Is Skip Trowel Texture Outdated? An Expert’s Guide

Last Updated on August 27, 2023 by Kimberly Crawford

Skip trowel texture is a popular drywall finishing style that has been widely used in homes for several decades. It is a type of texturing method applied to the walls or ceilings to give an artistic and unique look to the surface.

The application involves the use of a trowel to ‘skip’ over the wet plaster, creating a textured pattern that is semi-smooth but irregular.

Back in the day, this texture was highly sought after due to its ability to hide imperfections on the wall and ceiling surfaces while providing a warm and rustic aesthetic.

Its versatile nature made it compatible with various types of interior design styles, from traditional to contemporary, contributing to its widespread popularity.

Understanding Skip Trowel Texture

skip trowel

Skip trowel texture is a distinctive and artistic drywall finishing technique that has been in use since the days of lath and plaster. It adds an elegant and modern feel to any room where it is applied, making it a popular choice for homeowners and designers alike.

This texture is created by applying thin layers of joint compound to the drywall. The compound is then skimmed with a trowel, resulting in a smooth and uniform finish. However, the application of the texture isn’t entirely uniform.

Thin composites are applied to random arches throughout the wall or ceiling, which contributes to the unique look of the skip trowel texture.

The skip trowel texture serves as a compromise between a smooth finish and heavy texturing, providing a decorative appeal to walls and ceilings. It is considered a versatile hand-applied drywall texture, with its specific characteristics varying depending on the region of the country.

In terms of cost, applying skip trowel texture to a 500-square-foot surface can range from $630 to $1,000. This equates to a cost of $1.25 to $2.00 per square foot.

As such, skip trowel texture is not only a cost-effective way to add visual interest to a room but also a means to cover any imperfections on the wall or ceiling surfaces.

The Evolution of Wall Textures

The world of interior design has seen a plethora of wall textures over the years, each with its own unique characteristics and aesthetic appeal.

In the late 19th to early 20th centuries, lath and plaster were commonly used for wall finishes. However, this process was labor-intensive and time-consuming. By the mid-20th century, drywall became the go-to material for wall construction.

With the advent of drywall came various texturing techniques. Popcorn texture, also known as acoustic ceiling texture, was popular in the mid-20th century for its ability to dampen noise across rooms. However, it fell out of favor due to its dated look and the potential health risks associated with the asbestos often used in its application.

Following the popcorn texture era, orange peel texture gained popularity. Named for its resemblance to the skin of an orange, this texture provided a subtle but appealing aesthetic without the chunkiness of the popcorn texture.

Knockdown texture then came into play, offering a more sophisticated and modern look compared to its predecessors. It’s similar to orange peel but with a more flattened appearance.

Skip trowel texture, which we’re focusing on, has been a popular choice for many years. It offers a balance between smooth and heavily textured finishes, making it a versatile option that can fit into various design styles.

In recent years, smooth wall finish has been trending. This finish provides a sleek and modern look, perfect for contemporary and minimalist designs.

Pros and Cons of Skip Trowel Texture

Skip trowel texture, like all wall textures, has its advantages and downsides. Here’s a look at both sides:

Advantages of Skip Trowel Texture:

  1. Hiding Imperfections: One of the most significant advantages of skip trowel texture is its ability to hide imperfections on the wall or ceiling surfaces. It can cover up minor cracks, blemishes, and uneven areas effectively, making it an excellent choice for older homes or walls that have seen better days.
  2. Unique Aesthetic Appeal: Skip trowel texture offers a unique aesthetic that adds visual interest and an artistic flair to any room. It provides a handcrafted look that can be more visually appealing than a flat, smooth surface.
  3. Versatility: This texture is versatile and can blend well with various interior design styles. Whether you’re going for a rustic, traditional look or a modern, contemporary vibe, skip trowel texture can fit right in.
  4. Efficiency: Unlike a smooth wall finish, skip trowel texture can be applied as the third coat over taped drywall, which means the second coat doesn’t have to thoroughly dry, saving time in the process.

