How Long Does It Take To Remove Popcorn Ceiling? (Costs & Procedure)

Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Barry Gray

popcorn ceiling

While popcorn ceilings were very fashionable in the late 1900s, they have become undesirable and outdated nowadays. If you plan to move into a new house with textured ceilings, you may be wondering how long it will take you to remove them and how much it will cost you. 

With the help of a professional, it can take approximately 20 hours to remove 500 sq. ft of popcorn ceiling. However, DIY home removal jobs may take much longer. The length of time will depend on how much surface area you’re going to remove and whether or not a contractor is hired. 

You may have to contemplate many things before attempting to remove your popcorn ceiling. Before diverging on your home project, I recommend testing to see whether the texture contains asbestos. If your ceiling tests positive, I would suggest you hire a professional instead, as it may be unsafe to attempt to remove the textured ceiling yourself. 

How Long Does Popcorn Ceiling Removal Take

The total amount of time it should take to remove your popcorn ceiling will depend on the surface area of the ceiling you want to remove and whether it is a home DIY removal job or if you are going to hire a professional contractor. 

Using a professional generally takes around 20 hours to remove 500 sq. ft of popcorn ceiling. This amount of time is calculated using the tried and tested removal method of scraping and resurfacing, with the average amount of time taken for contractors to finish the job. 

While it sounds like a short amount of time, these 20 hours could potentially span many days or even weeks, depending on the deal you have with your contractor. If you are uncomfortable with having your peace at home disturbed for a lengthy time, you should speak to your contractor about completing the job as soon as possible. 

Although many people opt for a DIY option instead because it is much cheaper than hiring a professional and, in the beginning, it can seem like a fun family project – removing your popcorn ceiling yourself may take a lot longer than the standard 20 hours. Even for an experienced DIYer, removing a textured ceiling can be a long and strenuous job that includes a lot of physical labor and time. 

How Much Will It Cost To Remove Popcorn Ceiling?

You will need to think about many factors when it comes to the removal costs of a textured ceiling. The materials required, the surface area of the roof, and how much labor is hired will all affect the total removal costs. 

Different ceiling types can also vastly increase how much it will cost, as higher ceilings can add to the total cost because additional prep and taller ladders will be needed. It is important to note that the intricacy of the job can raise the price by quite a bit. For instance, if your popcorn ceiling contains asbestos, you may be charged more for the removal. 

DIY Popcorn Ceiling Removal Vs. Professional Costs

Depending on whether you already have the correct tools for the job, a DIY removal could cost around $210 to $250 for the tools and materials required. However, it would be best if you remembered that a DIY job would take a lot longer – and therefore, you will be sacrificing a lot of your free time to get it done. 

If you decide to hire a professional, the removal could cost you anywhere between $800 – $2,840, depending on the surface area, type of ceiling, and labor costs. On average, a contractor will typically charge between $15 and $55 an hour to remove a textured ceiling. I would recommend hiring a professional, as they will provide all the materials required and pay for the removal costs.

How To Remove A Popcorn Ceiling Yourself

If you are absolutely adamant about saving money and removing your ceiling yourself, you’re in for some good news, as removing a popcorn ceiling isn’t all that difficult. There are some fundamental steps to follow to ensure the safety of yourself, your family, and your house. A home job is only cheaper than hiring professionals when it doesn’t cause any extra damage. 

Test Your Ceiling For Asbestos 

The main thing you will want to do before starting your DIY removal job is to test the ceiling for asbestos. Asbestos is a dangerous chemical that can be highly hazardous. You don’t want to endanger yourself or your family when scraping the texture of your ceiling. 

There are two ways you can test your ceiling to see if it contains asbestos. The first would be to hire a professional who will test the surface for you. The second would be to buy a home testing kit from any hardware store, try it yourself and then have the sample sent to a lab for testing. I highly recommend hiring a professional if your ceiling contains asbestos, as removing it yourself can be dangerous.

Make Sure You Have The Required Tools

If you are confident that your ceiling does not contain any asbestos, you can proceed with your DIY removal job. If you are a frequent DIYer, you may already have some, if not most, of the tools needed to remove a textured ceiling. 

Tools Needed:

  • Dust Mask
  • Ladder
  • Safety Goggles
  • Plastic Sheeting 
  • Painters Tape
  • Wide Putty Knife / Drywall Taping Knife
  • Garden Sprayer

Cover Your Walls, Floor And Furniture

Removing a popcorn ceiling via scraping can be an extremely messy job. You’ll want to protect your house and furniture from getting damaged during the removal process. It may even be easier to move all the furniture out of the rooms you are working in than to try and cover all of them and work around them. 

I recommend clearing out the room of all furniture, paintings, light fixtures, and even ceiling fans before starting. Once this is completed, you can cover the room with plastic sheeting and attach the sheeting firmly by using painter’s tape. 

Spray The Ceiling With Water

Before you start scraping to remove the popcorn texture, you’ll want first to use a garden sprayer to wet the ceiling. This will make it simpler for you to scrape off the popcorn ceiling and make your job a lot quicker. I recommend spraying in small sections so the water doesn’t dry out before you’ve reached it.

Once you’ve sprayed a small amount of water, you can gently take whichever knife you’re using and run it along with the wet ceiling to start scraping. Go along the room until all the popcorn texture has been removed. Respray some water if necessary. 

Paint Your Ceiling 

While all the furniture is removed and the plastic sheeting is still up, you should use this opportunity to sand, prime, and paint your ceiling. You can use a joint compound to repair any damages that happened during the removal process. Only start painting once you’re finished sanding the ceiling. After one or two coats, you can begin your cleanup process and enjoy your freshly smoothed-out ceiling.


Removing a popcorn ceiling can take professionals around 20 hours for 500 sq. ft. For DIY home removal jobs, it may take much longer. A professional can cost anywhere between $800 – $2,840, with DIY jobs being much cheaper at around $210 – $250, depending on which materials you already have. I recommend hiring a professional if your popcorn ceiling contains asbestos, as it can be hazardous to try and remove it yourself.

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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.