Drywall Finishes

So drywall is something pretty high on the list of “stuff I didn’t care about until we started building a house.” It’s something I’ve hardly ever paid attention to. Never have I gone into a room and said to myself “this drywall texture is amazing!” And only rarely have I looked at drywall and thought “that drywall texture is garbage.” It’s happened once or twice though, usually when there is a ton of texture on a wall.

Anyway, months before we had to make the decision on what texture we wanted the drywall to have, Shaun The Builder mentioned that our neighbors had a “light skip trowel” texture on their walls, and it tended to be the standard for the area. I said that sounded fine with us.

…and that was our one and only discussion about drywall texture.

Drywall Hanging

Fast forward a few months and we’re done with our rough plumbing and electrical inspections and our framing inspection. It was time to get drywall hung. This was the stage where the place started to look a little more like a house, though certainly a house that was still under construction.

Drywall Texture

Turns out there are a variety of drywall textures out there. Orange Peel texture looks like its namesake: an orange peel. Knockdown texture involves mud on the walls that is knocked down evenly, giving an appearance of little islands… sorta. A light skip trowel finish has larger flat areas than the knockdown approach. And finally, smooth, skimcoated walls look the simplest but they’re the hardest to do: a big flat fall with no texture gives drywallers no cover for ripples and other imperfections.

Now: the bad news. Shaun’s communication with the drywallers was less-than-clear about what finish we were looking for, so the drywallers applied what they believed was a high-end finish suitable for our custom build:

Knockdown drywall texture

Knockdown. Lots and lots of knockdown.

We walked through the house to see if we could live with it, and we could. Probably. Though there were some sections of the house, like the stairwell, where bright light from above really highlighted the relatively-heavy texture. And we had some concerns that for the lifetime of the house we would see the texture and think “ug, not quite what we wanted.” We told Shaun that if a change was free and took no time, we would certainly change it. He said he would eat the cost of a change, since the screwup was his, and we could get the walls refinished within a week. He also thought we could do it without jeopardizing our move-in date. So we said yeah, change it.

We were happy we did. The light skip trowel texture looked a lot smoother and a lot better, without being absolutely flat. I guess now we are the type of people who care about drywall texture. And as an added bonus, for about a month I consciously recognized what texture was applied to each room I walked into. Building a house can do strange things to your mind.