How much does ceiling installation or replacement cost?
How much does ceiling installation or replacement cost?
$2 – $4 cost per square foot installed (drywall ceiling)
$4 – $40+ cost per square foot installed (coffered, tongue-and-groove, or vaulted ceiling)
$300 – $600 average ceiling replacement cost (12x12 room)
$4,000 – $10,000 average ceiling installation cost (2,000 – 2,500 SF house)
Ceiling installation cost by size
Ceiling installation costs $2 to $4 per square foot for drywall or up to $70 per square foot for a vaulted ceiling. Ceiling replacement costs $300 to $600 on average for a 12x12 bedroom. Flat drywall ceilings cost the least to install or replace, while coffered and vaulted ceilings cost the most.
|Project||Ceiling square footage||Average cost installed|
|5x8 Bathroom||40||$80 – $160*|
|10x10 Small bedroom||100||$200 – $400|
|12x12 Bedroom / primary bath||144||$300 – $600|
|14x20 Primary bedroom||280||$550 – $1,100|
|16x20 Living room||320||$650 – $1,300|
|12x24 1-car garage||288||$600 – $1,200|
|20x20 2-car garage||400||$800 – $1,600|
|36x24 3-car garage||864||$1,750 – $3,500|
|1,000 SF Basement||1,000||$2,000 – $4,000|
|1,500 SF Whole house||1,500||$3,000 – $6,000|
|2,000 SF Whole house||2,000||$4,000 – $8,000|
|2,500 SF Whole house||2,500||$5,000 – $10,000|
|3,000 SF Whole house||3,000||$6,000 – $12,000|
*Most ceiling contractors have minimum job fees of $125 to $200.
Cost to replace a ceiling by type
The cost to replace a ceiling depends on the type and material. Flat drywall is the most common ceiling type but is considered plain compared to tray or vaulted ceilings.
|Ceiling type||Average cost per square foot installed||Details|
|Conventional drywall||$2 – $4||Affordable but plain|
|Coffered||$10 – $40||Attractive but costly, especially for hardwood|
|Drop / acoustic||$4 – $20||Good insulation but not very durable|
|Tray||$3 – $7||Adds character and makes ceilings feel higher|
|Wood tongue and groove||$4 – $10||Interlocking wood boards|
|Vaulted||$40 – $70||Expensive but creates more space|
Drywall or sheetrock ceiling cost
Hanging a drywall ceiling costs $2 to $4 per square foot with installation. Flat drywall ceilings are the most common type and are easy to alter or repair when needed. Adding drywall texture costs $1 to $2 per square foot, depending on the type and ceiling height.
Drop ceiling cost
A drop ceiling costs $4 to $20 per square foot installed, depending on the material. Drop ceilings are also called suspended, dropped, or acoustic ceilings. Drop ceilings reduce ceiling height, so plan for at least a 3-inch loss.
A commercial drop ceiling typically costs less per square foot in materials because the tiles are ordered in bulk.
Coffered ceiling cost
A coffered ceiling costs$10 to $40 per square foot installed or $1,500 to $1,600 for a 150-square-foot room. Coffered ceilings use decorative beams to create a pattern, usually square or diamond. Hardwoods cost more than hollow PVC or plywood when making the coffers.
Vaulted ceiling cost
A vaulted ceiling costs $40 to $70 per square foot installed or $16,000 to $28,000 for a 20'x20' living room. Vaulting a ceiling involves removing the existing ceiling and raising it to include the attic space. Most vaulted ceilings follow the angled slope of the roof.
Wood tongue and groove ceiling cost
A wood tongue and groove ceiling costs $4 to $10 per square foot installed, depending on the type. Pine is an affordable, popular choice but is more easily damaged than hardwoods.
In contrast, a shiplap ceiling costs $3 to $11 per square foot installed. Shiplap boards do not interlock like tongue and groove boards but are easier to install.
Tray ceiling cost
A tray ceiling costs $3 to $7 per square foot or $700 to $1,600 for a 15'x15' room. Tray ceilings are also called boxed, inverted, recessed, or step-up ceilings. This ceiling style consists of one large, raised area surrounded by one or more drop-down borders made of drywall.
