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Textured Ceilings

Ceiling Texture Adds Dimension to Rooms and Hides Imperfections

Many homeowners pay great attention to the four walls of a room while completely ignoring the fifth wall...the ceiling, that is. Replacing a flat ceiling with a textured one is not just a way to improve the appearance of a room. It also adds value to the entire home.

Textured Ceiling Considerations

There's no doubt that ceiling texture can do wonders for living spaces, but there are a few things you should be aware of before the work gets underway.

To start with, a rough ceiling texture will attract more dust and grime than a flat one, and also be more difficult to clean. Because of this, you may not want ceilings that are too rough, especially in dirt-prone rooms.

Secondly, although texture can work wonders for large, open rooms, in smaller rooms, it might feel a bit too busy. On a similar note, a textured ceiling absorbs more light than a smooth ceiling, so it may not be a good choice for rooms that are naturally a bit dim.

There are, however, a plethora of texture options available, so it can be tricky to make sweeping statements about how a particular pattern will look in your home. As long as you understand the effects of texture, you should have no problem selecting patterns that complement your design goals.

A final point to keep in mind is that ceiling work tends to be physically demanding (you must constantly look upwards and wear safety equipment to keep paint and debris from getting in your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth) as well as messy (removing all room furnishings and covering the floor is a must). These reasons, coupled with the relatively low cost of textured ceilings, make hiring a pro well worth consideration.

Types of Textured Ceilings

While textured ceilings technically include embossed patterns, most homeowners aren't looking for something so elaborate. The simplest ways to add texture to a ceiling is by using paint or drywall compound (aka drywall "mud")

Textured Paint

These products - essentially paint with bits of sand added to them - are the simplest way to remake a ceiling. They can be rolled or sprayed on, and the textured bits are available in different grain sizes (known as "mesh") to allow for varying levels of roughness. Some paints are sold with the textured material already mixed in, or you can buy separate texture packets and add it to the paint yourself.

Drywall Mud

Joint compound goes on thicker than paint, and therefore can be used to create richer ceiling textures. This technique allows a virtually limitless variety of patterns, but some of the most popular include knock down (in which the peaks of the textured material, which has been layered randomly across the ceiling, are "knocked down" with a trowel or taping knife to create a purposefully uneven effect), combed (a notched trowel is used to make swirling patterns in a layer of smooth sheetrock mud), rolled-on texture (the finish is applied like paint with a long-nap roller, creating a rough finish), and trowel-on texture (the compound is pasted onto the ceiling with a trowel to create a finish that resembles plaster).

Textured Ceiling Costs

  • If going the DIY route, basic materials can be picked up for fairly cheap. A gallon of textured ceiling paint (1 gallon should cover 100 square feet) will cost $15 to $30, while a special roller cover can be picked up for around $5. A 5-gallon bucket of joint compound costs $15 to $30, and basic drywall hand tools can be purchased for $10 to $25 apiece.
  • Hiring a pro to apply a textured ceiling might cost as little as $.50 to $1.00 per square foot, and likely not more than $2.00 per square foot. For a 15 foot x 15 foot room, that's a total estimated cost of $115 to $450.

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