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Removing textured paint

What is the best (easiest!) way to remove textured paint from a wall? 

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Posted 2011-03-10T13:21:08+0000  by SkeeterF SkeeterF

Hello SkeeterF,


Welcome to the Community!


There are numerous types of textured paint. Behr makes several; one that is rolled on with a textured nap roller and another that is a plaster finish applied with a trowel. In some regions "knockdown" is a popular finish, and popcorn is often used to create texture.


In most cases, the products are water-based and can be re-wet by applying warm water. I prefer to use a pump-up garden sprayer set to spray a wide fan. Cover everything with plastic, then mist on three coats of water about ten minutes apart. Test the material with a trowel to see is it will scrape off. If not, spray one or more coats of warm water until you re-wet the material enough to remove.


This is a messy process, so plan to wear eye protection and either a protective jump suit or old clothes.


Write back and tell us which type texture you have and we will follow-up with more detailed instructions for your project.

Posted 2011-03-10T14:11:56+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL



i have the same problem, however the testure is troveled plaster that was done more than 10 years ago and is quite hard. I tried to wet it but to no avail. its really hard to scrape off. please let me know what i can do. (preferably myself)

Posted 2012-07-09T11:52:05+0000  by psabharwal

Hello Pasbharwal!


Plaster and other similar compounds are likely among the hardest to remove easily ... particularly if they are painted with satin or semi-gloss paint or protective coatings.


If you can expose an edge, using a trowel or mud-knife, you may be able to re-wet a small section at a time and scrape off as you go. However, the time and frustration associated with removing these thicker materials may make the project too costly.


We posted an answer for another Community Member and included this video of a sanding tool used to finish the seams in freshly hung sheetrock.


Have a look.



If you can locate this tool at your local Tool Rental, this may be the most cost efficient (though still very time consuming) way to reduce the texture. Expect considerable sanding dust ... covering the floor, doorways, and your air conditioning vents with plastic will help prevent the dust from spreading.


Even with a power tool like this, creating a perfectly smooth full-wall may not be realistic. Rather, you may expect to reduce the texture to create a more even appearance that can be painted or faux finished to cover any texture that remains.


Finally, if you've never had a "Demolition Party," this may be the time to break out the sledge!


Yes, I know, that is fairly drastic!


But if you really have your mind set on perfectly smooth walls and want to minimize both time and budget, this may be your solution. The worst part may be overcoming the idea that you're destroying a part of your home.


Measure your resources as well as your desire for smooth walls carefully. Then try to think about the end result ... being rid of the texture and having smooth, freshly painted walls.


The mess associated with demolition is probably the highest hurdle. So use plenty of tape and plastic to prevent the dust from spreading throughout your home.


Installing new sheetrock on walls is not too difficult!


I would say it is a six on a one-to-ten scale where ten is most difficult.


Mudding and sanding the seams is an art. Try mudding and sanding a demo board to get the basic idea. You'll certainly improve as you go.


And most important of all, be certain before you swing that sledge the first time ... then, turn your favorite music up loud and just have fun with it!!!


NOTE: Most projects like this have hidden cost. So be certain to add about twenty percent above your materials estimate.

Posted 2012-07-10T18:07:18+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL


There are a couple more options which may be tried, unfortunately, both are quite labor intensive and dusty. 


If the texture is not too extreme, such as an medium "orange peel", drywall topping compound can be troweled over the entire surface and then sanded with a sanding block. A colleague of mine has gone through his whole house using this process. His wife thinks he is crazy, but he really dislikes the textured walls ( as do I) which are common here in the Pacific NorthWest.


Another possibility is to slice off part of the paper which is the top covering of drywall. This is accomplished using a 4  inch razor knife using a slicing motion. Once the surface has been removed, leaving the brown pulpy paper which is under the slick surface of drywall, the whole area can be sealed with a quick dry oil primer such as Kilz.. Drywall compound is then troweled over the area and then sanded with a sanding block. I have used this technique in my previous home. As stated, it is very labor intensive, but the end result is a nice smooth wall.


As PatinPaint suggests, at some point you might make the decision to actually replace the drywall, as lesser of the evils. Replacing drywall, especially if is only the walls, is not that difficult. One side  benefit of opening up the walls, is that you can easily upgrade house wiring , plumbing, insulation, etc.

Posted 2012-07-10T18:33:51+0000  by ordjen

Outstanding suggestion Ordjen!!!


I attended a dinner party on July 4th and upon discovering my role as a product expert with The Home Depot, one guest immediately wanted to show me his handiwork ... he lived next door.


When we enter his den, he said the wall to the left of his fireplace was originally panel. He primed with oil-base primer and then skimmed two coats of drywall compound about one day apart. After sanding and painting it looked amazingly smooth.


If you looked down the wall with a light at the other end, you could barely see one or two very slight ridges ... remnants from the original paneling. But if I had just walked into the room and were not been told about the repair, I'd never have noticed these slight imperfections.


So, Ordjen's solution is a very functional way to get rid of texture.

Posted 2012-07-12T13:09:58+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL

I love textured walls but I think if I ever have them in my home, I will first put up a very cheap wallpaper and then texture over it.  This way it will be easier to remove in the future.

Posted 2012-07-21T04:49:30+0000  by tobeamiss




Texture wallcoverings disigned to be painted over already exist. These are dry strippable wallcoverings which can be merely pulldown intact at some furture time. The concept is not new. I encountered these type papers in Germany over 50 years ago. Indeed, much of this type wallpaper is still being imported from Germany and England.


Home Depot does carry a line of textured papers with embossed designs. They can be painted over  and glazed over to give a myriad of interesting effects.

Posted 2012-07-22T04:18:46+0000  by ordjen

i have started to paint my kitchen. it had very old wallpaper i pulled it all off. there is drywall there and the paint is making it bubble up. help what do i do?

Posted 2012-08-04T21:52:43+0000  by stoneking




Did you wash all the paste off the wall before painting the walls? Did you disturb the outer white layer of paper on the drywall? Was the brown pulpy underlying layer of drywall paper exposed? It is not quite clear to me exactly what is bubbling up. One thing for sure, the water from the new paint is causing the bubbling.


What to do now? First, let the walls thoroughly dry down. Cut out and sand over the bubbled areas. Now prime the walls with an oil based primer such as Original Kilz or Cover Stain. After the primer has dried, patch any rough or formerly bubbled areas with drywall compound. The use of the oil based primer will form a moisture barrier to help prevent the moisture from the new paint from lifting the old surface. When dry, sand the patches with 100 weight sand paper on a sanding block. Now spot prime the patches with the Kilz again. You should now be ready to re-paint the walls, preferably with one of the self-priming paints such as Glidden's DUO, Behr's Premium Plus or Premium Plus Ultra.


Hope this of help.

Posted 2012-08-05T05:11:16+0000  by ordjen
Other Community Members are making great examples of faux and furniture treatments:

Outstanding examples!
Posted 2015-12-03T17:47:04+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL
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