One of the ongoing interior design trends is having texture on walls or ceilings.
In most cases, the cheapest option for texturing walls and ceilings is popcorn.
However, there are several other types of texturing designs that might better suit your tastes.
Since some textured walls can make a home look dated, you may wonder if you can remove that texture.
The good news is that it’s possible to remove textured walls and ceilings.
Depending on the size of the room, however, it may cost you.
Here’s what you need to know about smoothing textured walls and the costs associated with it.
How Much Does It Cost To Smooth Textured Walls?
Contractors tend to charge an upfront cost of $100 for smoothing out textured walls and ceilings.
They also charge around $1 to $3 per square foot.
That’s because it takes a lot of time to remove textured walls depending on the texture in question.
Popcorn textures are the easiest to remove.
With skill and experience, and the right tools, you can scrape it off with only a few passes.
Other types of textures, however, require a bit more work.
In most cases, the contractor will use a skim coat to apply new drywall to smooth out the texture.
If the texture is particularly thick, then it might require multiple skim coats to smooth it out.
That means more materials and time which means a higher cost.
On average, you can expect a 10’ x 15’ room to cost around $316 with a contractor.
If you want to attempt to do it yourself, however, then the materials and tools you need will only cost you around $75.
The bulk of your cost, if you attempt to do it yourself, will be your time.
How To Smooth Textured Walls
If you want to save on costs and attempt to smooth out textured walls on your own, then there are a few things you should know.
You can smooth out textured walls in a few different ways.
Some are more complex than others and require some understanding of how to install new woodwork and trim.
Other methods are simpler but require more labor.
Here are a few methods you can use to smooth textured walls and save money.
1. Install New Wallboard
Although this method is more complex than other methods, it gets the job done well and results in less labor all around.
You can remove textured walls simply by installing new wallboard.
You’ll want to install 1/4-inch wallboard, in particular.
To do that, however, you’ll need to remove the trim and any other woodwork that currently rests over your existing wallboard.
You can use a hammer or another power tool to remove the nails or screws that keep your trim attached to the wall.
Then locate the woodwork behind the drywall.
You’ll need to attach the new wallboard to that woodwork.
Once you install the new wallboard, you can put the trim back in place and paint as necessary.
Installing new wallboard basically covers the textured wall with a new wall.
While this method is simpler than others, it also requires knowledge of the home and how to remove the trim.
2. Scrape It Off
The cheapest option is to scrape off the textured parts of the wall.
This requires a lot of time and power, but it’s effective and will get the job done.
Here are some of the materials you’ll need for this method to smooth textured walls:
- Roller and pan
- Wide paintbrush
- Drywall knife
- Putty knife
- Drywall sanding pole
- Masking tape
- Drop cloths
- Rubber gloves
- Paint stripper
- Joint compound
While it may seem like you need a lot of materials, they’re all relatively cheap to buy.
Most of these items can make the job a bit easier if you run into problems or a particularly stubborn area of texture.
The most important tools to have are a respirator, paint stripper, scraper, and joint compound.
You can essentially get the job done with these few items.
You’ll want a respirator and rubber gloves because you’ll be breathing in drywall dust and working with harsh chemicals.
Drop cloths are also helpful to limit how much dust scatters while you work.
To start removing textured walls, you’ll need to spray the surface with the paint stripper.
This will help soften it up.
Then go through with your scraper and drywall knife to scratch off the texture.
You can fix any dings or dents later with the joint compound and your putty knife.
With a lot of hard work, you can successfully scrape off the texture and leave yourself with restored drywall.
Once it dries, you can then paint it to match the rest of the home.
3. Skim Coating
A final method that you can use to remove texture on a wall is to skim coat it.
This is another relatively easy method, but it also requires some work.
The materials you’ll need to skim coat a textured wall are:
- All-purpose joint compound
- Thick nap paint roller
- Spray bottle of water
- Magic trowel
- Drop cloth
- Drywall sander
Like with scraping, you’ll want to cover the work area as much as possible with drop cloths.
It’s even worth moving furniture to another room to prevent dust from collecting on it.
You’ll then need to prepare the all-purpose joint compound with some water in a bucket.
Mix it together until it has the consistency of pancake batter.
If it’s too thin, then it will run down your walls and leave drip marks behind.
Once your compound is ready, you’ll need to use the paint roller to apply it to the wall.
Because joint compound dries quickly, you’ll need to work in small sections at a time.
You can use your spray bottle of water to keep spraying the mixture to keep it usable.
Once you have a section covered with the compound, you’ll need to use the Magic Trowel to smooth it.
Your first coat likely won’t look that much smoother.
That’s because the initial coat is filling in the gaps that the texture created.
You’ll need at least a second or third coat to finally smooth it.
When using the Magic Trowel, you’ll want to move it in the same direction that you used the paint roller to apply the compound.
This ensures you’re not moving the compound out of the gaps it’s filling.
Instead, you’re removing the excess and smoothing it out.
Before you finish, it’s worth shining a light on the wall at an angle.
This can help reveal any areas that you missed or that require a new coat.
