I am having the popcorn ceilings abated (due to asbestos) in the house we just bought and now am in the process of hiring a drywall contractor to do 1-2 skim coats, retexture (to knockdown) and paint them following the removal.

I anticipated approx 5-6 days for this part of the project, but the contractor came back saying it would take him 12 days! He said something about allowing for proper drying time for each application.

The ceilings are 8', uncomplicated (3bd, 1 hallway, large open livingroom) with single ceiling light in each room and we just want standard flat white ceiling paint throughout.

Am I that far off in my 5-6 day expectation? Is this contractor either ridiculously slow or maybe inflating his timeline to avoid getting the job?

1 Answer 1


I just had to do this on a house a couple of years ago (1600 sq ft) that had textured ceiling that was impossible to match and had the entire first floor skim coated.

The "abatement" of the popcorn ceiling should just take one day max. That is given you got your crap out of the house and you aren't the barrier. But this is a fast process and making it slower is actually probably causing more of an issue with dust. They could maybe say it takes another day to fully clean it up - this just depends on the size of the crew they send out.

Skim coating... I had two guys on my crew skim coat the whole ceiling in one day (5 hours) - so 10 man hours. Normally when you remove popcorn the ceiling is very flat with maybe so slight ridges. Mine was very sandy and had issues in certain places. Mine was harder.

It being a skim coat, it dries quick. They should be able to sand it in two days. So given a small crew you have day 1 popcorn, day 2 clean up, day 3 skim, day 4 waiting, day 5 sanding and cleaning.

Just FYI I paid my guys $1000 + materials and they primed the ceiling. They used 2 hour quickset mud. They started at 7AM and left at 6 PM - sanded and cleaned. Day 2 they painted until about 2 PM. So little over 1.5 days for 2 guys. (note it would take me a week to skim coat a ceiling that size and would look like a kindergartener did it. there is a massive skill/art to skim coating)

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    Just to be clear, your five days don’t include retexture - dry - prime - paint - paint. (And not everyone is heroic enough to use hot mud.) 12 days isn’t outlandish, but maybe the OP wants to get another quote or two. Commented May 1 at 19:10
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    I think 12 days is a bit extreme, but 5 or 6 days is maybe optimistic . If I ws doing the job I would ask for 8 to 10 days to do it properly. Remember haste makes waste...and sometimes poor results.
    – RMDman
    Commented May 2 at 0:43
  • So sounds like 8-10 with the retexturing involved is more what we should anticipate. We are getting a 2nd quote today. Thanks for the input everyone! Commented May 2 at 15:21
  • @AloysiusDefenestrate - retexture??? We stopped doing that 20 years ago. We leave ceilings alone or if we redo them we make the ceilings "flat".
    – DMoore
    Commented May 2 at 18:24
  • @DMoore — I don’t judge. The OP said retexture. Unless the client is Ye, they get what they want. Commented May 2 at 20:56

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