What is a skim coat when painting walls?

Skim coating is a technique used when painting the walls to provide a smooth texture to rough surfaces. The damaged surfaces of the walls are skimming coated with mud to get a clean plaster-like appearance. It is very helpful to easily conceal any imperfections in the taping.

Additionally, skim coating is a great way to accomplish a level 5 drywall finish which is recommended by experts for areas with bright lighting.

Finish Levels

The Gypsum Association document defined Finish levels 0, 1 and 2 as areas that are suitable for areas like garages, attics and unfinished storage spaces that are concealed from view. A heavy coat of texture is used to conceal the taped seams at level 3. At level 4, walls have flat seams and will look flat when painted properly. Whenever someone requires a very smooth surface that appears flat under different sources of lighting then one can opt for a level 5 drywall finish. In this level a thin layer of joint compound is used to get a smooth finish.

Skim Coating Process

Skim coating can be used with mud that has the thickness similar to that you use for taping. However, some people prefer to add little water to make it thinner. The process is easy, but it needs a little practice. You will need to spread the mud on the wall by using a drywall knife or a roller. After this quickly scrape off the wall with the knife to get a smooth layer. If used in thin layers, skim coating works best. However, if the wall is covered with rough texture, you may need to spend more time to flatten it.

When to Skim Coat?

Skim coating requires a lot of time and efforts and it is not desirable in all the areas particularly those areas where critical lighting is required. This includes areas like the upper portions of walls under a skylight or a source of light that reflects obliquely on the wall surface. If you have a semi-gloss or gloss paint on your walls, it is good to use skim coating. This is because reflective paint tends to worsen the defects even more. Also, skim coat is a type of texture that people normally don’t use when applying several different kinds of texture.

Painting over a Skim Coat

It is necessary to prime the walls before you start to paint. This because a thin layer of joint compound gets accumulated on the wall surface. The primer consists of a surface sizing agent called polyvinyl acetate. It is helpful to seal the porous items and offer great adhesion for the topcoat. Before priming, leave the skim coat to set and slightly sand it by using a pole sander and 120-grit paper. The sandpaper knocks down tool marks, ridges and other defects left after skimming coating. To improve the finish and coverage of topcoat you can tint the primer in the direction of the final coat of paint.

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skim coat drywall with paint roller | August 5, 2017 | John Smith