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How Much Does It Cost To Repair A Ceiling?

National Average Change Location | View National
$691
Typical Range
$325 - $1,056
Low End
$125
High End
$2,200

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Homeowners pay an average of $691 to repair a ceiling. Project costs typically range from $325 and $1,056. A professional will charge $60 to $90 per hour to make repairs. He/she will provide the project materials and include those costs in the initial quote.

When your ceiling starts to crack, chips off paint, or worse, you know you must deal with the problem right away. When you don't know what might be wrong, repairs can be difficult. If you think you hear cracking, or if you see spots or cracks, think about calling a ceiling professional in right away.

On This Page:

  1. Repair Costs Per Square Foot
  2. Water Damage
  3. Sagging
  4. Cracks
  5. Holes
  6. Peeling Paint
  7. Bathrooms, Basements, & Garages
  8. FAQ

Ceiling Repair Costs Per Square Foot

The overall price will depend on how much of the ceiling needs repair and what type of materials you will need to fix it.

Drywall or Sheetrock - $45 - $55 per square foot

Drywall repairs will cost $45 to $55 per square foot, including labor, materials, site preparation, and cleanup. Minor repairs like cracked joints, hairline cracks, or nail holes will need only joint tape and spackle. These fixes will take 1 to 2 hours at a rate of $60 to $90 per hour.

On the other hand, major repairs like water damage, large holes, or failed corners/seams usually require replacement drywall. Most ceilings consist of traditional sheetrock, but some homes feature lightweight drywall instead.

Traditional Drywall vs. Lightweight Sheetrock
MaterialFeaturesMaterial Cost per 8-Foot SheetTotal with Labor
Traditional Drywall
  • Better looking than plaster or lath
  • energy efficient
  • fire resistant
  • cost efficient
  • easy to repair
$9-$14$50-$60
Lightweight Sheetrock
  • Easier to cut
  • reduced dust
  • greater strength-to-weight ratio than traditional drywall
  • comes in a variety of lengths
about $9$50-$60

Plaster & Lath

Ceilings made of plaster and lath cost approximately $65 to $80 per square foot, including labor, materials, and costs to prepare and protect the site. Like with drywall, the more extensive the damage, the more expensive the repair due to added time at a rate of $60 to $90 per hour.

When repairing a plaster ceiling, a handyman must also repair the thin sheet of wood (or lath) that supports the coating. The work is time- and labor-intensive and requires a skilled laborer to apply evenly and ensure the ceiling remains level.

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Popcorn

Popcorn ceilings are slightly more expensive to repair at $75 to $90 per square foot including all labor and materials, as well as site prep and cleanup. The hourly charge is the same at $60 to $90 per hour but, because of the need to refinish the new surface to match the existing one, this project will take a professional handyman more time.

Drop Tiles

Drop ceiling repairs usually cost less than $200. You can purchase prefabricated 2-foot by 2-foot tiles for between $4 and $68 each. A professional will charge between $60 to $90 per hour for repairs but, in most cases, a homeowner can replace the tiles him/herself.

Drop Tile Replacement Pricing
Tile TypeProsConsCost for Material per Square Foot
Standard Mineral Fiber
  • Easy & inexpensive to replace
  • Easily damaged by moisture
$2-$7
Tin
  • Visually attractive
  • Available in a variety of patterns & finishes
  • Expensive
$3-$5
Plastic/PVC
  • Stain & moisture resistant
  • Available in a variety of textures & finishes
  • Thin tiles don’t support insulation
$1-$2
Wood Veneer
  • Attractive
  • Good for darker rooms like home theaters
  • Expensive
  • Prone to moisture damage
$2-$17

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Water Damage

One of the most common ceiling issues is water damage. Water leakage can originate from pipes, rain, or the tenants living above. It can be an indicator of a very minor staining and cosmetic repair, or serious sagging and buckling.

Replacing a drywall ceiling means new sheetrock and sometimes reframing. If you see indications of water damage, the best thing you can do is hire a professional plumber as soon as possible. If you catch a leak early, the damage may be insignificant. If you wait long enough for the water to seep into the walls, the cost to repair drywall will likely be more significant. If the foundation is sound, repairs should run no more than $1,200.

The cost to repair water damage is about $45 to $55 per square foot, including labor and materials. Repair costs will be separate from identifying and repairing the leak that caused the damage. A professional will charge to remove mold based on the affected ceiling pieces. This can prevent damage from spreading.

Leaking Pipe or Roof

Repairing a leaking pipe costs between $350 and $2,000 depending on the extent of the damage. The price for fixing a roof leak averages between $350 and $1,250. If the foundation isn’t the cause of the damage, repairs usually run no more than $1,200.

