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6 Styles and Methods for Texturing Walls

Textured walls can enhance any interior aesthetic in your home. Learn about the different types of wall texture to help you choose the right look for your next DIY project.

  1. Comb texture: One of the simpler techniques of texturing is comb texture. You apply the drywall compound with a roller to the wall surface and then finish it with the “teeth'' end of a notched trowel. The trowel can have either evenly spaced or unevenly spaced teeth, depending on what pattern you prefer. The end product creates a visual effect of sweeping circular rainbow patterns.
  2. Knockdown texture: The knockdown texture technique is almost identical to the orange peel method, but with one final step. Before the drywall mud has dried and hardened, you use a drywall knife or putty knife to smooth out the orange peel peaks until you achieve a stucco-like finish.
  3. Orange peel texture: Similar to a popcorn texture, the orange peel texture uses a texture sprayer to create a consistent, bumpy finish to your orange peel wall. Mix the joint compound until you have a thin, pancake batter consistency, with the resulting bumps being somewhat smooth.
  4. Popcorn texture: Popular in 1970s-constructed living rooms and dining rooms, popcorn texturing is one of the most useful methods for covering imperfections and dampening sound between rooms or floors. The technique requires a hopper gun, air compressor, and the popcorn mixture itself, which you mix with water. If you plan to create a popcorn ceiling, be sure to cover your floors and walls because this method can get messy. The resulting look should slightly resemble an even, thin layer of cottage cheese.
  5. Sand swirl texture: The pattern of the sand swirl technique creates concentric overlapping swirls, similar to those resulting from a combing technique. However, the tools and materials for a sand swirl texture create a much more subtle and understated texture. Sand swirl uses a primer and a sand mixture called perlite that you apply using a paint tray and a paintbrush.
  6. Slap brush texture: You typically apply a slap brush texture in small sections, using a paint roller, a thinly mixed drywall compound, and a double crow’s feet texture brush. The slap brush method uses the crow’s foot brush to splatter the wet mud in random and haphazard patterns. After twenty-four hours, the texture wall should be ready for priming and painting.

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4. Knockdown

The knockdown technique creates a unique, rustic pattern, akin to stucco. Knockdown can be achieved by adding a step to the orange peel technique: After applying an orange peel texture to the walls, flatten the peaks and bumps that form in the drywall compound using an 18-inch or wider knockdown knife. Smaller rooms will likely require a wait period of about 10 to 15 minutes after spraying before the peaks can begin to be flattened, while a larger room can probably be started as soon as you are finished spraying. Just be sure to begin flattening in the same area that you began spraying. Be careful with timing! If you begin flattening the drywall compound too early, the knockdown knife will leave lines from the edges of the knife. If you see this happening, stop and wait another five or 10 minutes, then begin again. After flattening all the peaks in the orange peel texture, the wall can then be left to dry overnight before priming and painting.

Photo: istockphoto.com

Tools Materials for Texturing

Texturing drywall can be a very quick and easy process as long as you have the proper tools and materials. You might have most of the following items—if not, they are available at Freedom Materials or at your local building hardware store. Make sure you have the following when texturing drywall:

  • Drop cloths and plastic sheeting;
  • Drywall knife and trowel;
  • Drill and paint mixer attachment;
  • Paint, paint brush, and paint tray;
  • Paint roller and cover;
  • Painter’s tape and sponge;
  • Drill and paint mixer attachment; and
  • Drywall compound and drywall primer.

Having all the right tools and materials for your texturing job is crucial to ensure that your texturing project is a success. Once you have all the necessary tools, you can decide how you want to texture your walls.

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Texturing a Wall With Texture Machine vs Roller

Professional painters create wall and ceiling textures with an electric texture sprayer. These tools allow the user to pour texturing compound into a hopper, and the machine introduces water and air to the mix.

At between one to three gallons per minute, the machine sprays texture onto the surfaces. The sprayed texture goes on rapidly and dries quickly.

Do-it-yourselfers rarely have the benefit of using a $2,000+ electric texture sprayer. An ordinary paint roller fitted onto a roller cage is an effective, low-cost alternative.

Application is far slower than with the electric sprayer but it's easier to control. Knock-down and orange peel effects can be achieved with the paint roller method, just like with the electric texturizer.

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Tip

Wall texture effects can vary depending on how the material is applied and rolled. Practice the technique on scraps of drywall or even sheets of cardboard before moving to your walls and ceilings. Practice with both thin coats and heavy coats. Try different drying times between coats.

