3 Simple Ways to Get Rid Of Unwanted Texture from Walls

There comes a time when you finally find your dream home. You know the feeling — the right neighborhood, the perfect layout, natural light flooding through every window. It’s almost everything you’ve imagined, a place where future memories will unfold. But there’s an unexpected guest in this ideal setting: unwanted texture gracing the walls and ceilings.

Even though these textures were once a designer’s choice for the character and flaw of the house, today popcorn ceilings and orange peels might stand between you and the flawless finish of your modern home.

Luckily, this problem can be easily solved by a few simple methods to remove texture from walls. Let’s break down these 3 simple techniques and decide whether you should soak and scrape, apply a skim coat, or just consider covering your walls.

How to Remove Knockdown Texture From Walls in 3 Different Ways

At first glance, removing knockdown texture from walls might seem like a bit of a complicated process, but actually, it’s simpler than you think. Let’s take a look at 3 effective ways to get rid of unwanted texture from your walls and review the pros and cons of each of them.

1. Skim Coating

One of the simplest ways to refresh your home’s aesthetic is skim coating. The purpose of this technique is to transform textured walls into smooth surfaces using a thin layer of joint compound. During skim coating, you’ll apply a thin layer of “mud” or joint compound over the existing texture. As a result, you’ll get a flat, smooth surface. Therefore, this technique can effectively improve the imperfections of outdated textures and refresh your walls.

2. Soak and Scrape

If your wall has never been painted before and you want to remove the knockdown texture, the soak and scrape method is indeed the most effective strategy. It’s useful for types of walls that are only lightly painted as well.

3. Covering the Walls

Sometimes removing knockdown texture might feel like an impossible task. This is usually because the walls are too damaged for a simple fix or the texture is too stubborn to remove efficiently. In such cases, the best possible solution is to cover the walls with an alternative material, like wood.

Although this method won’t entirely remove the texture beneath, it offers a fresh start and an opportunity to redefine the room’s aesthetic. Wood paneling, for instance, can introduce warmth and natural beauty to any space.

Step-By-Step Guide to Performing Skim Coating

Materials you’ll need:

● Joint compound (drywall mud)

● Drywall knife or trowel

● Mud pan

● Sandpaper or sanding sponge

● Primer (optional, for prepping the skim-coated wall for painting)

● Drop cloths and masking tape for protection and clean lines

Now let’s take a look at a simple step-by-step guide to remove knockdown texture from walls by yourself:

1) Prepare the room – Clear the space and protect floors and furniture. For this, you can use canvas with drop cloths.

2) Clean the walls – In order to make the joint compound stick to the walls, the surface should be as clean as possible. So, wipe down the walls and remove dust and debris.

3) Mix the joint compound – Scoop a half-gallon of premixed drywall compound into a five-gallon bucket. Gradually add water and mix until it reaches a smooth, lump-free consistency.

4) Apply the first layer of joint compound – Use a drywall knife to spread a thin, even layer of compound over the wall. Note that you don’t need too much pressure — aim for even coverage.

5) Smooth the compound – While the compound is still wet, smooth it out with your drywall knife. This step is important to reduce sanding later.

6) Let it dry – The compound needs to be left to dry overnight. So, let it dry completely before moving on to the next step.

7) Sand the dried compound – once the compound is dry, sand the surface to remove any ridges or rough spots. You can even apply additional coats for the best results.

8) Prime and paint – The final step is to prime and paint the wall to complete the transformation.

Pros and Cons of Skim Coating

Skim coating is an ideal solution if you want to update your walls without a massive renovation. It can be applied almost anywhere to any type of wall texture and besides, it’s a low-cost alternative to completely replacing textured drywall.

On the other hand, it requires patience to achieve a perfectly smooth texture and can be a hard DIY technique for beginners. We should also note that the process requires a significant amount of dust and the drying process is a bit time-consuming.

Step-By-Step Guide to Soak and Scrape Texture from Walls

Materials you’ll need:

● Spray bottle or garden sprayer

● Drywall taping knife

● Plastic sheeting

● Painter’s tape

● Bucket of water and sponge

● Safety goggles and dust mask

The process of soaking and scraping the texture from your walls is simple and consists of only a few steps:

1) Protect the area – Cover floors and furniture with plastic sheeting and secure them with painter’s tape.

2) Wet the walls with water – Use a spray bottle or garden sprayer and soak the textured area with water. It takes about 15-20 minutes for water to soften the texture.

