How to Smooth Textured Walls with a Skim Coat

Hang Wallpaper

Wallpaper might be the most common and simple way

Wallpaper might be the most common and simple way to add texture to walls. Textured wallpaper has its own built-in feel and design. With so many different styles and colors available, it can be tailored to match existing décor in a room or used to create a new design you have in mind. It can also be painted, if even more customization is desired. An advantage of wallpaper is that it hides wall imperfections, which means you don’t have to repaint regularly to hide scrapes, marks and dings. For full details about how to install wallpaper, see the project How to Hang Wallpaper.

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Rosebud Drywall Texture

The rosebud drywall texture type gets its name from the resemblance of a single, round stomp to a flower, with the center bud and petals radiating out. The rosebud drywall technique is essentially the brush stomp technique, but applied evenly, so that each stomp is clearly visible and doesn’t overlap the others to a significant degree. Here are our expert tips for finishing drywall so you can have smoother walls and less wasted time.

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Tools Needed

To smooth your textured walls with a skim coat, you will need:

  • All-Purpose Joint Compound  – (Sold at Home Depot – bucket is is the best.)
  • 10-12 inch Taping Knife
  • 14 inch Mud Pan
  • Smaller putty knives for details

Step 3: apply the finish coat of mud onto the textured wall

The first coat will take about 24 hours to dry. Now after some practice and rest, we will apply the second coat / the finish coat, which is going to feel much easier!

The process is exactly the same as the first coat. 

Step 2

Once you have the mud in the pan, use the longer taping knife to scoop a couple inches of compound up, then with the mud facing the wall, simply spread in a smooth motion down the wall.

You’ll find that the long taping knife makes

You’ll find that the long taping knife makes creating a smooth surface pretty simple. Scraping right on top of the existing texture, pulling the compound down the wall will start to fill the holes in the texture and create a smooth surface.

Skip-Trowel Ceiling Texture

Skip trowel technique adds a bit of artistic flair to a standard drywall texture. The installer lays down a film of drywall mud across the entire ceiling or wall, then goes back over the still-wet mud with a clean trowel held at a slight angle. This second pass pulls up pieces of the mud bed, creating a raised layer in random, rounded sections. The depth of the texture will depend on how much mud is laid down in the first coat (the thicker the coat, the more material will be moved to form the top layer). Tips for repairing any textured wall or ceiling.

Apply joint compound to wall

Work in small sections at a time. The mud is watered down so it will dry fairly quickly and you have to apply it to the wall and then skim it smooth. I generally work in 4’x4′ sections. Depending on the temperature and humidity of the room you’re working in, you may be able to do larger sections.

Using a thick nap paint roller, apply a generous amount of mud to the wall.  Using a roller allows you to get more compound on the wall faster than if you were scooping it out with a taping knife. You can pour joint compound into a roller tray or dip the roller directly into the 5 gallon bucket. 

I generally prefer the bucket method because it’s faster but it is also messier because the excess mud drips off the roller as you pull it out of the bucket.

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4. Knockdown

The knockdown technique creates a unique, rustic pattern, akin to stucco. Knockdown can be achieved by adding a step to the orange peel technique: After applying an orange peel texture to the walls, flatten the peaks and bumps that form in the drywall compound using an 18-inch or wider knockdown knife. Smaller rooms will likely require a wait period of about 10 to 15 minutes after spraying before the peaks can begin to be flattened, while a larger room can probably be started as soon as you are finished spraying. Just be sure to begin flattening in the same area that you began spraying. Be careful with timing! If you begin flattening the drywall compound too early, the knockdown knife will leave lines from the edges of the knife. If you see this happening, stop and wait another five or 10 minutes, then begin again. After flattening all the peaks in the orange peel texture, the wall can then be left to dry overnight before priming and painting.

Photo: istockphoto.com

6. Slap Brush

The slap brush texture creates a random pattern of thin lines on your walls that add an eccentric flair to any room. This type of wall texture is a great choice if you aren’t confident with a spray gun. All that is needed for this technique is a roller, a double crows foot drywall texture brush (also known as a slap brush, available on Amazon), and drywall compound. Mix your compound with water until it reaches a thick paint consistency, then apply it evenly to the wall using your roller. Complete two 5-foot-wide sections before picking up the slap brush. Apply drywall compound to each side of the slap brush in a thin coating, and then begin slapping the first section of the wall with the brush. There shouldn’t be any specific pattern to the texture, so have fun with it and mix it up by twisting the angle of the slap brush in the air between slaps. Once the first section is complete, roll the next 5-foot area of the wall, then apply the slap brushing to that section. Repeat this process until you have completed the room. After 24 hours of drying, you can prime and paint the room.

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Photo: istockphoto.com

Roll on the texture

Adding texture to a wall must be done in two stages: rolling on the compound and, when that layer is partially dry, applying a second coat. Begin by filling the paint tray with the texture paint or handmade texture compound. Dip your roller into the paint, roll it out, and begin applying it to the wall. A standard roller cover will create a texture, but you may want to try a cover specifically designed for texture. If you’re using store-bought paint, follow all the manufacturer’s directions, as they may only recommend one coat. For corners and other areas that are difficult to reach with your roller, apply the texturing material with the flat face of a paintbrush.

Drywall Texture Sprayer

If you are looking to add texture to walls in several spaces, or to a large surface, look into renting a drywall texture sprayer. Similar to a paint sprayer, this machine covers surfaces quickly in joint compound. You can choose the type of compound mixture, the nozzle and the amount of airspeed you need to achieve the effect you want. If you don’t know what look you’re going for, any texture you don’t like can be wiped off and reapplied. Make sure you cover your furniture and flooring sufficiently to avoid splatter.

