How To Get Consistent Drywall Texture Finishes

Textured drywall surfaces are becoming more common in new construction and remodeling projects. While typically applied to ceilings, interior walls are now often included in the texturing process. In addition to achieving a certain look, finishing walls with a texture finish help hide blemishes and allow for easier wall repairs.

When applying a texture finish, it is important to achieve consistency across the entire surface. This is especially key for small or medium-sized remodeling or repair jobs when needing to matching an existing texture finish.

Each texture finish has unique characteristics and the most common are KnockdownOrange Peel and Popcorn finishes.

Once you understand characteristics of a particular finish, achieving a consistent pattern is based on three main elements:

  • Material Consistency
  • Air Pressure Consistency
  • Application Technique

Uniform Material Consistency

Maintaining uniform material consistency throughout the application is the first step to achieve a consistent texture finish. All-purpose joint compound (drywall mud) is typically available in two forms:

  • Dry powder in bags – must be mixed with water
  • Ready-mixed in buckets or boxes – requires thinning with water

Once a texture finish is selected, it’s best to understand how to mix drywall mud for texture spraying. Whether you choose dry powder or ready-mix texture material, both must have the appropriate amount of water added to:

  • Provide the best flow with a gravity-fed hopper
  • Achieve a specific texture pattern

For jobs requiring more than 5 gallons of mud, mixing all the material needed at one time will help ensure consistent material throughout the job. Simply mix and compare batches until they are the same. Combining portions of each mixed batch will further ensure mixture uniformity and help avoid “recreating” the original mix consistency.

Another factor that can affect material consistency is when the mud starts to set while being exposed to air in a gravity-fed hopper gun. For small to medium sized texture jobs, it’s best to use a pressurized-hopper gun with a sealed hopper that prevents the mud from setting. The added pressure also improves efficiency and provides additional force to project the material farther from the gun to deliver consistent finishes on hard-to-reach surfaces, like high or vaulted ceilings.


Consistent Air Pressure

The air supply in a texture sprayer also plays a critical role as there is a direct relationship between the amount of material and amount of air mixing together. As the pattern gets finer, the more air is needed to break the drywall mud into smaller pieces. Texture finishes such as Orange Peel and Fogging require the most air since the material is broken into the smallest form.

When using a hopper gun to apply a texture, a separate air compressor is needed and not all compressors are well suited for the job. It is critical to have a balance of low and consistent air pressure through the entire hopper of material.

Many portable electric air compressors use small storage tanks to build-up pressure. These compressors work well for nail guns and other tools that require short bursts of high-pressure as these applications allow plenty of time for the tank to refill. When spraying texture finishes with these compressors, it is common to stop spraying and wait for the pressure to build back up in the tank.  Depending on the size of the project, this extra time can easily double or triple the time on the job. It's also difficult to recognize the tipping point when the air pressure drops enough to effect the consistency of the texture.

To save time with texture spraying and avoid pattern inconsistencies, use a continuous-flow air supply system that provides a consistent, high CFM air supply at a lower pressure (below 50 psi) throughout the entire job.


Application Technique: Consistent Chaos

For the inexperienced, watching a texture application process might appear like consistent chaos. However, applying texture to a surface in a consistent pattern requires a high-level of perception and feel for how the material is being applied to guide small adjustments in technique. Those professionals who deliver consistent finishes in a short amount of time can be considered “artists”. As with most skills, a period of trial and error will provide the experience needed to improve results.

Regardless of your experience, make sure the hopper gun and air supply system are best suited for texture applications to provide the best opportunity to achieve a consistent texture finish.

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