How much does it cost to paint a ceiling?
Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to paint a ceiling?

Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to paint a ceiling?

$1 – $2cost per square foot
$150 – $300average cost to paint a 12x12 ceiling

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$1 – $2 cost per square foot

$150 – $300 average cost to paint a 12x12 ceiling


Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
Tara Farmer
Written by
Tara Farmer
Edited by
Kristen Cramer
Fact-checked by
Tom Grupa

Cost to paint a ceiling

The average cost to paint a ceiling is $1 to $2 per square foot or $150 to $300 for a 12' x 12' room. The labor cost to paint a ceiling accounts for 70% to 85% of the total price. Ceiling painting costs depend on size, height, and condition.

Cost to paint a ceiling
Room Average room size (square feet) Average cost*
Bathroom ceiling 40 – 50 $40 – $100
Master bathroom ceiling 100 – 200 $100 – $400
Kitchen ceiling 150 – 450 $150 – $900
Bedroom ceiling 100 – 150 $100 – $300
Master bedroom ceiling 200 – 300 $200 – $600
Living room ceiling 300 – 400 $300 – $800
Dining room ceiling 100 – 200 $100 – $400
Basement ceiling 500 – 1,800 $500 – $5,400
Garage ceiling 400 – 576 (2-car)
576 – 864 (3-car)
$400 – $1,700

*Most painters charge minimum project fees of $250 to $500. **Cost data is from research and project costs reported by HomeGuide members.

Average cost to paint a ceiling per square foot

The average cost to paint a ceiling is $1 to $2 per square foot when painting only the ceiling. Adding or removing texture or including the trim and crown molding increase the cost.

Cost to paint ceiling per square foot
Factor Average cost per square foot
Labor and materials - ceiling only $1 – $2
Removing popcorn ceiling* $1 – $2
Adding texture* $1 – $2
Trim and crown molding* $1 – $4 per linear foot

*Optional

Cost to paint a textured ceiling

The average cost to paint a textured ceiling is $1.00 to $3.50 per square foot. Painting a textured ceiling requires more labor and materials than painting a smooth ceiling because the texture creates more surface area to cover.

Adding ceiling texture costs $1 to $2 per square foot, while retexturing costs $1.80 to $3.80 per square foot. Ceiling texture is created with textured paint or drywall compound applied by a skilled professional.

Cost to paint a popcorn ceiling

Painting a popcorn ceiling costs $1.00 to $3.50 per square foot. Using a sprayer is best when painting an unpainted popcorn ceiling, as a paint roller may cause brittle popcorn bumps to break off. A previously painted popcorn ceiling is stronger and can handle rolling or spraying.

Removing a popcorn ceiling costs $1 to $2 per square foot. Refinishing and painting increase the cost to $3 to $5 per square foot, depending on the finishing texture. A smooth, flat ceiling texture costs the most as it requires the most labor.

Cost to paint ceiling trim and crown molding

Painting the ceiling and trim costs $200 to $500 per room on average. Using different colors may cost more due to the increased masking and materials. Interior trim painting costs $1 to $4 per linear foot for trim and baseboards or $1 to $5 per linear foot for crown molding.

Installing new crown molding costs $7 to $16 per linear foot or $464 to $1,102 for an average living room.

Cost to paint ceiling grid or drop tiles

Painting a ceiling grid or drop tiles costs $1 to $3 per square foot, depending on the room size and tile material. The best way to paint drop tiles is to remove them from the ceiling first. Otherwise, the tiles may stick to the grid and sag.

  • Acoustic ceiling tiles are porous and require more paint than a flat surface.

  • Acoustic tiles may lose some sound-dampening quality if painted with a product not explicitly labeled for acoustic tiles.

  • Ceiling grids are metal and require a different paint type than most ceiling tiles.

Cost to paint walls and ceiling

Painting the walls and ceiling costs $450 to $1,200 for an average bedroom or $900 to $2,800 for a larger living room. Most contractors paint the ceiling first to avoid overspray. Bringing the ceiling paint down onto the wall area also creates a cleaner edge once the walls are painted.

Painting a room costs $300 to $1,000 on average for the walls alone.

Cost to paint beadboard or tongue and groove ceilings

Painting beadboard or tongue and groove ceilings cost $1.50 to $5.00 per square foot, depending on the size and condition. A previously stained ceiling requires oil-based paint. Wood beadboard and tongue and groove ceilings require additional prep work, sanding, and priming.

Most painters use a combined brush and roll method to provide the smoothest finish and ensure the paint gets into all the crevices.

Cost to paint a basement ceiling

Painting a basement ceiling costs $1 to $2 per square foot or $500 to $2,000 on average for a finished, open-plan basement, depending on the square footage. Multi-room basements require more labor as there are more corners to mask and edges to cut in.

