Smoothing Textured Walls with Skim Coat

Smoothing Textured Walls with Skim Coat

Paint jobs don’t always turn out as perfect as we want them to but don’t fret. That’s where skim coat comes in.

What is a skim coat?

When you have a wall that is cracked or damaged, you use a skim coat over it. A skim coat is a thin coat of joint compound that is used to repair or smooth uneven walls. Skim coating is a texturing technique used to make a wall smooth. This technique is used to hide an imperfect taping job, to give the wall a plaster-like appearance and basically in situations when you need a perfectly smooth surface. 

A skim coat is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to make walls and ceilings as good as new after repairs or damage. It should also be considered when working on remodeling projects or any project where new drywall is being installed, especially on smoothed finished walls and ceilings in high traffic areas where the light will rake across the surface.


How to apply a skim coat

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you with your skin coating project:

1. Prepare your wall for skim coating.

As with any paint project, prep work is key to ensure that no bubbling develops when you’re done. 

  • Use a degreaser to was painted surfaces that are covered or stained with an oily film.
  • Use medium sandpaper to sand shiny surfaces to scuff them a bit. 
  • For water-stained surfaces, repair them with primer-sealer before skim coating.
  • If the paint is peeling, remove loose material, wipe away dust, then coat with primer-sealer. 

2. Mix the compound.

  • Using a mud pan, mix small amounts of mud at a time. Use a 2:1 ratio of powdered compound to cool water. Start with about a cup of water so you can use the mud before it sets.
  • Add about ½ cup of water and mix the mud until it is thick enough to stick to a joint knife when held upside down.
  • Collect the wet mud on one side of the pan, scooping it up with a knife and scraping it onto the rim. This helps keep it under control and from spreading it into unwanted areas and creating a mess.
  • Transfer the mud to your work surface by taking a portion from the rim of the pan, then spread it back and forth as if buttering a piece of toast.

3. Apply the first coat.

  • Apply a ⅛ to ¼ inch thick coat of mud by holding your knife at about a 30° angle.
  • Cover the whole area to be skimmed and let the mud overlap onto the surrounding work surface.
  • Immediately go back and skim the excess from the surface. 
  • Between each stroke, scrape excess mud from the knife back onto the rim of the pan to keep the blade clean.

4. Apply the second coat.

  • When the mud sets, scrape off any ridges with your knife in upward strokes, then lightly sand. Vacuum dust and lightly wipe the area with a damp cloth before applying your second coat.
  • To apply the second coat, use the same buttering and skimming technique used in the first, but this time, remove the mud by stroking in a perpendicular direction. This levels the surface by filling any ripples and other irregularities in the first.
  • Let the mud set and dry completely.
  • Apply as many subsequent skim coats needed to build a smooth finish.

5. Sand the final coat.

  • Once you’ve built up a fairly smooth surface, allow the final coat to set and dry completely. 
  • Sand with light pressure, using wide arching strokes to remove any small bumps and ridges over the surface. 
  • Feather the edges of the mud so it blends smoothly.
  • Use a sanding pole to sand a whole wall working from the ceiling down to the floor and across to the next corner. 
  • Use a sanding pole for ceilings, working along one wall and then out toward the other side of the room.
  • Vacuum up dust then wipe lightly with a damp cloth to remove any residue before priming or painting.


Island Paints’ Island Super Kinis Skim Coat

A fast-setting, cement-based compound, Island Super Kinis Skim Coat provides a smooth finish to interior & exterior concrete surfaces.

Read more Para Sure reads and tips on house makeovers and home maintenance, only from Island Premium Paints. Para Sure!


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