How To Remove Texture From a Wall

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Spring is officially in season, and so are those home improvement projects we have been shying away from all year. After writing about removing tough wallpaper with warm water and dish soap, one of our readers, Rachel, asked how to take texture off of a wall. So here it is in all of its messy glory.

First things first, this is one dirty and somewhat challenging job but if the texture has to go then let’s try to make it as eco-friendly as possible. Before you dig in though, you may want to consider whether the wall is textured to hide imperfections in the first place. If you are still ready to go with a scraper in hand, we give these instructions to you as an exercise in patience, releasing anger, and a little more patience. Make sure you have 2 whole days to get the job done, because it will need to dry overnight.

What You Need


Safety goggles
5″ – 8″ floor scrapper
spray bottle with water
sanding screen
6″ wallboard knife
joint compound
A really really good vacuum.


1. Cover EVERYTHING: Dust, wall chips, and more will be flying off the walls so make sure everything is nicely covered up or moved to a different room before starting. Old sheets work really well for this purpose.

2. Small Test Run: Now this project will be quite an undertaking, so before tackling the entire room carve out a little spot to start. Go through the scraping steps in small 3 – 4 ft sections until you feel like you have become a scraping master, then go for it!

3. Spray then Scrape: First, spray the spot with the water bottle and allow the water to soak in. You can spray it several times if need be. The wall should feel somewhat soft. Then take your floor scraper and start scraping at an angle. Take time to experiment with angles and pressure so you can avoid hurting the wallboard as you go. This is a great step to do several times during your test run before tackling the whole room.

4. Sand and Sponge: After the wall has been scraped, take out your sanding screen to smooth out any uneven or textured areas. Be gentle with this step so you don’t break the paper on the wallboard’s surface or sand directly into the wallboard. Then clean the wall with a damp sponge.

5. Joints and Knives: Just when you thought the hard part was over, here comes the smoothing part of the wall. You may want to do a test run making and applying the wallboard joint compound before tackling the entire room. Before you start this step, make sure you have enough time to finish the entire wall without stopping to create an even look. Spread the joint compound with the 6″ wallboard knife thinly across the wall. The goal is to apply a 1/8″ layer of joint compound over the wall. Small bumps aren’t too important at this step, so just focus on applying a smooth layer. Let this dry to the wall overnight in order to set.

6. Sanding: Round 2: Now that the joint compound has fully dried, take out the sanding screen again and go over all of your walls to create a nice smooth layer on top. Vacuum up the dust to keep it from getting into the joint compound during the next step. You don’t necessarily need to sponge after this step.

7. Wall Jointing: Round 2: Apply a second layer of wall joint compound in very small amounts over the entire wall. This will fill in low spots and make the wall more even and smooth. Allow a few hours to dry, then sand again and vacuum. Repeat this step as many times as you see fit to create a smooth wall.

8. Sponge & Prime: Now that you have a smooth and even wall, collect any of the remaining dust on the wall with a damp sponge and let it dry. Priming the wall is recommended to help seal your hard work in and then viola! enjoy a smooth and much-deserved non-textured wall.

Have any of our readers tackled textured walls before? If so, any suggestions to share with Rachel and others embarking on this project?

(Image: DIY Network)

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