Things You’ll Need

  • Plastic drop cloths
  • Stickpins
  • Drywall joint compound
  • Texture paint in sand, popcorn or Venetian plaster consistencies
  • Small whisk broom or stipple brush
  • Hair comb
  • Window squeegee
  • Trowel
  • Drywall knives
  • Paint roller or double paint roller
  • Metal spatula
  • Wood grain tool

Texturing a Wall With Texture Machine vs Roller

Professional painters create wall and ceiling textures with an electric texture sprayer. These tools allow the user to pour texturing compound into a hopper, and the machine introduces water and air to the mix. The hopper is a better choice if you are texturing a large area.

At between one to three gallons per minute, the machine sprays texture onto the surfaces. The sprayed texture goes on rapidly and dries quickly.

Do-it-yourselfers rarely have the benefit of using a $2,000+ electric texture sprayer. An ordinary paint roller fitted onto a roller cage is an effective, low-cost alternative.

Application is far slower than with the electric sprayer but it's easier to control, and can be a good option for smaller areas or repairs. Knock-down and orange peel effects can be achieved with the paint roller method, just like with the electric texturizer.

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Tip

Wall texture effects can vary depending on how the material is applied and rolled. Practice the technique on scraps of drywall or even sheets of cardboard before moving to your walls and ceilings. Practice with both thin coats and heavy coats. Try different drying times between coats.

The Spruce / Margot Cavin

Gather your supplies

  • all purpose joint compound
  • Paint tray or 5 gallon bucket
  • mixing attachment for your drill
  • thick nap paint roller
  • spray bottle with water to thin you joint compound
  • wet rag
  • Magic Trowel
  • drop cloth (cover your floors)
  • drywall sander

If you’re doing a small room where you’ll only need one bucket, I’d choose a ready mix joint compound.  It costs about $15 for a 5 gallon bucket. So for $15 you get the mud and a bucket.

Dry joint compound is much cheaper.  You can get about 4 times the coverage with dry mix mud. If you’re doing a LOT of skim coating, dry is probably a cost effective option.  You still need the 5 gallon bucket which runs about $4-5.

How to smooth textured walls with Skim Coat method 

If the texture is painted, you might need to skim the surface with a drywall solution. Since paint doesn’t dilute in water, you can’t use water to remove it. You can’t merely soak it in water. Since color acts as a sealant, you might need to cover it up. The whole skimming process requires a delicate touch, too. That’s why you’ll have to be patient.

Wall Preparation

Just like before, it is essential to prepare for the whole area before working. You can use cloth or nylon to cover the entire region. You can tape them to ensure more significant security. But you have to remember that nylon is plastic. When it gets wet, it can become slippery. Use nylon on objects and cloths on floors. It would help if you also taped the window and door frames. Put on goggles and wear old clothing.

Step by Step Instructions on how to smooth textured walls:

  • Step 1: Make sure to put clothes on the entire floor area. Then, use a primer made explicitly for drywall. After you have done that, skim the coating.

  • Step 2: You should then apply the premixed drywall joint compound. Or you can mix the powdered combined mixture with water. Make sure to get the consistency of peanut butter. Then, test the consistency. To do that, take some out of the mixing bucket with a drywall knife. It should stay on the blade without running off when you hold the knife straight.
  • Step 3: You should take some of the pre-mixed compounds into the mud pan. It should have a texture of viscous peanut butter. The whole process should result in a smooth wall. Start slow. Then once you get comfortable with movements, you can more confidently apply the coating. If this is your first time skim coating, practice on a less critical wall first!

  • Step 4: it is crucial to clean the knife after each use. That way, you won’t have any excess coating dripping off your blade and mudding the floor. To clean it, press the blade on a sharp edge of the container and drag it down. After you’ve done that, scoop from the coating mixture once again and start coating.
  • Step 5: it is best if you work in a 2-foot area. Pull the compound downwards and then upwards. Then pull it back and forth in smooth motions. Do this until it begins to set a little bit. The mixture becomes harder to scrape as it dries, so the final swipes with the taping knife can create a reasonably smooth surface without seam lines.

  • Step 6: If the paint is glossy, lightly sand the surface of the painted texture. While the drywall compound you will be applying typically sticks very well to painted surfaces, it’s a good idea to knock the sheen off high-gloss paint. In most cases, wall paint isn’t glossy, and you’ll skip this step.
  • Step 7: Letting the compound overnight will allow you to apply another coat the following day. It would be best if you did this several more times to achieve a smooth wall.

  • Step 8: Again, sand the final Coat with a pole sander and 120-grit sandpaper. Do this under a bright light to ensure you have no missed spots.

  • Step 9: After you’re sure that the surface is entirely smooth, make sure to apply a primer to the wall. It would be best if you did this before you start painting the wall. You can use the primer with a paint roller. That way, you will evenly cover the surface.

Before you do this, ensure you have mastered everything. You can practice on a small area of the wall or choose another division that isn’t the house’s focal point. Make sure you wear the proper gear and protective equipment.

Since you’ll be using harsh chemicals, make sure to ventilate your room continuously. Ventilation can also be great to keep the dust away. With these tips, you will know how to smooth textured walls in less than a week.

We hope this article will help you learn how to smooth textured walls like a pro.

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