Popcorn Ceiling: Pros and Cons

A popcorn ceiling texture.

Popcorn ceiling, also called acoustic ceiling, is a special type of ceiling treatment which is typically sprayed on. Popular during the 1980s, it has recently regained favor. The appearance of popcorn ceilings resembles cottage cheese, although there are many modern textures that are also referred to as popcorn and have less of a bubbled look. The old forms of this ceiling contained dangerous asbestos and require special gear to remove. But today there are newer asbestos-free products that offer the same benefits. Evaluate the pros and cons when considering whether popcorn ceiling is right for you.


There are many advantages to using popcorn ceiling. Perhaps the biggest advantage is that it can hide many imperfections in your ceiling, such as the tape and mud seams required for your sheetrock. While a flat non-textured finish can look nice, finishing it flawlessly can be very difficult since every ripple and dent will show through. Popcorn ceilings can cover up virtually any imperfection in your ceilings, including leaks, damage, cracks, and just poor workmanship.

Popcorn ceilings are easy and cheap to install. With several spray options, a skilled homeowner can apply textures themselves or easily find a contractor who can do it. With less time involved in applying popcorn than masking imperfections, it is often a cheaper option than painting.

Popcorn ceilings also offer noise dampening qualities due to the increased surface area. This is especially nice in multi-story houses where the goal is to mute noises from the upper level.


There are also some disadvantages to using a popcorn ceiling. It's a very heavy texture which can mean that it's more difficult to paint than a smooth surface. This is worth considering as you plan for future redecorating.

Another major disadvantage with popcorn ceilings is that repair can be challenging. If they ever get damaged the repair for popcorn ceilings requires you to cut out the damaged portion and then perfectly match the texture and color once the repairs are made. While there are plenty of products that can repair these types of ceilings, it will show inconsistencies. The whole ceiling would need to be redone from scratch to repair it uniformly.

The surface of a popcorn ceiling is very rough and this can make cleaning the ceiling difficult. This is problematic in any room, but for that reason, it is not suitable for use in bathrooms and kitchens. In these rooms, you need to use a different type of finish.

Older types of popcorn ceiling contained asbestos, a commonly acknowledged cancer-causing toxin. Although modern types do not contain this, it's important to check any ceilings that were installed before 1977, when asbestos was banned. If you do have any asbestos in your home, you should have it removed by a professional as soon as possible.

Popcorn ceilings are an attractive ceiling covering option and have many benefits for the homeowner. However, the disadvantages can make it the least appealing option so it’s important to weigh the pros and cons.