Asked on Jan 20, 2015

Remove textured walls?

Janet A
by Janet A
I am looking for ideas on what to do with these textures walls. They are a pain to clean and if something hits them some of it chips off. Remove or paint? Any ideas would be helpful. In this room there are 3 walls that have this "texture" and arches, the 4th wall is just like an ordinary smooth wall.
  24 answers
  • Hello fellow Colorado Springs person!!! When I lived in St Louis I had a house that had HIGHLY textured walls. To me it was one of the biggest drawbacks of the house. When we painted the walls, the texture just kind of faded away. They almost looked like a suede finish. That texture was different than yours but I find myself wondering if yours would look almost like a Venetian plaster finish once painted. My thought would be to paint them to see how you like them first. If you still aren't happy with the look then look into removal. Best of luck!!
  • Marion Marion on Jan 20, 2015
    When you find a solution,please let me know.Lol...Walking into my home is like going back to the 70's.I was told to sand the walls,or remove and replace Sheetrock .I too,would love suggestions.
  • Rsd1152999 Rsd1152999 on Jan 20, 2015
    You can remove the texture easily with a large putty knife to scrape it. Just lightly sand it to break through the paint that is sealing it then use a spray bottle with water to wet it. It will peel off with the scraper. If you don't want to remove it all the way down to the wallboard, just scrape the peaks off. If you remove it all you will probably want to retexture with a lighter touch. Use paint with primer.
  • Cathy Matthews Cathy Matthews on Jan 20, 2015
    Here is a link that may offer some good info.
  • Jeanne Lentz Jeanne Lentz on Jan 20, 2015
    We ended up sanding our down! Then repainted!!
    • Anna Kowalik Anna Kowalik on Jan 20, 2015
      @Jeanne Lentz Did you have it professionally redone, or did you do the sanding yourself? I'm considering having my texture plaster walls smoothes out.
  • Cindy Clark Cindy Clark on Jan 21, 2015
    I purchased a 1948 cottage in 2012 and loved the textured walls in the two bedrooms, bath and hallway. At least it looks better than the painted paneling in the living room. I had not realized that it was nearly non-existent in places. I had noticed a spot in the 2nd bedroom that was dirty next to the light switch a week or so ago. When I went to lightly clean it, the texture came off all the way down to the wallboard. Now I'm wondering what to do with the wall board. I'm coming off of several years of unemployment, underemployment and don't have the resources to pay a friend's husband to fix this small place. I would also like suggestions as to what to do at this time. The only place that appears to have this issue is next to the sole light switch.
    • See 1 previous
    • Cindy Clark Cindy Clark on Jan 26, 2015
      @Marion Nesbitt Thank you!!
  • Sharon Sharon on Jan 21, 2015
    Use a wallpaper steamer to soften then scrape off. Messy but it works.
  • Lucid Designs Lucid Designs on Jan 21, 2015
    Sharon's wallpaper steamer is a good idea. Another idea is to sand them down with an orbital sander that has the dustless bag attachment... connect a flexible hose between the sander (where you've taken off the bag) and a shop vac (tape both ends secure and make sure both the sander and shop vac are turned on during this process), and you should be able to sand this down without any dust. If dust does start flying around, empty the shop vac.
    • See 2 previous
    • Lucid Designs Lucid Designs on Jan 21, 2015
      @Janet A Just make sure it's a sander that 1) has the bag attachment, and 2) has the holes in the pad. Also make sure you get the stick-on sandpaper with the holes. It's a loud process, but it's awesome.
  • Janet A Janet A on Jan 21, 2015
    Thank you all for your suggestions. It's a large project that has me kinda scared. I am thinking just to knock off some to cut the projections down some and then paint. Thoughts on that?
    • CK CK on Jan 21, 2015
      @Janet A I've thought of that too....just trying to knock off some of the projections. But the thing is, that drywall compound which is most likely what they used to make the texture, gets really hard. You may have to get after it with something sharp and flat. Either way, it's gonna be a mess :-( We have this kind of wall in our family room (done by previous owner). It's not what I would have chosen (ours is even more pronounced) but it's OK.
  • Jodi Jodi on Jan 21, 2015
    I did this in 2 rooms of our house 17 years ago. We had just lost a son in a car accident and I just didn't want to concentrate on taping and sanding anymore drywall I had just hung. Our bedroom is fine for me. It's painted a pretty blue but my living room has to go! I'm going to put new drywall up because since this has been painted there is no way a steamer will soak it off. I tried sanding a spot that is covered by furniture and that isn't going to be an option either. I'm being honest here! Consider drywall replacement! Odds are it's a good thing because you can add insulation if needed.
    • Karen Karen on Jun 23, 2020

      I’m sorry you lost your son. God bless you and be with you.