Ceiling installation cost factors
Ceiling installation costs depend on the material and labor fees:
|Factor||Cost per square foot|
|Materials||$0.60 – $0.90|
|Labor||$1.40 – $3.10|
|Total cost to install||$2.00 – $4.00|
Other factors that influence the final cost include:
Ceiling height & size – Installers typically charge 10%+ more for high or vaulted ceilings over 8' tall.
Room shape & complexity – Labor charges are often lower in wide, empty spaces. Installers charge more for complex ceiling shapes and working around furnaces, water heaters, and pipes.
Ceiling material & type – Standard materials like white fiberboard and drywall cost less than hardwood or coffered ceilings.
Labor cost to install or replace a ceiling
The labor cost to install a standard drywall ceiling is $1.40 to $3.10 per square foot, including hanging, taping, and finishing the drywall. Coffered and vaulted ceilings require more specialized installation techniques, with labor costing $8 to $25 per square foot.
Labor costs also depend on the scope of the project and any necessary repairs or changes:
Structural engineer – Hiring a structural engineer costs $350 to $900 for an inspection and report or $100 to $220 per hour.
Repairs – Ceiling repair costs $50 to $100 per square foot or $200 to $500 total for minor repairs.
HVAC – An HVAC technician charges $75 to $150 per hour to reroute ductwork if needed.
Plumbing – A plumber costs $45 to $150 per hour to insulate cold water pipes or move piping.
Permits – Some states require a building permit for ceiling work and an inspection once the job is done.
Cost to replace drop ceiling tiles
Drop ceiling tiles cost $1 to $13 per square foot for materials alone. Standard fiberboard is good for absorbing sound but is not durable or attractive. Other materials come in a variety of designs, including some that look like a coffered ceiling. Most drop tile dimensions are 2'x2' or 2'x4'.
|Tile material||Cost per square foot*|
|Plastic||$2.00 – $9.00|
|Fiberboard||$1.00 – $3.50|
|Wood||$2.00 – $10.00|
|Tin / metal||$3.00 – $13.00|
*Not including installation.
Ceiling add-ons and enhancement costs
Any additional work will add to the overall cost:
Insulation – Ceiling insulation costs $1.00 to $4.50 per square foot, depending on the type and R-value.
Soundproofing – The cost to soundproof a room is $10 to $30 per square foot, depending on the material and method.
Paint – Ceiling painting costs $1 to $2 per square foot or $150 to $300 for a 12x12 ceiling.
Trim – Interior trim costs $4 to $10 per square foot, depending on the material and shape.
Fixtures – Adding lighting and other features increases the final costs:
Ceiling installation FAQs
What is the easiest ceiling to install?
The easiest ceiling to install is a drop ceiling. Flat, standard drywall is the cheapest and most common ceiling type, but sheetrock is heavier and harder to install than drop ceiling panels.
Do you need a permit to install a ceiling?
Most building projects require a permit, especially structural changes and electrical or plumbing work. Check local code regulations before starting any projects.
How long does it take to install or replace a ceiling?
Installing or replacing a ceiling takes 1 to 3 days, depending on the type. Drop ceilings take less time to install than other types. Any demolition or vaulting may extend the project length.
How long do ceilings last?
A standard drywall ceiling lasts 30 to 75 years if properly cared for. However, you may need to repair or replace it if you notice any of the following:
Can you drywall over a popcorn or plaster ceiling?
Yes, you can put drywall over a popcorn or plaster ceiling. This will lower your ceiling by about an inch but save you time and money compared to replacing it or removing popcorn. Other options for covering old ceilings include wood planks or decorative tiles made of metal or PVC.
Getting estimates from ceiling installers
Before hiring a ceiling contractor near you, be sure to:
Get at least three written estimates for similar ceiling types and materials to compare.
Read ceiling company reviews on HomeGuide and Google.
Choose a licensed, bonded, insured ceiling contractor with 5+ years of experience.
Ask for references from recent projects.
Avoid the lowest estimate as quality may suffer.
Get a detailed estimate, contract, and warranty in writing.
Follow a payment plan instead of paying up front.
Questions to ask ceiling contractors
Ask these questions to find the best ceiling installer:
How long have you been in business?
Have you worked on similar ceiling installation projects?
What material would you recommend for my budget?
Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
Can you give me references from recent jobs?
How should I prepare my house for the project?
Do you charge extra to move furniture before starting?
Does this estimate include prepping and cleanup?
How long will this job take?