While the past few years have seen a shift away from textured ceilings, there’s no denying the many benefits this unique finish can offer. Whether improving acoustics, disguising imperfections, or simply spice up an otherwise forgotten surface, texture has faded from obscurity to truly take center stage in the interior spotlight.
Of course, you may be repairing rather than removing a popcorn ceiling, or matching an existing textured ceiling with a common section of drywall or plaster. Whatever the case, keep in mind that learning how to texture a ceiling is very different from simply painting it, so it takes a certain amount of time and patience to complete the project effectively.
Below, we offer expert advice on the best way to solve the task.
How to Texture a Ceiling by Hand
While not the trendiest ceiling idea, textured ceilings do have a place in interior decorating, especially in rentals. Nicholas Smacchia from Nicholas Plastering Company in Westchester recommends starting by applying the easy sanding compound directly on the plaster.
1. Use a sponge or trowel to create texture in the ceiling plaster
“While the compound is still damp and soft, take your trowel or a slightly damp sea wool sponge and press it flat into the plaster, then pull the sponge or trowel away to give the compound a stipple-like texture,” Nicholas Smakia said.
2. Spray and then knock out the texture
“When the texture starts to set, spray it with a little water, then run the trowel lightly through the stipple to knock it off,” he continued.
As you go, keep spraying “water on stipple to lubricate compound” so it doesn’t stick to the trowel and reduce the amount of texture.
Finally, Nicholas recommends brushing with a damp crumb to “soften the texture” and give it a slightly aged look.
This method can also be used to create an orange peel effect. Be sure to use a softer sponge to create a more dimpled texture.
3. Use a wet chip brush to soften the texture
However, to master the skipping trowel effect, Nicholas recommends using a trowel and “overlaying one stroke part in the last stroke in Radius mode in stroke”.
“When it starts to set, use a wet chip brush and spray to soften the texture,” he concludes.
How to Spray Texture on a Ceiling
Of course, you can manually paint the ceiling with an air compressor and hopper gun to get the texture you want. You need patience and persistence to master this method.
First, hold the gun about 2 feet from the surface and pull the trigger while keeping the gun moving. Work in sections on the ceiling.
If you decide you need to redo it, just scrape it off right away and put it back in the hopper.
You can also buy spray cans with ready-made products that are suitable for small patches and easier to manage.
How to Apply Mixed Paints to Create Texture Effects
Instead of creating texture on plaster, you can mix powdered joint compound into regular paint. Since you’ll be applying the blended product directly to the ceiling, be sure to apply it sideways to help achieve the best results. And make sure you are using a plush roller – it will help the paint get into the low points of the texture and give a better overall finish.
How to Apply Textured Ceiling Paint
The easiest way to create a textured ceiling is to use specialized products that already contain additives. Particles in texture paint create small shadows and depressions that help you get the texture you want.
Using these products with a foam roller for maximum texture or a fiber roller for a finer texture will provide the best finish. Make sure to load a thick, even coat onto the surface using short, intersecting strokes until about 3 square feet are covered. Finally, roll gently in one direction to finish.
What tools are needed to create a textured ceiling?
Before you begin, keep in mind that texturing your ceiling will involve wet textured material flying in all directions, so you’ll want to cover floors and surfaces with cloth and protective film.
Traditional methods require:
- a simple sand compound
- Trowel and Eagle
- Sponge sponge (or other type of sponge)
- a spray bottle
- soft chip brush
- Air compressor and hopper gun to speed up the process
If you want to keep the project as easy as possible, you can mix your own textured paint, or better yet, buy a premixed version that can be applied directly to the ceiling using a roller.
What is a textured ceiling?
Textured ceilings are often achieved by using a sand compound and spreading it in a specific pattern to create a bumpy finish.
The most popular finishes include Knock down stippling effect (similar to a popcorn ceiling), a orange peel appearance or a skip trowel finish.
Knockdown stippling has a rough, bumpy texture that can create as much depth as you want. The bumps of the orange peel are more subtle, while the trowel applies generously for a Mediterranean flair.