How to build a house » Ceilings » How to Texture a Ceiling with 4 Techniques | Bob Vila

How to Texture a Ceiling with 4 Techniques | Bob Vila

Discover unlimited ways to enhance a wall and ceiling with texture. Texturing walls is an easy DIY project that can be done using wall texture paint by mixing.

How to Do a Knockdown Texture in 3 Easy Steps

Drywall compound, commonly referred to as mud, textures ceilings in a wide variety of patterns. These patterns add character and interest to your room and break up the monotony of a flat ceiling. As an added benefit, textures conceal imperfections, stains and repaired areas. Each texture has a name, such as slap brush, knock down, swirl, popcorn and orange peel. Create each of these textures using simple tools, some you might already have around your home.

  1. Cover the walls, floor and any furnishings in the room with plastic sheeting. During the application of drywall mud you can drop and splash small amounts. These are difficult to remove from fabric and may damage furniture. Use masking tape to hold the sheeting in place.

  2. Put on a dust mask. It is also best to wear old clothes, as the drips can also get on you. Clean the surface with a broom.

  3. Brush on a layer of primer make the perimeter of the ceiling. Then roll the remainder of the ceiling with a paint roller. Leave the primer to dry as directed by the manufacturer.

  4. Fit an electric drill with a paddle mixer attachment. Mix the joint compound until smooth. Once well mixed, the compound resembles pancake batter.

  5. Lift a dollop of compound with the 5-inch drywall knife. Make sure there is no compound on the edges of the knife. Drag the compound along the butt joints. Rake the extra compound off the knife and then smooth over the joints again.

  6. Center the tape over the ceiling of the butt joint and use the drywall knife to smooth it into the compound. As small bits of compound ooze out from behind the tape, you drag them over top of the tape, leaving a thin layer that seals the tape down.

  7. Load up an 8-inch drywall knife with compound and smooth it over top of the tape joints. Keep the ends of the knife compound free. Continue patching joints in the ceiling in this manner until all joints are covered. For tapered joints, press the tape into the joint with your finger before applying more compound over top.

  8. Dip your paint roller into the drywall mud. Shake off the excess and then drag the roller across the side of the bucket. Roll the mud onto a small section of the ceiling.

  9. Texture the compound using one the following techniques. Textured a flat trowel loosely with a plastic bag. Press the plastic bag to the mud randomly. Press a slap brush up against the texture. Stipple the area with a paintbrush. Drag a trowel through the mud in a cross-hatched pattern, leaving noticeable grooves wherever you drag it. Drag a swirl brush in a half how pattern to create a swirl pattern. Slightly overlap the edges with the next swirl to continue the pattern.

  10. Leave the ceiling texture to cure for 24 hours. Paint as desired. Remove the plastic sheeting and masking tape from the surfaces in the room.

  11. Things You Will Need

    • Plastic sheeting

    • Masking tape

    • Dust mask

    • Primer

    • Paint roller

    • Electric drill

    • Paddle mixer

    • Drywall knives, 5 and 8 inches

    • Paper drywall tape

    • Flat trowel

    • Plastic bag

    • Slap brush

    • Paintbrush

    • Swirl brush


Textured Ceiling Painting Tips

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How to Apply Mud for a Textured Ceiling

Photo: Zillow Digs home in Sterling, VA

It all too easy to slap a coat of white paint on your ceiling and consider it done. But to really pull a room together, it ought to be stylishly topped off—and putting a textured effect on the ceiling is a great way to add impact to your décor. Another plus? Textured ceilings perfectly camouflage imperfections like cracks or evidence of water damage.

There are a variety of techniques you can employ to create your texture of choice (way beyond the “popcorn” look popular in the 1970s). All it takes is a mixture of paint and drywall mud—and a little ingenuity. Ahead, a simple step-by-step guide for how to texture your ceiling, your way, without sending your budget through the roof.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
– Drop cloths
– Lightweight plastic sheeting
– Painter’s tape
– Ladder
– Paint primer
– Premixed textured paint
– Wall paint
– Drywall mud
– Paintbrush
– Extended paint roller
– Textured paint roller
– Paint roller tray
– Sponge
– Wide compound knife
– Trowel
– Drywall texture sprayer
– Drywall texturing combs


STEP 1: Cover up anything you don’t want drywall mud to splatter or drip on.

Since you’ll be working against gravity, you’ll want to protect your furniture, floors, and fixtures from splatters. Empty the room as much as possible, which will also give you space to move around. Cover remaining pieces of furniture and the entire floor with drop cloths. Next, take off any faceplates, vent covers, ceiling fans, and/or light fixtures. Finally, apply painter’s tape around the edges of the ceiling, right where it meets the wall, being careful to keep it stick-straight all the way across.

