth it in the end if you’re looking for a durable, cheap, and aesthetic cover for your ceiling. 

You’ll have to ensure you have enough manpower and experience with previous DIY home improvement projects. This is because installing drywall is an extensive method that involves sanding, mudding, screwing, lifting, cutting, and painting. 

You can add/move lighting fixtures or ceiling fansA massive project that requires a lot of labor
An inexpensive approach to covering your ceilingA messy process that makes a lot of dust

Use Of Wooden Planks To Cover The Popcorn Ceiling

Wooden planks are one of the cheapest methods that you could use to cover your textured ceiling. This is because the cost depends on the quality of your materials. The most inexpensive wood could cost as little as $30, with the higher quality planks reaching around $300 for a 140 sq. ft room.

However, I would recommend you spend a little more on the quality of your wood, as lower-quality wood tends to rot or warp quicker. This method is not as extensive or costly as drywall or ceiling tiles, which makes it a pretty popular choice for people who are looking to cover their textured ceiling in a practical but cheap way. 

Easy to install due to lightweight boardsLonger wait time for the paint to dry
The aesthetically pleasing appearance of wood panelsHigher maintenance in the long-term

Use Of Affix Ceiling Tiles To Cover A Popcorn Ceiling

Affix ceiling tiles are an effective, aesthetic, and cheap way to cover a textured ceiling. You can assume to pay anywhere from $300 – $400 for a standard 140 sq. ft room. With this method, the ceiling tile grid is not hanging from hooks or wires like a drop ceiling but is instead screwed directly into the ceiling joists.

This method is quite popular because of how nice the finished product looks and that it is even to install even for a DIY beginner. You can even purchase completed kits with all the necessary instructions and materials for a DIY installation.

Easy for anyone to install affix ceiling tilesMore expensive option for covering a ceiling
Good choice for an already low ceiling 

Questions About Covering A Popcorn Ceiling 

There are many things you will need to contemplate when thinking about covering your textured ceiling. Below are some of the most frequent questions that people have once they have decided to cover their ceiling. 

Is covering a popcorn ceiling safe?

As long as your popcorn ceiling does not contain asbestos or does not have any cracks or flaking of the texture, it is perfectly safe to cover it. The safest method for covering your ceiling would be to use the lightest materials possible – such as planks, paint, or paneling. 

Can I cover my popcorn ceiling myself?

Many of the methods people use to cover their textured ceilings are easy to follow and simple to install. If you are no stranger to DIY jobs, you shouldn’t have any problems. However, if you are unsure about what you are doing, it is always best to hire a professional and avoid doing any damage to your home. 

Is it better to cover or remove my popcorn ceiling?

Covering your popcorn ceiling is the cheapest and quickest way compared to removing it entirely. The removal of popcorn ceilings (especially those containing asbestos) is an expensive and time-consuming job. 


The cheapest method for covering your popcorn ceiling is skim coating. At around $100, or less, it is a popular choice amongst those who want to save money. Skim coating will smooth out the textured ceiling and is a simple job for DIY beginners who are not yet comfortable drilling or installing things.

Photo of author

Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.