Add Texture to Your Ceiling in 8 Steps

Perspective inside the house under construction. Plastered white cement applied on the ceiling board

Written by My Home Handyman

May 18, 2022

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Adding texture to a ceiling can be a great way to give the room more depth or ‘dress it up.’ Even better, some of the patterns are pretty easy to pull off. It just helps to know how to apply texture properly.

If you consider adding texture to a room in your home, then there is a simple way. This step-by-step guide can help you ensure that your room is ready to roll so that you can add a beautiful texture in no time.

Step 1: Get the Tools

The first thing you have to do before you can start to texture your ceiling is to have the appropriate tools. Since there are several methods in which you can tackle the texturing process, some of these may or may not be necessary.

A drop cloth and some painter’s tape will do wonders for limiting your cleanup efforts. You can also do the job with a trowel, sponge, or textured paint roller. You will need a little bit of drywall mud, a paint roller tray, and a ladder to ensure that you can reach everything properly. From there, it is time to start texturing your ceiling.

Step 2: Do the Patchwork

When you have the tools ready, it is time to prep your ceiling. Make sure that you do a once-over, checking the surface of the ceiling for any damage. Whether you have just bought the home or have lived there for years, it is possible for holes, cracks, and other blemishes to arise.

With spackle or putty, you should go around and make sure that you have repaired the ceiling plaster. Unless your ceiling is truly in horrible shape, this should be a process that doesn’t take all that long to complete. And you will be covering all of the patches at the end, too.

Step 3: Prime the Ceiling

Before you texture your ceiling, you must prime it. When you try to apply texture compound to a ceiling that has not been primed, it can dry really quickly. Why is this a problem? Well, it can cause lap marks where the wet compound is applied near the dry compound.

A quick prime and you should be ready to go. You will also want to decide on the compound that you will use. There are ready-mix texture compounds, multi-purpose joint compounds, and powdered texture compounds that you can mix yourself. You might need to add a little water to the ready-to-use compound to get your consistency right.

Step 4: Mixing the Compound

There are potentially two parts to the mixing, the first being optional. First, you should decide whether or not you want to add colour but note that colour is only possible for powder compounds. When you add colour, you won’t have to paint later, just mix the colouring agent with water.

You will then have to mix up your compound choice using either a mud masher or a mixer attachment that can go on your drill. Allow the mixture to rest overnight, giving it a mix again the next day to get out any potential lumps. You might have to add a little water to the re-mix.

Step 5: Adding Sand

Should you choose to do so, sand can be added in this step. Sand is used to get the look of an older-style plaster and to achieve the proper texture. Generally speaking, sand is graded according to mesh size. The larger the sand grade number, the finer the sand will be.

Generally speaking, if you plan to add sand to your mix, something in the 30 or 70-mesh range – or even a combo of the two – should be fine for your ceiling. Again, this is optional so consider everything before you get to this step to make things easier.

Step 6: Try it Out

Don’t just jump right into texturing. Take a piece of cardboard or scrap drywall and try your hand. Use different patterns and different tools to see what kind of options you have at your disposal. The good thing here is that almost any tool can work for this method. That includes paintbrushes, knives, sponges, and rollers.

After a little bit of experimentation, you should land on a pattern that you like. Just think about whether you can make it consistent across the ceiling. If it took you a while to get the look just right on a certain pattern, repeating that across an entire ceiling can be too challenging to pull off realistically.

Step 7: Apply the Compound

Now it is time to texture. Make sure that you have a sturdy base so that you don’t slip and either streak the texture or fall off and get hurt. Depending on the size of the room, the process could take a little bit to complete at a satisfactory level.

Try to achieve as uniform a pattern as possible. Inconsistencies can be hard to correct after the fact and have the potential to stand out.

Step 8: Review and Paint

When you have finished applying the texture, give it a once over to ensure that it is what you envisioned. If you get to any blemishes early enough, the compound may still be wet enough to manipulate. It is advised that you don’t make too many changes after the fact, though, because it can impact the overall look.

When you have finished with the texture and feel comfortable with how it looks (and it has properly dried), now comes the time to paint. Even if you plan on a white ceiling, it is good to apply a good coat of paint over the top to give it a bright, uniform look. For any other colour, make sure that you take the time to cover the entire textured area slowly. You don’t want little bits of white poking out all over the place.

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