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How to Apply a Stomp Ceiling or Wall Texture

An Easy Alternative to Stipple, Paint Roller, Popcorn or Orange Peel Texture

© 2014 by ; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission. Author’s Google profile

Stomp drywall texturing on a vaulted ceiling; photo © 2010 Kelly Smith

This article was updated on 12/06/18.

Why would you apply a ceiling or wall texture anyway? Actually there are a number of reasons that come to mind. For example an interior decorator or architect will be of the opinion that it adds character to your home. So there is the aesthetic point. But as a bonus, it also adds some acoustic reduction.

However, real estate agents will point out that it boosts your home equity as well when you combine it with dimensional accents such as crown molding (ceiling) and chair rail molding (walls).

Finally, a building contractor will mention the fact that it helps to cover up cosmetic flaws such as minor wood framing problems; warped wood studs and substandard taping and floating (drywall finishing). Texture is just one way to refresh your walls on a budget.

Tools and Materials for Applying Stomp Texturing

  • Paint roller with a 1” lambs skin cover
  • Knock down knife or wide drywall finishing knife and mud pan (optional for knocking down ridges)
  • Drywall joint compound (in 5 gallon plastic buckets, not the fast-drying powder)
  • Extension pole for the paint roller and paint pan
  • Water-soluble latex primer
  • Stomp texture brush, crows foot, or double crows foot texture brush
  • Corded or cordless electric drill with a ribbon mixer or a drywall mud mixer to thin the mud (drywall compound)
  • Spare plastic bucket
  • And of course, drop cloths

First Step: Prepare New Drywall Surfaces and Mix Your Drywall Compound

Of course already finished surfaces you can go right over but new drywall ceilings and walls need to be taped and floated properly and primed before beginning to texture.

Next paint the surface with the primer. Why? The reason is so your bare drywall surface does not absorb the water out of the drywall compound which may lead to cracking. As soon as it has finished drying, you can begin to to prepare the mud.

Pour or scoop approximately half a bucket of joint compound into your spare bucket. Next add a cup or so of plain tap water and mix it well using your electric drill and ribbon mixer.

Not everybody adds the water; that is just a preference of mine because it makes the mud easier to work with. I like it to have an elastomeric paint consistency.

This is similar to a very thick vanilla milk shake, so continue to add water as needed but only a bit at a time. There is a range of leeway here depending upon your personal preference. The thinner you make it, the finer the texture pattern will be; thicker will be bolder looking.

Time to Roll Out the Joint Compound and Stomp

Next, using your paint roller with the extension pole attached to roll out a thin layer of compound on the Drywall. 1/8” (3.17 mm) is just about right; just be sure to keep it a consistent thickness. Note: I have seen some old hands skip this step and go right to dipping the brush in the mud bucket. Personal preference.

Now use your crow’s foot brush to stomp the drywall surface. This is where your creativity comes into play and you may want to experiment. Your brush can be stomped lightly, strongly, or somewhere in between.

You can choose a distinct texturing pattern or something purely random. Be sure to involve your spouse in this decision; you’re going to have to live with this work a long time!

If you are working on a ceiling and there is a surface-mounted light fixture or ceiling fan, many painters, drywall finishers, and handymen like to start at that point and work out in a circular or spiral pattern.

If you inadvertently get speckles of mud on a light fixture or air register, it can be chipped off once dry or wiped off with a wet rag while the mud is still wet.

Using Your Knock Down Knife is Optional

Knockdown texture on a wall; photo © Kelly Smith
Example of a texture that has been knocked down.

The ridges that are left by your crow’s foot may be left as is, or made into a knock down texture. You do this by flattening out the tips of the ridges. This is done by holding the wide taping or knock down knife at approximately a 30 degree angle and lightly drawing the blade across the top of the ridges.

Do this periodically as you go while the section of mud is still quite wet. It will be necessary to use the mud pan for this step and count on it taking a bit of experimentation. Once the surface is dry, apply primer and paint.

It is obvious to see that your options and possibilities are endless. Be creative and let your inner artist out now that you know how to apply a stomp ceiling or wall texture.

Visit Kelly's profile on Pinterest.

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