How to Make a Knockdown Ceiling

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While the name sounds destructive, you won't be destroying your ceiling when you apply a knockdown finish. The term "knockdown" comes from the technique of knocking the tips off a textured pattern while the compound is still wet. This results in a stucco-like appearance. This type of texture is also called "California knockdown" or "split trowel." Once you master the technique, you can create the look of stucco without the price.

Things You'll Need

  • Premixed drywall compound
  • Drywall spray gun (with pump)
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Large drywall trowel or squeegee
  • Paper drop cloth
  • Prepare the ceiling by taping out all joints and removing light fixtures. Cover a finished floor with a non-slip paper drop cloth.

  • Thin premixed drywall compound with water until it is the consistency of a thick shake. It should drip from a spoon, but not be runny.

  • Fit the drywall spray gun with a pump hose and put the end of the hose in the bucket of thinned drywall compound.

  • Spray the ceiling in thick, but not runny, sections of texture, overlapping each strip slightly. Spray slowly and evenly, covering the entire ceiling so no bare spots remain.

  • Wipe only the tips of the texture with the wide edge of a drywall trowel or squeegee. This creates the knockdown look. The tips of the texture are pushed down into the texture. Operate the spray gun while another person follows behind and wipes the texture.

  • Adapt your strokes to create the type of knockdown you like the best. Pull a wide trowel from side to side for a basic look. Alternately, a shorter blade can be used in a half-circle motion to create a pattern within the texture.

  • Keep a wet edge all the time. This means you must not get too far ahead of the person wiping the texture.

  • Continue until you've applied the knockdown texture to the entire ceiling.

Tips & Warnings

  • Practice on a spare drywall panel before applying the texture to the ceiling. It takes some experimenting to get the look you want and to perfect your spraying and knockdown techniques.
  • Use a trowel to wipe off any texture that gets on adjoining walls before it dries. Drywall splatters will not harm your walls, but you can minimize cleanup by running the trowel over the walls while the texture is still damp. After it dries, a damp sponge will quickly wipe away any residue.
  • Wear protective eyewear. Splatters of wet compound will sting your eyes.

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References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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