Knockdown Texture Vs. Orange Peel For Ceiling? (Which Is Better)

Ceiling textures are something that we hear of far less frequently in contemporary architecture, but they seem to enjoy some degree of prevalence in certain parts of the United States. Adding a texture to your ceiling can have several benefits, and there are multiple types of ceiling textures to choose from. So Knockdown Texture Vs. Orange Peel, Which one is better?

Knockdown texture came about in the early 1990s after the orange peel ceiling. Both ceiling textures are created through similar techniques and achieve relatively similar finishes. Orange peel ceiling texture resembles the skin of an orange, while Knockdown creates a flat mottled texture.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each of the abovementioned ceiling textures. The main advantage of both is that they hide imperfections in the ceiling. The application process for each texture will differ somewhat, as will the final result. Whichever option you decide on, you will best be served by employing a professional to finish to do the job. 

Knockdown Texture Vs. Orange Peel For Ceiling?

Knockdown and orange peel are both textures applied using plaster used to hide taped drywall seams and other imperfections that may be present on the surface of your ceilings. Both textures are also used to add visual interest and texture to an otherwise plain and smooth ceiling.

As the name suggests, the Orange Peel texture has a similar look to an orange peel. This is a subtly textured finish that hides most imperfections on a wall. It is relatively easy to clean because the texture is not overly rough.

Knockdown is a popular textured finish with a rustic texture used in many interior applications. It is more difficult to clean than orange peel texture.

Both knockdown texture and orange peel texture use a similar material (drywall mud) and can be sprayed onto the ceiling. Bear in mind that these textures can only be applied once the drywall has been sufficiently prepared to handle any finishes applied.

To compare the two types of ceiling texture, you should consider installation methods, customization options, the durability of the finish, general aesthetic appeal, repairs, durability of the ceiling surface underneath, and maintenance of the textured surface.

For example, orange peel is generally a more durable surface as there are fewer protruding parts that can be damaged. On the other hand, Knockdown is more susceptible to damage and breaking due to the larger surface area of its texture.

Because textured ceilings are more prone to mold and mildew build-up, they should not be used in bathrooms or in outdoor settings.

Generally speaking, orange peel is a simpler texture to add to a ceiling seeing as it is simply sprayed on without any further intervention required before painting can commence. On the other hand, knockdown texture requires more time and effort. It does, however, afford the homeowner more customizability in terms of the final result.

Knockdown Ceiling Texture

Knockdown is essentially a texture applied to a ceiling and subsequently knocked down using a drywall knife (or knockdown trowel) over a series of mounds of plaster, flattening the mounds in the process.

Several special techniques and tools are required to create a knockdown ceiling texture. The abovementioned tools and techniques are employed to achieve a specific look, being a dynamic finish that lacks uniformity, creating the opportunity for a versatile ceiling texture.

There are three main techniques for creating a knockdown ceiling texture. The techniques employed are stomp, trowel, and splatter, respectively.

There are several disadvantages to knockdown texture. Firstly, because it features many dents and creases, the texture is prone to collecting dust and dirt. This means that it will require regular cleaning to maintain a pleasing aesthetic.

Knockdown ceiling texture has protruding parts that tend to flake off over time. This will require regular repairs to maintain the ceiling. The protruding parts of the knockdown texture can also potentially scratch any items that contact them. While this is less of a concern with a ceiling than with a wall, it is a concern nonetheless.

Orange Peel Ceiling Texture

Orange peel – also referred to as splatter or eggshell texture – boasts a somewhat similar texture to that of an orange peel.

Orange peel ceiling texture is generally simpler and easier to apply to any ceiling. The reason for this is that it is usually sprayed on and left, with no need for any extra interventions such as those required with knockdown texture.

When installing orange peel ceiling texture, remember that the spray direction differs according to whether you are applying it to a ceiling or to a wall. This drywall mud texture consists simply of splatter with no knockdown. There is no need for a knife or trowel to achieve the desired finish.

Because orange peel requires you to simply spray it on and leave it to dry, there is less work required overall. The end result depends on the thickness of the drywall mud being sprayed onto the ceiling.

Caring For Your Textured Ceiling

Unfortunately, a textured surface will always require more maintenance than a smooth surface. As a result, you should dust the surface every week. Be sure not to use any abrasive brushes or broom heads, as these could cause the texture to become dislodged.

To remove stains from a textured ceiling, your best option is to use a clean paint roller. Soak the roller in a mixture of liquid dishwashing soap and warm water. After rolling over the areas with the abovementioned roller, use a damp and clean roller to remove the soap.

The final step is to go over the ceiling again with a soft, dry sponge or a dry roller. Smoke and soot have a tendency to stick to ceilings with textured drywall compounds. Therefore, you should avoid smoking and ensure you do not make fires close to these textured surfaces.


Whether you opt for knockdown texture or orange peel texture for your ceiling, you will be assured of an aesthetically pleasing result that will bring visual interest to your ceiling. Adding texture to your ceiling is also an excellent way to hide imperfections that would otherwise be difficult to disguise with smooth plastering techniques.

Photo of author

Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.