This story shows how to smooth textured wall and ceiling surfaces.
There was a time when textured surfaces were all the rage. Contractors loved them because they covered flaws in drywall work. Homeowners liked the added textural interest they provided to the design scheme. But textured surfaces have one major drawback -- they collect a lot more dirt and are more difficult to clean than smooth walls.
If you have a textured wall or ceiling and you want to smooth it, there are several options. You can sand the surface completely smooth (which produces a tremendous amount of dust), you can sand off high spots and skim-coat the wall with drywall compound (still dusty and labor intensive), you can wet and scrape the surface (time-consuming and risks damaging the drywall), or you can install thin drywall over the old (a little more expensive but the most practical in the long run). If you choose any sanding method, rent a drywall sander. It comes with a vacuum that reduces the dust.
Vacuum dust from the wall and spot prime any damaged areas with two coats of an oil-base primer. Let the primer dry. Thin premixed joint compound with water to the consistency of mayonnaise and apply it in sections, finishing each with overlapping vertical strokes. Lightly sand when dry.