Home-How » Knock-Down Ceiling Vs. Smooth Ceilings: Which is Better?

Knock-Down Ceiling Vs. Smooth Ceilings: Which is Better?

Knock-Down ceiling vs. Smooth ceiling, what is the difference, and is one better than the other for your home interior? These are questions that have plagued several others like you who have had issues choosing between these two ceiling types.

In this article we help you understand the differences between these two ceiling types, and by the end you’d be able to make a choice on which of these two will transcend your space, delivering the results you desire.

Knock-Down Ceiling

What are knock-down ceilings, you ask? Well, knock-down refers to a texture with close similarities to skip trowel and popcorn textures. It is a modern drywall texture type; and although its texture is quite similar to others previously mentioned, the knock-down texture has certain features that differentiate it from others.

For one, the knock-down texture spots a hardened appearance with rough patches on its surface. These patches are not as defined as the ones on the other textured types as it has a lighter appearance.

Additionally, achieving this texture involves spraying the top of the ceiling with layers of joint compound used for the texturing using a texture sprayer is mandatory. The mixture to be used for the ceiling mix is made thinner than usual. This is to prevent the mixture from solidifying before you can complete the entire application on your ceiling.

As the applied compound begins to harden, it starts dripping a little, creating little icicle-like structures known as stalactites which can vary in size.

These stalactites should be scraped using a drywall knife, leaving a flat textured surface on your ceiling. You should not lose the original surface of the top in this process; the new texture only surrounds it from raking the stalactites.

This ceiling type is known for its ability to cover imperfections in the ceiling, reduce noise outside the room through its rough patches and afford the room a warm cozy outlook. However, you’d find that they are quite difficult to repair and attract dirt easily, and might.

Smooth Ceiling

Smooth Ceilings

The smooth ceiling also referred to as flat textured due to its features, is one that blends effortlessly and leaves a smooth finish. Although quite difficult to perfect, with years of experience and practice, achieving a smooth ceiling or a simple flat paint finish is possible.

Additionally, contrary to popular belief, these ceiling textures are quite expensive, this is because they require more work to achieve the flat surface they deliver which delivers a modern and spacious outlook to rooms.

To create a flawless finish, you have to spread at least 3-5 layers of the joint compound and lay it flat as you smoothen each layer one after the other as you hope to get the flat ceiling look you desire.

Furthermore, paying attention to the texture of the mixture is a must. If it is too thick, you may not need to apply as many layers; if it is too thin, you may need more. Either way, this can make your ceiling look uneven, removing the desired effect.

After spraying a joint compound, you can use a skim coat or drywall mud to seal the drywall seams to ensure a flattened surface. You can do so by utilizing a drywall knife, especially if you are not a professional.

You’d find that these ceilings offer every room they feature in a modern outlook, making it appear larger and repel dirt. However, they are not without their drawbacks, which include a lack of soundproofing features and the inability to hide imperfections.

Which is the Better of the Two, Knock-Down Ceiling Vs. Smooth Ceiling?

Which is the Better of the Two, Knock-Down Ceiling Vs. Smooth Ceiling?
Image Credit: armstrongceilings

To make an informed decision on which type of ceiling you would rather have in your room, knowing the difference between these ceilings is a must. Thankfully, in this section, we expound on this

1. The Ambiance

When placed in the same apartment, the ambiance provided by both ceiling types is a huge difference and determinant in selecting what type you should opt for. For one, the textured ceiling offers a subtle depth to a room, making it appear smaller and cozier. In contrast, a smooth ceiling gives the illusion of a larger space and a higher ceiling.

It will not be wise to use a knock-down texture for a small room because you may feel claustrophobic. Smooth ceilings will work better for spaces like these.

2. Coverage

If you have imperfections like cracks or dents, you may want to opt for a ceiling type that covers these issues. To this end, the knock-down ceiling will work better because the texture will help to cover up the blemishes making it the right fit for your room.

The smooth ceiling, on the other hand, exposes all the repairs you have missed in your ceiling because of the smooth texture.

