Wall textures are a wonderful way to add some charming character to your decor and hide imperfections in your drywall, all while being a fairly inexpensive way to quickly and easily jazz up your space. Oftentimes wall textures get a bad rap from stories about how people struggled with a popcorn ceiling or how popcorn walls are notoriously difficult to keep up. But the truth is that not all wall textures are created equal.
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When it comes to wall textures, knowing the different techniques can be immensely helpful when trying to design your own space. These textures, while all have similarities, are applied with different techniques that result in different patterns:
- Orange Peel
- Skip Trowel
- Sand Swirl
Understanding how textures are created will help you when you're trying to decide which option to select for your home. Below are more details about the equipment, installation, and costs of the different kinds of wall textures. So be sure to keep reading.
What Equipment Will You Need?
As we discuss each of these types of wall texturing techniques, you'll find that many of them require a very similar process to install and create. With this similar process comes a large overlap in the tools that are used. Before we get into explaining what each of these wall texture types looks like and how to do them, let us first discuss what tools will be needed.
A hopper gun is a texture tool that is connected to an air compressor. The compressor will push the mud compound through the nozzle of the gun and onto the drywall surface that you are texturing.
All-Purpose Joint Compound
You'll need some kind of mud compound. It is generally recommended to use an all-purpose joint compound. You can purchase this pre-mixed or you can choose to mix it yourself. Either way, you'll want to be sure that you can thin it out, as most of the texture techniques require this mud compound to be fairly thin.
You'll need to be able to assemble your hopper gun with an air compressor to apply some of the above techniques, such as orange peel, popcorn, and splatter knockdown.
For the sand swirl, rosebud, stomp knockdown, and skip trowel knockdown textures, you do not need a hopper gun or an air compressor. Instead, you'll need a paint roller to apply the thinned out mud to the wall.
You may consider also getting a 5-gallon bucket to use when you mix water into the mud to thin out the consistency.
Types Of Wall Textures
Popcorn texture grew in popularity from the 1930s when the concept was introduced. If you’ve ever lived in a home that was built anywhere between the 1970s and the 1990s, you’re probably familiar with this style. This texture provides such excellent noise absorption that it was often referred to as an “acoustic” texture.
This style texture became popular because it was a quick, easy, and very inexpensive way to cover drywall seams and other imperfections. You'll recognize this texture easily by the peaks in the drywall mud that create a very "popcorn" looking texture.
While popcorn texture is easy to install, it can be difficult to remove. This is where a lot of the bad rap surrounding textured walls come from. Keep this in mind when making a decision about popcorn wall texture.
To create this texture, there is not much prep work involved, but the surface needs to be cleaned and primed. Popcorn mixture is bought as a dry mix and mixed with water. Once mixed, it is applied to the surface by way of a hopper gun that is powered by an air compressor. This provides the best coverage for the surface.
You will need to use more than one coat if you want the traditional popcorn texture. You should apply these in very thin layers, noting that adding more layers will give you the desired look but will not create a thick layer of popcorn coating. When applying more than 1 layer, be sure to allow each layer to dry for 24 hours.
Broken down by square foot, popcorn texture mixture costs around $.19 to install yourself.
2. Orange Peel
Orange peel texture could be called a sibling of popcorn wall texture. They look very similar, but the texture differs greatly. While you may remember bumping your hand into the wall as you walk by and scratching yourself across popcorn walls, orange peel walls are not sharp and won't scratch you. Orange peel walls will look similar from a distance, and even though you can feel the texture upon touching it, it is much smoother.
Orange peel texture is very easy to install. You’ll need an orange peel texture mixture and a hopper spray gun powered by an air compressor.
You will spray the texture mud into the drywall by using the hopper gun. As you spray, these mud droplets form and land on the wall. Through the process, these droplets merge and form a thin layer of mud.
You’ll find that the orange peel texture really becomes visible as the mixture dries. It is important to note that you need to be spraying this texture in a very consistent fashion. Ensuring that the mixture is applied to the wall consistently is the only way to ensure it will dry properly.
Broken down by square foot, orange peel texture mixture costs around $.13 to install yourself.
