6 Ceiling Texture Types You Should Know

CEILING TEXTURE TYPES – One could probably write an entire book on all of the different types of drywall texture that one might encounter. We will try to address the common ones.

The names below may vary from area to area and even between those who install the texture. Hopefully the descriptions will help you identify what type you have.

1. Stipple Ceiling Textures

This type of texture is done by rolling or spraying on a layer of drywall compound and then ‘stippling’ it with a brush. The pattern may be round, oval or monolithic.
Stipple texture is recoginized by it’s pronounced raised points that can resemble tiny mountain ranges. Actually, in the last few decades this type of texture has been toned down quite a bit. Instead of the heavy looking stalagtite typs points, a much flatter, subtle looking texture is preferred.

Due to this feature it is primarily used on ceilings. A close cousin is “Knock Down Texture”, this texture is first stippled and then the points are flattened. See the article “Patching Drywall” for information on fixing the drywall prior to repairing the texture.

This article covers how to patch a texture ceiling that is already installed. The problem is, that to match the texture, you need to use the same techniques that the original installers used.

Variations in Texture

Whether the stipple texture is heavy or light, the methods for installing it are the same. The texture is applied by rolling or spraying drywall compound onto the ceiling. The pattern is created by ‘stopmping’ the ceiling with a round or oval texture brush. The indectations and raised portions are created by the brush.

Stipple drywall texture can range from very light, usually done with a sprayer, to heavy. You want to thin the the mud accordingly. For a heavy stipple the mud should be stiff but workable.

For a very thin texture the mud might be the consistency of a heavy paint. The pattern is also important. You may not have a brush that matches the one used.

The thicker the mud, the more pronounced and sharper looking the stipple will be. You may need to experiment with the thickness to get a stipple similar to the one you have currently.

Finding a Texture Brush

The two common ones are round and oval. You can buy them at a home supply store. A texture brush and be found near the drywall supplies. They are around ten dollars. The have a threaded fitting in them so that any broom handle or painting extension stick will work.

For a very small patch it may be possible to use a brush that you already have, even a paint brush. However, it will take some experimenting to get the pattern to look the same.

Patching Stipple Texture

Mixing the Mud

The thicknes of the mud will determine how sharp or flat the pattern looks. Start with thicker mud and keep adding water until you have the consistency that will create the correct pattern.

Installing the Patch

Roll the drywall compound onto the area that needs to be patched. Roll the wet mud onto the existing texture by a couple of inches. The stippling is where you tap or ‘stomp’, as it is called in the industry, the brush into the wet mud. You may have to experiment with how vigorous the ‘stomping’ is, again this is to get the pattern you want. The bristles of the brush are kept perpendicular to the drywall and when you pull the brush away it leaves a stipple.

Play with it a little bit until you get your stipple drywall texture right. Blend the texture into the existing edges. Normally you would want to rotate the brush in your hand as you stomp it, this keeps the pattern as random as possible

Step back, how does it look? If you are satisfied, let it dry and paint the area. Not satisfied. Scrape it off while it is still wet and try again. No shame in that. You will probably never find the guy that did it the first time. Even if you did he probably could not exactly match his own work. Texturing drywall is very common you will be glad over time the you are able to install a stippled texture when you need to.


As you can see from the above, matching an existing texture as a trial and error process. With a little experimentation and practice you should be able to get the patch to look the same as your existing ceiling. You should paint the entire ceiling after the patch has dried. This will help the texture to blend.

Knock Down Texture – This is often accomplished by adding a third step to the stippled texture. When the texture is partially dry a plastic or rubber trowel is dragged over the stipple to achieve the ‘knock down’ look.

2. Knockdown Ceiling Texture

Knock down texture as the name implies is done by knocking down the stipples. Follow the instructions for a ‘Stipple Drywall Texture’ that is discussed in step one. This will give you an area textured with a stipple pattern. You will have to go through the experimenting phase to come up with something that looks similar to what you have. Let the texture start to dry.

