How to Knockdown Texture a Wall with a Paint Roller

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Knockdown texture gets its name from the flattened appearance it gets after you've lightly "knocked down" the wet material with a drywall knife. You can't knock down wall texture, though, until you've gotten some on the wall, and a paint roller is a convenient tool for this part of the job. The most useful rollers for texturing are made of coarse vinyl or coconut fibers and are intended for applying texture paint.

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Knockdown Texture Basics

Wall textures add visual and tactile qualities that can make a room seem cozier and more inviting, and knockdown is one of the more basic texture styles. It's easy to DIY and doesn't require much texture material.

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To get a knockdown texture you'll need to do the following:

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  • Apply a texture material — often the same joint compound you used for taping and finishing the drywall — by scraping it on with a drywall knife or rolling it with a texture roller.
  • After the texture stiffens a bit, flatten it by running a drywall blade over it.

How to Add Wall Texture With a Roller

You can apply many types of wall texture with a paint roller. Some are so thin that they resemble a heavy coat of paint; these you can apply with a medium-nap roller cover.

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To apply a knockdown correctly, however, you'll need stiff texture and a stiff roller cover, because you want the material to form clumps on the wall. Most paint outlets sell texture roller covers, which are primarily intended for applying texture paint or roll-on texture. Use one of these to apply knockdown texture.

How to Mix and Spread Knockdown Texture

Most drywall pros make wall texture from regular drywall joint compound, and you can easily adapt this versatile material to make a rollable knockdown texture. Here's how to mix and spread knockdown texture:

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  1. Transfer enough pre-mixed joint compound for the job to a 5-gallon bucket and thin it by adding water.
  2. Stir it until it has the consistency of honey.
  3. Pour some into a rolling pan and apply it to the wall or ceiling with a paint roller fitted with a texture cover, using very light pressure.

How to Create Knockdown Texture with a Drywall Knife

A texture doesn't become a knockdown until you flatten it — usually with a drywall knife. The texture needs to stiffen for about an hour after you apply it, or you might remove it completely during this part of the procedure. Hold the drywall knife so that its blade is almost flat with respect to the wall, and run it lightly over the texture. The direction you run the knife matters, because the knockdown pattern follows it, so it's best to maintain the same direction when knocking down a wall or ceiling. Sanding usually isn't necessary after knocking down the texture — just prime and paint.

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