Types of Wall Finishes: Interior and Exterior Design

Civil Engicon Team
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Update: March 30, 2024
Wall finishes transform walls from blank canvases to vibrant expressions. More than just decoration, these materials and treatments shield your walls, enhance their function, and ultimately define a space's character. From smooth paint to textured plaster or gleaming tile, wall finishes are the artistry that brings your interior (or exterior) vision to life.

What is Wall Finishes?

Wall finishes are the final coating or final layer of material which is applied to cover the surface of the wall. The wall finishing can enhances the look of the wall and feel of the space. There are many types of wall finishes and each having its own particular aesthetically appearance and benefits. The final wall coating is selected based on desired aesthetic and functionality of the space. The final coating also acts as the protective layer to the wall.

Why Do We Required Wall Finishes?

Wall finishes are the final touch that transforms your walls from useful to beautiful. Wall finishing can protect walls from scratches, water damage and dents. Wall finishes can reflect a tone of your room.

Types of Wall Finishes PDF- Interior and Exterior Design

Types of wall finishes for modern homes are textured wall finishes, tile wall finishes, cladding finishes, laminate wall finish, mirror wall finish, wood paneling wall finish, marble powder wall finish, wallpaper finish, 3D wall painting and finishes. Read the complete post to know in detail.

Types of Wall Finishes For Your New Home

Types of Wall Finishes for Interior and Exterior Design

The following wall finishes are popular among the people. Each type of finishes having its own look, feel and benefits, select what is your requirements and what suits visually to you and other persons who are going to live in with considering the budget of the project.

1. Textured Wall Finishes

Textured wall finishes are the most common type of wall finish. It gives a minimal look to the wall with the variety of design and textures. The types of finishes provided by plasters are smooth cast finish, roughcast finish, sand faced finish and scraped finish. It can be achieved using a variety of materials such as plaster, stucco or paint. 

Types of Wall Finishes For Your Modern Home- Textured Wall Finishes
The textured paints are the most popular option applied to the wall surface for creating a dramatic look. There are many wall paint textures available, you can choose as per your desire and requirements.

2. Tile Wall Finishes

The tile wall finishes are one of the easiest and popular finishing type with unlimited design. Mainly it is used in kitchen and bathrooms but now a days it is used in exterior design, living room and some special walls. Verities of tiles finishes are matte finish, glossy finish, unglazed finish and glazed finish, textured finish. The wall tiles specifications are different from the floor tiles.

Tile Wall Finishes

3. Cladding Wall Finish

Cladding is a different wall finishing that involves installing an external layer or cover to the walls. This type of wall finish is commonly used for unique aesthetic purpose. Cladding is made from brick, stone, wood, metal, and some other composite materials for walls. It can improve the energy efficiency of a building by providing additional insulation.

Types of Wall Finishes For Your New Home- Cladding Wall Finishes

4. Laminate Wall Finishes

The laminate wall finishes are popular for corporate buildings but it can also be installed in residential buildings. Laminates have greater aesthetic appeal in terms of styles and patterns and it is also expansive. This finishes are durable, easy to maintain and can be used is verity of spaces. 

Laminate Wall Finishes - Types of Wall Finishes For Your New Home

5. Wallpaper Finish

Wallpaper is a decorative vinyl material comes in various colours, patterns and texture. It is used to cover the wall and also enhance the overall look of the wall. It is a cost-effective and convenient material which is used from old days.

Types of Wall Finishes-Wallpaper Wall Finishes

6. Mirror Wall Finish

Mirror wall finish refers to the installation of mirror panels on the wall surface. It can create the illusion of a larger space, also makes spaces look bright and luxurious at the same time. There are several variants to choose from- frosted, satin glass  (also known as privacy glass), translucent, patterned glass, tinted glass, reflective glass among others etc.

Mirror Wall Finish-Types of Wall Finishes For Your New Home

7. Wood Paneling Wall Finish

The woodwork is the evergreen mural finish that has not been out of date for decades. The fact that there are so many types of wood to explore in relation to their flexible versatility prevents people from getting tired of them. Wood is still a significant building material for contemporary and traditional design.

Wood Paneling Wall Finish

8. Marble Powder Wall Finish

The marble powder wall finish is extremely luxurious, smooth and beautiful. It looks like a marble floor covering and is made by mixing marble powder mortar, white cement and water.

