Roll on wall texture

| December 21, 2005 | 39 Comments

I often wondered if we could get a nice wall texture by simply thinning out some joint compond and rolling it on like paint. The answer? Absolutely.

We had a room with some marred and uneven surfaces. We wanted to get a texture, but I didn’t want a typical sprayed or popcorn look. We was after something a little more subtle. All that we did was to mix up some joint compound in a consistency about the same as pancake batter (maybe a little thinner). We used a 1/2″ inch nap roller and rolled it on to the walls. It doesn’t take long at all to get the hang of it.

The look that we acheived was similar to a sanded paint, but a bit thicker. Kind of like the $50 paint kit by Ralph Lauren. The most difficult part (and it wasn’t that hard at all) was the areas near the ceiling and around any trim. We rolled as close as we could and filled the last inch by using a 4″ stiff bristle paint brush. It married in perfectly. To avoid having to be careful (who wants to be careful when painting?), we taped all of the trim edges and surfaces. This way we could go right up to it. We simply put some material on the brush and dabbed the surface with the brush helf vertically.

I would encourage anyone who wants to do this to plan on throwing your rollers away when done. The material starts to dry fairly quickly, so don’t mix more than you can use within about 20-30 minutes.

If you want to see photo’s, or have a question about the project, please leave a comment.

Category: How To's, Interior Projects

Comments (39)

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  1. Bob says:

    I’d love to see a photo of this; as I am thinking of finishing my basement this way.

  2. Administrator says:

    e, I wish that I had a close up. I would have to dig up the pictures. This is the best that I can do for now.

    http://www.wnyhandyman.com/photo/images/P4280041_JPG.jpg
    http://www.wnyhandyman.com/photo/images/P4280040_JPG.jpg

    Hope this helps a little.

  3. Chris Robertson says:

    My house is built out of cinder block. I want to get rid of the cinder block look on my interior walls. Do you recomend a roll on texture? Please let me know.

  4. Jodi says:

    Would love to see pics…closer the better. I’m thinking about doing a bedroom. Thanks.

  5. Diane Isler says:

    I had heard of this technique from my father and his helper who do lots of motel remodels. I just wanted to check it out on the web and see if anyone else was doing it. I will be trying this technique in our farm house remodel. We have lots of brand new sheet rock to tape and texture! My dad also suggested mixing the joint compound with Kilz so we’d have texture and a sealer coat in one step.

  6. JAKE says:

    I’m turning the upstairs of my barn into a game room and of course the walls aren’t that great and it was my first time doing drywall. A friend was telling me that you could texture this way but I haven’t seen any pictures. Could you please email a few? Thank you very much

  7. Administrator says:

    Jake,

    I don’t have any photos from the project. We tried, but it is such a subtle texture that they didn’t appear to be anything but a beige wall.

    I would definitely recommend using a joint compound that you mix from the powder. That way you control the consistency and the drying appears to be much better. Don’t get any of the quick drying ones, or you will will have compound setting too quickly.

  8. joanna murphy says:

    HOW many coats did you have to put on ..i am excited to try this we have been looking for a more simple way
    Thanks for letting us know

  9. joanna murphy says:

    also how many parts water to the powder mix
    and did you mix the paint in ..or painted after
    Thanks again

  10. Administrator says:

    Joanna,
    We only did one coat. The texture was what we were after with the 1 coat.

    I don’t recall how much additional water we used in our mix. We mixed the amount as if we were going to use the compound for drywall and then added about 25% more water (I think). Get it to a consistency that you can work with. Too thin and you wont have much texture.

    We painted after (primed and painted).

    Fair warning. Joint compound on a paint roll is heavy. You might be a bit sore after doing this job.

    Good luck.

  11. joanna murphy says:

    LOL A little work out will be good :)
    Thanks so much for your help
    we are very excited to get started will post before and after links when done
    :)

  12. gene ross says:

    Will this cover rough walls we took off wall paper and it has our walls not smooth

    • Administrator says:

      It will cover most rough spots on the walls. It will be a lot of trial and error to get the texture you are after.

  13. gene ross says:

    Will this cover rough walls we took off wall paper and it has our walls not smooth

  14. lisa says:

    i would like to see photos of the look you achieved .I am trying to firgure out how to get that sanded paint look also .thank you

  15. jeannie says:

    I am trying that now on some walls that have never been painted but have a 130 years of wall paper on them! “Yikes”
    I tried smoothing the surface out but boy did that look like a mess I even tried only ripping off the wall paper that was loose but when I went over it with joint compound it came off in chunks! lol
    O.k buy now you Know I am a complete amateur at this:-0
    So Yes I would love to see some pictures please before I try to tackle 8 rooms like this.
    Thank you so much Jeannie Wray

    • Administrator says:

      Jeannie,
      That project was a few years back. I don’t have any pictures that turned out well. The texture was subtle enough that you couldn’t tell it existed in a photo.
      I would encourage anyone doing a project like this to prep by:

      removing anything loose
      prime with a high quality primerr
      remove anything that is loose after priming and spot prime those areas
      roll on your texture at a consistency that you can work with

      Good luck

  16. leslie says:

    I am fixing to move into a house with interior cinder block walls and was wanting to texture them. Could you tell me if you filled the morder cracks before you applied the compound mixture or if the mixture fills the cracks. Thank you.

    • Administrator says:

      Leslie,
      If I were texturing cinder, I would probably work with a cement based product rather than a joint compound. I would encourage you to speak with someone at a local concrete, or building material supply company first.

