How To Skim Coat a Wall: Full Guide

by Erik Johansson
How To Skim Coat A Wall

Has it been quite some time since you got your walls painted? Then, it is quite evident that your walls may have developed shallow gouges or reveal chipped traces of paint. Similarly, the wall may develop a ripped wall-like surface. However, you have got an easy and quick fix method by which the issue can be sorted out. Do you know what the technique is? The technique is that you would have to skim-coat your walls.

Do you know what skim coating is all about? Skim coating is a process of applying a thin layer of compound that is also known as a drywall joint. This compound is usually a type of mud that is added to the drywall so as to give the wall decor a glossy finish. We also call the process ‘plastering of walls, although you use a drywall joint instead of a plaster.

Let us move on to unveil the more intricate aspects of how you skim-coat drywall in a step-by-step manner.

Knowhow on Skim Coat Application Methods

Generally, there are three methods of application by which you skim coat drywall area.

1. Using a Paint Roller

Here, all you gotta do is, apply the drywall compound over the surface by using a paint roller brush. While you use a roller brush, the compound or the mud wall attaches itself to the texture of the wall quite easily and quickly. Again, the drywall compound gets absorbed into the walls in a hassle-free manner, and the clean-up becomes easy too.

2. By Using a Drywall Knife

Generally speaking, you would require a drywall knife to smoothen out the surfaces of the drywall area. This is especially post the application of the skim coat component. Again, when you have a drywall knife, you need not buy other tools to smoothen out the surfaces of the wall post-skim coating. However, the process can be a slow and laborious one indeed!

3. By Using a Texture Sprayer

Compared to using a paint roller brush or using a drywall knife, the texture sprayer helps you apply the drywall compound in a more intensive manner. You can either get a texture sprayer hired by a renowned painter or an interior wall decorator else get it from someone who has it. Since this is a 3-4 hour job of skim coating your walls, once the whole thing is done, you can return the equipment back.

Discover the Prep-Up Steps

You mainly do the skim coatdrywall to smoothen the ridged-out surfaces of the painted wall decor. Therefore, before you carry out the process thoroughly, you must prepare yourself.

In other words, you must equip yourself with the initial set of processes that help you get into the offing.

1. Priming


Priming the wall is the first and foremost step you will be performing in order to protect your walls. This is because you would want to seal loose layers of wall paint that are present on the walls you aim to cover. Again, priming is done on the portion of the drywall where the skim coating has to be done. Applying two to three coats of the chosen primer just about suffices the process involved. Once the primer is applied, you must wait for the surfaces to dry up. This way, the drywall gets sufficient time for the skimming to happen.

2. Get Yourself the Tools that You Need for The Process

Get Yourself the Tools that You Need for The Process

This is the 2nd primary prepping-up step you must carry out indeed, and what is it? You must get the materials that are needed for skim coating the drywall area. Now, these are the materials you would need to get yourself started.

  • A drywall knife (12 inches or so)
  • A drywall mud-pan
  • A paint roller brush (Measuring 9 inches or so)
  • A paint roller frame
  • An extension pole for the paint roller (Note: The pole must be in the range of 4-8 feet indeed)
  • You would need a drywall sand screen
  • A bucket that measures 5 gallons
  • Again, you would need a paint-rolling screen that supports the bucket
  • All-purpose drywall compound from a reliable or trusted brand
  • A painter’s tape and
  • Clean tepid water

Now that we have got the prep-up steps covered, here is how the actual skim coat of drywall is done procedure-wise.

Steps to Skim Coat a Drywall in a Procedural Manner

Let us have a run-down into the actual steps that are required to skim-coat drywall.

1. Get the Work Area Prepped Up

Get the Work Area Prepped Up

Firstly, you must cover those areas of the wall you are not planning to skim coat. In order to do this, you must shut down the power sockets or electrical circuits to switchboards and light switches. Then, the face plates must be removed as the outlets or light switches, or electrical boards available at your home must be covered using painter’s tape. You can also utilize unused clothes to cover up the area. Then, you can tape them up, reaching out to the wall’s baseboard.

2. Drywall Compound Needs to Be Mixed Well

 Drywall Compound Needs to Be Mixed Well

Choose a drywall compound that is lightweight. This is mainly because the compound has no structural utility as such, and therefore, a heavy-duty compound material wouldn’t be necessary. Also, lightweight mud blends more easily and therefore smoothens out surfaces more effectively.

