What is Skip Trowel Texture? How to Apply It With Ease

Skip trowel texture is a type of wall and ceiling finish often used in residential and commercial buildings. It is created by applying a thin layer of joint compound to the surface of the wall and then running a trowel over it in a skipping motion.

This produces a textured finish that can be left as is or painted over.

Skip trowel texture is an effective way to hide imperfections in the wall surface and can also be used to create interesting visual effects.

It’s relatively easy to apply and can be done using only a few inexpensive tools.

Skip trowel texture has become a popular option for many homeowners and building owners. Let’s get into the weeds a little more, and decide if this texturing option is right for you.

How to Apply Skip Trowel Texture?

To create a skip trowel texture, you will need a mud pan and a drywall knife. But first, remove anything from the room you wouldn’t want to be covered in drywall compound. Use poly or a drop cloth to cover the floor.

Step 1

Mix a five-gallon bucket with joint compound, water, and sand. Begin with half the bucket filled with compound, add three or four cups of clean sand, and three to four cups of water.

Mix until you have a consistency of pancake batter. As you mix, add more of the three components to get the desired thickness.

Use a mockup piece of drywall to test the mixture before beginning on the actual wall or ceiling.

Step 2

With a drywall mud pan or a texture hawk, load a small amount of mix onto your drywall knife. With the knife at a 20 degree angle, pull the knife across the surface with short skipping motions.

Apply the skip trowel texture to a 4-foot by 4-foot area. Using a clean wet trowel, run the blade over the freshly applied texture to smooth out any areas you may have missed.

Step 3

After at least 24 hours of dry-time, you are ready for primer and paint on your newly textured finish.

skip trowel finish
Skip Trowel Finish

Skip Trowel Texture Tips and Tricks

Speaking from experience, applying texture to walls and ceilings may seem like a good idea in the beginning, then halfway through the project, you are suddenly slapped with the cold, hard reality. Drywall texture is not easy.

Here are a few tips and tricks for skip trowel texture. If it saves just one person from a headache, then I’ve done my job.

Consider Hot MudIf You Dare

Consider using “hot mud” with your skip trowel texture mixture, but only in super-small batches. The texture will set up in place super fast, therefore the consistency of the mud will change quickly.

The nice thing about hot mud is you can paint on the same day if that’s the goal.

Fast-drying, hot mud durabond is also stronger than regular drywall mud, so it’s best for use over plaster, or other substrates in high-traffic areas. Just be sure not to drag chunks of sand along or you will have lines.

If you absolutely need to paint on the same day, but don’t want the added difficulty of hot mud, use a fan or hair dryer to speed up dry times.

Twist, Slide, Skip, and Pull

I’ve heard almost every different description of the drywall knife while applying skip trowel. Here are a few more ways to describe how to move the knife across the surface as you apply mud.

“At a 15-degree angle pull the trowel toward your body and twist the handle back and forth.”

“Roll a bead of mud on the leading edge of the knife and smear the mud back and forth in random directions.”

“Drag the knife across the wall or ceiling surface and slide back and forth in a random pattern with the palm of your hand almost touching the wall.”

How to Remove Skip Trowel Texture

If you’re tired of your skip trowel drywall texture and are looking for a way to remove it, there are a few different methods you can try.

One option is to simply sand the texture down until it’s smooth. This can be a bit of a labor-intensive process, and make a mess that you wouldn’t believe. You’ll have plenty of clean-up, but it will, in fact, remove your wall texture.

Another option is the soap-and-scrape method. With a spray bottle, wet down the textured wall and let it sit briefly. Then, using a drywall knife, remove the texture from the wall by gently scraping it off.

What’s the Difference Between Skip Trowel Texture and Knockdown Texture?

Two popular choices are skip trowel and knockdown texture. So, what’s the difference between the two?

