Drywall Over Popcorn Ceiling – Cost and How to Install Cover

A popcorn ceiling, also known as an acoustic ceiling or a textured ceiling, is a type of ceiling designed from paint-on or spray-on treatments. The ceiling has a bumpy or textured appearance, which is created by tiny particles of polystyrene or vermiculite.

Many homes constructed between the 1940s and 1990s have these textured ceilings. Acoustic or “popcorns” were often used to conceal some imperfections in the ceiling. The ceiling itself boasts other benefits which include cost-efficient, time-effective, reduce noise, and absorb sound.

Despite the many benefits we’ve mentioned above, there is an ugly truth about textured ceilings you need to keep in mind. For instance, they have become somewhat archaic, and many homeowners do not find them aesthetically appealing. Other drawbacks include difficulty to paint, hard to clean, and acts as cobweb magnets.

That’s why one of the common requests for quotes on home renovations is popcorn ceiling removal. Unfortunately, popcorn ceiling removal is messy and costly. The experts recommend covering up a popcorn ceiling with drywall panels.

In this article, we are going to give expert advice about installing drywall panels to cover the popcorn ceiling instead of removing it. Is it worth it? Read on to learn more.

Can You Install Drywall Over Popcorn Ceiling?

Yes. You can install drywall over the popcorn ceiling to cover it. Feather-light drywall panels can be installed with adhesive and then attach the panels to the ceiling joists using screws and nails. If your popcorn ceiling is 8 feet or higher, you might consider installing a drop ceiling. Here, the drywall panels will be mounted on a suspended metal grid. One thing to keep in mind is that you need to scribe off the drywall before installing the drywall panels. Scribing off the drywall is simply marking where to cut a sheet to fit against uneven surfaces. For instance, scribing is needed if the ceiling has imperfections or flaws.

How To Cover Popcorn Ceiling With Drywall?

Installing drywall panels over the popcorn ceiling is not a straightforward task. It is a big renovation job that involves heavy lifting, a major mess, and a serious time commitment. Here are a few steps you need to follow:

Step 1: Assemble installation tools and equipment

Some of the tools and equipment you will need include a stud finder, pencil, knife, chalk line, drill-driver, insulation board adhesive and mud, and drywall panels.

Step 2: Mark the ceiling joists

Use a stud finder to locate each ceiling joist. Mark the center of each ceiling joist at opposing sides of the room. Start by marking the popcorn ceiling and then move the mark onto the adjacent wall, around 13 mm down from the popcorn ceiling. This ensures the marks will be visible after the drywall panels are installed.

Step 3: Plan the drywall panel layout

Measure the width of the popcorn ceiling, measuring parallel to the direction of ceiling joists. Usually, you need to use a complete layer of 12.7 mm, 9.525 mm, or 6.35 mm drywall panels over the popcorn ceiling. Divide the measurement by the width of the drywall panel to determine how many full drywall panel rows that the ceiling will accommodate.

Step 4: Install the drywall panels

If you have larger drywall panels, you need to trim them to measure using the knife or preferred cutting material. Once you have your drywall panels ready, apply the insulation board adhesive to the drywalls and press the panels above the original popcorn ceiling.

Alternatively, you can use scrap boards or plywood to press the drywall panels against the popcorn ceiling until the adhesive sets up. Use a screwdriver to fix the panels into the ceiling joists.

Step 5: Tape the panel seams

Push all the drywall panels together and make sure they cover all the spaces on all sides of the wall. Fill any gap on the wall with spray foam insulation. Once you are done, cover the panel seams (joints between drywall panels) with drywall panel insulation tape.

Don’t use the normal tape because it will create a vapor barrier. Instead of using spray foam insulation, you can also finish your drywall using tape and drywall mud.

Step 6: Painting the drywall

Before you paint your drywall, you need to prepare the drywall surface. Start by applying a coat of primer to the drywall panels. This will ensure that any paint you will apply will stick to the surface for a long time. A coat of primer will also ensure a smooth finish once the painting is complete. Before you apply the primer, clean the surface with a black soft cloth to remove all the dust and dirt that might have settled there.

What Size Of Drywall Panels Do You Need?

Drywall panels are available in form of sheets of varied sizes and thicknesses. The most common size of each drywall sheet is approximately 4 feet by 8 feet. When it comes to thickness, they are available in either 1/2 inch or 3/8-inch thickness. You need to use a drywall sheet size that reduces the number of seems that will show up in the finished surface.

If screws or nails you will use for installation will be far apart, you will need to purchase thicker drywall sheets. If screws or nails you will use for installation will be far apart, you will need to purchase thicker drywall sheets.

Advantages of Drywall Over Popcorn Ceiling

  • Covering popcorn ceiling with drywall creates a smooth surface that’s ideal for paint
  • The finished surface can be textured to add style to space and create a positive impact on the aesthetics of your ceilings.
  • The final product is more neutral compared to other options.
  • Inexpensive method of home renovation as the drywall sheets and tools for installation is cheap and available everywhere.
  • Most of the drywall sheets are made of gypsum which is fire-resistant thus they prevent the fire from spreading.
  • With drywall ceilings, you can easily hang anything you want or install recessed lighting.

What Is The Cost To Drywall Over Popcorn Ceiling?

The cost of each 8-inch by 4-inch drywall sheet ranges from $6 to $12 depending on the manufacturer – approximately 37.5 cents per square foot. This is little money compared to the cost of popcorn removal and subsequent replacement.

If it’s a DIY project, you will also need to incur the cost of screws, installation tools, and renting a drywall lift which is around $20. You will reduce the total cost significantly if you have structural beams above the ceiling to drive drywall screws into.

Once the installation is complete, you will also have to incur the cost of drywall sanding and taping.

Is It Cheaper To Install Drywall Over A Popcorn Ceiling?

As stated early, the cost of materials alone is approximately 37.5 cents per square foot. This is little money compared to the cost of popcorn removal and subsequent replacement.

For instance, according to ImproveNet, the cost of popcorn ceiling removal alone is around $1.50 per square foot, with the average cost nationally ranging from $1 to $2 per square foot. You will pay a little bit more for removing the popcorn ceilings that contain asbestos.

On average, ImproveNet says that most homeowners in the United States spent around $1,565 in 2019. Homeguide gives a similar cost range, stating that most homeowners in the United States spent around $2,700 for 1,800 square feet home.

If you add the cost of popcorn ceiling removal and replacement or the cost of covering the popcorn ceiling with wood planks or other materials, you will find that the drywall option is cheaper.

Wrapping Up

Popcorn ceilings or textured are well known for being obsolete and even lowering the values of the homes. If you are a homeowner who wants to give your ceiling a facelift without having to worry about the hustles and expenses of removing the popcorn ceiling, it’s time you need to consider covering your ceiling with drywall. The newly installed drywall panels will give your ceiling a new lease on life.

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