You are trying to get the classic flattened look that is the trademark of a knock down drywall texture. Even among professionals, keeping a consistent look is difficult.

Use a plastic trowel or a piece of stiff but pliable rubber to ‘knock down’ the stipples. You want the trowel to ride lightly over the surface. Do not push it tight to the drywall. Apply enough pressure to get a knock down look similar to the surrounding area.

Step back and give it an inspection. Not satisfied? Scrape it off and try again. Looks good? Great, your texturing drywall experience has been pleasant. Now you can move onto other repairs in your home.

3. Drywall Roll Textures

This type is done by applying drywall compound to the wall or ceiling with a paint roller. This type is typically used in closets and garages. It is the easiest of all of them to match.

Drywall roll texture is done by rolling the drywall compound onto the surface. The roller creates a pattern in the mud. Once the pattern is semi consistent the mud is allowed to dry. Use a heavy nap roller, around 3/4″.

Mix the mud so that it can be rolled. Much heavier than paint, but thinner than taping compound, approaching a liquid state. Roll the mud on and try to blend it into the surrounding area. If your texture seems too heavy or light, adjust the consistency of the mud. Or try a different nap on the roller.

Don’t despair, drywall roll texture is a pretty messy operation. Make sure you cover everything you don’t want drywall mud on. You will still have some clean up to do.

This is by far the easiest texture to deal with. Step back and give it an inspection. Not satisfied? Scrape it off and try again. Looks good? Great, your drywall texturing experience has been successful. Time for another exciting activity, like cleaning the basement.

4. Trowel Applied Wall and Ceiling Texture

Originally, texture similar to drywall trowel texture were found in plastered homes. However, drywall compound has been used to achieve the same appearance. It will take more practice and experimenting to match this type of texture. The first thing to do is determine if anything has been added to the mud, such as sand.

Not sure if this is the right texture? See the article ‘Types of Drywall Texture’ for more information on all the texture types. Need to patch some drywall? See the article ‘How To Patch Drywall’ for instructions.

Generally a drywall trowel texture will be done with a fairly stiff mud. You apply the mud with a trowel and then use the trowel to achieve the pattern. Spanish textures are globs of mud flattened out. The trowel is often ‘hooked’ at the end of the stroke to give it a look (experiment, remember?). Fans, circles and other patterns are done by applying the compound in the desired pattern.

There are many, many variations and you will have to keep trying until you get something that works. This is definitely not an exact science. Even if you call a professional, they will need to experiment to get the right look. Trowel texturing drywall or imitating plaster textures is more difficult. Hopefully you were able to get something you are happy with.

5. Popcorn Ceiling Texture

Acoustic ceiling texture is very popular in homes built in the last few decades. Certain geographic locations also favor this style. This type of texture is done by putting Styrofoam beads in the drywall mud and then using a special hopper to spray it on the ceiling.

Homeowners will probably not have the equipment or the expertise to perform this type of operation themselves.

All is not lost though. There are aerosol products available for patching this type of texture. A can runs around fifteen dollars and will cover about six square feet, depending on the density of the bead pattern.

Purchase a can and follow the instructions for making you repair. Just like all of the other textures mentioned, some experimenting is needed to get a good match. The repair cans are expensive, so use the material gingerly. All done? Good job, you texturing drywall project has succeeded.

6. Orange Peel Texture

Orange peel drywall texture looks like, well you guessed it, an orange peel. The drywall compound form light bumps on the surface that looks similar to an orange peel.

This type of texture is also done using spray equipment. Homeowners will probably not have the equipment or the expertise to perform this type of operation themselves.

For a patching project you still have options. There are aerosol products available for patching this type of texture. A can runs around fifteen dollars and will cover about six square feet, depending on the density of the bead pattern.

Obtain a can and make your repair following the instructions on the can. This will be the same as other texturing repair projects, you will need to experiment. Be careful though, this material is expensive and does not go very far. Texturing drywall can be that easy.

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