drywall finishes

The Best Trends and Techniques in Drywall Finishes

Drywall may not be the most visible construction component in a building, but it’s an important one all the same. With something as critical as drywall, there are going to be different trends and techniques that take hold, driving interest, and new construction across the board. These can range from certain types of drywall finishes getting more popular, to changes in drywall texture preferences.

As a drywall contractor, it’s important that you not only know how to finish drywall but the different ways customers want you to do so. Keeping an eye on the latest trends will help keep your business versatile and customers happy. Let’s take a closer look.

Trends For Drywall Finishes 

Growing Popularity For Level 5 Drywall Finishes

Even with textured walls invisible settings, level 5 drywall was originally intended only for very specific situations, such as areas where:

  • -Severe lighting is present
  • -Gloss paints are used
  • -Enamel paints are used
  • -Non-textured flat paints are used

However, usage is starting to grow and grow to many other settings where drywall is visible, but conditions aren’t that extreme. Potential reasons include price making things more accessible, as well as building managers trying to future-proof their drywall by getting the best finish possible at the time. To give you a refresher, here are the steps that go into making a level 5 drywall finish:

  • -A thin layer of joint compound residue is left on the joints and interior angles
  • -Another coat of compound is then applied
  • -Fastener heads/other accessories will have three separate coats of compound
  • -Another coat of compound will be applied to interior angles.
  • -A drywall primer is generally put on before the last finish
  • -A final skim coat of compound is applied. This last compound is specifically to conceal small imperfections and create a flat drywall texture

Budgeting with Popcorn Wall Texture

On the other end of the spectrum, we have popcorn walls, which are also experiencing a resurgence in popularity from their origins in the 1970s. There is a combination of reasons that more and more homeowners are going back to this classic. For one, the texture, by nature, makes it easy to hide imperfections in the wall, compared to some of the flatter options out there. In addition, it can help absorb sounds between floors and walls. This makes it an appealing option for a duplex or townhome, where you may have multiple households living in relatively close proximity. Also, after you dry, you can use any paint color you wish.

However, one larger draw is the ability to DIY the application of the texture. As a contractor, you need to be mindful of this. There are many people who simply buy the texture and rent an air compressor/hopper gun to do the job themselves. However, there are a number of ways this can go wrong. People may fail to prime the wall/ceiling first, or accidentally spray items that they shouldn’t. As a result, drywall contractors should be expecting as many clients asking to rehab their DIY popcorn textures as they do starting one from scratch.

drywall finishes
Photo By Zakhar Mar

Switching From Textured To Smooth

Choosing a drywall texture is largely function vs. form. People who have brought older homes will likely stick with the historical textured walls unless they want to do a full-scale renovation. Those who want to stay on a budget may opt for cheaper textured options, like the popcorn walls we just talked about, or the equally common orange peel. However, those who are mainly focused on aesthetics and trends will try to get a smoother wall. As a matter of fact, in one survey, as many as 85% of homeowners expressed a preference for smooth drywall/ceilings.

As a result, contractors need to be ready to take questions from clients who are looking to find an effective way to transform their existing walls to a smoother finish with as little hassle as possible. This also means you may need to be ready to provide a little extra education on the different types of finishes, and how smooth they can help make a wall. 

Shiplap Over Drywall

When it comes to making old ideas new again, perhaps nothing fits the bill quite like shiplap. This is an extremely old construction method where boards were attached directly to the studs on the wall, giving a bit of a nautical aesthetic. Of course, that was generally wiped out with the advent of drywall, but now, people who like the visual look are opting for a modern take. Here, the shiplap boards are put over drywall, rather than replacing it completely. On top of some added protection and insulation, using this option lets you leave a little gap behind the boards if you don’t make use of the inherent tongue and groove connection. Shiplap may not be the most common option you see, but it is worth learning how to use it. There are also other more avant-garde types of textures that you may see more interest in lately, like sand swirl or slap brush textures. These use different compounds and brushing styles to give distinct, striking looks.

drywall finishes
Photo By bombermoon

Another trend that’s going on in the industry, along with new drywall finishes for ceilings and drywall finish levels, is adapting more technology in the business. There are a lot of applications for this, especially project management software. This asset could help you figure out the true cost and profit margin for integrating drywall finishing alternatives or trending drywall finishes for walls into your business. 

However, when using these assets, you want to have the best project management software available, and that means using eSUB. eSUB can help you in a variety of different ways, from comparing your bids to your actuals to having cloud-based storage for all your essential financial information. Take your drywall business to the next level with our help.