A burst pipe due to clogs and freezing is one of the most common causes of water damage. Annual inspections and regular maintenance can help prevent costly repairs. Moisture damage only gets worse over time.

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Sagging

Drywall to replace a sagging ceiling will run between $10 and $15 for a ⅝”-thick, 4-foot by 8-foot sheet. The hourly rate a professional handyman will charge averages $75 per hour to make the repairs. Total project price will depend on the severity of the issue.

Sagging, also known as pillowing, usually happens when ½” drywall is hung under roof trusses at the typical 24” spacing. A pro will rip out existing drywall, add spacers, and install thicker sheetrock. He/she must also remove the old screws and care for attic insulation, making the job time- and labor-intensive.

Cracks

Over time, homes start to develop cracks in the ceiling. It's just a natural part of the aging process. However, there are some that homeowners need to be aware of. The price of roofing repair is nearly $800 on average. The cost of flooring repair is around $330. Some cracks could be signs of structural damage. In this case, the charge for a foundation in need of repair runs about $4,000 on average.

The location of the crack is a major factor. Those on the edge of the surface near a wall are normal. However, long, wide, or multiple cracks in the middle of a room should be cause for concern.

Similarly, cracks with a dip in them are a sign that your structural beams are failing, and you should fix them immediately. You should also investigate those that start on the ceiling and move to halfway down your wall because they could indicate structural damage. Spiderweb cracks are usually normal for a house's aging process, but if they're very large (more than 1/16” wide), you need to call a professional.

Often, ceiling cracks are overlooked since they can be small and are above eye level, but they are worth looking out for. Although it is not so common, natural disasters like earthquakes can cause major structural damage even when it appears to be minor. If your home has been through even a minor earthquake, check to see if there are any cracks that need to be repaired. Check out our Earthquake Retrofitting Cost Guide to learn more.

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Holes

A professional handyman can fix most any hole at their standard hourly rate, but see the chart below for cost by size and material.

Patch Price by Material
Material4-Square-Foot Patch Price
Drywall or Sheetrock$180-$220
Plaster & Lath$270-$330
Popcorn$300-$370

Peeling Paint

To paint a basic, 250-square-foot ceiling, a professional painter will charge between $0.90 and $2.20 per square foot. At this rate, total project costs would range from $225 to $550. Many homeowners choose to save money on the cost of small paint jobs by tackling the projects on their own for just the cost of materials.

If you notice peeling paint, it could be the result of something very minor. It could be because of weather changes, age, or improper application. In these cases, you can choose to have the entire surface repainted or just touch up the damaged areas. If you repaint the entire surface, it will be costlier, but the colors will match better, and the results will last longer than that of a patching job.

Peeling paint could also be an indication of more serious water damage. Paint will naturally peel away from a wet surface. If you see peeling, check to see if the area is damp.

Bathrooms, Basements, & Garages

Ceiling repairs in some areas of the home may cost more due to code requirements and best building practices. For example, garages adjacent to living spaces may require fire-rated, ⅝” drywall. Similarly, bathrooms may require moisture-resistant material.

Many builders suggest using at least ½”-thick drywall for basements to prevent bowing and pillowing. You should contact a professional for repair quotes specifically for one of these areas.

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FAQ

How much does it cost to remove and replace a ceiling?

The cost of removing and replacing a ceiling starts at $1.50 to $3.25 per square foot for a standard, 125-square-foot project. Exact replacement rates will depend on the type you install.

Costs of Ceiling Removal and Replacement
MaterialPrice per Square Foot
Popcorn$1-$1.50
Drop$1-$2
Drywall$1.50-$3
Tray$2-$4
Tongue & Groove$2-$5
Beadboard$5-$6
Coffered$20-$30
Beam$1,000-$3,000 (total project)
Vaulted$18,000-$26,000 (total project)

How do you fix a ceiling?

To fix a drywall ceiling, you can follow this 3-step process:

  • Cut and attach scrap wood. After locating and measuring the hole, mount scrap piece to frame using screws or adhesive.
  • Cut and attach drywall. Cut drywall a bit smaller than the existing hole. Attach to scrap wood with screws.
  • Fill gaps with drywall compound. Apply compound in spaces and allow to dry. Sand lightly and add a second coat of compound before you sand, prime, and paint.

Can you paint over a water-damaged ceiling?

You can paint over a ceiling with minor water damage. The surface should be completely dry first.

How do you get rid of water stains on a ceiling?

In some cases, you can get rid of water stains from roof or plumbing leaks. First, be sure to completely fix your leak. Otherwise, you could experience re-staining. Then, use stain-fighting primer to prevent stains from showing through paint.

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  1. Homeowners visit HomeAdvisor.com to find a top-rated pro to complete their home improvement project or repair.

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