How to Remove Texture from Walls

By Amanda Lutz Updated April 17, 2024

The popularity of textured walls stems from their ability to hide imperfections. While some homeowners still take full advantage of this solution, others are looking into the smooth wall trend. This guide will teach you how to remove texture from walls, outline different methods, and flag common mistakes.

Why Should You Remove Texture from Walls?

Textured walls may be somewhat outdated, but they still serve a purpose. So why would you want to get rid of them? Here are a few reasons to consider:


Textured walls were popular in the ’70s but less so today. They can make your property look and feel somewhat dated. By removing the texture, you gain an opportunity to adopt a sleek and contemporary design.

Property Value

If you remove the outdated texture and freshen up the walls, you can boost your home’s market value. This is a great home improvement project for homeowners planning to sell.

Simpler Maintenance

Textured walls easily accumulate dust and grime, making it impossible to achieve a clean look over time.

Space Perception

Textured walls can cast shadows and create visual distractions, which can affect the light and space perception of a room.  

Wallpaper Design

If you want to add wallpaper or change existing designs, you must remove the wall texture first. Alternatively, you can paint the smooth wall and enjoy a clean and colorful decor.

Tools Needed to Remove Texture

The Soak and Scrape Method

One of the most efficient ways to remove texture from walls is the “soak and scrape” method. This method works best if you’ve never painted your walls.  

1. Prepare the Room

Remove all the furniture, and cover the floor with a canvas drop cloth. Use painter’s tape to protect exposed areas, such as window frames and windowsills. Put on goggles and a dust mask, and get the necessary tools.

2. Spray the Wall

Fill the spray bottle or a pump sprayer with water, and generously spray the textured wall, one section at a time. The goal is to saturate the texture without soaking the drywall underneath it. Allow the texture to soak for 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Scrape the Texture

Use a drywall or putty knife to scrape away the softened texture. Always work from top to bottom. If the texture is stubborn, you may need to repeat the spraying and scraping process several times. Then, leave the wall to dry for 24 hours.

4. Sand the Wall

Use sandpaper or a drywall sanding sponge to smooth out the remaining rough patches. Inspect the wall for imperfections. You may need to use the joint compound to fill holes and cracks. After that, you need to sand the patched area once again.

5. Final Touches

Once you are happy with the smoothness of your walls, clean up the debris. Next, you can prime and paint the walls with a roller or hang wallpaper.

The Skim Coat Method

The skim coat method involves covering up the texture by using a joint compound. Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to skim coat:

1. Prepare the Room

Remove all the furniture, put drop cloths on the floors, and tape window and doorframes. You may need to remove the baseboard from the wall, or cover it with painter’s tape.

2. Prepare the Joint Compound

Open the joint compound container, and stir it thoroughly to achieve a creamy consistency. You can add a small amount of water to thin it out for easier application.

3. Apply the Skim Coat

Apply a thin layer of joint compound to the textured walls using a drywall or taping knife. Work on one small section at a time. Spread the compound evenly over the surface, aiming for a thickness of about one-eighth of an inch.

4. Smooth Out the Surface

After covering each small area with the compound, use the putty knife to smooth out the ridges. Don’t wait until you have fully covered the wall to start smoothing. The joint compound can be hard to work with once it begins drying out. Allow the compound to dry for at least 24 hours.

5. Sand the Surface

Use fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out the rough areas and create an even surface. Wipe away any drywall dust from the sander with a damp cloth.

Inspect the walls for unevenness. If necessary, apply another coat of joint compound, and repeat the sanding process until you achieve a smooth surface.

Potential Difficulties in Removing Texture

Whatever method you decide to use, you could face several challenges. Some of them are:

The process can be time-consuming and labor-intensive if you don’t have experience with wall texture removal. Consider breaking the project into smaller tasks if you have a large room.  

When to Call a Professional

While you can learn to remove texture from walls with a handy guide like this one, you may still need to hire a professional. They can work fast and achieve high-quality results.

Another reason to outsource the task is the risk of asbestos. Your property could be contaminated if it was built in the 1970s or earlier. To prevent exposure, call professionals so they can handle all wall-related projects safely.  

Our Recommendation

If you want to give your home a fresh look and set the stage for effective remodeling, you may need to learn how to remove texture from walls. With the right guidance, texture removal is a do-it-yourself project. Both the “soak and scrape” and skim coat methods can be highly effective.  

However, if you aren’t ready to spend significant time on this rather difficult process, you may want to outsource it to professionals. 

How to Remove Texture from Walls FAQ

What are textured walls?

Textured walls have irregular surfaces often made up of materials such as plaster or drywall compound.

How are textured walls achieved?

Texture walls are achieved by applying plaster or drywall compound. Then, you or a contractor arrange these materials in the desired patterns such as orange peel, popcorn, or sand swirl.

Can I remove textured walls on my own?

Yes, with the right instruments and guidance, you can remove textured walls yourself. Both the “soak and scrape” and the skim coat methods can effectively remove textured walls.

Is it necessary to test for asbestos before removing textured walls?

If your home was built in the 1970s or earlier, consider calling a professional to remove textured walls. They can test the walls and handle the removal process safely.

What are the alternative options if I don’t want to remove textured walls?

Alternative options are painting over the textured wall to give it a fresher appearance or hanging wallpaper designed specifically for such walls.