Although this method is a bit more challenging to get right, it’s also quite cheap.
What Types Of Textured Walls Are There?
There are several different types of textured walls beyond popcorn.
You can recognize them by their various patterns.
Because some textures are deeper than others, it takes more effort and materials to smooth them out.
Here are a few different types of textured walls that you may encounter.
There are a lot of reasons you might want to remove popcorn walls and ceilings.
One of the main reasons is that some popcorn contains asbestos.
Popcorn textures became popular in the 1930s and continued to be popular through the 1990s.
Before the 1980s, however, many manufacturers used certain materials that contained asbestos.
Since asbestos can cause cancer, it quickly became illegal to include it in building materials after 1977.
The problem is that homes with popcorn walls and ceilings built before 1977 had a chance of containing this harmful material.
Removing popcorn is usually one of the first moves a new homeowner makes.
Besides asbestos, they’re also notorious for collecting dust.
Because of the shape of the texture, it easily allows small particles of dust to collect on its surface.
You may notice over time that your walls and ceilings are more grey than white.
That’s because they’re covered in dust.
That said, the popcorn texture was popular for a few decades because it was a cost-effective way to hide any imperfections in the wall or ceiling.
Whether it was a dent, seam, or chip, the popcorn material forced the eye away from the imperfection.
It also gave a bit of life to the room.
2. Orange Peel
Another popular texture that you may find in your home or other homes is orange peel.
It has this name because of its similarity to an orange’s skin.
There are several different grades of orange peel textures, too.
The finest grade has small bumps that are subtle.
The medium grade has a collection of large and small bumps and stands out more noticeably against the wall.
The final grade is heavy.
It’s made up of mostly larger bumps with some medium-sized and small bumps thrown in.
There’s a lot more diversity in orange peel textures than popcorn textures.
No two orange peel textures are exactly the same since it’s usually done by hand.
Like popcorn, orange peel textures are useful for hiding imperfections or flaws in the wall.
They also add depth to the wall which can create an interesting contrast to smooth walls if used sparingly.
Another type of texture is sand.
This texture is similar to orange peel except that it’s lumpier.
Orange peel can sometimes create lines like wrinkles in its texture.
Sand is strictly bumps and lumps.
When looking at it, you get the sense that it looks like sand because of the way the bumps sit on top of each other.
It offers a lot of depth.
Sand is also finer than orange peel with smaller lumps.
Some interior designers consider the knockdown texture to be a variant of orange peel.
It’s slightly different, however.
Knockdown tends to create small collections of bumps and lumps together while leaving some spaces smooth.
It results in an interesting sort of collection of bumps and lumps that almost appear like a colony of cells in a petri dish.
This type of texture is also fine.
Also called Spanish Lace, this texture uses weaving lines to make the wall look as though it’s covered in a film of soft lace.
Making this type of texture requires some skill since it’s easy to overdo it or mess it up.
Many home designers consider lace an elegant texture.
Since it requires a lot of creativity and artful know-how, not every contractor can give amazing results.
The possibilities are endless with lace texture.
You can even add color to the joint compound when creating the design to make unique textures.
You’ll need to go in with paint later to highlight the texture.
Although textured walls are declining in use, one texture that has seen some popularity is the comb.
This refers to a texture in which the contractor uses the trowel and roller to create brush strokes along the wall.
The most popular design is a rainbow, but contractors can create all types of different designs from swirls to straight lines.
They can also use various techniques and weave them all together to create something wholly unique.
The comb isn’t the easiest of textures to make and typically requires two contractors to do it right.
7. Venetian Plaster
One of the oldest types of wall textures is Venetian plaster.
To create this type of design, contractors mix drywall compound with marble dust.
The result is an incredible texture that adds elegance to any room.
While the process of making Venetian plaster was once difficult, it’s a lot easier now thanks to a few advancements in technology.
In particular, the marble dust and plaster go through a sanding process before they’re buffed.
You can also add color to the wall to bring out the texture even more.
This texture is still in use today, albeit sparingly.
Are Textured Walls Outdated?
One of the biggest reasons that homeowners immediately tackle textured walls is because they believe they’re outdated.
They’re right to some degree.
Some textures, like popcorn and orange peel, have associations with a particular decade that dates them.
Popcorn was all the rage in the ’50s and ’60s.
Because of that, it makes anyone seeing popcorn textures in a new home feel as though the home is actually old and dated.
The same goes for orange peel textures which were popular in the 1970s.
That said, some textures are still popular and commonly seen in use today.
Knockdown, Venetian plaster, and even lace are some of those textures.
While you’re unlikely to see entire walls made of textures in new homes, you can sometimes find them as accents.
Certain parts of the wall may have a texture now instead of the entire thing.
They’re useful for highlighting certain areas of the home or covering up blemishes.
While some textures are old, others are finding new use in many homes.
Having textured walls in your home can date it and make it difficult to sell in the future.
Removing it can cost around $300 for an average room when working with a contractor.
However, if you want to attempt to do it yourself, then it should only cost you around $75 in materials depending on the method that you choose to use.
Use the suggestions above to consider how to smooth the textured walls in your home.