In this drywall texturing guide, we will look at the different types of drywall textures, the pros and cons of drywall texture, and the cost of adding various drywall textures to your home.
Just like drywall types, there are also many options when it comes to drywall texture that it can be hard to pick your preference! This page will help you in your research about drywall textures and serve as a guide as you compare styles to find the best one for you.
Intro to Drywall Texture – What is Drywall Texture?
Drywall texture is created using drywall joint compound, which is commonly known as mud. Anyone who does drywall is familiar with mud because it is used in every drywall installation, regardless of texture. Mud is a smooth, clay-like substance that is used to cover joints (joint tape), fasteners, imperfections and create an even finish. You can buy joint compound pre-mixed, which is more expensive, or buy the powder form and mix it with water yourself.
For texturing, you will need to make the drywall mud more on the runny side. Whether you are using pre-mixed or powder, just add water until the mud is about the same consistency as pancake batter. You want it to be wet enough to spray or dab, but not so thin that it won’t stick. The exact consistency you will need for your project depends on the texture style, which we’ll get into more later on!
Why Use Drywall Finish Textures?
There are three main reasons why drywall finish textures are so popular among homeowners.
First, drywall texturing adds character and uniqueness to your space! There are so many different texture options for drywall, and each one creates a completely unique appearance. If you are looking for a way to add interest to a room, drywall texture is something you should consider.
Next, texture is a perfect way to cover up imperfections, signs of damage, and repair work on a wall or ceiling. It’s a more affordable option than drywall replacement.
Finally, drywall texture can dampen sound. If your goal is to build a room that naturally dampens sound, then you have probably already considered soundproof drywall boards. Why not boost the sound dampening effect with drywall texture? The increase in surface area absorbs more sound than regular smooth drywall. This technique is especially popular in rental units like apartment buildings to help maintain privacy between living spaces.
What Are the Different Drywall Texture Types?
There are many drywall textures that are known by more than one name. The chart below offers a quick look at well-known texture types with their common name, appearance, and cost. We also include with each texture whether or not it requires a sprayer.
Popular & Commonly Used Drywall Texture Types
What is the Cost to Texture Drywall?
The cost to texture drywall is between $1.00 – $2.75/sq. ft. overall.
|Different Drywall Texture Types & Costs Compared|
|Smooth||Smooth, even wall||No||$1.00 – $1.50/sq. ft.|
|Popcorn||Round bumps that resemble popcorn||Yes||$1.25 – $2.00/sq. ft.|
|Orange Peel||Uneven bumpy texture that resembles an orange peel||Yes||$1.00 – $2.00/sq. ft.|
|Knockdown||Flattened bumpy texture similar to stucco||Yes||$1.30 – $2.50/sq. ft.|
|Spray Sand||Looks like mini popcorn texture||Yes||$1.00 – $2.25/sq. ft.|
|Comb||Overlapping rainbow shapes drawn with a comb||No||$1.50 – $2.50/sq. ft.|
|Sand Swirl||Overlapping rainbow shapes drawn with a brush||No||$1.50 – $2.50/sq. ft.|
|Skip Trowel||Looks like more spread out knockdown texture||No||$1.25 – $2.00/sq. ft.|
|Hawk and Trowel||Looks like ocean waves of mud overlapping each other||No||$1.25 – $2.00/sq. ft.|
|Slap Brush/Stomp Brush||Abstract pattern created by slapping the brush against the wall||No||$1.50 – $2.50/sq. ft.|
|Slap Brush Knockdown||Looks like flattened slap brush texture||No||$1.75 – $2.50/sq. ft.|
|Crows Foot||Resembles crows feet in a circular pattern||No||$1.50 – $2.50/sq. ft.|
|Rosebud||Circular flower-like pattern||No||$1.50 – $2.50/sq. ft.|
|Multi Colored||Swirl pattern that features two colors of drywall mud||No||$1.00 – $2.75/sq. ft.|
Now we’ll dive into a more detailed look at the drywall finish textures.
This is by far the most common drywall texturing technique. If you’re new to learning about drywall textures, it’s probably because you have only seen smooth drywall! Smooth drywall texture is classic, simple, elegant, and easy to paint. Another plus is that smooth texture is less prone to damage from furniture and wear and tear because there is no mud that protrudes from the wall or ceiling.
How it’s made: a skim coat of drywall mud is applied on the whole wall or ceiling and smoothed out to an even level.
Popcorn texture has gone up and down in popularity over the years, but one thing you can be sure of is that it will add character to any space! It is more common on ceilings.
How it’s made: drywall mud is sprayed onto the wall or ceiling in circular dots that range in size to create a uniform, popcorn-like look.
Orange peel texture is available in three options: fine, medium, or heavy. These correspond to small, medium, or large sized bumps in the texture. Orange peel texture is relatively easy for contractors to apply, so the installation costs tend to be on the lower end.
