Ceilings - Texturing

One of the final steps in any remodeling or renovation project is finishing the walls and ceiling. Gypsum wallboard, also called drywall, plasterboard, and sheetrock, is the most popular choice for walls and ceilings; it can be painted, textured, or wallpapered.

While walls commonly are textured and painted, or just primed and painted, ceilings almost always are textured. The reason ceilings are not left smooth is because ending up with a perfectly smooth finish is very difficult. In addition, ceilings reflect light in such a manner that every little variation of a smooth surface would stand out like a sore thumb.

Completely skimming a drywall surface is something that professional drywall contractors do to make sure a whole wall or ceiling is perfectly smooth. Even when skimmed by a professional, some variations can still stand out on a ceiling. Consequently, even most professionals add texturing to a ceiling. This not only covers any flaws or surface unevenness, but adds character to the surface.

Types of Texturing

Ceiling texturing is available in several application methods. Popcorn texturing is a mixture of granular particles available in several forms. An aerosol form of granules suspended in a semi-liquid base can be applied by hand-spraying onto the ceiling surface. Popcorn texturing can also be achieved by adding dry granules to latex paint; the resulting mixture is applied by rolling it onto the surface with a paint roller.

Note: this type of ceiling texture is not as durable as other forms. The granules come off when touched, or when applying subsequent coats of paint; resulting in a messy floor.

The best type of texturing for a ceiling is made from drywall compound, slightly thinned with water. When rolling texturing compound on a ceiling, thin it to about the consistency of thick paint. Apply it using a long-nap paint roller on an extension handle.

Once applied, the thinned mixture can be textured by making circular swirl patterns using a trowel; or by gently tamping it with a “stomp brush.” With either of these methods, it is important to work quickly before the compound begins to set. When using a stomp brush, be sure to rotate it after each stroke to avoid a repeating pattern from occurring.

Another way to add this type texture is to use a spray applicator to spray the thinned down drywall compound through a spray nozzle onto the surface being textured. The compound is placed in hopper; the spray nozzle can be adjusted for a variety of fine to course textures.

One popular variation of this texturing method is to gently smooth over the finish once it has partially set with a smooth trowel or wide drywall knife. The resulting texture is called a “knock down” finish.

While any of these methods can be achieved without a high level of skill and expertise, it usually is necessary to practice on pieces of scrap drywall to insure a uniform finish when doing the actual work.

Once the texture has dried, paint with one or more coats of your choice of color and finish interior paint. Note: flat finish paint is not washable. But egg shell, semi-gloss, and gloss finish paints are. Multiple coats will further enhance durability and wash-ability of your new textured ceiling.

Working with thinned drywall compound can be messy business. Especially when sprayed onto a surface. Items in the room which cannot be easily cleaned, or that can become permanently stained by the compound should be removed, or completely covered, or masked off. To clean the compound off floor surfaces, let it set and then scrape it off with a floor scraper; a hoe-like tool.

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