What Is Your Favorite Drywall Finish?

trudymomApril 18, 2008

What is your favorite drywall finish? I'd love to see pictures if you have any, and also any suggestions. New home construction.

Thank you!

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smooth walls with just the texture from the paint roller.use a flat enamel paint.gives you a deep rich finish that is not glossy.satin is a little too glossy with smooth walls.
knockdown or crowsfoot ceiling.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 2:42PM
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I like 'em rough, but in a large scale. Most knock down is too busy for me, and I dislike it when you can see the crowfoot pattern-- reminds me of a floral wall paper.

Smooth walls are fashionable around here, but for me it lacks visual interest. I like it along the lines of a skip trowel, a bit rougher than 'imperfect smooth'.

But the thing is, a lot of textures don't really fit in to any of the common categories. My builder developed a look for my house based on on conversations we had about the walls at various local businesses-- 'I want something along the lines of the new dining room at the Bear Paw, but not so 'wet' looking, something more 'scraped' than 'smeared'.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 3:26PM
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    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 8:01PM
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Smooth with a light knockdown on the ceilings.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 8:17PM
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Orange peel on the lighter side as it is the absolute easiest to repair and make it match when needing to fix holes etc. Just realize that what you mean light may not be what the texture person considers light. Ours is more like medium than light.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 9:48PM
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Ummmm.....Level 5 finish is what I like. Smooth as silk, absolute perfection, but few are willing to pay the price for it.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 10:02PM
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We have orange peel, looks medium to me. I do not like it and if I had it to do over I would have done a light orange peel or smooth. There are some areas where you can see where they did not have the sprayer on the same setting. Drives me crazy but I have learned to ignore it!!! LOL!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 10:37PM
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I prefer the light orange peel too. With knockdown/brocade on the ceiling.

I do like the Old World look too but I wonder if I'd like to repaint it?? It's hard to capture on film, but I tried to get a close up of my friends house who has Old World in many rooms.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 10:50PM
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Here's a photo of ours. It's a hand-troweled finish with tea stain. Not the greatest picture, but it gives you an idea. We love it and have had several guests point out different shapes, or their interpretation of the shapes.

a href="http://s255.photobucket.com/albums/hh154/mcbird_photos/?action=view&current=002.jpg"; target="_blank">

    Bookmark   April 19, 2008 at 8:19PM
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Smooth walls and ceilings. I had to fight hard to get them! They may not be absolutely perfect but I like them a lot better for this house than I would have liked them textured.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2008 at 8:28PM
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Another vote for smooth walls and smooth ceilings!!!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 5:58PM
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In our old home, smooth seemed to fit, but in our new home smooth just didn't seem right. They are a light orange peel and we upgrade to a texture finish that is very similar to mcbird's, in the main living area... which seems just perfect!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 6:05PM
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I like ours a lot, in fact I think it perfect. It's quite smooth overall but then every now and then it has a mark. It's there but not "in your face".

I took this picture about 1 foot away from the wall. If you were standing 4-5 feet away only the largest are noticeable. Still at that distance you would have to be paying attention to know the marks are there at all......

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 7:05PM
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I have always admired smooth walls. After much looking, we found someone experienced for a level 5 finish. They begin in about two weeks.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 10:41PM
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Well right now my favorite is "smooth imperfect" since that's what we have (we did it ourselves). The imperfections are subtle and I am probably the only person who notices them, but I hope over the next year to go room by room and make it more 'smooth' without the imperfect.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 9:13AM
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Kats, your interior is how they finished the color coat on the exterior stucco of our build. Not real aggressive but considered old world. We were going to go a little more aggressive on the wallboard doing a skip trowel/old world, but after seeing the pic as well as others of your awesome home in the past, might tone it down a little on the inside as well. Looks nice!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 10:27AM
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Another vote for level 5 smooth walls and ceilings. I think many of the textured finishes are trendy and may be very dated and out of style in 10 or 15 years. I'd hate to have to sand them smooth then!! Smooth will never go out of style.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 12:31PM
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Smooth will never go out of style

Unless it's not in style in your area! LOL! Sorry, couldn't resist!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 2:16PM
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I think Lindy is right. It is a regional thing. I have lived out of Ohio where I grew up for many years now, and never paid any attention to textured anything until we were building. I went back last year at this time when I was paying attention to peoples homes in a different way than normal, and it was smooth walls, textured ceilings. Everywhere!! Here in Maryland it is smooth and smooth, but I could really get into that old world style that Lindy posted of her friend's house. Maybe in a couple of rooms.....