Upon first glance, knockdown can appear very similar to orange peel. In fact, the two are often confused. Knockdown texture is achieved by spraying, troweling, or rolling drywall compound onto the surface to achieve small little peaks. These little peaks are then flattened with a knockdown knife. The result is a naturalistic texture that adds amazing dimensions, hides imperfections, and helps to insulate from sounds.
A few wonderful bonuses with knockdown is how easy it is to install and how many different ways you can install it. Knockdown has three primary styles of texture. These are called splatter, stomp, and skip trowel. Each of these has its own finished look; therefore, the installation process is a bit different with each one.
You’ll find that splatter knockdown is the texture most think of when they think of knockdown. It is by far the most popular knockdown texture. Some say it looks a lot like Spanish Lace.
To achieve this texture you would first spray the surface with your mud-loaded hopper gun. When the mud lands on the wall, peaks will form. You will go over it and flatten each of them with a knockdown knife. The concept is to create a slightly raised texture to cover no more than 40% of the surface.
For stomp knockdown, you'll use a paint roller covered with very thin drywall mud and carefully and consistently roll the drywall mud onto the surface you wish to texturize. Once you've evenly covered your surface with a thin layer of mud, you will take a stiff-bristled crow's foot brush and stomp the brush into the wet mud. The pattern is then flattened with a knockdown knife.
In this pattern, you'll want approximately 60% of your wall covered in the pattern.
Skip Trowel Knockdown
With skip trowel knockdown, you'll notice a flatter, subtler look than the two previously mentioned. For this, you will need an 18-inch or wider curved-blade drywall trowel and your drywall mud mixture.
Apply the drywall mud using the drywall trowel, and then skim the same area again with a clean trowel. Due to the curved angle of the trowel, you’ll find that this method will create a smooth and elegant pattern where the mud is thicker in some areas than in others.
Broken down by square foot, the knockdown texture mixture costs around $.26 to install yourself.
4. Sand Swirl
Sand swirl texture is the creation of a half-circle swirl pattern across the surface with a drywall mud compound. You can create this look using a toothed trowel (aka comb) or a stiff-bristled brush. Sand swirl texture creates a very nice design that is aesthetically pleasing and creates dimension. It is not as good as the other textures at hiding imperfections in the drywall.
For this reason, preparation before applying this texture is vital. You will want to make sure that the drywall is smooth by lightly sanding it, making sure to focus on rough blemishes. Once the wall is smooth, remove the dust from sanding by cleaning the walls.
Once you’ve prepared the surface, mix your drywall mud. It needs to be much thinner than any other mud used in drywall. The consistency will vary, but the thinner the mud, the smoother the finished surface will be.
After your mud is layered thinly on the surface, you can create the swirl pattern. It is important to plan for your pattern before you begin creating it because you need to be sure that no bare spots remain once you’ve finished. It is also important to know what direction and the distance of the swirls you’re going to apply so that your pattern distribution is even.
Once the mud dries, you can paint it whichever color you prefer. It is advised to use a good quality paint primer before applying colored paint.
Using this same technique, some would use a brush to achieve a softer look, while others would use a toothed trowel for a more dramatic look.
Sand swirl is a bit more pricy than some of the other options. This texture will range in cost per square foot from $1.00 to $2.50.
Rosebud texture also does wonders when it comes to hiding imperfections on the surface of the drywall. This technique is achieved by following the same steps as above in the sand swirl method, but instead of using a toothed trowel or a standard bristled brush, you would use a Rosebud stomp brush instead.
With this style of stomp, you will want to ensure that your mud is of extremely thin consistency. Remember that the thinner the mud, the softer the finish will be when it's dry. Thicker mud will remain stiffer. When the peaks from the pattern dry, they will feel sharp. Thinner mud will prevent this from happening.
It is also important to note that since the mud is so thin, it will dry quicker than some of the other techniques. Since this is the case, you will want to work in smaller 6 to 8-foot sections. Working in small sections will allow you enough time so the mud doesn't dry between applying it to the surface and stomping your rosebud brush pattern.
Rosebud texture will cost around $1.00 to $2.50 per square foot to install.
Wall textures can be a great way to hide drywall imperfections, add elegance, or create an artsy feel by adding dimension. Wall textures are known for their durability and long lifespan, making them an easy and affordable option. Adding a texture throughout your home can warm it up and add a little jazz to a space that might need just a little something extra.
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