How much does a tray ceiling cost?
$3 – $7 tray ceiling cost per square foot
$700 – $1,600 average total cost to install in 15’x15’ room
Tray ceiling cost
A tray ceiling costs $3 to $7 per square foot or $700 to $1,600 on average to build, including labor and framing materials. Adding a tray ceiling is easiest during new construction or a remodel. Carpenters build a tray ceiling by attaching a drop-down frame border to an existing ceiling.
|Project||Average installed cost|
|Office / bedroom (10'x10')||$300 – $700|
|Dining room (12'x12')||$400 – $1,000|
|Primary bedroom (15'x15')||$700 – $1,600|
|Living room (16'x20')||$950 – $2,200|
Cost data is from research and project costs reported by HomeGuide members.
Cost to add a tray ceiling
A tray ceiling costs $3 to $7 per square foot with installation, depending on the size and design. In comparison, other types of ceiling installation cost $2 to $20 per square foot on average.
|Factor||Average cost per square foot|
|Materials||$2.00 – $3.50|
|Installation labor||$1.00 – $3.50|
|Total cost||$3.00 – $7.00|
Labor cost to frame and build a tray ceiling
The following factors affect the cost to frame and build a tray ceiling:
Ceiling size / supports / obstructions – Large, complex, or coffered ceilings cost more than average to convert to a tray ceiling. Additional structural support increases final costs.
Design / tray depth – Multiple layers, an inverted tray, or added decoration will increase installation costs.
Minimum ceiling height – Adding a drop-down border for a tray ceiling requires a ceiling height of at least eight feet. Otherwise, the contractor must raise the ceiling, which can significantly increase installation costs.
Electrician / lighting – Costs involved in adding lighting to a tray ceiling include:
An electrician charges $40 to $100 per hour to repair, install, or replace wiring and fixtures.
A basic light fixture costs $50 to $150 with installation, or more for a chandelier or custom lighting. Fixture installation costs less during a remodel or new construction.
Recessed lighting costs $10 to $130 per light installed during a remodel or $20 to $140 for LED lights.
A skylight costs $1,600 to $4,200 with installation.
Structural engineer – A structural engineer costs $100 to $220 per hour to evaluate whether the ceiling joists and trusses can support a tray ceiling.
Architect – An architect charges $100 to $250 per hour or $2 to $15 per square foot on average to draw plans.
Interior designer – An interior designer charges $50 to $200 per hour to inspect, plan, and oversee remodeling.
Drywall – Ceiling drywall costs $2 to $4 per square foot on average installed.
Permits – A building permit costs $50 to $300 for small jobs such as plumbing or electrical and $500 to $2,000 for complicated construction or remodeling.
HVAC / plumbing – Changes to the ceiling may require relocating ductwork or pipes, or may uncover problems like mold requiring remediation:
Tray ceiling remodel cost
Adding a tray ceiling during a remodel may require the following additional work:
Ceiling demolition costs $2 to $8 per square foot on average.
Popcorn ceiling removal costs $1.00 to $2.00 per square foot or $2.00 to $6.00 per square foot to remove the popcorn and refinish the ceiling.
Ceiling repair costs $50 to $100 per square foot or $200 to $500 total for minor repairs.
Raising a ceiling costs $40 to $70 per square foot and may be necessary if the ceiling is less than eight feet tall.
Attic trusses cost $5 to $14 per square foot, depending on the material and type.
Tray ceiling design ideas
Consider these add-ons when installing a tray ceiling:
Crown molding costs $7 to $16 per linear foot installed.
Ceiling painting costs $1 to $2 per square foot, depending on the ceiling’s texture and the number of coats.
Installing a ceiling fan costs $150 to $350,including parts and labor.
Ceiling drywall texturing costs $1 to $2 per square foot.
What is a tray ceiling
A tray ceiling—also called an inverted or recessed ceiling—has a drop-down border with a large, raised area in the middle. This ceiling style is popular in living rooms, dining rooms, or primary bedrooms. Tray ceilings vary in popularity by region but are not considered outdated.
What is the difference between a coffered ceiling and tray ceiling?
A tray ceiling, sometimes called a boxed or step-up ceiling, has one large, raised area surrounded by a drop-down border. A coffered ceiling costs $10 to $40 per square foot and consists of a grid pattern with many raised areas surrounded by wood beams.
Can you add a tray ceiling?
Yes, you can add a tray ceiling to an existing home, but it is more expensive than adding one during construction.
How deep and tall should a tray ceiling be?
A tray ceiling is typically 1 to 12 inches deep. Most building codes require ceilings to be at least 8 feet tall to install a tray ceiling.
Do tray ceilings make a room look smaller?
A tray ceiling can make a room look bigger even though it drops the borders of a ceiling slightly.
Getting estimates from tray ceiling builders
Before hiring a ceiling installer near you, be sure to:
Get three or more quotes to compare.
Read reviews on HomeGuide and Google.
Choose licensed, bonded, insured companies with 5+ years of experience.
Browse their portfolios of past projects.
Ask for references from recent jobs.
Avoid choosing the lowest estimate as quality may suffer.
Get a detailed, written estimate and contract in writing before paying.
Follow a payment plan instead of paying in full up front.
Questions to ask
How long have you been in business?
Have you worked on similar ceiling projects?
Are you licensed and insured?
Can you provide references from recent projects?
How should I prepare the space for the project?
Do you charge extra to move furniture?
Does the estimate include prepping and cleanup?
What other costs should I expect?
How long will the job take?