Drywall 101

Splatter Knockdown Drywall Texture

Splatter knockdown texture is one of the most popular types of textures across the southern United States. This style of texture is used extensively in Hotel rooms where wallpaper is not used. It is also used in residential settings. In recent years in the southwestern region of the U.S., trends have moved away from spray or splatter knockdown textures in favor of hand textures such as santa-fe and skip trowel or even hawk and trowel textures. Recently the midwest has seen a surge in the popularity of splatter knockdown rather than smooth wall application.

splatter knockdown nozzle

How is it applied?

To apply splatter texture, two things are needed: a supply of texture material and compressed air to splatter the texture randomly across the prepared surface. Texture material is pumped through a hose to a handheld trigger activated gun. Compressed air is introduced to the texture at this point and the mud and air exit the gun through a small opening at a rate governed by operator trigger location and air pressure. As the texture material leaves the nozzle it immediately splatters many small globs of mud in random patterns on the drywall surface. Once the texture has set slightly, it is smoothed with a large flat knife to produce the knockdown effect.

A unique spray gun and nozzle is required to apply splatter knockdown drywall texture. The gun has two tubes entering from the bottom. The large round tube supplies texture material. The smaller tube supplies compressed air. The large hand trigger on the gun opens the texture material valve so the amount of material sprayed is controlled by how hard this large trigger is pulled. There is usually a small ball valve on the air supply to control the amount of compressed air mixed with the texture mud. There are a couple of pictures below of the spray nozzle and tip.

Picture of a splatter knockdown spray gun:

Photo of a spray gun that is used to apply splatter knockdown drywall texture

Picture of the nozzle on a splatter knockdown spray gun:

Photo of the tip of a spray nozzle that is used to apply splatter knockdown drywall texture

trailer mounted spray rig portable spray hopper

Spray rigs for knockdown texture

Special equipment is required to spray this style of texture. There are different style texture sprayers that are capable of producing the splatter effect. Only the gas or diesel powered spray rigs are well-equipped for profesional high-output texture jobs. These spray rigs are mounted on a trailer and have 20 to 25 horsepower engines that power both the air compressor, mixer and spray pump. They have between 150 and 450 gallon tanks for texture material. Small portable texture sprayers, while useful for small patches or one room jobs, simply don't have the capacity, air pressure, or material pump pressure needed for entire houses or larger projects.

spray texture hopper

Though the basic style of texture is created by the equipment described above, many factors contribute to the variety of splatter knockdown textures available. The size and style of the nozzle tip opening can affect the size of the globs splattered from the nozzle. The thickness of the mud or air pressure used as well as how long you wait before knocking it down all plays a part in the exact texture produced. Because of the variables involved it is very difficult to perfectly match this type of texture when repairing a small patch in the wall.

Click on the image below for a larger picture

Picture of splatter knockdown drywall texture

Splatter knockdown texture is not well suited for doing a remodel or repairs. The process of spraying texture to the walls is very messy. Small globules of mud can get on anything that is not masked off creating a mess to clean up.

One variation to the splatter knockdown is adding tinting to the texture material before spraying. First the surface drywall should be prepared as normal and then coated with two coats of high quality primer. Tint may be added to the primer if desired to create a base color. A different color tinting is then added to the texture material, sprayed and then knocked down as normal. Once the texture has dried a clear coat of protective finish can be applied to prevent dings or fading. As you can imagine this produces a two toned effect that accentuates the depth of the texture.

Splatter knockdown is a nice texture option for new construction. Before deciding on this texture you should consult with local tradesmen to see if they are able to produce the texture you are looking for. You should always try to see examples of specific textures that the tradesman has done to assess his abilities. Another texture though less common but closely related is orange peel texture. It is created with very similar techniques as used for knockdown.

Below are some more examples of splatter knockdown textures

splatter knockdown texture splatter knockdown texture splatter knockdown texture

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