How to Remove Texture from Walls – The Ultimate Guide

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Do you feel fed up with the old-fashioned texture on your walls? We will assist you in the steps of How to Remove Texture from Walls. Whether they are painted or not, we have the answers. 

First, we’ll explore scraping off the texture. We’ll discuss the tools needed and the step-by-step process.

Alternatively, if your walls are painted, we’ll explain how to apply a skim coat. We’ll also cover various repair techniques.

By the end, you’ll have the knowledge and confidence to transform your living space.

Why should I smooth my textured walls

If you want a more modern look or are planning to install wallpaper, you should consider smoothing out your textured walls. Textured walls can hide imperfections, but they can also make it difficult to achieve a smooth surface.

To remove texture from painted walls, you can scrape off the texture using a drywall taping knife. However, this method may not be as effective because paint acts as a sealant. In this case, you can opt for a skim coat.

A skim coat involves applying a layer of joint compound to the textured wall, creating a smooth surface. This method is also suitable for unpainted walls.

It’s important to note that if you’re dealing with lead paint or older homes that may contain asbestos, it’s best to consult a professional to ensure safety.

Cost to Remove Texture from Walls

To determine the cost of removing texture from walls, you’ll need to consider factors such as the square footage of the area, the method used for removal, and the presence of asbestos or lead paint.

– Typical cost: $1.10 to $1.30 per square foot for skim-coating drywall.
– Cost of removing popcorn ceiling is similar.
– DIY route can save on materials.
– Asbestos presence can increase removal cost.
– Professional services may have additional labor charges.

The cost of removing texture from walls can vary depending on the size of the area and the method chosen for removal. Skim-coating drywall typically costs between $1.10 and $1.30 per square foot. If you’re removing a popcorn ceiling, the cost is comparable. If you decide to tackle the project yourself, you can save on materials, but it’s important to consider the presence of asbestos or lead paint, which may increase the cost and require professional assistance. Keep in mind that professional services may also have additional labor charges.

How to Prep for Wall Texture Removal 

Before you begin removing texture from your walls, there are a few important steps to take.

  1. First, be aware of the potential presence of asbestos and lead paint, especially in older homes.
  2. Next, make sure to protect the area by covering the floor and furniture with drop cloths.
  3. Lastly, don’t forget to put on safety gear such as a HEPA respirator, hair covering, and disposable coveralls to prevent any potential health hazards.

Step #1 – Watch Out for Asbestos and Lead Paint

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To properly prepare for removing texture from walls, it’s essential to be aware of the potential presence of asbestos and lead paint in older homes. These hazardous materials can be found in the textured paint that was commonly used before the 1980s.

Here are three important things to keep in mind when dealing with asbestos and lead paint:

– Watch Out for Asbestos: Asbestos exposure can lead to serious health complications, so it’s crucial to take precautions. Hire an asbestos testing company to determine if your walls contain asbestos before starting any removal project. If asbestos is present, it’s best to call a professional to handle the job.

– Be Cautious of Lead Paint: High levels of exposure to lead paint can cause kidney and brain damage, especially for children. If your home was built before 1978, have lead clearance testing done to ensure your safety. Always get a professional opinion before removing lead paint.

– Safety First: When dealing with asbestos or lead paint, wear a HEPA respirator, cover your hair, and use disposable coveralls to protect yourself. Take careful planning and follow all safety guidelines to ensure a safe and successful wall texture removal process.

Step #2 – Protect the Area (Including Your Furniture)

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Ensure the protection of your space and belongings by taking necessary precautions before starting the wall texture removal process.

  1. To protect your area, cover the floor with canvas drop cloths and use painter’s tape to secure them in place.
  2. If you’re using joint compound for the removal process, it’s advisable to remove baseboards to prevent any damage. Additionally, apply painter’s tape around windows and trim to avoid any accidental scraping or damage.
  3. Protect your furniture by covering it with tarps or, if possible, remove it from the room entirely.
  4. Lastly, tape plastic over vents to prevent dust from spreading throughout your house.

Step #3 – Put On Safety Gear

To ensure your safety during the wall texture removal process, it’s important to put on the necessary safety gear. Here are three items you should wear:

Dust Mask: Protect yourself from drywall dust by wearing a dust mask. This will prevent you from inhaling any harmful particles that may be released during the texture removal.

Goggles: Keep your eyes safe from flying debris by wearing goggles. This will shield your eyes from any potential hazards while scraping the texture off the walls.

Gloves: Protect your hands from cuts and scrapes by wearing gloves. This will provide a barrier between your skin and the tools you’ll be using to scrape the texture.

Method 1: Soak and Scrape

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The best way to remove texture from walls is by using the soak-and-scrape method, especially if the walls have not been previously painted. Follow the instructions below to eliminate the texture from your walls. 

