One mistake beginners make is assuming that texture will hide a bad taping job. This is NOT true. When taping and mudding, take the time so that when you are done the seams are not visible. For the beginner, this will mean a lot of sanding.
Homes that don’t have sheetrock ceilings probably have tile or ceiling board. The ceiling tiles are generally 16″ or 4′ wide and run the width of the home. Some types of ceiling tiles are held up with screws and rosettes. Other types are screwed up at the seams and then the seams are covered with a plastic spline.
Spraying on texture is a much easier task than mudding. If you have access to an air compressor, then all you need is to purchase a $60 texture sprayer (which looks like a big bucket). To mix texture, first decide whether you want fine, medium or course texture. Dump about a half a bag of dry texture into a 5 gallon bucket. Add 1 gallon of ceiling white paint and mix using a half inch drill with a mixing paddle. Add water until you get the desired textured. The texture should resemble soft ice cream. Let the texture mixture sit in the bucket for an hour, occasionally stirring. This ensures that the paint soaks into the texture giving it a uniform color. You may need to occasionally add water a few ounces at a time. While waiting for the texture to soak, cover the walls and floor with plastic.
Charge your air compressor and set the pressure to 80 pounds. The bigger the compressor the better. You should have at least an 11 gallon tank on your compressor. Pour some texture mixture into the hopper. Practice by spraying on a scrap piece of drywall. Get a feeling for the movement. If the texture doesn’t come out of the gun very well, dump the hopper and add some more water to the 55-gallon bucket. When you begin spraying, start out by constantly moving the sprayer. As you get the feel of it, go back and spray more texture. The beauty of spraying texture is that if you don’t like what you’ve done, simply scrape it off and spray again. As the air pressure drops in the air tank, pause and let it catch up. A compressor running constantly may overheat, so spray with common sense, or rent an actual texture sprayer.
Don’t want to hassle with spraying texture or don’t have an air compressor, then check out the many roll-on options available at your home improvement center. You can roll-on texture, or apply paint with texture in it.
“Yuck, paneling,” may be your first thought. But if you don’t think you have the ‘touch’ to make a textured sheetrock ceiling look good, you may get good results with paneling. In fact, with all the choices of paneling available today, you could get pretty darn creative decorating your ceiling with paneling.
Similar to hanging ½” sheetrock, the first step to installing paneling is to screw up furring strips across the rafters every 12 inches. Since paneling is so thin, the furring strips are a must or the paneling will sag.
Once the furring strips are leveled and screwed in place, the paneling can then be installed. First apply a bead of construction adhesive to the furring strips, then nail up the paneling using finishing nails. When working overhead, an air finishing nailer can be a real life saver.
When the paneling is up, the seams can then be decorated with stained rough-cut wood or whatever creative flair you can come up with.
If you don’t want to use wood paneling, there’s a host of other options including paneling that looks like bead board; check with your local home improvement store for more ideas.