How to Remove Knockdown Texture from Walls? Best Ways

Knockdown textured walls have been in fashion since the good old days. They serve as a cost-effective way to hide drywall imperfections, add a rustic touch to the surface, and mute sounds. However, not everybody fancies them.

Should you get tired of your knockdown textured walls, you can get rid of them by soaking and scraping, skim-coating, or covering them with wood panels. The first method involves soaking the knockdown texture and scraping it off to expose the drywall underneath while the other two methods require covering it up. The skim-coating process requires covering the textured wall with a joint compound while the third method involves the use of wood panels.

Removing knockdown textured walls is a tedious process and can be quite challenging if you choose to DIY. The method to use for your project is dependent on factors like whether the wall is painted or not, time constraints, and your expertise. Nonetheless, Keep reading this article to find out the best way to remove knockdown texture from walls.

Getting Ready

Removing knockdown texture from walls is a messy and time-consuming task. However, doing so will reward you with a smooth wall to do as you wish. Before you jump to the hard part of removing the knockdown texture, here are things you need to do:

  • Move all furniture away and remove all fittings from the space where the knockdown texture is to be removed.
  • Place disposable papers on the floor to collect dust, protect the floor, and make cleaning easier. Tape the papers to the baseboards to keep them secured.
  • Cover air ducts and vents to prevent dust from spreading to other areas of the house.
  • Get your cleaning products ready, vacuum cleaners, mop, etc.
  • Use tapes to cover switches and electric outlets to prevent water and dirt from getting in.
  • Wear protective clothing, hair cover, mask, and eyeglasses

Removing Knockdown Texture By Soaking And Scraping

The soak and scrape method is mostly suitable for removing knockdown textured surfaces that are not painted. That is because paint makes it difficult for water to penetrate and soak the knockdown texture. However, if you are fortunate enough to have your knockdown textured wall unpainted, here is how to make it smooth again using the soak-and-scrape method:

  • Gather the materials and tools needed which include pump spray, scraper, hot water, dishwasher, vinegar, and sandpaper.
  • Fill the pump spray with hot water (the hotter, the better for easy penetration). To further improve the absorption of the water, add five tablespoons of dishwasher and 1 cup of vinegar per gallon of water.
  • Then, wet the entire textured wall surface thoroughly with the solution.
  • Once the entire surface is wet, wait for some minutes to allow the water to soak into the knockdown texture.
  • Once completely soaked and soft, hold the scraper at a 30-degree angle and use it to pull off the textured compound gently without damaging the wall behind. For areas that are too hard to scrape off, wet them with more water before proceeding to scrape.
  • Then proceed to use a medium grit sandpaper to smoothen out areas of knockdown texture that escaped scraping.
  • Repair wall imperfections and prepare the wall for the design you desire.

Removing Painted Knockdown Texture

As we mentioned earlier, the soak and scrape method is best used to get rid of an unpainted knockdown texture wall. However, it is quite uncommon to find a textured wall that is not painted. And that brings us to the question – how to remove painted knockdown textured walls?

The best method for removing painted textured walls is skim-coating. However, the soak and scrape method can also be used for painted knockdown textured walls although it requires more work.

1) Removing Painted Knockdown Texture By Skim-coating

Unlike the previous method which involves scraping off the texture compound, this method involves covering up the texture with a skim coat to create a smooth surface. Therefore, this method is suitable for painted knockdown walls.

However, it involves adjusting the baseboard and corner foldings (if present). That is because a new layer will be added to the existing wall and you don’t want the wall protruding past the baseboard and corner foldings. That said, here is how to use a skim coat to smoothen a knockdown textured wall:

  • Gather the materials and tools needed which include hammer, chisel, trowel, paint roller, sanding sponge, vacuum cleaner, drywall compound, and water.
  • Remove the baseboard from the wall. Do this by gently hitting the head of a chisel with a hammer to help pry the baseboard from the wall.
  • Make the skim coat by mixing the drywall compound with water until a smooth consistency is reached. Add the water a little at a time so as not to over-thin the mixture. When using pre-mixed drywall compound, it is required to still add a little water to achieve a pancake batter consistency.
  • Use a paint roller to apply the mixture generously on the wall, ensuring that the knockdown texture is well covered.
  • While the applied compound is still wet, use a trowel to smoothen the skim coat. Start from the bottom of the wall and work your way up. While smoothening the skim coat, excess skimming compound gathered on the trowel should be deposited into an empty container.
  • Once the skimming compound has been applied generously over the wall and smoothened, leave the wall to dry completely for about 24 to 48 hours.
  • If another layer of skim coat is required, go ahead and apply it, smoothen it, and let it dry.
  • When the surface is completely dry, use a sanding sponge to sand the entire surface.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of the dust on the wall accumulated from sanding.
  • Fix back the baseboard and molding corners.
  • Proceed to design your smooth wall as you deem fit.

2) Removing Painted Knockdown Texture Using The Soak And Scrape Method

To remove a painted knockdown texture using the soak and scrape method, firstly, you need to sand off the paint. Doing this will expose the knockdown texture making it easier to soak and scrape.

Exposing the texture surface

You can get rid of the paint and expose the knockdown textured surface by:

  • Using a power sander
  • Wet sanding
  • Using a chemical paint stripper

Using a power sander

Here is how to remove paint from a textured wall using a power sander:

  • Gather the materials needed which include an electric sander and a coarse grit sandpaper.
  • Load the sandpaper into the sander.
  • Begin sanding by working in sections and moving the sander in a back-and-forth motion.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner to clean the dust accumulated from sanding so that you can monitor your progress easily.
  • Once the paint coats have been removed and the textured surface exposed, you can proceed to soak and scrape.

Wet sanding

This method does not only help remove the paint from the textured wall, it also wet it at the same time. Therefore, hastening the soaking process. Here is how to wet-sand painted Knockdown texture:

  • Fill a bucket with hot water and get a coarse grit sandpaper.
  • Throw some water over the wall to get it wet. Wet the sandpaper as well, and start sanding using whatever motion you are comfortable with.
  • Rinse the sanded areas at intervals to get rid of mud and make it easier to monitor your progress.
  • After exposing the knockdown texture, proceed to soak it further in preparation for scraping.

Using a chemical paint stripper

Here is how to remove paint from a textured wall using a chemical stripper:

  • Get the materials needed such as a chemical paint stripper and paint brush.
  • Apply a thick coat of the chemical paint stripper evenly over the painted wall using the paintbrush.
  • Let the chemical stripper sit on the painted wall for it to do its job. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the waiting time.
  • When the chemical stripper sits for the required time, the paint will begin to bubble. You can then use a scraper to remove the paint.
  • Once the paint has been removed completely, proceed to soak the textured surface in readiness for scraping.

Covering Knockdown Textured Walls Using Wood Panels

This is another way of transforming a knockdown texture wall to a smooth one by covering it up. In this case, the textured surface is covered using wood panels. To do this, you need good quality and sanded ⅛ inch hardwood or ¼ inch plywood.

This method can be used to get rid of knockdown texture irrespective of whether the wall is painted or not. Here is how to cover up a knockdown textured wall with wood panels:

  • Gather the tools and materials needed which include the wood panels, nails, primer, paint, hammer, chisel, etc.
  • Remove the baseboard and molding corners (if present) from the wall.
  • Cover the entire textured wall with wood panels.
  • Reinstall the baseboard and molding corners (if applicable).
  • Fill wood dents and nail holes with suitable fillers.
  • If the wood panels are not pre-primed, prime them in preparation for painting.
  • Paint the wood surface.