How Much Does Ceiling Repair Cost?

Ginny Bartolone
Written by Ginny Bartolone
Updated January 11, 2022
Professional patching the ceiling
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You can expect to pay an average of $800 on ceiling repairs, but the range varies widely depending on the extent of the issue

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If you've spotted a suspicious-looking crack, water stain, or patch of peeling paint on your ceiling, it's likely time to call your local ceiling repair contractor. Ceiling damage can sneak up over time without making itself obvious at first, and like many structural home issues, there is often more to the issue than what meets the eye. 

The average cost to repair a ceiling ranges from $360 to $1,260, with small patches coming in under $100 and extensive repairs costing over $2,000.

How Much Does Ceiling Repair Cost by Square Foot?

Ceilings face a lot of pressure in our homes. They house potentially leaky pipes, provide structural soundness to the floor above, and wear down with changing temperatures and humidity.

Ceiling damage can truly run the gamut from a small hairline crack or a botched ceiling fan repair to sagging drywall because of severe water damage.

Professional ceiling experts typically charge either by the square footage of the repair or an hourly rate based on the size of the job. Overall, expect to pay between $45 to $90 per square foot of damage. 

Note that smaller issues, such as nail holes or cracked joints, may make more sense at an hourly rate of $60 to $90 an hour.

Square Foot Rate by Ceiling Material

Not all ceiling materials are as easy to repair as the next. Older homes with popcorn ceilings from the 60s or plaster and lath structures from over 100 years ago take a bit more time and expertise.

The square-foot rate fluctuates based on the material of your ceiling, for example:

  • Traditional drywall: $45 to $55 per square foot

  • Lightweight sheetrock: $50 to $60 per square foot

  • Plaster and lath: $65 to $80 per square foot

  • Popcorn ceilings: $75 to $90 per square foot

Drop tile ceilings work a bit differently, particularly because they make an easy DIY repair project. The cost of new drop tiles ranges from $2 to $17 per square foot of tile. Professionals may charge their standard $60 to $90 per hour for repairs beyond what you can take on by yourself.

How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Ceiling Near You?

Home repair costs differ for a handful of reasons, but your location plays a large role. The costs of local labor, permits and fees, and materials depend on your area's general cost of living. 

And since ceiling repairs often require a pretty wide selection of materials and tools—plaster, spackle, building materials, etc.—where you live can sway the initial estimate. 

Let's look at a few examples of the final cost of ceiling repair projects:

  • New York: $570–$1,380

  • Massachusetts: $580–$1,000

  • Texas: $470–$1,230

  • Florida: $400–$1,380

  • California: $550–$1,660

Which Ceiling Repair Services Can I Get on My Budget?

Person fixing a crack in the ceiling
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Spotting a crack or a water spot in your ceiling can spark worry. But there is a range of price points for different types of ceiling issues, many of which fall under a few hundred dollars.

Under $100

The majority of your DIY projects fall into this range, including replacing drop tiles and patching small cracks. If a contractor has to patch one small area for under an hour, you'll likely spend less than $100 as well.

$100 to $500

If an expert needs to repair and replace a small to mid-sized area of your ceiling—such as from a patch of water damage—expect to pay between $100 and $500. Large painting jobs also cost around this amount, as do small structural repairs for sagging ceilings.

$500 to $1,000

Expect to see these prices for larger repairs such as severe water damage, major cracks, and sagging ceilings. Bring in a plumber or structural engineer for an extra set of eyes as well.

$1,000 and Up

Replace the ceiling of a mid to large-sized room while also taking care of related leaks, HVAC issues, or foundation repairs. Ceiling work may also cost over $1,000 if you have an old home with lath and plaster ceilings or other unique materials and decor.

How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Ceiling Yourself?

A ceiling repair can mean many different things. A bit of peeling paint from natural wear and tear over time is in another ballpark from sudden patches of mold and water damage. 

We only recommend taking on minor repairs that do not:

  • Require replacing structure ceiling materials (anything other than drop tiles)

  • Interact with plumbing or electrical wires

  • Stem from underlying issues

Not sure if something bigger is going on? Never take the chance and wait for the issues to get worse. Call your local plumber at the first signs of a leak, even if you simply begin to smell a musty odor in the room in question.

