Tools Needed:

Many of these tools can be purchased from your local hardware store.  We’ve included links to our Amazon store, which helps support our how-to program.


  • Coordinate schedule with customer weeks in advance (Conor or assigned Mgr)
  • Call or email (whichever is preferred) day before arrival and introduce yourself
  • Communicate to client what’s to be expected first day
  • Ask about any special considerations

Job Site

  • Greet customer or access home if key or garage code is provided
  • Discuss job site with customer and the best place for job materials.
  • Move items, set drop clothes, setup work area


** This preparation assumes popcorn is current texture, home is occupied and floor is needing to be kept clean.

  • Cover floor with 12ft by 100ft 4 mil poly.  Tape each seam with 2 inch intertape.
  • Run 2 inch tape (intertape) 1 1/2 inch below ceiling line.  Press firmly on upper half of tape leaving bottom half lose and open for plastic
  • Run 12 ft by 400 ft by.31 mil poly around room by tacking under 2 inch tape.  Unravel plastic along room to make attaching plastic faster.
  • Run 1 1/2 inch (3M exterior water proof) tape over (intertape), closer to ceiling leaving about 1/8 inch of wall color exposed.  Important to come down on wall a bit so new ceiling texture isnt sealed into tape.  Since moisture is added to ceiling during most of the following steps, water proof tape helps to prevent the plastic from becoming loose and releasing from the wall.
  • In occupied home, place filters over furnace return vents
  • Put shoe covers over shoes while inside the work area.  When walking outside, remove shoe covers.  Your shoes will collect drywall mud and if you do not cover shoes you will track mud onto the customers driveway.

Popcorn Removal

  • Lightly mist ceiling with pump sprayer or paint sprayer.  If spraying too wet you could run risk of releasing tape joints.  Add just enough water to make it less dusty and a slightly cleaner ceiling scrape.
  • Assuming ceilings scrape ok, check joints for failed tape.  Repair joints with drywall tape and hot mud.
  • If ceilings do not scrape because they have been previously painted, skim coat ceilings.

Prime Ceilings

  • Prime ceiling.  If the drywall paper has yellowed after removing popcorn and re-texturing, use a stain blocking primer such as Coverstain oil primer or Kilz odorless oil primer.  This step is controversial and could be avoided in new construction.  When spraying primer use 621 tip with pressure set to 2500-3000 p.s.i and a 50% overlap.  Apply from corner to corner.

Why we think priming now is good?

  1. In aged homes, smoke can build up from candles, natural fireplaces or smoking which causes yellowing
  2. Priming provides a consistent substrate so the knockdown texture dries evenly and the texture looks more consistent
  3. Applying knockdown adds moisture to tape seams which could cause the seam to release.  Priming helps lock down tape joints.

Apply Texture

  • Using a drywall drill and paddle, mix unaggregated ceiling and wall texture compound (powder form).  Or thin plus 3 joint compound (pre-mixed).  If using a texture machine we’re looking for the consistency of pancake batter.  If spraying using a hopper the mud can be slightly thicker than pancake batter.  Texture machines cannot handle thicker texture and they will not be able to pump the mud.   Use a sponge during this process towards the latter stages of mixing the mud.  It’s best to let the mud sit for a few minutes, then give it one last mix with a bit of water before loading mud into your machine.
  • With the tip of the gun roughly 2 ft from the surface, apply the texture in a circular pattern so the texture is uniform.  The tip orifice size should be set to knockdown which is typically the largest of the settings.  Setting air pressure to high will typically result in smaller spits of texture, lower pressure will result in larger spits and heavier texture.
  • Watch for the sheen of the tips of the mud to become dull (roughly 10-15 minutes) and knockdown with a combination of a plastic knockdown knife and 6 inch taping blade.

Circulate Air

  • Place box fans throughout areas being textured.  Set thermostat to 72 degrees if possible.  Run de-humidifier if possible (Home depot rents these for roughly $60 per day).  Open vents so air can circulate through home.  If you do not do this step, the mud could take through the next day to completely dry depending on how thick you applied your texture.

Paint Ceiling

  • This step depends on what your expectations are.  For a bright white ceiling, it is recommended to spray ceilings after painting.  We’ve also seen primer and paint applied before knockdown texture in a light grey color.  Knockdown then gets applied over that without paint.  This provides a unique look because the background is a different color than the texture itself.  In bathrooms and high moisture areas its recommended to top coat with paint.  Typically, we top coat with CHB paint from Sherwin Williams using an airless sprayer.

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