  • Barb Burnham Barb Burnham on Jan 21, 2015
    I think I would take a wide trowel and joint compound and go over then to a softer texture, prime, repaint. Removal is an utter mess when you can go over it and make it smoother with less effort. I have done that with painted popcorn ceilings too. If too hard to remove, cover it up. Good luck.
  • Ruth wallace Ruth wallace on Jan 21, 2015
    Mist your wall with two parts water and one part paint thinner until it becomes like a thick biscuit, then use wide putty knife to gently scrape.
  • Paula Olds Paula Olds on Jan 21, 2015
    We scraped ours off using a technique similar to Ruth Wallace's. We used water and vinegar instead of paint thinner and a heavy duty paint scraper to get it off. It was messy, but not too hard. I would suggest laying down a drop cloth to catch the bulk of the paint chips/shards.
  • MBLori MBLori on Jan 21, 2015
    Easiest way is to hit the walls with a good sander. You can take it down to a level where it's not so bumpy. Take off the adjoining rooms or your house will fill with dust. While you're at it, think about removing the popcorn ceilings. It's easy to do and definitely worth it. (Just make sure they're not asbestos first!)
  • Annie Annie on Jan 22, 2015
    You didn't mention the age of your house, but if it was built prior to 1978, you might want to test for lead paint first. Any sanding would throw lead paint particles into the air and into the a/c and heating ducts. You don't want to breathe that and especially don't want children to come into contact with it. Good luck with your project!!
    • Janet A Janet A on Jan 22, 2015
      @Annie 1972, but I know there is no lead or asbestos. Thank you for the concern though if I hadn't had another project that I did I would not have thought about that.
  • Barb Burnham Barb Burnham on Jan 22, 2015
    My idea is WAY faster and easier with no threat of disturbing lead based paint.....go for it!
  • Lyn D Lyn D on Jan 22, 2015
    Drywall over them and start clean. It is worth it believe me :) You will never have to revisit that texture again. Just did it to a ceiling, "BEAUTIFUL"
    • Barb Burnham Barb Burnham on Apr 28, 2016
      Every layer of drywall impacts living square footage, all trims and here, possibly the fireplace. That makes it a non-starter to me.
  • You can rent a special sanding tool that is mounted on a pole. It connects to a special vacuum that will handle most of the dust. This drywall sanding tool will make quick work of the texture as most likely its spackle. You will still need to cover everything with plastic as it still will be a bit dusty, but not nearly as bad trying to do it by hand or using a electrical sander. it takes a bit of strength to hold this tool for a few hours, so you will want to enlist the help of a few people. Once done, a good primer and paint and you will never know it was there.
  • Mcgypsy9 Mcgypsy9 on Jan 24, 2015
    Hi Janet...these walls are nothing more than mud put over flat drywall to make them look more decorative. Get a spray bottle and fill it with warm water. Put down some drop cloths as it does get messy but not too bad. Get about a 6" scraper like you would use to scrape popcorn ceilings off with. It should be plastic as a metal scraper will gouge your walls too much. Just spray the warm water on the wall in about 20x20 inch area and let the water sit for a few minutes and then scrape it off with the scraper. It will take just a few hours to complete. If you do gouge the walls at all just get some drywall mud and fill them back in and sand them down smooth. You may also want to get a pan and hold it under where you scrape it off as this makes it less messy. Good Luck!
  • Marta Schulenburg Marta Schulenburg on Jan 25, 2015
    I liked the idea of adding more to smoothe it out a little. Sounds a lot less messy and probably faster. The painting could look pretty cool with a base color then rag wash with a darker color to give it some character. Just a thought...
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jan 26, 2015
    Would remove it using the "water" method as suggested.
  • Karin L Karin L on Apr 30, 2015
    I have a similar problem with ugly dirty white stucco, inside my enclosed patio. Will any of these suggestions work? We were thinking of knocking some down with a scraper, then painting over it.
  • Jbird68 Jbird68 on Apr 27, 2016
    We have a bathroom that was plastered over and then sponge painted. Two walls are exterior walls and the paint has started to crack, big time. I've started scraping off what is loose. But after the loose parts are done then it gets hard to scrape off the rest that hasn't cracked. The walls themselves are plaster-lathe. So if I use water to soften up the thick paint, will is also soften the original plaster-lathe? I can already tell this is going to be a pain in the rear. Once I get this thick paint off I think I will try textured wallpaper over the original plaster-lathe and paint it.
  • Sue Ryan Sue Ryan on Sep 27, 2016
    I would take a scraper and remove the high points and cover with bidboard.