STEP 2: Prime before you texture the ceiling.

You might think that because textured paint is part drywall mud it will adhere to any surface, but for a quality job, you still want to prime first. This step will make application easier and give lasting results.

Choose a paint primer close to the color you’ll be using to texture your ceiling—a dark primer for dark paint and a light primer for light paint. Cover the entire surface in a thin, consistent layer and let dry fully (consult the can’s drying time guidelines) before moving on.

STEP 3: Start with pre-mixed textured paint, or combine paint with drywall mud.

Prep your product. If you’re looking for a subtle ceiling, you’ll get good results with pre-mixed textured paint. But if you’re aiming for more depth or special effects, mix your own by combining paint with drywall mud. The standard rule of thumb is one part drywall mud to 10 parts paint. Pour paint into a bucket, add drywall mud, and blend, aiming for the consistency of pancake or biscuit batter. Depending on the look you’re going for, you might want a somewhat thicker consistency. Do a small batch first to practice getting it just right.

STEP 4: Apply texture to the ceiling with one of four techniques.

It’s always wise to start in the least noticeable textured of the ceiling when applying the texture—perhaps the darkest corner of the room, or the edge of the ceiling closest to the door. Position your ladder there and make sure you can work from a reasonable angle without arching backward. The exact technique (and subsequent tools you’ll need) depends on your desired effect.

  • For a subtle finish: Apply pre-mixed textured product as you would typically put on paint. Cut in at how edges first with a paintbrush. Then use an extended roller and paint tray, taking care to bring your roller as close to the edges as possible. To amp the look slightly, use a specialty roller with a texture of its own. Don’t be afraid to experiment; after all, if you don’t like the initial result, you can always switch gears and apply another coat.
  • For a stucco finish: To mimic the look of stucco, you’ll need a damp sponge or cloth as well as a wide compound knife or, if you’ve chosen a thicker-than-average consistency for aesthetic reasons, a trowel. Working on one small section at a make, apply the mixture to the ceiling, and then dab a damp sponge or cloth into your work in a repetitive motion to create the texture you desire. Repeat this process around the room, one section at a time, being careful not to let the pattern become too uniform.
  • For a popcorn finish: If you like this retro look, you’ll need to buy or rent a drywall texture sprayer. Purchase enough lightweight plastic sheeting to protect your walls from flying particles, securing it to the perimeter of the room with painter’s tape and covering the walls like a floor-length curtain all the way around. Before spraying, choose the nozzle and air pressure setting that matches your desired result, and then follow its instructions as you move the sprayer across the ceiling. Again, allow your application to look as random as possible rather than aiming for a perfect pattern.
  • For an artistic finish: Truly advanced DIYers may wish to add extra character by creating a Victorian style rose medallion around a central lighting fixture or ceiling fan. This dramatic effect is achieved by using drywall mud and an array of texturing combs (two or three should do the trick, anywhere from 3 to 10 inches in length apiece). Working in concentric circles, you’ll use the combs to apply drywall mud (without paint) in thick, even, decorative stripes to mimic the look of plaster. When completely dry, you’ll paint the entire ceiling. Just keep in mind that this project will require a steady hand and a solid sense of design, so study up on the process before giving it a shot.

Whichever technique you choose, the end result will lend extra punch to your space’s style. The array of colors and effects is endless, so have fun and aim for a look that captures the personality of the room and those who live in it.


How to Texture Drywall – Popcorn Ceiling – Drywall Repair

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How to Texture Ceilings With a Roller


The method

When scraping popcorn ceilings, you’ll want to use a 4-inch utility knife or a drywall knife to how away at the make and create a smooth surface. You’ll probably need to skim it with a thin layer of joint compound to smooth out imperfections, then sand it smooth before repainting.

Why do it?
This is by far the most common method of popcorn ceiling removal. Scraping your ceiling is a messy and slow process, but it’s the most cost-effective and can be completed by one person. However, popcorn finishes and paint applied before 1979 often contained asbestos and lead, respectively, which could be toxic if sent airborne. If you live in an older home, purchase a home test for lead paint, and consult with an expert about testing for asbestos. If it tests positive, do textured scrape it.

If your ceilings are not at risk for asbestos or lead paint, but they have been painted, it may be near impossible to scrape them, since the porous popcorn material will have soaked it up. Drywalling over them may be a better option.

Pro tip
A lot of people spray their ceilings with water before scraping to loosen them up, but Poellinger doesn’t recommend it. “Not only will it be a sloppy mess, but it will absorb into the ceiling and make it heavy; then it could ceiling to expand and crack. It’s more time-consuming, but it’s best to scrape it dry.”


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