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drywall texture - orange peel vs knockdown

Joe Macker
December 11, 2019

Which texture would suit a mediterranean themed home?


Any other considerations when choosing between them? Which one is more popular these days?

Comments (37)

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    I would check out Venetian plaster if you want a textured look with a smooth actual finish.


    Venetian plaster is a wall and ceiling finish consisting of plaster mixed with marble dust, applied with a spatula or trowel in thin, multiple layers, which are then burnished to create a smooth surface with the illusion of depth and texture. ... Un-burnished Venetian plaster is also very brittle and damages rather easily.

  • cpartist

    Joe I believe orange peel is more popular and it's actually easier to repair if needed. Knockdown is almost impossible to repair if needed.

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  • chispa

    Smooth. You can never go wrong with smooth. A classic and always in style.

    Joe Macker thanked chispa
  • PRO
    Jeffrey R. Grenz, General Contractor

    smooth or imperfect smooth depending on budget.

  • PRO
    The Cook's Kitchen

    Pick smooth and you have a classic finish that doesn’t have repair matching issues.

    Joe Macker thanked The Cook's Kitchen
  • cat_ky

    I think orange peel, if you are going for a texture, but, I would agree smooth is much nicer, and if you ever need to fill in nail holes or patch anything, you would be very glad to have smooth.

    Joe Macker thanked cat_ky
  • cpartist

    In Fl, no one knows how to do smooth.

    Joe Macker thanked cpartist
  • jslazart

    No one can do smooth here in the southwest either. And I've had no trouble finding guys who can perfectly match my knock down. That said, I think smooth is prettier in many contexts if you can find someone (and afford it).

    Joe Macker thanked jslazart
  • PRO
    BeverlyFLADeziner

    Here in FLA you can only get smooth for $$$$. I don't mind the texture if it's not too heavy and bold.

    You could do Orange Peel in a Mediterranean home but I would keep the walls white or bone white.



    Although you can do Knock Down and have it be appropriate, it's really more texture than you should have on the walls of your home.



    I would probably consider Skip Trowel, however, this wall below was painted and then over glazed to bring out the texture and that faux finishing is kind of passe' right now.





    Joe Macker thanked BeverlyFLADeziner
  • nini804

    I am so confused...what is so hard about smooth walls? Every home I’ve lived in, even our first home, which was a production home, had normal, smooth walls. It wasn’t even a choice or upgrade. In our mobile society, it is so odd that this would be some ancient, secretive art.

  • Jazz Easy

    Smooth shows any imperfections in the underlying cladding and slight differences can cause very noticeable shadowing . Therefore the plasterer requires extra time and effort versus OP or KD type finishes, which scatter (mask) slight shadows and imperfections. Having said that, real Mediterranean homes (in Spain, Italy, Greece) generally have imperfections (the result of hand crafting and rough finished materials) anyway. Part of their charm.

    Joe Macker thanked Jazz Easy
  • jonio
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?><md>I like a slight knock-down finish. It adds nice texture with hard, shiny surfaces such as large glass windows and hardwood floors, which my home is full of. But it may be a bit more contemporary, as mentioned (above or below, depending on your Houzz orientation these days!
  • Joe Macker

    How about texture for ceilings vs walls. Should they be different? And does the height of the ceiling matter when choosing texture. In the living/kitchen areas I have 12ft ceilings. Family/dining are 9ft and bedrooms are a combination of 8 and 9ft.


    What texture should I choose for which area?

  • shead

    Wow, I'm seriously amazed that smooth drywall isn't the norm. I, too, didn't realize it was some secret art. Yes, it can and does show more imperfections but, imho, it is much more timeless than orange peel, knockdown, etc. and I would choose it every day of the week over anything textured.

  • printesa

    I am guessing you are on the West Coast since only there I've seen to be the norm for this orange peel. I've never liked it, but I guess once you get used to it, it no longer bothers you?? If you are going for the textured, then use the same for all walls..no difference between wall and ceiling

  • weedyacres

    Or you could go with what I call "moonscape," like the plaster walls of our 100-year-old worker's cottage.

  • cpartist

    Do all orange peel.

    Joe Macker thanked cpartist
  • chispa

    Northeast - smooth walls and ceilings are standard

    Southeast and Southwest - walls and ceilings tend to have texture.

    Haven't spent any time in the northwest!

    New mid/high end construction in the LA area is being done with smooth, possibly tied to the trend of more modern designs being built.

    I plan on doing smooth walls and ceilings.

    Joe Macker thanked chispa
  • PRO
    BeverlyFLADeziner

    Mediterranean style rooms





    Joe Macker thanked BeverlyFLADeziner
  • whaas_5a

    No one can do smooth here either


    I just did a beam that was retroweled twice and still looks like crap.


    Its a lost art so do orange peel

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    We have no issue with smooth drywall in Canada even ceilings so pretty sad there are no good ones in FLA. BTW I had a client in South Beach that had no isse finding a good drywaller mabe you just need to keep looking.

  • Jennifer Hogan

    Remember the old pop corn ceilings - hid all kinds of imperfections. Removing the popcorn from my last home was messy, but pretty easy. What was difficult was fixing the awful seam job that was done on the ceiling prior to spraying the texture. You could see every seam. We ended up patching and sanding and then a contractor/friend skim coated the entire ceiling to get everything to match. Took weeks and weeks to fix the issues hidden by the popcorn,






  • flopsycat1

    Agree, textured wall finishes are the norm in the Southwest. We had to pay extra for smooth walls in our new build vacation house. Since our taste leans toward minimalist modern, it was well worth it. Our primary residence is territorial and, appropriate for its style, has textured walls. A light texture would suit Mediterranean design.