1) Gather Your Tools and Supplies

Gather the necessary tools and supplies for the soak and scrape method of removing texture from walls. Here are the items you’ll need:

Spray bottle or pump sprayer: You’ll use this to saturate the walls with water, softening the texture for easier removal.

Drywall taping knife: This tool will help you scrape off the softened texture at a 30-degree angle. Repeat the process for stubborn texture.

Drywall sanding sponge: After the wall has dried completely, use this sponge to sand the wall for a smooth finish.

Dust mask: Protect yourself from inhaling dust particles by wearing a dust mask during the removal process.

2) Cover the Floor and Trim

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To protect your floors and trim while removing texture from walls using the soak and scrape method, cover them with a canvas drop cloth and secure it with painter’s tape. This will prevent any damage or imperfections caused by the scraping process.

The drop cloth will catch any debris or texture that falls from the walls, keeping your floors clean and free from scratches. The painter’s tape will ensure that the drop cloth stays in place and doesn’t shift while you work.

3) Spray Walls With Water

To begin removing texture from your walls using the soak and scrape method:

  1. Start by saturating the surface with water using a pump sprayer or spray bottle. Spray two to three times to ensure the wall is evenly soaked.
  2. Allow the water to sit for about 15 minutes, until the wall’s surface feels soft to touch. Once the texture is softened, you can start scraping it off using a drywall taping knife at a 30-degree angle.
  3. Repeat the process for any stubborn texture that remains. After the wall has dried completely, use a sanding screen to smooth out any leftover texture, leaving you with a clean and smooth surface.

4) Scrape With a Drywall Taping Knife

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  1. Now, using your drywall taping knife, you can start scraping off the softened texture from the walls:
  2. Hold the knife at a 30-degree angle and gently scrape off the texture, starting from the top of the wall.
  3. If or when you encounter any resistance, simply wet the area again with the pump sprayer and try scraping once more.
  4. Once you have finished scraping, allow the walls to dry completely for 24 hours. Afterward, you can use a drywall sanding screen to sand down any leftover texture and achieve a perfectly smooth finish.

This method allows you to remove the texture effectively, revealing a smooth surface underneath. Make sure to continue scraping until all the texture is removed.

5) Continue the Scraping Process

After using the drywall taping knife to scrape off the softened texture from the walls, you can continue the scraping process to ensure all the texture is removed. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Use a firm and steady pressure to scrape off any remaining texture from the walls.
  2. Scrape in long strokes, moving in one direction to avoid damaging the drywall
  3. .If there are stubborn areas that are difficult to remove, apply more water and let it soak for a few minutes before scraping again.

Remember to take breaks and assess your progress regularly. It’s important to be thorough to achieve a smooth surface.

Once you have finished scraping, you can proceed to sand the walls to achieve complete smoothness.

Keywords: ceiling, joint compound, textured ceilings, drywall, wall texture removal, scraping process.

6) Dry and Sand Wall

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Once the walls have dried completely, you can proceed to sand them down using a drywall sanding screen to achieve a smooth texture-free surface.

  1. Start by gently sanding the walls in a circular motion, focusing on areas with remaining texture or imperfections. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as this can damage the drywall.
  2. Continue sanding until the surface feels even and smooth to the touch.
  3. After sanding, wipe away any dust with a clean cloth or vacuum with a brush attachment.

This step prepares the walls for further treatment, such as applying a skim coat of drywall compound to completely remove any remaining texture and create a seamless finish.

Method 2: Apply a Skim Coat on Textured Walls

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Apply joint compound ( also known as a skim coat ) to your walls in order to create a smooth surface by covering the textured paint.  Follow the steps below to apply the joint compound to your walls.

1) Gather Your Tools and Supplies

To apply a skim coat on textured walls, gather your tools and supplies such as:

 – Joint compound
– A drill with a paddle bit
– Cleaning cloths
– A thick nap paint roller
– A drywall taping knife
– A drywall mud tray
– A hand sander

2) Cover the Floor and Remove Trim

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To cover the floor and remove trim when applying a skim coat on textured walls, gather your tools and supplies.

  1. Start by protecting your floors with a canvas drop cloth. Use painter’s tape to secure the drop cloth in place.
  2. Next, remove the baseboard trim using a putty knife. Place the knife behind the baseboard and gently pry the trim off the wall.
  3. Once the trim is removed, lightly sand the painted texture on the walls and ceiling. This will help the drywall mud adhere better.
  4. Mix the drywall mud with water until it reaches the consistency of pancake batter.
  5. Use a thick-nap roller to roll the mud onto the wall, then use a drywall taping knife to skim the excess mud off the wall.

Keep the surface wet while working to achieve a smooth finish.

