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What is Texture Paint?

By Kris Roudebush
Updated May 16, 2024
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Texture paint is a specialty paint that will hold textured designs, like stippling, even after it is dry. This paint comes in several different varieties which are smooth, sand, or coarse. Coarse has a popcorn effect and is often used as a ceiling paint. Always look for paint that will give you the longest drying times for your experience level. The longer the drying time, the more opportunity you'll have to work the paint into a dramatic effect or correct any imperfections before it sets.

Texture paint is used for two reasons. One is to cover imperfections. Cracks, cement walls, old paneling, uneven dry wall, or holes are easily and relatively inexpensively hidden with texture paint. Most of this kind of paint is made with interwoven fibers for exactly this reason. It is generally more durable and is designed to hide any imperfections in your wall or ceiling.

Another reason to use texture paint is to create dramatic and unique wall designs. There are a variety of tools you can purchase to create a one of a kind design, or you can use things around the house. Tools can include natural sponges, stamps, styluses, or specialized brushes.

Incorporating personal items into your decorating is easy and fun with texture paint and may be one reason why it's so popular. You can add seashells you picked up from a trip to the beach, beads or tiles you made at an art class, or small stones you collected on a hike. If you’re really crafty, you can make stamps to create a three dimensional effect, or add free form designs. Simply embed the items or stamp while the paint is still wet.

Each brand of texture paint is slightly different and may vary in its requirements. Read manufacturer's instructions for preparation and be prepared to purchase any recommended undercoat or primer. Some projects may take longer than a weekend as they may require plastering or masonry which should be allowed to cure for thirty days.

Diehard do-it-yourself-ers even have a specialized sand to add to regular paint that will give you the texture you may be looking for without the price of texture paint. This sand is silica sand and is available in varying textures. It's commonly available anywhere you might find paint, and is sold in pre-portioned bags to be used in a gallon of paint. If you're looking for more texture, you may need to add more than one bag.

Once you're ready to get designing, remember to only cover a small area at a time. Work your design into the paint until you're ready for the next section. Take a moment before adding a new section to make sure that your wall is coming together as planned. Of course, have fun designing your new wall.

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Discussion Comments
By plaid — On Oct 25, 2010

@leiliahrune: Surprisingly you can actually find textured wall paper. If you touch it you can feel the texture where as there are some papers that are just flat. It gives a very great illusion and you would hardly notice imperfections.

I think that is also the point of textured walls and ceilings: to cover up imperfections. Wall texture paint is becoming increasingly popular in older homes not only to give them a more modern look or edge, but to also hide dents and dings in the otherwise smooth walls. I really love texture in a home because it adds warmth and personality, much more so than just paint alone.

By leiliahrune — On Oct 25, 2010

@empanadas - I think you are referring to the cheesecloth texture pattern. It was in the movie "The Blindside" with Sandra Bullock in the Tuohy's home downstairs. It really is a very elegant and versatile pattern. Sadly, though, a lot of people won't take the time to texture that as it is fairly involved (much like the Venetian Plaster method mentioned by a commenter earlier here). Instead, wall paper can be found in this pattern quite easily and for not a whole lot of cash. It's a matter of convenience and occasionally a matter of deadline for designers.

By empanadas — On Oct 25, 2010

@winn199 Yes that is a very important feature that your contractor should take into account (taping things off) or yourself if you are doing the painting. I have also seen a really popular sand texture paint on a lot of walls. My favorite, though, is the cross weave like pattern... I'm not sure what it's really called. A little help out there?

By win199 — On Oct 25, 2010

@BelugaWhale: Agreed. Not everyone should have their hands on a sprayer for sure. It also requires a lot of preparation like taping off things and covering up furniture and built ins. This is very important. The most popular texture to paint walls right now is the Venetian Plaster. It is a very elegant yet free form pattern everyone seems to love and it fits well with any color scheme and any design really.

By BelugaWhale — On Oct 25, 2010

You can also texture surfaces with plaster or mud before you decide to paint. It is actually quite popular to have a textured ceiling, but not the popcorn kind, as it is sometimes less expensive. A lot of the trend now is to have the textured paint roller that will stipple the paint onto the surface as you are painting it on. Still, it is much easier to use a sprayer, but you really should be experienced in using one before deciding to go that route.

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