Disadvantages of Skip Trowel Texture:

  1. Application Difficulty: Applying skip trowel texture requires skill and experience. It can be challenging to achieve a consistent look across the entire surface, and it might take some practice to master the technique.
  2. Cleaning and Maintenance: The textured surface can collect dust and grime over time, making it harder to clean than smooth surfaces. It also might require more frequent touch-ups and maintenance to keep it looking its best.
  3. Updating or Changing: If you decide to change your wall texture or paint color in the future, it can be more difficult and time-consuming to alter a skip trowel texture compared to a smooth wall.

Current Trends in Wall Textures

Based on the search results, it seems that textured walls continue to be a popular trend in interior design. The focus is on adding depth and warmth to spaces through texture.

One of the trends highlighted is the use of trowel textures, which includes skip trowel texture. This trend suggests that homeowners are increasingly seeking unique designs and finishes for their walls.

Another significant trend is the use of plaster for creating textured walls. This method provides a rustic and organic feel to the walls, which can make a space feel more welcoming and cozy. Plaster also allows for a great deal of customization, as it can be applied in various ways to achieve different effects.

The knockdown texture is also mentioned as a trending wall texture. This texture, similar to skip trowel, offers a rustic and flattened look but is commonly used to hide surface imperfections. It’s a more subtle texture compared to others, making it a versatile choice that can fit into various design styles.

Orange peel texture continues to be a popular choice due to its subtle yet appealing aesthetic. Its application is relatively simple, and it can add a touch of sophistication to any room.

Finally, woven wall textures are also becoming popular. These textures add a three-dimensional element to walls, creating a tactile experience that can make a room feel more dynamic and interesting.

These trends might be preferred over skip trowel texture for various reasons. For instance, plaster, knockdown, and orange peel textures can be easier to apply and maintain than skip trowel texture. Woven wall textures, on the other hand, provide a unique aesthetic that’s hard to achieve with traditional texturing techniques.

Expert Opinions on Skip Trowel Texture

Based on the information available, it’s clear that skip trowel texture continues to be a relevant and popular choice for wall and ceiling finishes among professionals in the field.

Several professional painters and contractors, as discussed on the Professional Painting Contractors Forum, appreciate the random style of skip trowel texture for its ability to effectively hide wall imperfections.

Another expert, in a discussion on JLC-Online Forums, mentioned that plasterers often use stainless flat trowels to create this texture, indicating its continued use in the industry.

One concern raised by a contractor on ContractorTalk was about the potential for cracks to reappear after applying a medium to heavy skip trowel texture. This highlights the importance of proper surface preparation and technique when applying this texture.

On Reddit’s r/drywall forum, one user suggested using skip trowel to cover a complex custom texture, further underlining its versatility and usefulness in a variety of situations. However, another user on the same forum argued that textures like skip trowel are often used to cover up improper finishing. This suggests that while effective, skip trowel texture may not always be the first choice for those seeking a perfectly smooth finish.

Cost-wise, according to Angi, skip trowel texture application can range from $1.25 to $1.80 per square foot, which might influence its use depending on budget constraints.


Based on the information provided, it’s clear that skip trowel texture remains a popular choice for wall and ceiling finishes. This texture has been around since the old lath and plaster days and continues to be used in both residential and commercial buildings.

Skip trowel texture not only provides an elegant and modern look but also adds a unique finish to interior walls. It is applied using a special curved knife and is versatile enough to be used in various design styles.

Despite its continued use, some might still consider skip trowel texture as outdated due to newer wall texture trends. However, it’s important to remember that the ‘right’ wall texture largely depends on personal preference, the style of the home, and practical considerations such as ease of application and maintenance.

For homeowners considering wall textures for their homes, it’s advisable to research different types of textures and consider factors like the overall design of the home, the room’s purpose, and the amount of light it receives. It might also be helpful to consult with a professional decorator or contractor to make the best decision.

In conclusion, while trends in wall textures may come and go, the relevance of skip trowel texture seems to endure due to its aesthetic appeal and practical benefits.