9. 3D Wall Painting Finishes

Artistic touches can be added to dull walls with 3D wall paintings. 3D paintings not only decorate the wall but also stylize it, with visually captivating designs. Also, you have the option to pick a design that tells your story, a family portrait, or a special moment painted on your walls.

3D Wall Finish - 3D Wall Painting

What are the Wall Finishes Materials?

Wall finishes are a crucial aspect of interior and exterior design, offering a plethora of options to enhance the aesthetics, functionality, and durability of a space. Whether you're aiming for a classic, contemporary, or eclectic look, choosing the right wall finish material depends on factors such as design preferences, project requirements, budget, and maintenance considerations. Each material offers its unique benefits, allowing you to create a customized and visually stunning space tailored to your needs and style preferences.

List of Wall Finishes Materials with Specifications

Paint: Paint is versatile and timeless, it remains a top choice for wall finishes. It comes in various types such as latex, oil-based, and acrylic, offering a wide range of colors, finishes (e.g., matte, satin, gloss), and textures to suit any design scheme.
Wallpaper: Wallpaper adds character and personality to walls with its diverse patterns, textures, and designs. It offers endless possibilities for customization and can be used to create focal points or accent walls in a space.
Wall Tiles: Durable and easy to maintain, wall tiles are ideal for areas prone to moisture, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and backsplashes. Available in materials like ceramic, porcelain, glass, and natural stone, they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and textures.
Wall Panels: Prefabricated wall panels provide an easy way to add texture, warmth, and visual interest to walls. Made from materials such as wood, plastic, metal, or composite materials, they come in different styles and designs to complement various interior aesthetics.
Textured Finishes: Textured finishes like stucco, plaster, or textured paint add depth and dimension to walls while concealing imperfections. They offer tactile texture and visual interest, making them popular choices for both interior and exterior applications.
Natural Stone or Brick: For a rustic and timeless look, natural stone (e.g., limestone, slate, granite) and brick finishes are unbeatable. They bring warmth and character to interior and exterior walls and are suitable for a range of design styles.
Wall Cladding: Wall cladding materials like wood, metal, composite materials, and stone veneers offer both protection and decoration for walls. They enhance insulation, weather resistance, and aesthetic appeal, making them ideal for both residential and commercial spaces.
Wall Murals: Wall murals serve as statement pieces, transforming ordinary walls into works of art. They can be custom-designed or pre-made, adding personality and visual impact to any space.
Stone Veneer:  For a luxurious and natural look, stone veneer offers the beauty of stone like granite or marble in a thinner, more affordable format.
Wood Paneling: Wood paneling adds warmth, texture, and a touch of rustic charm to a space. It's available in various wood types, stains, and finishes.
Laminates: Laminates provide a budget-friendly alternative to wood or stone with a similar look and feel. They're easy to maintain and come in a wide variety of styles.
Plaster and Stucco: These traditional materials can be used to create smooth finishes or add decorative textures to walls. They're a popular choice for achieving a classic or Mediterranean look.

What are the Wall Finishes Specifications?

Wall finishes specifications outline the requirements and standards for the materials and application processes used to achieve desired wall finishes in construction projects. These specifications ensure consistency, quality, and compliance with design plans and regulatory requirements.

Wall Finishes Specifications:

Material Selection: This specifies the type of material (paint, wallpaper, tile, etc.) along with its composition, quality standards, color, texture, and size.
Surface Prep: Proper surface preparation is crucial. Specifications outline procedures like cleaning, patching, sanding, priming, or sealing to ensure a smooth and adherent base for the finish.
Application Methods: Detailed instructions for applying the chosen finish are provided. This includes mixing ratios for paint, application techniques for wallpaper or tiles, and installation methods for panels. Factors like drying times and environmental conditions are also considered.
Quality Assurance: Specifications define the expected performance of the finished walls. This covers aspects like durability, resistance to abrasion, moisture, and fire, ensuring they meet functional requirements for the space.
Going Green: Eco-friendly considerations may be included, specifying low-VOC materials to minimize environmental impact and promote healthy indoor air quality.
Maintaining the Magic: Recommendations for cleaning and maintaining the wall finishes are provided to preserve their beauty and lifespan. This could include routine cleaning instructions, stain removal methods, and repair procedures.
Safety First: Specifications may address safety requirements for handling and applying materials, outlining proper ventilation, necessary protective equipment, and compliance with health and safety regulations.
Standards & Testing: To ensure performance and safety, specifications may require adherence to industry standards and regulations. This might involve testing and certification of materials used.