  • Skip trowel texture is made by applying drywall mud, or joint compound to the wall with a trowel and then skipping over areas with a drywall knife to create a textured effect.
  • Knockdown texture, on the other hand, is made by spraying joint compound onto the wall and then using a knife or trowel to smooth it out.

As a result, the knockdown texture has a more even, consistent look. Both skip trowel and knockdown textures can be painted or left as-is for a natural look.

What are the Different Types of Drywall Texture?

There are a number of different types of drywall textures, each with its own unique look and feel.

One popular option is skip trowel texture, which creates a textured finish that resembles a plaster or stucco appearance.

Another popular option is orange peel texture, which gives the wall a bumpy, pebbled appearance.

This type of texture is created by spraying on a textured paint or primer and then allowing it to dry. Once dry, the wall can be painted or left as-is.

Orange peel texture is a good choice for walls that will see high traffic, as it helps to hide wear and tear.

Here’s a list of a few more drywall textures to consider –

  • Comb Texture
  • Popcorn Texture
  • Sand Swirl Texture
  • Slap Brush Texture
  • Slap Brush Knockdown Texture
  • Stomp Texture

If you’re looking for something a little more subtle, you might want to try out a hand-trowelled finish.

Popcorn Ceiling Texture Vs Skip Trowel Texture

Two popular wall and ceiling texture coat options are skip trowel and popcorn ceiling textures. Both provide a unique look, but there are some key differences to consider.

  • Skip trowel finish is created by applying thin layers of joint compound to the drywall and then skimming it with a trowel. This results in a smooth, uniform finish that can be easily painted.
  • Popcorn ceiling texture, on the other hand, is created by spraying a mix of joint compound and Styrofoam material onto the drywall. This gives the ceiling a textured, three-dimensional look.

Skip trowel texture is more labor intensive to apply than popcorn ceiling texture.

Popcorn ceiling texture is easier to apply but can be more difficult to repair if damaged. But you will also need a compressor and sprayer for popcorn texture.

Skip Trowel Texture Tips and Tricks – by Paul Peck Drywall YouTube Channel

Santa Fe Texture

Santa Fe texture is another name for skip trowel texture, depending on the region of the country. Skip trowel texture gets its name from the fact that it is applied using a trowel, and then the excess mud is skimmed off of the surface.

This leaves behind a very smooth, evenly textured surface. Skip trowel texture is often used in lieu of traditional drywall textures, such as orange peel or popcorn.

It is also becoming an increasingly popular technique as an alternative to painting walls and ceilings.

However, skip trowel texture can be difficult to achieve if you don’t have the right tools or techniques.

If you’re not careful, you can end up with an uneven surface that doesn’t look very professional.

With a little practice, you’ll be able to achieve a beautiful, smooth, and level textured design that enhances any room in your home with style.

Here’s a great introductory video by SeeJaneDrill – How to Do a Skip Trowel –

Supplies and Tools

If you’re planning a drywall repair or adding new texture to a surface in your home, you’ll need to gather a few supplies first.

  • Drop cloths are essential for protecting your floors and furniture from the mud that will be created during the repair process.
  • You’ll also need a sheet of drywall for any hole patching, a roll of drywall tape, and a trowel.
  • A drywall pan and knife will be needed to apply the texture to the wall surface.
  • You’ll need a five-gallon bucket for mixing the compound, and for easy clean-up afterwards.

California Knockdown Ceiling Texture

If you’re looking for a unique texture for your ceiling, California Knockdown might be the right choice.

California knockdown is similar to a skip trowel texture. It’s created by applying a thin layer of joint compound to the ceiling and then knocking it down with a trowel or brush.

California knockdown is also a good option if you’re trying to cover up imperfections in your ceiling. The texture can help to camouflage small cracks or holes.

And because it’s applied in a thin layer, it’s also a budget-friendly option. So if you’re looking for a way to add texture and interest to your ceiling, consider California knockdown.

Additional Resources –

Finishing Drywall Systems – United States Gypsum (USG)

Recommended Levels of Finish – CertainTeed

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