  17. leta says:

    can you texture right over latex painted walls? does the finished look, look like a sheet of sandpaper?

    • Administrator says:

      Leta,

      You can. I would consider a quality primer first. As someone once told me, you should always use primer when bonding non-like surfaces. Consider it like glue. Others will debate that, but it has always worked well for me.

  18. John says:

    I just put up all new dry wall in my garage. Walls look nice, ceiling not so good.. lol I would like to see the pictures you ended up with after rolling on joint compound. I’m thinking on just a cheap way to cover my flaws.. And also a few hints on thinning out the joint compound and what roller would be best..

    Thank
    John Fawks

    • Administrator says:

      John,

      I wish that the pictures showed more. They don’t. I ended up with a texture that almost looked like course sand (doesn’t photograph too well).

      The roller you use will depend on what you are after. You can find a texture roller that holds more compound in the roller, but for me it didn’t lay enough material on the wall. Most was caught up in the synthetic loops of the roller. I used a regular roller and experimented a little before settling on a texture. Keep in mind, your roller will get HEAVY.

      I would recommend that you monkey around with some scrap pieces of drywall. See if you can get a texture that satisfies you.

      Good luck.

      Buffalo Handyman

  19. Lance Leonard says:

    I would really like to see some pics of this style texture. I have just added a 12×12 addition to my house and I really don’t want to rent a hopper to spray this small of an area. I was thinking of thinning some compound and rolling it on with a 3/4 nap but really wanted to see what it would look like. Thank you in advance.

  20. VICTOR says:

    Please send me some photos of your roll on texture for interior cinder block wall, that is what I have an dcosnidering to do it.

    Thanks.

    VICTOR

    • Administrator says:

      Victor,

      The property is long gone and the photos that we had didn’t pick up the texture. Suffice it to say that from 10 feet, you didn’t know the walls were textured. We went for a sandy/stucco look and were able to accomplish that. I would encourage anyone to give it a go if they have a strong wrist/forearm and are looking for some nice coverage. The end result was beautiful. We did test our texture before doing so. We worked an area behind the door and gave it a day before deciding to roll on texture the remainder of the room.

      The end result will have a lot to do with your mix and your roller. Good luck.

  21. Rev. mike yancey says:

    we have a cinder block wall in our fellowship hall. we want to texture it however we dont want the look of a cinder block wall, should we put sheet rock up on the wall then texture it? but then would the sheet rock sweat against the cinder block wall? we are located deep south Texas, the humidity is very crazy around here, we are 25 miles from coast.

  22. Alicia says:

    If I were to do this over unprofessionally installed sheetrock (you can
    see all the seams), would this cover up to poorly done installation?

  23. Lauren says:

    I have just taken down old wallpaper and it has made some inconsistencies in the walls I wasn’t expecting. They aren’t major, but I know if I painted as is everything would show. I don’t want to very heavy texture, just enough to cover up the imperfections, would you recommend this process? I really don’t want to have to do a spray on.

    • Administrator says:

      Lauren,

      Why don’t you put a primer on the walls to start and see what the imperfections look like. You might be able to get away with a minor repair and avoid sparying.

  24. Deana Moody says:

    I used this technique when I re-did my mom and dad’s bathroom. It looked to pretty and sooo easy. I’m about to use this technique in my kitchen as well. I loved the results. Good luck.

  25. Rachel says:

    I used this technique to cover up the imperfections post wall paper. It did a pretty good job and was easy (except for the heavy roller).

  26. Cindy Hinkle says:

    I would love to get a picture of this. I want to cover cement block wall in a basement. I have tried the recomended product from Lowes however it does not conceal the joints

    • Administrator says:

      I think that you would have a difficult time utilizing this technique on masonry block. You really need a product that is suitable for cement block. The joints will almost always show through a “coating”. A mason is the one to speak with if you wish to smooth out your block walls. Not a job for your average homeowner.

  27. Ed says:

    This sounds fantastic! I’ve been looking for a technique that would hide a really bad drywall mudding job. Do you think moisture would be a big issue? I have a small cabin set deep in the woods of Ohio and it remains rather moist due to thick tree coverage. Also the cabin was built thirty years ago…before vapor barriers where even considered. It’s not leaking or anything… and has a new roof, insullation and drywall….. but just concerned about the compound mixture cracking. There isn’t any primer yet. Didn’t think I would need any since the walls are fresh/bare drywall. Was thinking of mixing tinted paint with it to get the color and texture in one shot. What do you think? Great site! Thanks.

    • Administrator says:

      Ed,
      The first thing that I would look at if I was considering going over the “bad drywall mudding job” is this. Did their joint compound hold up? If so, you will probably have success with the roll on method.

      I would apply the mud, roll on or otherwise prior to priming. One applied, I would then prime the surface before adding paint. Be sure that your walls are as free of dust prior to application. I like to sweep, vacuum, and wipe down with a damp cloth prior to any application on drywall.

      Good luck. Feel free to send pictures of your finished work.

      http://www.WNYHandyman.com

  28. Gee says:

    Hi,
    I know that this is an old post, but I would like to do this to a dining room after wallpaper removal and I have a question. Why did you use joint compound instead of wall texture? What’s the difference? Thanks for your help!

    • Administrator says:

      Gee,

      We did use joint compound. To be frank, I am not sure what the difference is between “wall texture” and joint compound. If I were doing this today, I would simply use lightweight joint compound (powdered mix) and mix it to a consistency that worked for me. Fair warning. When your mixed compound starts to stiffen up, don’t simply add water to the material. You will destroy the strength of the mix.

      Good luck.

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