  • itsourcasa

    @cpartist we're getting smooth done in our whole house right now, south FL, even just decided on smooth ceilings instead of knockdown ceilings we originally thought we wanted. It's looking amazing, I've never had smooth living down here!


    I vote smooth but if you really want some texture i'd do orange peel.

  • nini804

    Chispa, I’m in the SE and it’s smooth walls. I don’t think I’ve ever seen textured walls in a home here. Some 70’s-80’s homes have popcorn ceilings...but I’ve never seen walls textured.

  • cpartist

    Yes you can get smooth in FL but you will pay dearly for it because only a few people know how to do it correctly. Frankly the only walls I left smooth were the ones I wallpapered. I did light orange peel throughout with a matte finish paint.

    I decided the extra expense wasn't worth it as I preferred putting my money into better trim finishes, which also seems to be a dying art here. Luckily I found some Mennonite's who took pride in their woodworking/finishing skills.

    And like many others, where I grew up in NY, we only knew from flat walls. It was a big shock coming to FL and learning that most didn't have a clue how to create a smooth wall. Sigh.


  • PRO
    Jeffrey R. Grenz, General Contractor

    Textures are the least expensive as they are used to hide imperfections. Smooth walls take more time. Popcorn is a great example as when you scrape it off you'll find the tape joints aren't ready yet for other textures like orange peel or knockdown. Smooth walls prevail sometimes with the tradition of plaster walls and abundant affordable labor. In CA we are seeing it creep into the higher end where imperfect smooth wall has been dominant for the past 15 years while knockdown is still close to 100% of all tract even at $1 mil+.


    Textures can be gun applied, typically take a crew to do a custom home 1-2 days, 4-8 tract homes per day. Imperfect smooth wall typically takes a crew 4-6 days, 800-1200 sf per day.=, add more time for smooth.

  • shead

    @cpartist, to your credit, though, I cannot tell that your walls aren't smooth from your house reveal photos. They look flat to me :)

  • cpartist

    @cpartist, to your credit, though, I cannot tell that your walls aren't smooth from your house reveal photos. They look flat to me :)

    Honestly they don't up close but overall they are not overpowering and since we don't look at walls 3" away, they're fine.

    This is the wall in my upstairs hallway next to the linen closet.

  • PRO
    Jeffrey R. Grenz, General Contractor

    @cpartist Fine spray textures can also require more prep I learned as a young naive builder.

  • shead

    I would definitely prefer the orange peel that you have, @cpartist, to the other textured techniques. I once worked in a law office where the contractor did the knockdown texture and I found it heavy and not aesthetically pleasing over time. My MIL had a variation of the skip trowel done in a room that had been paneled before. I didn't care for it, either, as it was more appropriate for a Mediterranean home than a suburban colonial.

  • cpartist

    My old house back in NY had knock down. The house was built in 1898 and there was a huge crack running down the wall. Impossible to fix with the knockdown. Hated it.

  • Kristin S

    chispa - Orange peel is the default in the PNW. You can certainly find people to do flat (and all the other textures) well, but you'll pay quite a bit more. We went with the lightest orange peel that was easily repairable, should the need arise. It was actually sprayed this week, and now that it's primed, you really don't even see the texture unless you're right up on it. They warned us that, at least out here, flat walls are difficult to repair should the need arise. I don't know if that's because of the inherent texture or because they're not the norm here and thus even harder to find someone who knows how to do small repairs well. With a young child, repairability was essential to us.

  • Jennifer Hogan

    I had orange peel in my last home (Southern California) and flat in my new home (Pennsylvania).


    I don't know that repairs are any easier or more difficult. Flat is just a matter of smoothing the repair. Orange peel is a matter of matching the orange peel texture - too heavy or too light and it doesn't match. I saw a lot of holes repaired in homes with orange peel where they didn't bother to spray texture where the repair was made and it was quite noticeable - even with small repairs. With flat the biggest problem is if you need to use tape - it is tough to cover and keep everything smooth.


    Painting edges is way easier with smooth - no worry about bleeding under the tape - Orange Peel you have to tape, paint with the color you have covered with tape to fill any little holes under the tape and then paint over it with the other color to get a really clean line.


    I don't think either one looked inherently better than the other.

  • cpartist

    I plan on doing smooth walls and ceilings.

    You will be paying a large uncharge for that. And hopefully your builder has someone who can truly do it.

  • ci_lantro

    I would do neither orange peel nor knockdown for a Mediterranean style home. Light handed skip trowel or imperfect plaster would be my choice.


    My last house (in Oklahoma) was orange peel. I skip troweled over the orange peel. The beauty of skip trowel besides covering a lot of sins, is that it is sooo easy to conceal any later boo-boos or patch work.


    I've done skip trowel in most of my home here in Wisconsin. Damaged drywall from wallpaper removal...another scenario where skip trowel is made to order.


    There isn't a lot of skip trowel done here in WI but I do see it from time to time. I fell in love with it when we visited Santa Fe years ago and I still love it. I'm picky about how it is painted. I roll paint and then back brush to lay in brush marks before the paint dries. (If there is any one thing that gives me the willys about walls, it is roller stipple.)

  • tatts

    I'm sorry, but if I, as a homeowner, can do smooth, anybody can do it. It's wallboard--the smooth is already built in. Seams are just not that hard to feather properly.

    Smooth is universal in the Northeast (most of the east), even in the cheapest homes.

    I loathe textured walls.

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