Chances are if your walls aren't smooth, they have an orange peel texture on them. Not long ago smooth walls were standard but there are benefits to adding texture to walls and ceilings. Most textured finishes eliminate the skill needed to create a perfectly smooth surface saving builders time and money.
This blog post is part of a series on drywall textures, that explores the most common drywall textures used in homes today. These are being added to compliment other articles already written about drywall:
- Wondering Why We Use Gypsum Drywall
- Learning How to Tape and Mud Drywall
- Drywall Repairs Can Be Challenging
- Plaster is Different Than Drywall
Orange Peel Feels a Lot Like an Orange
It's hard to imagine how you can compare something that's hard like a wall or pumpkins which are hard and smooth, to oranges that are soft and a bit squishy. The name actually makes a bit of sense as the orange peel drywall texture has gentle (soft) curves in contrast to knockdown drywall texture with hard edges.
Orange peel varies from an overall fine spray to small blobs of splatter. An important benefit is it's ability to hide imperfections in walls. The texture adds dimension and gives any space where it's used, more personality. While subtly wrinkled up close, from a distance orange peel wall texture can even appear smooth.
Here are examples of the variations found in orange peel walls … from Home Depot.
How Orange Peel Texture is Applied
First let me tell you that drywall and more specifically, the joint compound or mud used to hide the seams, was my biggest skill challenge while running a handyman business. That's because in New Hampshire, almost everyone has smooth walls!
That's why I can appreciate using drywall textures like orange peel, to hide the seams … in addition to imperfections which are bound to occur over the years. This means you need a lot of patience to build your drywall skills to achieve great results. If you don't have the time or patience to do this, here's who you can hire:
- Drywall companies with experience applying the type of texture you want. In New Hampshire with few textured walls, that would be a challenge. In Arizona or Florida, there's lots of experience but most contractors will only be expert in two or three textures … so you'll be happier picking something they're familiar with.
- Experienced painting companies may also have experience with drywall textures. I'd recommend checking references to make sure other homeowners were happy with the results.
There are multiple ways to apply orange peel texture. Drywall contractors will most likely use a hopper (shown above) as that's their go to tool. Painters will use tools they're more comfortable with, either a paint gun or paint rollers. As DavesPaintingColorado.com explains “The more water present, the smoother the texture. Orange peel is essentially a loose mix of water and drywall compound that when applied by an experienced house painter will look random and not sprayed.”
Don't Be Afraid to Repair Walls with Orange Peel
Drywall repairs will always be challenging for do-it-yourself homeowners but don't despair. They now have repair kits that make small repairs super easy. Here's the kit I use from Home Depot …
OK, you're wondering what you do after the repair and that's even easier once you buy the right can of orange peel texture (find it here), as all you have to do is spray it over the area you just repairs. Like many building materials, the most important thing is buying the right product. Here's what you need to look for:
- Pick the right texture for the area you're covering – wall or ceiling. Wondering why? It has to do with the position of the nozzle as spraying up to a ceiling is different than spraying a wall in front of you.
- Select water or oil based orange peel texture based on the type of paint you're working with. You can apply an oil based paint or texture over latex, the choice of pros because it dries faster. For DIYers, latex is recommended (unless the underlying paint is oil based) because of its' low odor and easy water clean up.