    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 3:00PM
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Still smooth is more of a universal texture and generally accepted by most. From a marketability standpoint smooth is a safer bet than most textures. It runs along the same lines as color choices. Neutrals generally appeal to a wider range of buyers than deeper colors.

Having said that colors are much easier to change then textures so to create our aesthetic interest we're making use of color where we can. As long as color is not overdone I think it can have a positive impact.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 7:46AM
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Still smooth is more of a universal texture and generally accepted by most. From a marketability standpoint smooth is a safer bet than most textures

But Kemptoncourt, that's not true out on the West Coast. Smooth texture is extremely rare in new houses. So if you are saying by putting a texture on your walls you have lowered your marketability, that's simply not true. Maybe in your neck of the woods it would make a difference though?????

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 9:41AM
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In the mid eighties i worked on cape cod in the north east and saw for the first time plaster over blue board. When finished, the walls were smooth as glass and was very impressive in an area that builds traditionally. Smooth walls there have always been the norm back to the old wood lath/plaster days on the cape and even older techniques before wood lath on 1700's homes. On our build in the sierras, there are 1800's homes/buildings that used the old wood lath/plaster/smooth walls as well. I think textures started coming around out here in the west late sixties and to the present there are a wide variety of textures being offered done with smooth walls being rare, as lindybarts stated.Cant speak for any other area of the country except for n.w. florida where on newer homes, they textured, smooth on the old. That's whats cool about these forums is you learn about other techniques being used around the country and Canada. There has been posts occasionally from abroad as well.

Personally i think it's a personal preference coinciding w/ the style of home. I guess when it's a matter of re-sale, then going with the trends is important, but my wife and i could really care less what was popular in the past, now , or in the future.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 10:02AM
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Being from the west coast, I find very little in the common building techniques/style that is based on anything other than cost, sad to say.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 10:09AM
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Here in the southern region that I live in, everything is textured. I can't recall one house with smooth walls. I'm sure someone has some, but it's just not common here.

I'm going for an old world look myself.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 10:46AM
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I lived years in upstate NY, and smooth was the only finish I ever saw. Moving to FL I have owned several homes, and looked at countless and I don't recall ever seeing smooth, they are always orange peel or textured here. I also had to have the builder redo my ceilings in a home with built 2 years ago in TN. They did this swirly thing - which was in all the area's home and 'standard'. I hated it and they redid it to a knockdown (and smooth walls, which was also standard).

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 2:56PM
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Much as I would love to have Level 5 smooth, it just doesn't seem to be available here in central Texas or, at least it sure isn't available at a price I can afford!

In fact, every builder I told that I wanted smooth walls looked at me like I was crazy and these were all builders doing high end custom homes. Apparently around here, very heavy textures are the "in thing" for upgrading one's walls and either orange peel and knockdown are the standard.

I frankly don't know if anyone around here even knows HOW to achieve a level 5 smooth finish. I finally gave it up and settled on the lightest knockdown I could get. (Just one of many many compromises!)

Here is a link that might be useful: wall and ceiling texture gallery

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 8:20PM
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Christine Decker

I agree with SMOOTH or at least to degree that you can afford!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 9:28PM
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bevangel, I sure like the look of smooth, but it looks like my budget is saying a "light orange peel." Any pictures of that?

Thank you!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 9:40PM
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Hmm... I'm not sure whether there were various lath & plaster techniques, but there must have been, sierraeast, because none that I've ever seen are actually that smooth! I think mcbird's photos are quite similar to all of the plaster walls we've had.

That said, skimcoat over blueboard is the only way I'd do it in new construction. I'd do it myself if I had to!

