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What Is Knockdown Texture?

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  • Written By: Angie Bates
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2014
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Knockdown texture is a type of mottled drywall finish used in homes. Ideal for hiding imperfections, knockdown texture is a smooth, but uneven, layering of a compound similar to popcorn texture but much subtler. This finish can be applied by a professional or by the homeowner.

Low-cost and relatively easy to apply, knockdown texture is a favorite for homeowners looking to add a mild intensity to their wall texture or those just looking to cover up imperfections. A hopper gun, a device used by professionals for spraying paint and texture onto walls, with an air compressor must be rented if homeowners wish to complete the task themselves. A joint compound, which is a mud-like substance, and a knockdown knife or a trowel are also necessary.

To begin, the compound should be gradually mixed with water until it has the consistency of pancake batter. It should always be poured into the water rather than water into the compound to prevent a lumpy or uneven texture. Lightweight versions of this compound are available but advised against since they are not as sticky as the heavier, all-purpose versions and contain more air than material. Once the compound is the proper consistency, it should be placed into the hopper. It is important that at least 4 inches (10 cm) of compound stay in the hopper at all times, so the gun does not go dry and create an uneven flow.

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Working from the top of the wall down, the compound is sprayed on the wall with the hopper gun. After the desired surface is covered and the wall has dried, no longer appearing shiny, the uneven peaks must be evened out. This is the step that gives knockdown texture its name. In order to smooth the surface, a knockdown knife or a trowel is used to remove, or knock down, any peaks.

Running about 18-24 inches (45.7-61 cm) wide, knockdown knives are often easier to use for this process than trowels. This step can be completed by moving from side to side or from top to bottom, but should always be done by gently running the knife over the surface of the wall. The blade should also always be clean, so wiping it off with a wet rag or sponge after each pass is advisable.

Knockdown texture can be placed on the ceiling as well as walls. It is designed for use on flat surfaces however, so if another texture, like popcorn, is already present, that must be removed before beginning the new texture. Knockdown textured walls can be painted just like a flat finished wall.

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