No Mess Drywall Textures – Tips on How to do Three Basic Drywall Finishes

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The title of this article may be a bit deceiving. No mess drywall is kind of like being on the do not call list. Eventually, some telemarketer is going to call while you’re in the shower and tick you off something fierce. And, just like those overzealous telemarketing jerks who won’t leave you alone, joint compound is sure to start spreading itself around your home like the bird flu. In other words, no matter what you use joint compound for, it’s likely to jump out of the bucket and go everywhere and get on everything you own.

With that said, the following drywall textures aren’t going to be mess-free, but they are certainly going to be the least messy of the bunch. So whether you’re finishing a small room’s walls or your retexturing an entire house, consider these “no mess” drywall textures and you’ll not only minimize the messy white stuff, but you’ll get a favorable drywall texture that everyone is sure to love.

Stomp Finish

Light Stomp Texture
Light Stomp Texture

No: it’s not a bad musical about college hipsters banging on garbage cans with sticks – it’s actually by far my favorite drywall texture. Not only because it’s so easy to create, but also because it looks so good after it’s done (and probably because it’s all over my house). A stomp texture is just as its name implies – you stomp it onto the drywall. Mostly used for ceiling textures, a stomp pattern can be rough, slightly textured, symmetrical or completely abstract. And best of all, it’s easy to apply.

You don’t need a spray texture hopper gun to apply this drywall texture on walls or ceilings. A painting roller tray filled with a sloppy mix of joint compound and a stomp brush with telescoping handle is all you need to make this texture complete.

Simply load the stomp brush with your premixed pancake-batter-like-consistency joint compound and slap it against the wall. Slap a few small circles with the brush until it starts to run low on joint compound and load the brush again. Repeat the process until you’ve got the area covered.

Heavy Stomp Texture
Heavy stomp texture

Some drywall finishers like to knock down the texture with a drywall knife, but you can leave it as is for a more pronounced effect. Once it’s dry, you can paint it with a heavy nap roller cover.

Best of all, this texture is very forgiving. If you have a bad drywall finish, old popcorn ceiling or a few patches that would make a one eyed pirate jealous – all is well when it’s covered with this drywall texture.

Tuscan Finish

Also known as Venetian finish, this stucco-like drywall finish is easy enough to apply because it’s done in such an inconsistent way that it’s nearly impossible to mess up. Venetians used a mix of limestone, sea salt and silica to create their finish, but today’s modern Tuscan look is easily applied using a mix of joint compound, some fine white sand and a large drywall knife.

This is probably one of the least messy of all drywall textures basically because it’s applied to the walls and ceiling using a thicker mixed joint compound. Most of the time, the premixed joint compound that comes right out of the bucket is sufficient enough to create a solid Tuscan look (once you mix in the sand).

To apply this drywall texture, you’ll need to use a large drywall knife or a stucco trowel. Start by working small sections of the wall or ceiling using a single stroke both horizontally and vertically. Apply successive layers to create the ripple effect that’s prevalent throughout the texture. If the area gets too smooth from the trowel, you can use the edge of the blade to create a few faux cracks or edges and then apply another thin coat of joint compound to add dimension to the overall texture.

Once it starts to dry, some people like to throw a bit of sand against the finish (I know; that’s going to be a little messy). Wipe away the excess sand with a dry paintbrush to create a unique dimpled effect that looks like aging ancient Venetian plaster.

Roller Finish

Messy Overspray from a Spray Hopper
Messy Overspray from a Spray Hopper

You can make this simple drywall texture using really wet joint compound and a light-nap roller cover. It looks a bit like spray-on orange peel drywall texture. This texture can be tough to master. You’ll need to get the mix right first or you’ll have problems the whole way through.

Mix plenty of water into a bucket of joint compound until you have a thin and watery mix the consistency of latex paint. Once you’ve got that done, pour a bit into a paint tray and remove any lumps or chunks. These little bits of hard mud can make or break your final roller finish. You can use a paint filter if you’re having problems getting the lumps out of the mix.

Once it’s in the tray; it’s go time. The faster you apply this finish; the better. Because once it starts to dry, it sticks to the wall and roller cover, ensuring an inconsistent finish. Roll it out just like you would paint a wall, knocking down any lines and filling in any holidays as you work your way across the wall or ceiling. Let it dry for 24 hours and it’s ready to paint.

Have a favorite DIY drywall finish of your own? Share it with us in the comments below!

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About Eric

Since Eric built his first skateboard ramp in his parents driveway; he’s breathed, slept and eaten DIY construction. As a second generation master carpenter who runs two Florida-based construction firms, Eric’s had the chance to work on everything from Mcmansions to your local mall to the cat lady’s bathroom. So when it comes to dealing with construction s@#t; he’s the man—literally. There isn’t a tool or construction material that Eric hasn’t used and abused, and if there is; it’s rocking in a dark corner nervously waiting for him to show up for work.

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