A Wall Texture Primer

Wall texture has never gotten the attention it deserves. Sure, it may not be as sexy and glamorous as architectural elements or furnishings, but it definitely plays an important role in the interior of your home. Texture does more than simply conceal drywall. Interior wall texture serves as a stable base for paint and creates the first layer of interior design.

It can even evoke a certain mood—like the feeling you get just by gazing at the walls of a time worn Tuscan villa. Dreamy, right? So what are you waiting for? It's high time you get acquainted a few of the most common wall texture techniques. Just be aware that mastering them requires mad DIY skills, the proper equipment and LOTS of practice!

Perfect Smooth Coat
If you prefer the look of a classic wall rather than rough texture, consider using a smooth coat finish. Also known as skim coats, smooth coats even out a wall surface for wallpaper and cover unwanted textures. Leave this technique to the professionals—even minor mistakes will show up as major defects when the wall is painted or papered. This challenging technique entails applying several mirror-smooth layers of joint compound with a hand trowel, allowing each to dry and sanding between coats.

Popular Orange Peel
The orange peel technique takes little skill, however the right equipment is a necessity. This texture gives the appearance of small random bumps on the wall surface. Quick application time makes this a common interior wall texture technique. Achieve the effect using a texture hopper and thinned joint compound. The nozzle type and spray distance from the wall determine the texture size and pattern.

Traditional Knockdown
Knock down texture carries the orange peel effect one step further. Once the orange peel texture has partially dried, a wide drywall knife skims across the surface “knocking down” the raised bumps. This results in an attractive pattern that features an uneven texture and smooth surface in a single technique.

Regal Venetian Plaster
The dramatic look of Venetian plaster recreates the patina of walls in an Italian villa. This wall-coating paste produces an ultra smooth surface with intense color. The pigmented compound, applied with a knife or trowel, requires several coats to achieve its characteristic glossy, marble-like finish. Perfecting the Venetian plaster technique involves a great deal of talent, training and patience.

Retro Slap Brush
Considered a relative of knock down, the slap brush technique utilizes a drywall brush to produce a stipple effect. The application begins with thinned plaster or joint compound applied with a texture hopper or roller. Raised points are produced on the wet texture by firmly pressing the surface with a drywall or stippling brush. Also known as crow’s feet, and stomp drag, this interior wall texture technique can be achieved by the handy homeowner with a little practice.

Old World Trowel Finish
For a Spanish or Mediterranean feel, try a trowel finish technique. A trowel texture takes time, but the result will prove well worth the effort. Generously apply basic drywall compound with a trowel or drywall knife. Use broad, straight strokes or a sweeping half circle motion to create bands of raised texture. This interior wall texture technique mimics aged plaster or stucco with a simple wash of antiquing glaze.

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