How it’s made: drywall mud is sprayed on the wall or ceiling in the orange-peel-like pattern.
Knockdown drywall texture is a great option for the homeowner who wants to add interest to a space in a more subtle way. This stucco-like texturing requires a bit more hands-on work and will have higher labor costs because of it.
How it’s made: drywall mud is sprayed onto the wall or ceiling in a bumpy pattern such as popcorn texture. After some drying time, a drywall knife is dragged over the mud to produce the knock-down effect. The bumps and ridges of drywall mud are essentially flattened down to create the look.
Spray sand drywall texture is a more subtle version of popcorn texture. In appearance, it looks like mini popcorn!
How it’s made: drywall mud is sprayed onto a wall or ceiling as a sand-like texture. The mud then dries in a consistent pattern of tiny bumps.
Comb is one of the most artful drywall textures. The finished appearance is of small fan shapes overlapping each other in a uniform, art deco pattern.
How it’s made: overlapping rainbow shapes are drawn in drywall mud with a comb-like trowel.
Sand swirl drywall texture is just like comb texture but is drawn with a brush instead of a comb. The brush creates a more subtle look than the comb’s wide teeth, so the sand swirl texture has a smaller surface area. This helps to keep painting costs low.
How it’s made: overlapping rainbow shapes are drawn in drywall mud with a brush.
Skip trowel drywall texture looks like a more spread out version of knockdown texture. It is made using a trowel, and every contractor’s version of this texture will look slightly different. Since this style requires a good bit of manual labor, the installation costs may be on the high end.
How it’s made: skip trowel texture is made by dragging a trowel over thin drywall mud to create long round raised patches.
Hawk and Trowel
Hawk and trowel drywall texture looks very similar to skip trowel drywall texture but with more straight lines. Some contractors compare the look to ocean waves, saying it looks like waves of drywall mud layered over each other. This texture also varies a lot depending on who is doing it. Ask to see examples of a contractor’s specific hawk and trowel style before getting it on your walls or ceiling to make sure you like their style!
How it’s made: a trowel is dragged over drywall mud and used to layer “waves” of mud over each other.
Slap brush/Stomp Brush
Known as both slap brush and stomp brush, this style creates a truly unique look. The end result is a wavy texture with smooth ridges.
How it’s made: the contractor begins by rolling a wall or ceiling with paint-consistency drywall mud. Then, a brush is dipped in mud and slapped against the wall to create the texture.
Slap Brush Knockdown
Slap brush knockdown texture is a fun combination of slap brush and knockdown techniques!
How it’s made: first, the slap brush texture is created and left to dry for about 15 minutes. Then, a drywall knife is used to knock down the peaks, which creates a flatter look.
Crows Foot (or Crow’s Foot)
Crows foot drywall texture is almost identical to slap brush texture, but using a different brush known as a crows foot brush. The finished product looks a lot like crows feet arranged in a circular pattern.
How it’s made: the wall or ceiling is rolled in thin drywall mud and then a crow’s foot brush is used to “stomp” the pattern into the mud.
Rosebud drywall texture gets its name from the flower-like pattern that is created on the wall or ceiling.
How it’s made: rosebud texture is created using the slap brush method, but instead of randomly slapping the mud on the wall, the brush is pressed into the wall in non-overlapping places to create a uniform, flower-like pattern.
Multi-colored drywall is a style that can be done with several different drywall textures. The finished product looks like two different drywall colors swirled together into a random, circular pattern.
How it’s made: to achieve a multi-colored textured wall, simply apply a first layer of drywall mud and paint it with one color, and then apply a second layer that is painted a different color. Then, use a technique like the skip trowel drywall texture to reveal both colors and create a truly unique appearance.
Downsides of Drywall Texture
While there are plenty of great reasons to consider drywall texture for your home, there are also a few cons that are good to know before you begin your project.
The most commonly listed problem that people find with drywall texture is that it is prone to being damaged by furniture. Since drywall mud is easily chipped, if a piece of furniture rubs against a textured wall, there is a good chance that it will leave a mark.
The other possible downside of textured drywall is that styles like these come and go, and removing drywall texture is a tedious job. If you hire a professional to remove it, the cost can be anywhere from $300 – $1,000 depending on the size of the room. Make sure you really love the texture style before committing to it!
Tools Needed for DIY Drywall Texturing
Adding drywall texture to a wall or ceiling is something that many homeowners choose to do themselves. If you have some extra time on your hands and a good work ethic, you can do this! Here’s a list of things you will need for doing your own drywall texture:
- Drywall mud (pre-mixed or powder)
- Water for mixing and thinning mud
- Five-gallon bucket
- Stomper or paint mixing drill attachment
- Drywall knife
- Trowel, brush, or sprayer depending on what texture you’re doing
- Drop cloth to cover the floor
How-to tips for DIY are beyond the scope of this page, but there are tutorials available online for applying most textured finishes.