The Spruce / Margot Cavin

Featured Video

Multi-Colored Lace Drywall Texture

Applying lace drywall texture with two different colors creates a dramatic visual effect.

First, a layer of drywall mud or paint is laid down on the ceiling or wall. If drywall mud is used, it should either be painted or mixed with a color (you can’t paint it after the next step!). Once that layer is dry, a second coat is put up, either with a spray or specialty thick-nap roller. This second coat should be a different color than the first coat. A quick pass with a knockdown knife, and the end result is two layers of texture, each with their own color. Here are our best tips for choosing paint colors for your home’s interior.

Comb Drywall Texture

A comb texture is applied with a toothed trowel, that creates a series of grooves in the wall or ceiling. Frequently laid on in half fans, the combing pattern has a planned appearance while still being relatively simple to replicate in the case of needed repairs.

As with many of these drywall texture types, the application may be simple or intricate. In either case, it’s a great way to bring character to any room, or simply hide a hideous ceiling!

Wall Prep

  1. New drywall should be taped and sanded smooth. Texturing helps hide taping discrepancies, but it won’t erase them completely, so the wall should be as smooth as you can get it. If old and new textures will meet in the middle of a wall, soften the transition by sanding away some of the old texture, if possible. Sanding, however, can be difficult if the old texture has a layer or two of paint.

Drywall Mud Stomp-Knockdown Pattern

What You’ll Need

What You’ll Need

  • Foot stomp brush
  • Trowel or wide putty knife
  • Joint taping compound
  • Knife or paint scraper

What To Do

  1. Use the trowel to spread the mixture onto the wall.
  2. Smack the foot stomp brush into the wall continuously, making a pattern across the desired space.
  3. Use a knife or paint scraper to eliminate any unwanted points, creating a smoother surface. Keep the putty knife at a 15-degree angle and avoid exerting too much pressure. That will help make sure you do not smooth out the finish too much.
  4. Apply the compound lightly in the corners and around edges. In this case, less is better.

6. Slap Brush

The slap brush texture creates a random pattern of thin lines on your walls that add an eccentric flair to any room. This type of wall texture is a great choice if you aren’t confident with a spray gun. All that is needed for this technique is a roller, a double crows foot drywall texture brush (also known as a slap brush, available on Amazon), and drywall compound. Mix your compound with water until it reaches a thick paint consistency, then apply it evenly to the wall using your roller. Complete two 5-foot-wide sections before picking up the slap brush. Apply drywall compound to each side of the slap brush in a thin coating, and then begin slapping the first section of the wall with the brush. There shouldn’t be any specific pattern to the texture, so have fun with it and mix it up by twisting the angle of the slap brush in the air between slaps. Once the first section is complete, roll the next 5-foot area of the wall, then apply the slap brushing to that section. Repeat this process until you have completed the room. After 24 hours of drying, you can prime and paint the room.

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Photo: istockphoto.com

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Make the texture compound

Once the primer is completely dry, you can mix the texture material. The compound is simple and inexpensive to DIY. In the 5-gallon bucket, combine four parts drywall compound with one part water. Use your drill with the paint mixer attachment to thoroughly mix the combo. The mixture should have the consistency of a thick pancake batter and should be smooth and easy to apply. You can also buy premade texture paint if you don’t want to make your own. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and stir the paint thoroughly before applying it to the wall.

Mixing and Filling the Hopper

Orange peel is a “splatter” type texture that involves spraying plaster in a pattern over your readied walls. This means that you’re going to need a gun and air compressor to get a good spray going. Technically, you can do it by hand, too, but this method is best left to the pros.

If you don’t just have a hopper gun and air compressor lying around next to the cereal bowls, don’t worry. You can rent one from a home repair store, or if you feel like it, you can purchase one for a couple hundred bucks. Just make sure that the hopper gun you get has an air adjustable valve. Also, you don’t have to go crazy with your air compressor size—a smallish one will do the job, as long as it can manage about 100 pounds of pressure.

Your next step is to get mixing! About one bucket of mud per room is the ratio here—mix it up using a drill with a paddle attachment or a mud masher until it’s about the consistency of pancake batter.

Fill your hopper up about half to three-quarters of the way full, and set the nozzle on your air compressor to 100 pounds. Take a deep breath. You’re ready to get shooting.

Skimming

  1. When you just can’t re-create the old texture, you can skim coat the existing wall, and then apply new texture over the old and new walls. Skimming involves rolling a light coat of thinned drywall compound over the old texture and using a large trowel to smooth it. Once the compound dries, the wall is sanded and an additional coat is applied if necessary. New texture is then applied over both walls.

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