Over time, the walls in a house see some major wear and tear. They get repainted, wallpapered, stripped, hammered, and scraped. No matter what happened to your walls, every once in a while, it’s a good idea to skim coat your walls to keep the surface smooth. In this article, you’ll learn more about what skim coating is and discover how to skim coat walls.

What is Skim Coating?

Skim coating a wall is a process in which one smooths out damaged drywall making the overall wall better. Skim coating a wall yourself is relatively easy to do and significantly cheaper than paying someone else to do it. Skim coating walls is different than just painting walls, but you will use some of the same tools, like a paint roller for instance. Below are some tips on how to repair drywall and skim coat a wall quickly and efficiently.

Preparation for Skim Coating Walls

Depending on the amount of space you wish to have skim coated, paying a professional can cost up to several thousand dollars. But, if you do it yourself you can reduce the cost to a couple hundred dollars. Here’s a list of materials you’ll need as well as price estimates. Please note that some people also use other items, like a special squeegee for example.

  • Plastic Drop Cloth – $8.00
  • Painters tape – $7.00
  • Disposable Respirator – $12.00
  • Gloves – $5.00
  • Shoe Covers – $5.00
  • Joint Compound – $15.00
  • Paint Tray – $3.00
  • Paint Roller Cover – $10.00
  • Paint Roller Handle – $10.00
  • Putty Knife – $10.00
  • Trowel – $5.00
  • Spray Bottle – $3.00
  • Fine Sanding Pad – $6.00
  • Microfiber Cloth – $10.00
  • Drill – $100.00
  • Drill Mixing Attachment – $12.00

Before you learn how to skim coat your walls, you need to first prepare the wall. The best way to do this is to use a primer to quickly seal the wall from further damage. It’s important not to merely spot prime but do the whole wall. Part of the reason you skim coat is to give the whole wall a nice, even finish. In order to do that, the whole wall should be properly primed before you apply the first coat. Also, don’t forget to lay down a plastic floor cover to protect your floors from the primer as well as the skim coat materials. You may also want to tape off around the ceiling so you don’t get material stuck to it.

In addition to preparing the wall, you’re going to have to prepare the joint compound material that you’ll be using to skim coat with. Usually, when you buy a bucket of joint compound, it’s too thick to use for skim coating walls. Mixing in some water into the setting compound using a drill and a mixing attachment should do just the trick. Many recommend that you divide the joint compound into two separate buckets to make the job of mixing easier on your drill.

How To Skim Coat Your Walls

Now that your wall, room, and joint compound are prepped and ready to go it’s time to skim coat.

1. Use the roller and roller cover to apply a good layer of joint compound to the wall.

You’ll want to roll no more than ⅛ inch of compound on the wall. Make sure to only work with smaller segments of the wall. Don’t work on a section of wall any larger than 4 feet by 4 feet or you’ll run the risk of the joint compound drying up before you finish the repair. Try to coat the wall evenly but don’t worry too much whether or not you get it perfect the first time.

2. Use the trowel to wipe the area smooth

This might require a few passes to get a uniform coating on the wall segment. Take your time to repair drywall. It’s not a race

3. Repeat steps one and two once or twice until perfect uniformity has been achieved

Use water and the spray bottle if a section is starting to dry and you need to moisten it up some. The sanding pad can be used to smooth out the final areas that you just can’t get perfect using the trowel on the first coat. After everything is done, go over the wall with a microfiber towel to assure that you have removed every last piece of dust.

Conclusion: It’s Not Difficult to Skim Coat Walls

Although it may take a while to get used to, skim coating isn’t that difficult. With proper preparation, you can avoid damaging the room with all the mess and save a lot of money by doing it yourself. Try it out and enjoy the improvements you’ve made to your own walls.

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