“Does removing popcorn ceiling increase home value?" is a question that many homeowners ask when considering home improvement projects. This question isn't just about aesthetics or personal preference; it's about making smart investments that can maximize the value of your home. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what a popcorn ceiling is, why they were so popular at one point, and whether removing them is a worthwhile investment toward the value of your home.

What is a Popcorn Ceiling?

Wesley McKinney
Wesley McKinney

Popcorn ceilings, also known as acoustic ceilings, are a type of textured ceiling finish that resembles popcorn or cottage cheese. Freedom Painting & Power Washing owner Wesley McKinney says it's a mixture of water, drywall powder, and styrofoam. "The texture you see is the styrofoam." This ceiling texture was popular from the 1950s through the 1980s.

Why Were Popcorn Ceilings So Popular?

These ceilings were once the go-to choice for homeowners and builders because of their practical benefits. They were cost-effective, easy to install, and could cover a popcorn ceiling without exposing any imperfections. According to Wesley, builders often used them because they were a quicker way to finish a house. "When you put the popcorn up there, you only have to do two runs of drywall. Typically, they would do one run around the outside corners, and then they would just spray the texture up there and they're finished. It hides the imperfections in the ceilings if there's anything in the drywall, and it's just quick and easy."

Additionally, they provided a level of sound absorption, which was particularly useful in multi-level homes.

Why Are Popcorn Ceilings No Longer Popular?

In the past couple of decades, popcorn ceilings have fallen out of favor in modern home designs. Wesley says one reason for that is that they may contain asbestos, a harmful substance linked to serious health conditions. This is particularly true if your home was built before the mid-1970s.

Another reason these ceilings are less popular today is their appearance. They are often seen as outdated and can make your home feel older. In Wesley's opinion, "A lot of people are doing things to try to get rid of the age of the home and to try to make the home look more modern so they can make a sale or just make the home look more up to date."

Terri Reynolds
Terri Reynolds

Furthermore, popcorn ceilings are difficult to clean and repair. West & Woodall agent Terri Reynolds explains that "They can get dusty and look very dirty over time. Most folks mention they would have them removed or add a 1/4 " of sheetrock right over them, which would be less dusty and messy than removal."

Pros of Removing Popcorn Ceiling

Anne Basden
Anne Basden

There are three primary benefits to removing popcorn ceiling, both of which lead to potentially increasing the value of your home.

  1. It can modernize your home and make it more appealing to buyers. This can help sell your home quickly, reducing the risk of your home sitting on the market for too long. West & Woodall agent Anne Basden says her experience with buyers has shown that "a smooth ceiling is desired. Removing the ceiling texture isn't expensive to DIY, just time-consuming."
Bert Woodall
Bert Woodall
  1. Removing a popcorn ceiling can brighten up a room. West & Woodall agent and co-owner Bert Woodall, “The tiny little shadows that are caused by the popcorn really make a room look darker. A smooth ceiling allows the light in the room to pop a lot more.”
  2. If your ceiling contains asbestos, removing it will eliminate a potential health risk, which can be a significant selling point.

Cons of Removing Popcorn Ceiling

Removing popcorn ceilings is not without its challenges. For one, the removal process can be messy and time-consuming. It often requires hiring a professional, which can be expensive, particularly if asbestos is present. Additionally, once the popcorn texture is removed, you may discover imperfections in the ceiling that need to be repaired or covered with drywall.

Factors Influencing Home Value

When answering the question of "Does removing popcorn ceiling increase home value?" it's important to understand Whether removing a popcorn ceiling increases home value can depend on various factors. Here are just a few of those.

  • The current real estate market
  • The overall condition of your home
  • Buyer preferences in your area

For instance, as our agents have already mentioned, we know that in the Triangle, smooth ceilings are highly desired. That means that removing popcorn ceilings will usually increase your home's value. Wesley points out that in most cases, "It adds a new, fresh look that improves the appearance of the home."

On the other hand, if the rest of your home is in good condition and looks fairly modern, having popcorn ceilings that are in good shape may not make a difference in its value.

Is it Better to Remove Popcorn Ceiling or Cover It?

The decision to remove or cover a popcorn ceiling often comes down to personal preference and cost considerations. Wesley says, "It really depends on what you have going on with the ceilings. Because installing drywall can be fairly costly, I would always first try to see if there's a way of simply taking down the ceiling with the texture."

In making that decision, Wesley offers this direction:

Remove popcorn ceiling

  • If the ceiling has not been painted, and the ceiling itself looks like it's in pretty good shape.

It's worth noting again here, that if you decide to remove the popcorn, it's advisable to hire a professional if there's a risk of asbestos. This will add to the cost but will certainly be safer than trying to do it yourself.

Cover up popcorn ceiling

  • If the ceiling has been painted. **Plain popcorn ceiling should come off very easily with steam. If it's being more stubborn, it's probably because it has been painted and will, therefore, be much more difficult to remove.
  • If the ceiling is rough, if it has a lot of imperfections, or if it has been damaged and repaired in the case of a leak.

Bottom Line on Whether Removing Popcorn Ceiling Increases Home Value

As we've seen here, removing a popcorn ceiling can increase your home's value, especially in a market where smooth, modern ceilings are in demand. However, it's essential to consider the costs involved, the potential presence of asbestos, and the state of the ceiling underneath. If the only reason that you're considering removing your popcorn ceiling is that you're ready to sell, be sure to consult with a real estate professional before undertaking this major home improvement project. to determine whether it's likely to add value to your home or not.