Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How-To: Drywall Texturing

Textures add a great deal of interest to walls. The most important thing to remember about texturing is to be willing to experiment: there are many interesting and exciting ways to produce beautiful and unique textures for your walls.


Nap texture, which is done with a paint roller, is perhaps the easiest kind of texturing. Certainly, it requires the least amount of tools. Different types of rollers, of course, make different textures. A leather roller, for example, creates a unique look. Texture thickness varies, depending on nap thickness of the roller and paint thickness. Paint can be thickened by adding joint compound to it.
The illustrations show different nap textures. The big pattern in Figure 7-1 was made with a thick roller and thick joint compound. The patterns in Figure 7-2 were made with a fine nap roller and thin and medium joint compounds. The differences in texture are considerable.

Rolling on the joint compound creates a foundation for a series of textures.

Drywall Texturing

ceiling or wall joints absorbs moisture more quickly than drywall paper does. Therefore, this texture must be rolled on thick enough to prevent the drywall from showing through, and fast enough that it doesn’t start to dry in particularly absorbent areas. Beginners should apply a coat of white primer to the ceiling before starting these textures. It requires some skill to put these textures on properly without primer.

Make the joint compound thin enough that you can roll it on the ceiling, but not so thin that it falls off the roller. Pick an area about six feet by six feet at one end of the room as a starting place. Roll on the joint compound, no thicker than is absolutely needed. The thinner it is, the more attractive the texture will be. Roll in one direction, (say, north to south). Start at one end and then, with a second roller, full of joint compound, start at the opposite end. This way, you will distribute the thick areas from both ends. Do about six rows, and then start smoothing the joint compound across in the opposite direction (say, east to west). Don’t apply any more joint compound! Just smooth it across the opposite direction so it has a uniform thickness. (See Figure 7-3.)

Drywall Texturing

When rolling the six-foot-area square, overlap the first area so the texture can be cut in without showing. Be careful not to daub on a half-dw area because that would change the texture, and the difference would be noticeable. Be careful to get the joint compound the same thickness all over the ceiling because different thicknesses change the texture. See Figure 7-3 for roll-on technique. If an area is partially dry by the time you start daubing there, simply roll over it again to moisten it.

After rolling on the joint compound, you can make interesting patterns with a brush. (See Figure 7-4.) If you want rows, make them straight for a pleasing appearance It’s better to stagger the brush marks, making an irregular pattern, which, incidentally is easier to repair than a regular pattern. This texture will get a lot of joint compound on the walls, which can be remedied by a process called glazing. The process is simple- just cover the lower part of the top angle with joint compound and drag it off tight. This joint compound can also be lifted off with a knife, but this method will leave edges and will have to be sanded. Choose the method you find easier.

Drywall Texturing

After rolling the joint compound, you can make swirls with a brush. Swirls are made best with the roll-on method. Instead of daubing the brush on the drywall, just place the brush and twist. Remember, when doing swirls, they must be lined up in straight lines. Use a chalk line to guide you. You can also twist the joint compound and pull it out in tips. For bigger tips, use thinner joint compound and put it on thicker. Different textures can be made with a small whisk broom, a brush, or even a lid. Try using different objects on a scrap piece of drywall.

A small kitchen scrub brush was used for the swirls here in Figure 7-5. Keep the swirls in the first row all about the same size, and make the row straight. Use the first row as a guide to keep the other ones straight. Check each row against the first row, not the one you just did, because you will begin to swerve. Overlap each row by the same amount to assure continuity and a regular pattern.

The textures in Figure 7-6 was made after rolling on the joint compound smoothly. Notice the household objects in the illustration. The small scrub brush

Drywall Texturing

FIGURE 7-6 Using household objects for patterns
FIGURE 7-6 Using household objects for patterns.

was used to make the swirls. The lid was used in two ways: The flat side of the lid was pushed into the joint compound and pulled out, causing it to suck up some joint compound. The flower design in that texture was made with the underside of the lid. The glass was used to make design the left. Other effects can be achieved by pressing heavy woven materials against joint compound and taking it off, leaving an imprint. All kinds of objects can be used: sponges, paper, spatulas, screens and so on. Use your imagination, and create your own designs.


Acoustic-type textures can be rolled on with prepared mixes. These textures look better with a coat of primer underneath. You will need an air compressor and hopper. For spray textures shown in Figure 7-8 you will also need a roll of plastic to cover

General Applications Gypsum Wallboard. Surfaces, including joint-treated areas, must be smooth, clean and dry. When texturing is the finished surface, first apply a coat of good quality white alkyd flat oil paint or primer/sealer. Mask appropriate areas before spraying, and promptly remove over spray from unprotected surfaces afterward. Follow the instructions of the spray equipment manufacturer for adjusting controls and cleaning. If a second coat is desired, allow the first coat to dry completely Concrete. Allow concrete to cure for at least 28 days. Clip protruding wire ends and spot with rust-inhilnitive primer. Remove all forms of oil, grease and dirt, or any loose or water-soluable material, Grind down any form ridges and level any remaining unevenness with Gold Bond loint Compound, Apply a coat of alkali-resistant, white all<yd oil paint or primer over the entire surface to be textured.
FIGURE 7-8 (Courtesy Gold Bond and Wal-Board Tool Co.)

all your windows and doors. Cover any furniture or carpets because this texture sprays all over. A drywall knife will be needed to scrape the walls after the texture has been sprayed. A ten- or twelve-inch knife is best for this task. After you prepare the mix, fill the hopper about halfway and spray the ceiling. You must cover all the drywall.