Cost to paint exposed basement ceiling

Painting an exposed basement ceiling costs $1 to $3+ per square foot on average. Exposed basement ceilings have more paintable surface area than a finished basement ceiling and require more paint and labor. Spray application ensures the best coverage between the beams, wiring, and ductwork.

Leaving a ceiling exposed adds the feeling of height, allows access to ducts and wiring for future repairs, and gives the basement a modern, industrial aesthetic.

Cost to spray basement ceiling black

The cost to spray a basement ceiling black costs $500 to $5,400+, depending on the size and whether the ceiling is finished or exposed. Painting a basement ceiling black gives the room a modern look, hides imperfections, makes the ceiling seem higher, and makes other colors pop.

Labor cost to paint a ceiling

The labor cost to paint a ceiling is $1 to $2 per square foot. Painters charge $20 to $50 per hour on average but may charge up to $100 in some areas. An experienced painting contractor covers about 50 square feet per hour.

Labor cost to paint a ceiling
Charge Average labor cost
Per square foot $1 – $2
Per ceiling $150 – $300
Per hour $20 – $50

A professional painter paints a living room ceiling.
A professional painter paints a living room ceiling.

Several factors affect the cost of painting a ceiling, including:

  • Location – Painters in big cities charge higher rates than those in smaller towns with a lower cost of living.

  • Time of year – Interior painting estimates in northern states are more competitive in the late fall and winter months.

  • Ceiling size & height – Larger ceilings require more paint and labor. Each foot above 10’ adds about 10% to the price. Painting high ceilings cost more because it requires additional equipment and poses a greater safety risk.

  • Flat vs. vaulted ceilings – Cathedral and vaulted ceilings cost up to 50% more than standard flat ceilings.

  • Prep work – Most painting estimates include prep work like masking and protecting surrounding surfaces. Wood panel ceilings require more prep work than standard flat ceilings. Moving or removing furniture and fixtures before the work begins reduces the prep time.

  • Application method – Spraying requires less labor than rolling or brushing but is not a suitable method for every ceiling.

  • Ceiling condition – Minor ceiling repairs cost $50 to $100 per square foot. Ceiling drywall repair costs $150 to $1,000, depending on the damage.

  • Mold & mildewMold removal costs $15 to $30 per square foot. Find and remove the mold source before repainting the affected area.

  • Lead or AsbestosAsbestos testing costs $250 to $750. Popcorn ceilings in homes built before 1986 may contain asbestos. A lead paint inspection costs $300 to $600 and may be required in homes built before 1978.

  • Paint type & quality – High-quality paint costs more but lasts longer and is more durable.

  • Customizations – Adding ceiling texture costs $130 to $440 for a typical bedroom or living room.

Ceiling paint cost calculator

Ceiling paint costs $20 to $60 per gallon on average. Most higher-priced ceiling paints are paint and primer in one. An average 12' x 12' room needs about 1 gallon of ceiling paint. One paint gallon covers 300 to 400 square feet with one coat.

Frequently asked questions

How much paint for a ceiling?

To determine how much paint you need for a ceiling:

  1. Multiply the ceiling’s length x width to determine its square footage.

  2. Divide the ceiling square footage by 300. One gallon of ceiling paint covers 300 to 400 square feet with one coat. Most ceilings require two paint coats.

Can you paint over mold on a ceiling?

You can paint over mold on a ceiling, but painting over mold does not kill the mold. Be sure to find and remove the mold source before painting.

How long does ceiling paint take to dry?

Ceiling paint takes 30 to 60 minutes to dry to the touch. Most manufacturers recommend waiting for 2 to 4 hours or more between coats. Ceiling texture takes 4 to 24 hours to dry, depending on the type.

Getting estimates from ceiling painters

Before hiring a local interior painter for ceiling painting, be sure to:

  • Get at least three estimates to compare.

  • Browse their reviews on HomeGuide and Google.

  • Look for members of the Painting Contractors Association (PCA).

  • Hire a company that is licensed, bonded, insured, and has been in business for at least five years.

  • Get a detailed contract and warranty in writing before the work starts.

  • Avoid going with the lowest quote as quality may suffer.

  • Never pay in full before the work begins. Follow a payment plan instead.

Questions to ask

  • How long have you been in business?

  • Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?

  • Can you provide references with contact information?

  • Which paint type and finish do you recommend for my ceiling, and why?

  • How long will the project take?

  • What do I need to do to prepare the space for the project?

  • Do I need to do any repairs before you start painting?

  • Does the quote include prepping and cleanup?

  • Do you charge extra to move the furniture? If yes, how much?

  • What additional costs should I expect?

  • What happens if you get paint on the floor or furniture?

  • Do you use subcontractors or do the painting yourself?

  • Is there a warranty for the paint job?