3. Determining the Ratio While Mixing the Drywall Component

Determining the Ratio While Mixing the Drywall Component

The drywall component has to be mixed according to the instructions you find on the product label. Using lesser water is ideal while you carry out the mixing process. This is mainly because you would want a heavier and stickier compound against a flimsy and diluted one. And you must understand that the greater the consistency strength easier it is to apply on the walls and then clean it up. Typically, you must get a yogurt-like consistency with respect to the drywall compound you are aiming to create.

4. Rolling out The Drywall Compound

Rolling out The Drywall Compound

You can roll out an area of the wall in a sectional manner. Here, the Width-Height ratio can be 2 X 8. Now, the paint roller must be pressed firmly to the wall so as to create wall bubbles. Again, you must carry out the process patiently since the working time involved with the procedure can be a tad time-consuming. The way the drywall has absorbed the component well depends on the consistency of the drywall solution that has been applied to the wall, the temperature of the room, and the circulation of air that is prevalent inside the room. Similarly, it is always better that you work with smaller areas of the wall so that the drywall component does not dry out way too quickly.

5. Make Sure that You Have a Few More Considerations Looked Into

Make Sure that You Have a Few More Considerations Looked Into

You must make sure that you apply the drywall component across the surfaces in a slow-paced and consistent manner indeed. This is mainly because you do not want the product application to break out into the walls. Again, when you perform an inconsistent product application, it can dry up at different points in time. Therefore, it is essential that you apply the component in a slow and consistent manner.

6. This Is How You Skim out The First Section, Post Application

This Is How You Skim out The First Section, Post Application

Now, you can skim out the drywall compound using a 12-inch knife. Again, you must be in a position to scrape out the material either in an upward or a downward direction. To do this, make sure; you scrape out drywall areas using columns. In order to achieve the feat, you must apply slightly higher pressure to the left side of the knife as compared to the right. This way, you are able to ease out imperfections on the left side of the drywall where you have applied the compound onto. Plus, at the same time, you leave a lower ridge on the right-hand side too.

7. Getting the Rest of The Sections Skimmed

Getting the Rest of The Sections Skimmed

You must now focus the same set of efforts on the next adjacent column. Again, as has already been described, you must apply pressure on the left-hand side of the drywall knife so that you leave lesser ridges on the right-hand side of the scrapped outwall area. Similarly, you can overlap sections so that the ridges are eliminated using the drywall knife from time to time. This way, you have lesser drywall sanding to take care of.

8. Sanding the Dry Skim Coat

 Sanding the Dry Skim Coat

Once the set of procedures has been completed, you shall allow the dry coat compound to get absorbed into the walls completely. Since the process can take you an hour or two, you can finish up the process with a light sanding procedure. Accordingly, you can use fine-grit drywall sandpaper to get the sanding process done to its degree of precision.

Summing It Up

All in all, we have seen how to get the skim coat drywall in a step-by-step manner. You can set up a working light on the floor so that you identify the dark and light spots easily. Again, when you have your paint roller sliding, this just indicates that the paint roller has got stuck somewhere and is no longer working. To get this sorted out, you must knock out the roller cover. Then, you must use water to clean the roller cover. And, you have a new cover replaced too.

You must use a lesser quantity of water to mix the product. In case the drywall material has been prepared too thinly, you must add some more of the dry mix product to make the consistency thicker. Again, when you have high gloss metallic walls, then these walls may not be able to hold up the drywall material in a precise manner.

Lastly, you can gently do a sanding process before you would want to skim-coat a glossy wall.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Mandatory for You to Skim-Coat Walls?

If you want to achieve a smooth and flawless appearance of your walls, you must skim-coat dry walls on a periodic basis indeed. The process of skim coating smoothens out the uneven ridges or dark spots that were present on the wall before. Therefore, the time and effort you spend on skim-coating the wall is worth it.

Can You Re-Paint the Walls Post a Skim Coating Session?

Yes, you can repaint the skim-coated areas of the wall. This is because the skim coating can leave the wall decor in a fragile condition after. Therefore priming and painting the walls can leave behind a flawless appearance of your wall decor, thereby protecting the beauty of your homes for decades to come.

Is It Advisable to Skim-Coat an Entire Wall?

Although skim coating a drywall is a laborious process, it is well worth the effort that you take to execute the same. This is mainly because skim-coating walls can actually transform the look and glory of your room decor together.

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