Exterior Wall Finishes

Exterior wall finishes are mainly for protecting buildings from weather elements while enhancing their aesthetic appeal.

Factors to choose right exterior wall finish-
  • Climate: Consider your local weather conditions and choose a material that can withstand them.
  • Style: Opt for a finish that complements your home's architectural style.
  • Budget: Materials like brick or stone veneer may be more expensive than vinyl siding.
  • Maintenance: Consider how much time and effort you're willing to invest in maintaining the finish.

Common Exterior Wall Finishes

Stucco: A durable and weather-resistant material made from cement, sand, lime, and water. It can be textured or smooth and is commonly used in Mediterranean, Spanish, and Southwestern-style homes.
Brick: A timeless and durable option offering excellent thermal insulation and weather resistance. Bricks come in various colors, textures, and sizes, providing flexibility in design.
Stone Veneer: Offers the look of natural stone at a fraction of the cost and weight. It's lightweight, easy to install, and provides excellent durability and weather resistance.
Wood Siding: Provides a warm, natural look and is available in various styles such as clapboard, shingles, and board-and-batten. Requires regular maintenance to prevent rot and decay.
Vinyl Siding: Low-maintenance and cost-effective option available in a wide range of colors and styles. It's durable, resistant to rot and insects, and easy to clean.
Fiber Cement Siding: Made from a mixture of cement, sand, and cellulose fibers, it mimics the look of wood or stucco. It's durable, fire-resistant, and requires minimal maintenance.
Metal Cladding: Offers a modern and sleek aesthetic with options like aluminum, steel, or zinc panels. It's lightweight, durable, and resistant to fire, rot, and insects.
EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish System): A lightweight synthetic wall cladding system that provides insulation and weatherproofing. It's available in various textures and colors and offers excellent energy efficiency.
Cedar Shingles or Shakes: Provides a rustic and natural look, offering excellent insulation and weather resistance. Requires regular maintenance to prevent rot and weathering.
Concrete Panels: Prefabricated concrete panels offer durability, weather resistance, and versatility in design. They can be textured, painted, or finished with decorative treatments.

Interior Wall Finishes

Wall finishes for interiors play a crucial role in defining the ambiance, aesthetics, and functionality of a space.

Common Interior Wall Finishes

Paint: Perhaps the most versatile and widely used interior wall finish, paint comes in an extensive range of colors, finishes (e.g., matte, satin, gloss), and textures. It allows for customization and can be easily applied to various surfaces, including drywall, plaster, and wood.
Wallpaper: Wallpaper offers endless possibilities for adding texture, pattern, and visual interest to interior walls. It comes in a variety of materials, including vinyl, fabric, and grasscloth, and can be used to create focal points or accent walls in a space.
Wall Tiles: Wall tiles are commonly used in areas prone to moisture, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. They come in materials like ceramic, porcelain, glass, and natural stone, offering durability, easy maintenance, and a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes.
Textured Finishes: Textured finishes, such as stucco, plaster, or textured paint, add depth, dimension, and tactile texture to interior walls. They can help conceal imperfections and create visual interest, enhancing the overall look and feel of a space.
Wood Paneling: Wood paneling adds warmth, richness, and texture to interior walls, making it a popular choice for traditional, rustic, and contemporary design styles. It comes in various wood types, stains, and finishes, allowing for customization to suit different preferences.
Wall Panels: Prefabricated wall panels made from materials like wood, plastic, metal, or composite materials offer an easy way to add texture, depth, and visual interest to interior walls. They come in different styles, designs, and finishes to complement various design aesthetics.
Wall Murals: Wall murals serve as statement pieces, transforming ordinary walls into works of art. They can be custom-designed or pre-made, adding personality, color, and visual impact to interior spaces.
Fabric Wall Coverings: Fabric wall coverings provide texture, warmth, and acoustic benefits to interior walls. They come in a variety of fabrics, patterns, and colors, offering versatility and customization options for creating unique interior spaces.

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