Sand down texture or tear out the drywall?
October 4, 2012 in Design Dilemma
The previous homeowners added some texture to this bathroom. I can see that they were going for a certain look, but it's not quite my style. What would you do? Sand the paint and texture off, then re-texture it? Try to knock the highest edges down and then cover it with beadboard and/or wallpaper? Or would we have to tear out the drywall completely and start over?
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I don't think that wallpaper would cover that. Try a section to knock it down and sand it to see how labor intensive it is. I'd check with a local paint store to see if there are any chemical solutions that would help.
See if a new paint color makes it less offensive. If it is really not feasible, then I'd replace the sheetrock.
0 Likes   October 4, 2012 at 3:39PM
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Emily Hurley
Maybe a power sander? Sounds like a super messy job.

I definitely wouldn't try to paper over it.
1 Like   October 4, 2012 at 3:43PM
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Actually, you can buy heavily textured paintable pre-pasted wallpaper that would cover it just fine. It's inexpensive, you can get it at Home Depot and paint it any color you want. You'll need to click on each of the pics to get a good feel for the design and texture:
1 Like   October 4, 2012 at 3:44PM
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Linda Pinsker
Hire a painter or drywall/taper to knock down the high spots and skim coat the walls. Getting the skim coat right is a little tricky if you've never mudded before. This is a lot cheaper then new drywall!
6 Likes   October 4, 2012 at 3:48PM
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DeWitt Architects
I would have a quality painter knock down the high points and float the entire wall smooth. It would be best to remove the mirror, light, sink, accessories, toile,t and any other items on or near the wall prior to floating it.
3 Likes   October 4, 2012 at 3:50PM
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Linda and DeWitt - I didn't even know that could be done! Thanks for the instructions!......Bobbi
0 Likes   October 4, 2012 at 3:55PM
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These are great suggestions everyone - thank you so much!
1 Like   October 4, 2012 at 4:02PM
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Navin Johnson
Looks like the walls of my bathroom. Except the texture on my walls was the result of painted over wallpaper.
1 Like   October 4, 2012 at 5:18PM
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Navin - seriously? Was it flocked??? eeeww,
0 Likes   October 4, 2012 at 5:26PM
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HI -- It is a small room so it would be better to just pull that drywall and replace with new drywall. Good time to check behind for mold or insulation and eletrical etc. Then your free to do whatever you want for wall finish such as wallpaper or paint .
0 Likes   October 4, 2012 at 8:06PM
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Definitely float the wall. No reason to replace the drywall.
0 Likes   October 4, 2012 at 9:50PM
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My bathroom was textured from previous owner. More like sand in the paint, then swirled. Was huge mess and did nothing but catch dust. Was completely unwipeable...yuck. Just got my hand sander out, knocked it fairly smooth, painted it! Took all of 15 min. I'm not a contractor, just a mom on a budget who likes to diy. Good luck!
3 Likes   October 5, 2012 at 7:08AM
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debt71 - Good for you! I like to hear from diy'ers who aren't afraid to at least try!!!
0 Likes   October 5, 2012 at 7:11AM
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JJ Dolan
I completely understand your frustrating situation. My ex-boyfriend and I lived in an apartment a few years ago, and the walls had this cheap, "faux stucco" texture on EVERY wall, in the entire apartment. It drove me insane. I like high-gloss finish paints, but this paint type would only highlight the texture, making it extremely more noticeable. I went to both Lowe's and Home Depot, and the best advice that they could give me (when they realized that I was not going to accept, "No, it can't be done" for an answer), was to try to sand down the walls to a smooth surface, then use several coats of special primer, then finally begin painting. But the store employee warned me that it was a task that would not only be extremely difficult, labor intensive, but also wouldn't ensure that the finished result would be what I wanted.
So from the above comments I've just read, it sounds like many new techniques have been discovered since I had my wall texture dilemma in the past. Either that, or I just needed some!!! By the way, this is THE best interior design website I've ever seen. Completely addicted to it. Thank you so much to all of you who contribute your phenomenal photographs and ideas. I appreciate it greatly. :)
1 Like   October 6, 2012 at 1:40AM
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We're beginning what turned out to be a whole house remodel (somehow these things happen!) so I'm working with all kinds of subs. A few days ago, a drywaller showed me how they can go over existing drywall and give you the texture you desire or to match new drywall. He left me with samples containing various degrees of texture/imperfections that I can paint to decide which I want. Needless to say, I'm picking him for my drywall work!
0 Likes   October 6, 2012 at 8:53AM
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We've sanded, we've papered over, we've demoed & remodeled, and we've had someone come in and re-texture the walls for us. if you don't need to get into the walls, I would highly recommend the replastering of the walls. It takes less time, less cost & less mess.
If you sand that much wall, I guarantee you, your house will be covered in a fine layer of dust. If you are a perfectionist, you will see every bump under the wall paper. If you break through the wall, you may be releasing mold, dust and more into your home. Re-plaster/texturing your wall will be dustless if you get someone good to do it. Oh, and if you float the wall smooth, our drywall guy who did it for us told me that we would see every imperfection, hence some texture.
Good luck!
0 Likes   October 6, 2012 at 2:16PM
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If you want perfectly smooth walls, tear down these walls and put up new dry wall. It may cost more money now, but you can imagine what the results will look like. Sanding is a painstaking proces (you can't just sand down the high spots and get perfect results), getting the walls flat takes a tremendous amount of work. We used nearly 100 pounds of of mud to float a 14' by 14' bedroom and still (we sanded first), the walls aren't perfect, not even close. Cry now when you have to pay to have the walls torn out and replaced. Don't cry after the job is finished and paid for, but you still don't have the walls you want. Insist on smooth walls, don't pay for imperfection. Go for a smooth ceiling while you're at it and put up crown molding too. Or, install paneling in the room and simply cover up the texture. Arts and crafts molding is about five feet high, which would cover most of the wall. View finished walls under a very strong light in the daytime to check the smoothness. We used a floorlamp with four CF bulbs to check our work. Do not settle for imperfect walls!
2 Likes   October 6, 2012 at 8:03PM
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Hi mgcclc,

I'm a GC and we encounter this request frequently from clients who are tired of the look of "heavy" textures. As Linda and DeWitt suggested, this can be remedied 99% of the time by skim coating the walls with drywall mud. (The walls need to be prepped first if they're painted, but the high spots can be knocked down with a sharp drywall blade)

Most often we suggest a subtle new texture, such as a Sante Fe 80/20, or smooth wall. Any good drywall trade (and some good painters) can take care of this for you, and removing all of the fixtures in the room is going to result in a much better finish.

5 Likes   October 6, 2012 at 9:26PM
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