3) Test a section – Before proceeding, we advise to gently scrape a small test area with your putty knife. If you notice that the texture comes off easily, then you’re ready to continue.

4) Scrape away the texture – Use your drywall taping knife to scrape away the softened texture. Work in sections and use the water again to wet the area as needed.

5) Clean the wall – After removing the texture, wipe down the walls with a damp sponge to remove any residual material and ensure a clean surface.

6) Dry and sand wall – Finally, wait for about 24 hours to let the walls dry completely. You may need to use a drywall sanding screen to cover any remaining imperfections.

Pros and Cons of Soak and Scrape

The main advantage of the soak-and-scrape method is that it’s effective for types of wall textures that haven’t been painted over. Moreover, you will need only a few simple tools and materials and can immediately remove the texture without multiple coatings.

However, this process can be messy and it even carries the risk of damaging the wall if you scrape too aggressively. Keep in mind that the soak and scrape method isn’t suitable for walls that have heavy paint coatings, as the water cannot penetrate well.

How to Cover the Walls with Wood

Materials you’ll need:

● Wood paneling

● Adhesive or nails for panel installation

● Saw, hammer, and other installation tools

The covering method for removing texture from walls is more diverse and there are plenty of materials you can use. In this case, we’ll discuss wood paneling, since this strategy is getting more and more popular for renovating older houses.

The process of covering the walls with wood consists of a few simple steps:

1) Preparation – Assess the condition of your wall and measure the area. Once you’re done, choose the type of wood paneling that best fits your decor.

2) Address baseboards – If the new paneling extends past the profile of your existing baseboards, we suggest removing the baseboards. This will ensure a “DIY gone wild” appearance.

3) Installation options

○ Floating design  – For a modern look, remove the baseboards and use a Fry Reglet metal component at the bottom. This will create a floating effect, where the paneling seems to hover just above the floor.

○ Flush baseboards – Alternatively, you can remove the baseboards, add stock wood to the bottom of the wall, and reinstall the baseboards flush with the new paneling.

4) Install the paneling – Finally, secure the wood paneling to the wall according to the method you’ve chosen. Make sure each panel is aligned correctly and fixed firmly in place.

Pros and Cons of Covering the Walls

Again, this third method also has various advantages and disadvantages.

The thing beginners enjoy the most about covering the walls is that it can quickly help you update the look of a room and give it a fresh feel without removing existing textures. Using this method, you have plenty of options, depending on the materials you use to cover the walls.

But the main problem with covering is that it doesn’t actually address the underlying texture issue — it just hides it. Therefore, after some time, the walls that you’ve covered might require some modifications.

DIY or Professional Help: Making the Right Choice

After understanding the basic methods for removing the texture from walls, now it’s time to decide whether it’s worth it to do it yourself or if you prefer hiring a professional home remodeling company. In order to decide, you should consider a few factors:

● Your ability to remove texture from walls by yourself

● Your budget

● The complexity of the project

Even though these methods to remove unwanted wall textures are simple to perform, they require time, patience, and some degree of specific skill. But when it comes to costs, the materials you will need for these DIY projects are relatively cheap and mainly consist of joint compounds, tools, and protective gear.

On the other hand, reaching out to professional removal services gives you a guarantee of smooth, high-quality renovations. Therefore, the cost that comes with professional service is much higher than for DIY projects. In particular, the cost to remove wall texture can be anything from $1 to $3 per square foot, depending on the texture type and wall condition. But considering that this cost includes labor, materials, and cleanup, it might be worth considering paying more than doing it yourself, especially for larger or more complex projects.

Additional Tips for Removing Sharp Texture from Wall

For those who chose the DIY approach to remove sharp texture from their walls, we have a few additional tips that might make the process more manageable and effective.

● Test for asbestos in popcorn ceilings before removal. The thing is that homes that were built before the 1980s might contain asbestos in their textured ceilings. It turns out that asbestos poses serious health risks and sometimes even leads to serious diseases.

● Invest in the right tools. Although all the methods for removing texture require just a few simple materials, we still recommend getting quality tools. For example, a wide putty knife or a drywall taping knife is essential for effectively scraping off softened texture and you can’t use a regular knife for the same purpose.

● Keep the area well-ventilated – During any texture removal process, dust and particles can fill the air. That’s why you should keep windows open and even use fans to reduce the risk of inhaling harmful substances.

● Protect your space and yourself. Cover floors and furniture with drop cloths or plastic sheeting to catch falling debris. Wear protective gear, such as goggles, gloves, and a dust mask.

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