3) Lightly Sand the Painted Texture

Lightly sanding the painted texture is an important step in applying a skim coat on textured walls. The purpose of sanding is to remove the sheen of the paint and create a rough surface that the joint compound can adhere to. Here are three key steps to follow when lightly sanding the painted texture:

– Use a sanding screen: A sanding screen is a mesh-like abrasive material that’s designed to lightly sand the surface without removing too much material. It’s ideal for removing the sheen from painted walls.

– Sand until the texture softens sufficiently: The goal is to create a rough surface that allows the joint compound to bond with the existing texture. Sand the painted texture until it feels less glossy and more textured.

– Clean the dust off the wall: After sanding, it’s important to clean the dust off the wall using damp rags or paper towels. This will ensure a clean surface for the skim coat application.

4) Mix the Joint Compound

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  1. Mix the joint compound until it reaches the consistency of pancake batter. Start by scooping a half-gallon of premixed drywall compound into a five-gallon bucket. Add water gradually, using a drill with a paddle bit to mix. The mixture should be smooth and free of lumps.
  2. Once properly mixed, you’re ready to apply the joint compound to the textured walls. Roll the joint compound onto the wall using a thick-nap roller, making sure to cover the entire surface.
  3. After applying the compound, use a drywall taping knife to skim the wall, removing any excess compound and creating a smooth finish. Remember to keep the surface wet while skimming to prevent gouging the drywall.

This thin layer of drywall compound will help to hide the texture, providing a clean and even surface for further painting or finishing.

5) Roll the Joint Compound Onto the Wall

Roll the joint compound onto the wall using a thick-nap roller, ensuring complete coverage. This method, known as applying a skim coat, is ideal for textured walls with deep texture that can’t be easily scraped off.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Lightly sand the glossy paint on the wall to improve the grip of the joint compound.
  2. Mix the joint compound with water until it reaches the consistency of pancake batter.
  3. Pour the mixture into a paint roller pan and use a thick-nap roller to roll the joint compound onto the wall.
  4. After rolling, use a drywall taping knife to skim off any excess compound, keeping the surface wet for a smooth finish.

6) Skim the Compound Smooth

Source: finehomebuilding.com

To achieve a smooth and even surface, skim the compound smooth using a drywall taping knife after applying the joint compound as a skim coat on textured walls.

This method is especially effective for walls that are already painted, as the paint acts as a sealant, making it difficult to scrape off the texture.

  1. To begin, lightly sand the glossy paint to improve the grip of the joint compound.
  2. Next, mix the joint compound with water until it reaches the consistency of pancake batter.
  3. Roll the joint compound onto the wall using a thick-nap roller, ensuring full coverage.
  4. Then, take the drywall taping knife and skim off any excess compound, keeping the surface wet for a smooth finish.

Remember to work in small sections and avoid skimming over dried areas.

7) Keep the Surface Wet

To achieve a smooth and even surface on textured walls, it is important to keep the surface wet while applying a skim coat. Working in small sections is key to maintaining a wet surface while you work. This will help the joint compound adhere properly and create a seamless finish.

  1. To keep the surface wet, spray the wall with water before applying a skim coat. This will ensure that the joint compound doesn’t dry out too quickly. It is important to avoid skimming wet compound on areas that have already dried, as this can lead to unevenness in the finish.
  2. After applying the first skim coat, it is necessary to let the wall dry completely for 24 to 48 hours. This drying time allows the joint compound to harden and adhere properly to the wall. If necessary, a second skim coat can be applied to ensure complete coverage and smooth out any remaining texture.
  3. Once the final skim coat is applied, it is important to let the wall dry before proceeding with further steps. This will ensure that the joint compound has fully dried and hardened, resulting in a smooth and even surface for painting or further finishing.

8) Dry and Repeat (If Needed).

  1. After applying the first skim coat, allow the wall to dry completely for 24 to 48 hours before proceeding with further steps. This drying time is crucial to ensure that the joint compound on the wall sets properly.
  2. Once the wall is dry, assess the surface for any areas that still have texture or imperfections. If needed, you’ll need to add a second coat of joint compound to achieve a smooth surface.
  3. Repeat the process of rolling the joint compound onto the wall with a thick-nap roller and skimming off the excess with a drywall taping knife. Remember to keep the surface wet while working and work in small sections.
  4. After applying the second coat, allow the wall to dry completely again for 24 to 48 hours. This will ensure that the compound dries and hardens properly, creating a smooth and texture-free surface.

9) Sand the Wall Smooth

Source: Sandpaperamerica.com

To achieve a smooth and texture-free surface, sand the wall using drywall sanding sponges in circular motions. This method is specifically for painted walls that have a textured surface. Here are three important steps to follow:

  1. Start at the bottom of the wall and work your way up, applying even pressure with the sanding sponge.
  2. Pay close attention to any spots that may have been missed during the initial sanding, and go over them again until the surface is completely smooth.
  3. Use a bright light to inspect the wall from different angles and ensure that all imperfections have been smoothed out.