3. Soundproofing

The textured ceiling is the best bet if you desire to limit the sound you can hear while inside your room. While it is nowhere as efficient as actual soundproofing, it has proven to hold better than a smooth ceiling.

This results from the increased surface area provided by the extra texture the knock-down ceiling offers.

4. Repairs

Suppose a part of the ceiling is damaged; repairing may not be as easy as you would like if it is a knock-down ceiling. It will entail replacement which will require trying to blend and fit a new texture with the existing texture without disrupting the original aesthetics of the ceiling.

It will take a skilled contractor to blend the new texture with the existing one perfectly because it will need scraping and sanding before you can replace it. On the other hand, repairing a smooth ceiling is much easier.

The part of the damaged smooth ceiling only needs to be cut out for a new one to be fixed to fit the area using a joint compound to hold it in place.

In addition, older textured ceilings may have asbestos, making it harder to repair if there are any damages. Since the smooth ceilings are flat, it is easier to fix.

5. Maintenance


Smooth ceilings are easy to maintain because they do not have any bumps. In a case where dust or dirt gathers, a simple feather brush is enough to control it. However, knock-down ceilings are more likely to gather dust, which is not very easy to clean off.

The texture around the knock-down ceiling makes it easy for dust to settle and when cleaning, force applied will cause the parts of it to fall off and disrupt the aesthetics.

6. Application Process

​​​​​ When installing any of these ceilings, you should consider the necessary preparation and effort required to pull this off. This helps you figure out if you need to hire a contractor to help with the installation.

The preparation for applying the knock-down ceiling is not as strenuous as the process for the smooth ceiling. Preparation for both ceilings involves cleaning and priming the surface before application begins.

The primer is a dry mix mixed with water and applied on the surface to get the desired texture. Let the primer dry off before application, primarily if you use more than one coat. The coat should be thin, so the weight does not pull the coat off the ceiling.

For a knock-down ceiling, you can begin application once the primer is dry, but for a smooth surface, you need to follow an inevitable process to ensure you get the desired result. First, you should fill any cracks or holes using a filler.

Note that fillers tend to shrink, so you should apply more so it can even out with the shrinkage. When it is dry, the surface should be well sanded, after which you use a base coat to cover the repairs you have done.

Once this coat dries, you will apply a thin skim coat which serves as a plaster for the ceiling. You can then paint the ceiling however you like as long as it gives off that smooth feel.

7. Trend

Many people would rather opt for the smooth ceiling these days because it tends to fit into the modern aesthetics of décor in recent times labeling the more textured option as an outdated kind.

However, other people prefer what seems to be the outdated trend of ceilings not for any other reason but their preference.

8. Cost

When observing the cost of the knock-down ceiling and the smooth ceiling, it is best to account for the full process of installing any one of these ceilings will entail. This includes the cost of labor and maintenance.

For an average ceiling size, the cost of the knock-down ceiling will be around $500-$1250 while the smooth ceiling will be an average of $450-$1090.

At the installation stage, the smooth ceiling is costlier than the knock-down because of all the preparatory materials that are needed to do a clean job while the knock-down requires only the application spray.

It is the difference in the cost of maintenance that makes the knock-down ceiling slightly higher than the smooth one.

The cost of the knock-down spray is only $0.26 per square foot and installing it on a space of about 500 square feet will cost $875. Many find that at the end of the day, they spend almost $1250 to install, clean, and maintain the knock-down ceiling.

Installing a smooth ceiling on a 500 square feet space is different. For installation, you need Paint and primer which costs about $140-$380, additional painting supplies for $30, and labor costs which are around $280-$680.

This brings the total cost to $450-$1090 which is essential for installation. Since the smooth ceiling does not require a lot of maintenance, it is not as costly as the knock-down ceiling in the long run.

Final Thoughts

Choosing what ceiling to use for your home interior comes down to what works best for you. The knock-down ceiling and the smooth ceiling are both valid options, and with the information above, you can pick the suitable option for your home interior.

Let us know your thoughts on choosing knock-down ceilings or smooth ceilings.

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