Ceiling Texturing Techniques

Applying texture to ceilings gives depth and definition to the surface. Some popular techniques to achieve a textured finish are knock-down, skip trowel and combing. These techniques require practice. Experiment first on a scrap piece of dry wall to perfect your technique. You can apply other textured finishes by purchasing rollers with different surfaces that leave repetitive patterns on the ceiling.

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Texturing Products

Several choices of products are available for applying texture to your ceiling. You can buy paint with a texture compound all ready mixed in and then tint it to any color. For heavier textured finishes such as knock-down and skip trowel, use a quality grade of drywall compound. Dry products also are available to mix into paint to create textured finishes. Consult the associate at the paint store or home center for recommendations for the particular type of texture you wish to achieve.

Skip Trowel Application

Apply texture to workable areas with either a roller or trowel. Trowel the textured surface using fan shaped strokes with a dry wall trowel. The finish will resemble stucco when completed.

Combed Finish

Apply texture with a roller or trowel, and then comb with a notched edge trowel to achieve wavy lines. You can then swirl these lines into any desired pattern such as fans, intersecting circles or a combination.

Knock-Down Texture

Roll your texture compound onto the ceiling, working in manageable sections of three to four square feet. Allow the compound to set for 10 to 15 minutes. Use a wide drywall trowel to flatten the high points. This will leave a textured surface that will have flat areas with some roughness in between. This pattern is random.

Brushed Finish

Use stiff brushes similar to the type used to apply wallpaper paste to create patterns in the texture. This technique requires placing the brush into the wet texture and twisting to form overlapping patterns.

Patterned Rollers

Patterned rollers are available to make different patterns on textured ceilings. The roller has a hard surface with raised repetitive patterns carved into the surface. Popular patterns include bark, stipple and woven. The rollers are available from paint stores and home centers.

Orange Peel

Orange peel texture requires specialized equipment to spray the texture onto the ceiling. The spray equipment is available at most rental centers. This application requires thoroughly covering floors, doors and woodwork. This finish must be primed and painted when dry.


Acoustic finishes are sprayed on in three sizes and resemble popcorn texture. This finish has sound-deadening properties and requires priming and painting.

Spray Sand

This option is the most economical of the sprayed-on textures and is used primarily in new construction. The finish must have one coat of paint.


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