How to Remove Unwanted Texture From Your Walls

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photo: Piotr Wytrazek (Shutterstock)

One of the basic principles of interior design – if you’re ever planning to sell your home – is to avoid overly personal decisions of the more permanent kind. However, as anyone who has ever searched for homes or apartments can attest, many people think that textured walls are a universally appealing design choice. Fact: you are not. To be fair, textured walls are often used a savings measurebecause they save on drywall costs and hide damage and imperfections that would otherwise need repairing—but that doesn’t make them any less divisive.

If you find yourself with a textured wall that you would like to be, well, Not textured, do not despair: there are ways to remove this texture. It just takes some time and elbow grease.

How to remove texture from unpainted walls

If your textured wall has been painted, you will need to apply a more complicated solution (see below). That’s because color acts as a seal, protecting the texture from its enemy (that would be water and you). These approaches also apply to structured ceilings. If the wall in question is not painted, you can use the soak and scrape method to remove this texture from the wall. So:

  1. Protect your floors and furniture with cloths as they may get dirty.
  2. Spray the wall evenly with water. You can use a pump sprayer, but a regular plastic spray bottle works just as well in a small space.
  1. Leave the texture on for about 15 minutes.
  2. Using a scraper or large drywall knife, start scraping at the top and work your way down. Unpainted texture should peel off easily, making a tremendous mess. Be careful not to damage the drywall—Hold the blade at an angle and go slowly.
  3. Reapply water if you hit an area with stubborn texture or if the wall starts to dry out too much.
  4. Once the main part of the texture is removed, allow the wall to dry for at least 24 hours.
  5. Sand the wall with a sanding mesh or fine sandpaper. Don’t freak out – you just want the walls to be smooth and even.
  6. Patch any ridges or dents with drywall, sand, and primer.

How to remove texture from painted walls

If your textured wall has been painted, you are faced with a more difficult task. In fact, for painted textured walls, you might consider the nuclear option of simply ripping them out and installing new drywall. If this is not possible, you will need to apply a skim coat – a thin layer of drywall slurry over the existing wall. This isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds – yes, anyone can smear putty all over the wall, but it takes a lot of skill to make it look good and have an even, smooth finish. You will be much better off hiring professionals to do this. But if you have one enthusiastic Do-it-yourselfers and want to do it yourself, this is how it works:

  1. Remove the baseboards and trim.
  2. If the paint used has a glossy finish, sand lightly to remove the shine. Otherwise your connection will not stick very well.
  3. Scrape off the texture, which comes off relatively easily. It’s okay to use the soaking and scraping process to get more of this if you can.
  4. Mix up your connection. You can use powder drywall or pre-mixed ones – the latter is much easier, the former is cheaper. Anyway, mix your connection with water – you’re looking for one dough-like consistency– Diluting the mass so that it can be applied with a paint roller. This requires a mixing attachment on a drill press to get it right and may take some experimentation.
  5. Pour some of your diluted mass into a rolling bowl and start “painting” the walls. This will be a enormously confuse and be more of a workout than you can imagine. Roll your way through the pain and suffering. Work in small sections unless you have a team working to smooth the walls behind you. Otherwise, the mass will dry out as a lumpy mess before moving on to the next step.
  6. Smooth the layer you just applied from bottom to top. You can use a regular drywall knife for this if you have some experience, but a “magic trowel” (aka an adjustable squeegee) will make this much easier. Dampen the blade of your trowel or knife a little, then scrape it over the drywall, smoothing and blending. Even with a “magic trowel” this is a painstaking process and takes some time to get right. Keep a container handy for the excess compound you scrape off the walls. Your goal is as smooth and flawless a compound layer as possible, so take your time.
  7. Allow your lean coat to dry for 1-2 days. If your wall still has some texture, apply a second coat, smooth and allow to dry again. Do not sand between the layers of filler.
  8. When you are happy with the smoothness of your wall, lightly sand it with an abrasive sponge. Don’t be too harsh – the thin layer is delicate and will crumble under too much pressure. be gentle
  9. Once you have the smooth walls of your dreams, prime and paint.

Yes, it’s a lot of work no matter what method you have to use. Is it worth? Depends on. It’s a lot cheaper and less disruptive than installing new drywall, but your chances of ending up with rickety walls that don’t look good are…well, actually pretty high. You need to put a lot of time and effort into this project to make it look right – be patient and don’t rush.

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