Texturing Walls

Most renovation projects or new construction utilize gypsum wallboard as the preferred choice for finishing interior walls. Once wallboard has been installed and joints taped and sanded, walls can be paneled, painted, wallpapered, or textured. For walls that will be textured, texture is applied before adding a coat of primer and paint.

Texturing not only adds character to the wall. It also efficiently covers any flaws or imperfections in the joint taping work. Since “perfect” wallboard joint taping is more likely achieved by a professional drywaller, DIY homeowners who undertake a wallboard project are more likely to add texture to their walls.

The Two Most Popular Types of Texturing

One of the most common types of wall texturing is “orange peel;” also known as “eggshell” or “splatter.” Small splatters of thinned drywall compound are sprayed onto the wall; the finished result is a roughened texture much like the outer peel of an orange.

Another type of texturing that is popular is called “knock-down,” also known as “skip trowel.” This is accomplished by spraying spatters of thinned drywall compound onto the wall. After it has started to set up, it is gently smoothed using a 12-inch drywall knife or trowel to flatten the tops of larger spatters. Small-sized spatters produce small, flat, smooth areas within the texture; large sized spatters produce larger, flattened areas within the texture.

Both orange peel and knock-down finishes require a spray applicator to apply splatters of thinned drywall compound to the wall. There are various types available for purchase or rent, including those that use compressed air to spray the compound. Other types of applicators use electric pumps.

Each application device incorporates a hopper into which thinned drywall compound is placed. Some use larger hoppers that sit on the floor and feed the solution to a hand-held trigger sprayer. Others use smaller hoppers attached to the spray gun itself.

Other Texturing Techniques

Another texturing technique is known as “slapbrush/knockdown;” sometimes also referred to as “palm texture” or “tiger skin texture.” This technique employs the use of different types of special texture brushes; round, square, single, or double-headed – each creating a different effect.

With the exception of popcorn ceiling texturing, most texturing methods used for ceilings can also be used on walls; for instance, the stomp brush technique. Texturing compound is thinned to about the consistency of thick paint, and then applied using a long-nap paint roller on an extension handle.

The applied mixture is then textured by gently tamping it with a “stomp brush.” It is important to work quickly before the compound begins to set. When using a stomp brush, you must rotate it after each stroke to avoid a repeating pattern from occurring.

With the use of bull-nose corner bead that produces rounded corner edges, a rustic “old-world” effect can be achieved by using a trowel to apply a thick coat of drywall compound. Start at one end of a wall, and then finish with a series of half circles that overlap down the wall.

Another texture can be obtained by applying a lump of compound and then tapering it down to the surface. Repeat the process, over-lapping and working subsequent applications in the same direction, as you work your way down the wall.

When you use drywall compound to add texture to a wall, use your imagination to produce different effects. The key is achieving a consistent finish throughout the project with whatever texture you develop.

Once texturing has dried completely, apply a primer coat. Follow by at least 2 coats of paint in the color and type preferred; egg shell, semi-gloss, or gloss finishes are best choices for washable walls.

Besides those mentioned above, are other types of wall texturing techniques; including “sand swirl” and “Spanish knife.” Application of many types of texturing requires only a minimum amount of practice to develop the technique adequately. The main requirement is that application be consistent throughout the entire area being textured.

Note: spray-on texturing is messy business; all surfaces not being textured should be covered with plastic sheeting and masked off. Entryways leading into other areas of the house closed off.

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