Removing texture from painted walls

All the walls and ceilings in my 55-year old tract house were finished with texture paint, giving them a finish like very coarse, dull sandpaper. I never liked the look, it looks like it's made to cover up sloppy work, it holds dust, and there's no matching the texture when nail holes and the like are mudded over. I'm a do-it-yourselfer, using drywall mud to skim a smooth surface over them, and I'm pretty bad with the stuff - it was a major chore when I did the living room some years back, but I may be getting a handle on it now. Here's my basic M.O: - Lightly hammer in protrusions like popped-out nails, crude patchwork, etc. to slightly below the finish. - Using a wide drywall knife, skim mud in a vertical pattern over the textured wall. Not a lot - let the texture show through, but work in thoroughly. Note the high points of the texture will leave the mud finish full of horizontal ridges. Allow to dry. - Lightly sand high areas of new mudwork. - Apply second skim coat of mud, this time in a horizontal pattern, fully covering the first coat. Allow to dry. - Finish sand. The second coat fills in the ridges of the first coat, and the mud will be just thick enough to allow for sanding down most rough spots with minimal patching. There'll be some vertical ridges in the second coat, but they tend to sand down easily.
This seems to be working well for me (I'm in the process right now, waiting for coats to dry) - if anyone has input on how to do it better I'm anxious to hear it, as I have two more rooms beside this one.
VMacek
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You're doing it just exactly right. About the only other thing would be to use a stiff wide joint knife before you start to knock off as many high spots as possible. I find it easier to use a "concrete trowel" type blade with a hawk. If you haven't used them, the learning curve may be higher than you want.
______________________________ Keep the whole world singing . . . . DanG (remove the sevens) snipped-for-privacy@7cox.net

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Overall your system sounds good. One tip: When we float out large areas as you are doing we mix one drywall pan of water to five gallons of drywall mud with a drill and mixer. This will make the mud real smooth and it goes on much easier.
Have fun,
cm

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Thanks for the tips here. I may try thinning the mud out - amazing how much variability there is between batches.
One more thing I'm finding helpful when sanding is to point a high-wattage light in one corner along the wall at a very low angle. Absolutely every rough spot stands out in sharp relief, impossible to miss.
VMacek
cm wrote:

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On 10 Sep 2006 14:14:42 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

You might want to put in a 1 1/4" drywall screw an inch or so above and below the pop. If you don't the same pop will often come back to haunt you.
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