You might not be aware of this, but stucco (or popcorn) ceilings are a big time and money saver for home-builders.
Why is this?
Well, for one thing, when a development of 50 homes is going up, things need to move quickly, and costs need to be cut wherever possible. One way that a builder saves time and money on a per home basis is by having the ceilings in most living areas (usually not including kitchens or bathrooms) quickly sprayed with a stucco finish which is done by machine.
This machine finish is fast: one worker can quickly finish multiple rooms in a home that would otherwise take much longer to complete if the specifications for the house called for a smooth finish.
You may not have thought about it, but it does make sense: Many man hours go into finishing ceilings, with multiple coats of compound and then a sanding. This also includes drying time between coats. By simply applying a popcorn textured finish to interior ceilings, this time and material cost is significantly reduced.
It is also much easier to hide imperfections with popcorn ceilings. In a new home with uneven or wavy looking ceilings, a popcorn finish will do a much better job of hiding these imperfections. Additional time would be needed for a drywall finisher to create a smooth finish; this might mean another full coat to hide any wavy areas or imperfect seams.
If you are thinking about renovating, you should consider scraping your popcorn ceilings and going with a smooth finish. Not only does a smooth finish increase the value of your home (this is a premium option), but it also gives the type of clean and modern look that would perfectly match your new tile or hardwood installation. If you currently live in a home with popcorn ceilings, you'd be quite surprised at how much better a living or dining room could look with a properly skim coated ceiling. We are currently working on a remodeling project where the entire main floor living area is being scraped and skim coated, and the homeowner is absolutely ecstatic about having smooth ceilings on the main floor!