Spray texture is the devil.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 11:01PM
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Where can one go to see the different textures in person?
Do paint stores have a wall texture chart or something?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 2:12AM
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I've never seen various lath and plaster techniques with the old lath and plaster, Larzebub. On the cape as well as on older homes/ buildings in the town near our build, they were surprisingly smooth considering it being the old hard coat process. The plasterer's of them days were no different than the skilled craftsman that make plaster over blueboard smooth as glass. Im not saying that they got the old lath and plaster smooth as glass, but considering they were working with a cementious based product with no vinyls and encapsulants that inhibit smoothness, i was impressed at what i saw and what they did in those days.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 9:59AM
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Contact a drywall outfit in your area.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 10:02AM
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Gunter ~ it's going to depend on who is doing it. Sort out which textures you prefer and then have whoever show you a variety of his/her personally-done finishes, because there can be a great deal of variation even within commonly used terms such as orange-peel, venetian, or swirl.

Smooth, especially "level 5" requires a VERY experienced and skilled craftsman, and they don't come cheap!! OTOH for that very reason, around here (DC area), the wall finish on new builds is a quick way to differentiate between trendy and classic. Classic in this area is smooth; textures didn't make much of an appearance until the 60's and then they were usually found in tract homes because any texture will conceal application flaws compared to a smooth finish (which may be why bevangel's builders think smooth finishes are crazy -- smooth costs $$$). However, the fact that smooth is a long-term local preference means that there are more experienced plasterers available than one would expect to find in say the rural West.

Also keep in mind that there are textured or texturable paints available, which can provide visual interest in a quite a number of styles without the expense of plaster.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 10:49AM
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Was just stating a fact that on average as a whole in the U.S. smooth is a more marketable finish. Sure a tasteful drywall finish with well thought out color choices is marketable but on the whole most realtors will tell you smooth walls and neutral colors are the way to go when showing a home. My mind goes back to popcorn ceilings of the 80's......all the rage then.....now an eyesore that most buyers are thinking ".....how would I get rid of that?". Finishes as with most choices in the build process are subjective but "middle-of-the-road", "universal", and "neutral" will always carry the day because they reach the widest audience. It's also the easiest place to begin with new finishes for new owners as there is no "undoing" process involved in the update.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 10:38PM
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I agree with Lindy....in California I have never ever seen a completely smooth wall finish. Even in the high-end custom homes, I've always seen texture, venetian plaster, or an Old World finish. For people who grew up in California (like me), a totally smooth wall would be the oddity.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 1:15AM
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"a totally smooth wall would be the oddity."....

same here in Florida. I have NEVER seen a home here with smooth walls and every high end home here is textured.

Smooth is great, if that is what sells in your housing regions, but there are definitely regions that it is not a marketing advantage, which sounds like CA and FL are NOT them.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 6:15AM
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In South Carolina, knock down is normally used on accent walls (like below a chair rail) or maybe in bathrooms. It is used very rarely for large scale. Our good friend owns a drywall company so he knows what is common in this area. I think it's a regional thing. Use what is common and has had long-term popularity in your area.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 7:58AM
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I've never seen smooth in Texas and it would not be a selling feature. In fact, it might even be a detraction. Based on the above comments it sounds like smooth is most appealing to those in the north-eastern part of the country.

Standard textures in Texas are orange peel or knockdown. Upgraded is hand-troweled, mine looks just like Mcbird's pic above. Super upgraded is waxed venetian plaster.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 11:25AM
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I think the more unique a texture becomes the higher the risk. Widely used textures [smooth, KD, orange peel] have less a potential to stand out. I just really question some of the newer finish trends out there and how long they'll last until they are termed "fads" and eventually "turn-offs". I was in a new "custom" home built by a national builder a couple of weeks ago and was shocked by some of the finishes. The dining room was completely over the top including a "Guilded Ventian Gold" on a full-wall wainscot. Our plan is to express ourselves in things we can easily change, window treatments, furniture, color, art. There have been areas in our home where we have strayed from that plan but when that's happened we've taken great pains to make sure we weren't going to end up to far afield. I guess we'll see a couple of years from now when we put our house up.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 10:56PM
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Yep, I do not think I have ever stepped foot in a house in central Texas with a smooth finish. In Pa I have but not down here. I mentioned a smooth finish to our builder and DH and they both laughed at me at the time (both native Texans) I guess I know why now!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 11:32PM
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Smooth, south Louisiana. I'm not sure what is the norm around here. We have smooth because that's what we like.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2008 at 11:35PM
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