All this being said, it is safe and quite cost-effective to paint your own ceiling or replace drop tiles without the help of a pro. Painting a ceiling often costs between $200 and $600 once you factor in primer, paint, ladders, drop cloths, and painting supplies.

As we mentioned above, drop tiles cost $2 and $17 per square foot of tile and can often be replaced by removing the old tile by hand.

Ceiling Repair Cost Breakdown

When you hire a licensed ceiling repair specialist, they will offer an estimate of costs based on a few factors. Your quote will likely include:

  • Hourly rate for labor (with an estimated number of hours)

  • Cost of ceiling materials

  • Unique materials for the repair

  • Additional repairs such as plumbing, structural, or decorative issues

How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Ceiling by the Type of Repair?

From a small drip to a quickly cracking ceiling, how much can you expect to pay based on the extent of the repair? Determining how many hours your pro will need to fix the issue can be tricky, so we've broken down some estimates based on types of common ceiling damage.

Water Damage

Bucket catching water from leaking ceiling
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Water can seep in from a recent storm, an issue in your roof, a broken pipe, or even broken HVAC vents. Expect water damage ceiling repairs to cost between $45 and $55 per square foot, including everything needed for the job.

Remember to add the cause of the water damage on top of this cost, such as:

Sagging Ceiling

Sagging or pillowing ceilings require a job that costs around $75 an hour, not including the cost of materials. Your pro will likely need to replace the drywall, but may also need to address old insulation or spacers between the ceiling and trusses.

Ceiling Holes

Ceiling holes stem from an endless list of issues. Perhaps you’re tired of that outdated chandelier and want to fill in the hole. Or maybe you slipped your foot between the rafters in the attic in an old home.

Ceiling hole repairs run from $180 to $370 depending on your ceiling material and the size of the patch.

Ceiling Cracks

Cracks are a common mystery throughout the home. Some small ones—particularly around the edges of a room—can be quite normal. Homes settle over time and hairline fractures are not uncommon.

However, cracks that are more than a few inches, grow noticeably over time, or crowd around a beam should be checked out immediately. These could be the sign of a foundation or structural issue. The average foundation repair costs around $4,500 depending on the extent of the issue.

What Factors Influence the Cost to Repair Ceilings?

Homes are incredibly unique with personalities of their own, and the cost of repairs will reflect this. Here are some factors that will affect the ceiling repair price tag:

  • The age of your home

  • The source of the problem (plumbing, structural, or natural aging)

  • The size of the area in question

  • Your ceiling material

  • Where you live

  • Whether the fix requires additional professionals

FAQs About Ceiling Repair Costs

Maintaining healthy ceilings should always sit at the top of your homeowner's care checklist. Issues can creep up over time, and having a professional eye take a look provides peace of mind and even a lower bill in the long run.

How do I know when it's time to repair my ceiling?

While some issues like holes, leaks, and large cracks are obvious signs to call a ceiling repair contractor, disrepair may show itself in other ways earlier on. Keep an eye—or an ear and nose—out for:

  • Long continuous cracks across the center of ceilings

  • Moldy or musty smells in a room

  • Small water stains or sudden mold on your wall

  • Areas that are damp or wet to the touch

  • Loud cracking sounds when people walk in the room above

  • Pillowing, sagging, or bowing ceilings

  • Paint that continuously peels, even after a fresh coat

What should I consider when hiring a general contractor for ceiling repairs?

Ceiling repair experts typically fall under general contractors. Depending on the extent of the repair, you may end up with a structural engineer or a plumber on-site as well. When hiring any specialist, be sure they:

  • are licensed and insured to perform the repair

  • received top reviews for similar jobs

  • provide a detailed estimate and contract before starting work

  • offer a clear timeline of the work

What other projects should I do at the same time?

Ceiling repairs provide an excellent opportunity to check in on the soundness of any related home elements such as your HVAC system, plumbing, and even the design of your ceiling. 

From a decorative standpoint, you can also consider adding a fresh coat of paint to the whole room, installing a lighting fixture, or sprucing up the space with crown molding.

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