Tips for Removing Texture from Walls:

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Looking to make this DIY project as smooth as possible? It may require some experimentation, but these tips can make a difference. 

1) Skip Chemical Paint Removers

If you want to remove texture from your walls, skip the chemical paint removers and try these tips instead:

– Scrape off the texture with water: For unpainted walls, saturate the texture with water using a pump sprayer or spray bottle. Then, scrape off the softened texture with a drywall taping knife at a 30-degree angle. Repeat the process for stubborn texture and sand the wall for complete smoothness.

– Apply a skim coat: For painted walls, cover up the texture with a skim coat. Mix joint compound to a pancake batter consistency and roll it onto the wall using a thick-nap roller. Skim off excess compound with a drywall taping knife, keeping the surface wet for a smooth finish. This technique, known as a skim coat, is great for covering imperfections such as drywall installation.

Avoid sanding the walls, as the paint acts as a sealant.

2) Catch Imperfections With a Bright Light

To catch imperfections on your walls while removing texture, shine a bright light at different angles to create shadows that reveal any missed bumps or unevenness. This technique is especially important if you plan on applying a high gloss paint, as it tends to highlight any flaws on the surface. By using a bright light, you can easily identify areas that need further attention and ensure that your walls are smooth and even before proceeding with the painting process.

Simply position the light at different angles and move it along the wall to cast shadows and highlight any imperfections. This will allow you to address these issues before applying the final coat of paint, resulting in a flawless finish.

3) Use the Right Sandpaper

To effectively remove texture from your walls, it’s crucial to use the appropriate grit of sandpaper. Using the wrong sandpaper can result in damage to the walls or leave behind uneven spots.

Here are some tips for choosing the right sandpaper:

– For drywall, use 120- to 150-grit sandpaper.
– For rough textures like stucco or Venetian plaster, use 60- to 80-grit sandpaper.
– Start with the coarser sandpaper for rough textures, but finish with a finer grit to avoid damage.

Using the correct sandpaper will help you achieve a smooth and even surface on your walls. Remember to be gentle and take your time when sanding to avoid causing any imperfections.

DIY vs Hiring a Pro to Smooth Your Walls

When deciding whether to tackle smoothing your walls yourself or hiring a professional, consider the cost, complexity, and potential health risks involved.

If you have an older home with asbestos or lead paint, it’s best to call a professional to handle the job. Asbestos exposure can lead to serious health complications, while high levels of exposure to lead paint can cause kidney and brain damage.

However, if your walls don’t pose any health risks, you can opt for the DIY route to save on labor costs. Keep in mind that scraping off texture requires tools such as a drywall taping knife, while applying a skim coat involves using joint compound and a thick-nap roller.

Additionally, if your walls are painted with high-gloss paint, scraping may be less effective, so covering up the texture with a skim coat is recommended.

RELATED: How To Scrape Popcorn Ceiling

How to Remove Texture From Walls – FAQ

What is the best method to remove texture from walls?

To remove orange peel or any textured wall finish, the most common methods include drywall knife scraping, covering the texture with a new layer of drywall, or applying a skim coat to create a smooth surface.

What tools do I need to remove texture from walls?

For wall to remove texture, you will need a drywall knife for scraping, joint compound or spackle, sandpaper or a sander, and a taping knife for applying the new finish.

What can I do if I want to get rid of texture on my walls?

If you want to get rid of textured walls, you can use a drywall knife to scrape the texture off or skim coat textured walls to achieve a smooth finish.

Can I remove texture from walls and make them look brand new?

If your walls look dated due to the texture, you can remove it by scraping, sanding, or applying a skim coat for a new, fresh look.

Do I need to replace the underlying drywall while removing texture from walls?

It’s not always necessary to replace the underlying drywall when removing texture. You can apply joint compound to fix any imperfections and create a smooth surface.

Should I use a specific type of paint after removing texture from walls?

After removing textured walls, it’s recommended to use flat paint to achieve an even finish.

Can I remove texture from a specific section of the wall?

If you only want to remove texture from a specific section of the wall, you can use a drywall knife to carefully scrape that area.

Should I sand the walls after removing the texture?

It’s advisable to don’t sand the walls after removing texture, especially if planning to apply a skim coat or new finish. 

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AUTHOR

Ira Njoroge

Hey, I’m Ira Njoroge, the founder of MySpaceAffair. Early on in my life, I had a passion to embark on a mission to create a cleaner, and more organized household. With a bachelor's degree in engineering after graduating from the University of Maryland in 2015 and seven years as a General Contractor and professional cleaner, on top of my DIY Enthusiasm. I saw the need for a reliable information source for homeowners. My passion, diligence, experience, and hired professionals confirms the reliability of all the advice given in My Space Affair and I hope to provide you all with reliable and thorough content!

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