Orange Peel Drywall Texture

Orange Peel Drywall Texture

During the 1980's and very early 1990's Orange Peel Drywall Texture was very common in new residential construction across the Southwest United States. During the 1990's and early 2000's, hand textures such as hawk and trowel, skip trowel, or santa fe, became much more popular.

You very rarely see orange peel texture used in new construction in the Southwest United States, however, it seems to have made a resurgence in other parts of the country. Orange Peel Texture is often found in hotels or large commercial buildings. Spray Knockdown texture is slightly more common than orange peel even in those types of buildings.

Is it Orange Peel Texture or Knockdown?

Some people mistake Knockdown Texture for orange peel texture. How can you tell the difference? Both orange peel texture and knockdown are sprayed using similar equipment. However, as described below, orange peel is thinner and left to dry immediately after being sprayed.

Knockdown, on the other hand, is smoothed out, or knocked-down, with a large flat knife shortly after being sprayed. The globules of mud with Spray Knockdown are larger than Orange Peel and spread out across the surface. Orange Peel covers the entire surface of the drywall with a thin layer so the underlying drywall does not show through. With Spray Knockdown, however, very small areas of exposed drywall paper are visible between the globules of sprayed drywall mud.

How to Apply Orange Peel Texture

Picture of orange peel texture on drywallOrange peel texture is very similar to Spray/splatter knockdown. Texture mud is pumped through a long hose to a special spray nozzle. Running parallel to the mud hose is a high-pressure airline. The compressed air and texture mud combine in the spray nozzle. This causes the texture mud to splatter into thousands of small droplets as it exits the nozzle. These droplets of drywall mud land on the surface and gradually merge to form a uniformly thin layer of mud. As the texture-mud dries, it resembles the peel of an orange, thus the name.

The nozzle tip for Orange Peel texture is smaller than that used for Spray Knockdown and the air pressure is slightly higher. This makes the droplets of mud exiting the nozzle smaller than Spray Knockdown texture. Since the droplets are smaller, they merge into a uniform film instead of remaining as individual globules.

The most difficult part of spraying Orange Peel texture is maintaining a uniform thickness across the entire area being textured. Spraying an even Orange Peel texture is in many ways more difficult than spraying Knockdown.

Photo of orange peel drywall textureSpraying Orange Peel texture is similar to spraying paint on walls. However, when spraying paint with an airless sprayer, you usually back-roll the paint to smooth out any uneven areas. With orange peel texture, you do not have this option since the texture must be left to dry in place.

After it has been sprayed, Orange Peel Texture is left to dry as is. Since there is no additional knockdown step, applying Orange Peel Texture is slightly quicker than applying Spatter Knockdown Texture. This is one reason why Orange Peel texture is common in hotels and large commercial applications. After Orange Peel Texture has thoroughly dried, it can be primed and painted as normal.

Orange Peel Spray Equipment

Spray Texture Rigs

Large texture sprayers, or texture rigs, are used by professionals for large texture jobs. For example, when spraying orange peel in hotels, hospitals, or other large commercial buildings, it is necessary to use a large texture sprayer with a capacity of 200 or more gallons. This type of spray rig is usually mounted on a trailer with a gas-powered motor and air compressor. The texture mud used comes in powdered form and is mixed in the hopper similar to the way mortar mixers work.

Portable texture sprayers

Portable texture sprayers with tanks that can hold between 5 and 10 gallons of texture are useful for smaller projects where you need to spray at least a few rooms. Graco® makes several different models of texture sprayers with various hoppers and motors. These texture sprayers are a good choice for professionals, even as a supplement to a large spray rig. Smaller texture sprayers are great for situations when you don't want to fire up the large trailer-mounted sprayer for a simple patch or small project.

Hand held spray hoppers

Photo of a knockdown hopper used to spray small knockdown texture patches

Hoppers are lightweight and easy to operate. They can be used by do-it-yourself homeowners to repair small patches. Since the texture mud is gravity fed to the nozzle rather than pumped under pressure, it is difficult to get the same effect as with larger texture sprayers or spray rigs. Some professionals have found success spraying orange peel with a hopper by using very thin mud.

Because these small hand-held texture hoppers rely on gravity to feed the nozzle. As the amount of mud in the hopper changes, it can affect the pressure and size of globules extruded from the nozzle.

Spray texture in a can

Homax® sells drywall texture spray cans that work just like most aerosol cans. You can buy them specifically for Spray Knockdown or Orange Peel Texture. Though they are convenient for small patches or repairs, it is very difficult if not impossible to match the original texture using this method. You should always test the texture on a scrap piece of drywall before spraying the patch.

Soft bristle brush and paint stick

When it comes time to match drywall texture for repairs, most professionals simply pull out their small air compressor and hand-held texture hopper. However, if the patch is very small, a few inches in diameter, it may be possible to match an Orange Peel texture using just a soft bristle brush and a paint stick.

If you have ever pulled your fingers across a wet brush, you are familiar with how it splatters water in the opposite direction. A soft bristle brush can be used to splatter thin texture mud onto a drywall patch. To do this, the mud must be very thin. The tips of the bristles are then dipped into the mud and a small stick can be used to pull the bristles in the opposite direction of the patch. As the bristles spring back into place, they splatter mud onto the patch.

Photo of a type of drywall orange peel texture Image of an orange peel drywall texture

Is Orange Peel Texture good for new construction?

Whether or not Orange Peel Texture should be used in new construction depends on several factors. However, it is good to remember that Orange Peel Texture is very difficult to match.

Like with all types of sprayed drywall texture, the look of the final product depends on the consistency of the mud, the ambient temperature and humidity levels, the air pressure used, the equipment used, and of course the skill of the tradesman. It is almost impossible to recreate conditions exactly like they were when the original texture was applied.

Though Orange Peel Texture may be appealing for its ease of initial application and ability to cover imperfections, matching this type of texture on drywall patches in the future should be taken into consideration. Particularly in areas that get a lot of traffic or are subject to updates and repairs.