You can make the mixture as thick as you want. However, don’t let it collect in globs that drip or run. Spray evenly and lightly, going back to make it thicker so it doesn’t run. Spray this texture in the same way that you would paint an area with spray paint. Don’t stay on one spot or even hesitate, or the texture will run. Experiment on a scrap piece of drywall for practice. If the texture is too thick, scrape it off with a knife and start over. After you complete one area, a helper can scrape the walls off. The texture comes off very easily.

Sparkle can be used on any texture. Put it on while the joint compound is still wet, and it will stick easily. You can buy a tool at the drywall supply to throw the sparkle evenly. It’s just like a seed thrower. You can throw the sparkle by hand, but it probably won’t be even. If the surface will need paint, put the sparkle on while the paint is wet, and it will stick well.

The stomp is an interesting texture. To create it, you will need a special tool. This tool I call the dobber can be made with scrap materials such as a round piece of wood, an old frying pan lid or anything round and about ten inches in diameter. In addition, you will need a one-by-one piece of wood about three feet long, or an old broom handle. You will also need a piece of insulation, carpet padding, or thin foam rubber to pad the dauber. Finally, you will need a plastic garbage bag and a piece of two- or three- inch tape about two feet long. Nail the pole onto the round
piece of wood, and cover it with your padding material. Cover that with plastic, pulling it down around the handle and taping it. This tool should fit into the bucket of joint compound you are using. (See Figure 7-9.)

You will also need to trowel the texture down smooth. To do this you can use a cement trowel or a ten- or twelve-inch knife. If you use a knife, bend each corner up a little so it won't cut into the joint compound.

There are tools you can buy to make the same texture, but they aren’t as effective. This texture can also be blown on with an air compressor and hopper, then troweled down flat, like the spray texture described (Figure 7-8 Wall Spray

Drywall Texturing

Stomp texture is good for accent walls. Paint a wall in an accent color and then texture over it, allowing the color to show through the pattern. Textured join compound can be colored to give a two-tone color. This type wall must be sealed

For a fine pattern, use the joint compound straight out of the bucket; just mix it so it comes out more evenly. For bigger patterns, add some water to thin the joint compound. The thicker the pattern, the thinner the joint compound should be. Thinner compound goes on in bigger globs and spreads out more when it is troweled. The stiffer the joint compound, the finer the texture. Put the dauber into the joint compound and apply it to the wall. The joint compound should cover the dauber in globs. If you want to, hit the wall in circles. Overlap them so you can’t see definite circles. Hit the joint compound once and the wall three times for the best results. Don’t try making circles out of a texture unless you mark off the ceiling and get all the lines straight. Continue to refer back to the starting line to keep the pattern the same. It’s easy for the pattern to change a bit as you move around the room.

After you have daubed an area for about ten minutes, you will need to check where you started, to see if it is ready to start troweling down. If one person starts daubing a room, that person needs to finish that room. A different person will daub a different pattern.

When the edges start looking white where they are drying, you need to stop daubing and trowel down. If you start troweling and the joint compound flattens out to the drywall, it is too wet. The trowel should float over the joint compound and knock down the high areas, spreading them into a pattern. If you trowel it wetter, it will spread out more and be a bigger pattern. For a smaller pattern, let it dry more so it will be more set up. The texture should be about 1/32 inch thick after it is troweled down. This is ideal for painting, cleaning, and a neat appearance.

Start troweling from the edge of the area and move to the middle. This way, you won’t leave trowel marks in the joint compound. Around edges next to walls and corners, press some joint compound into the corner. The reason for this is that the dauber can’t get closer than two or three inches from the corner.

The wall shown in Figure 7-10 was painted brown and then daubed; it was not troweled down. The joint compound was Gold Bond joint compound, used straight out of the box. Taping joint compound was used because of its hardness. This texture needs to be sealed with clear lacquer so it can be washed. Otherwise, because the joint compound is water soluble, it would melt away and smear all over the wall when washed.

The background shown in Figure 7-11 was painted a dark color. The illustration shows the results of using two slightly different techniques. The left side was done by daubing the joint compound once and the wall five or six times. The right side

was done by daubing the joint compound once and the wall three to four times, spreading it out a little more.

The wall shown in Figure 7-12 was painted a dark color, then stomp-textured with Gold Bond taping joint compound straight from the box. The Wall has to be sealed with clear lacquer to make it washable.

The wall shown in Figure 7-13 was painted green; then the same paint was mixed into joint compound. When the wall was textured, is came out a two-toned green

The green textured surface was textured over with a regular white joint compound. The result was a three-toned wall. This texture was done to show how effective this texture could be in covering over another ugly texture or a wall damaged in some way, like a wall that has had glued panelling or something. A rough surface can be camouflaged very well.

The wall shown in Figure 7-14 is dramatic and unusual. First, it was painted gold, and then black paint was mixed into the joint compound. The combination creates a dark charcoal color. This wall must be sealed with lacquer. When you get tired of a wall like this, you can always paint it white; the texture will still make it an interesting wall. If you are in the remodeling business or are trying to sell your home, a wall like this can make a good impression.

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