Skim Coating Walls

If you’re not familiar with skim coating walls, then GOOD! That is why we are writing this. We do not do skim coating work, but it is needed as part of being a paint contractor.

What is Skim Coating Walls?

You can see in these two videos we have done recently that we had to do some skim coating on walls that had wallpaper removed; the other is skim coating over a rough texture plaster.

skim coating walls
Here is a rough textured faux finish wall:

The wallpaper that we removed took the drywall off with it, so it is a mess!

The other one we are working on is a Faux Finish- texture plaster applied to the walls about nine years ago. Faux finishes can be awesome…until it is time to get rid of them. In this case, we are power sanding walls to get to some smoothness; then, we will have to skim coat the walls to fill in all the uneven surfaces.

How to skim coat

There are a few methods to skim coat a wall.

The first is calling a drywall company. It is staggering how fast they are!

Skim Coating Tools

If you are doing it yourself, then we have several tools you need:

  • drywall mud pan
  • 45 min Durabond
  • pre mix a 4-gallon bucket of Durabond
  • drywall knives
  • pole sander
  • vacuum
  • respirator
  • fan
  • drop cloths

When we are skim coating, we typically use a pre-mix bucket. The areas are large, making it easier vs. mixing up 2-3 cups at a time. The powder form is great for small areas.

We start with covering areas/floors. Then, we hang plastic so no dust reaches the rest of the house. Pole sand the walls to remove any burrs etc. from the wall. Next, just grab some mud in the pan and use a drywall knife to apply it to the wall. Smaller, thinner applications work best. The more you can “scrape” the wall at a 40-degree angle, the better, as it will leave smaller amounts, which dry faster and sand smoother.

After the first coat, allow it to dry, then sand smooth. Apply as many coats as you need to get the wall smooth and ready for paint!

Other things to know regarding Skimming your walls

Drywall work is messy!! The dust gets everywhere. We use Festool sanders to ensure the dust is contained as much as possible.

Make sure that the drywall mud is as dry as possible before sanding!!

You will have to prime the repairs before painting. Do NOT just use ceiling paint to prime these areas. Use a drywall sealer. That will ensure that the primer will penetrate the surface, creating a uniform, harder surface to allow sanding to ensure that if a piece of tape is applied, the tape won’t pull away the paint! (SO frustrating!!)


Add a splash of color and style to your walls. Book your paint and wallpaper appointment today!