What is skimming & how to skim coat walls?

Skim coating is a method of texturing used to smoothen the wall surface. This technique is used by the drywallers to conceal any imperfections in the taping job and to give a plaster-like appearance to the wall. And, it is also used in situations when only the smoothest surface will do.

Skim coating is the best way to achieve a smooth, level 5 drywall finish. Skimming the rough or damaged surfaces with a coat of mud using a special squeegee knife leaves a smooth finish on the walls.

Skim Coating is to do and also deliver great outcomes. Here is a new and easy to master the approach for smoothing out damaged or rough walls.

Essential tools & materials for skim coating walls

Before you begin to skim coat your walls, make sure you have all the important tools lined up for this task. This will save your time and you will not end up in frustration.

Here is the list of necessary tools:

  • Mud pan;
  • Safety glasses;
  • 4-in-1 screwdriver;
  • Sanding pole;
  • Paint roller;
  • Paintbrush;
  • Roller with 1/2-inch nap sleeves;
  • Taping knife;
  • 14 – Inch wide Squeegee knife.

Essential materials for skimming

In order to avoid last-minute shopping trips, it is best to have all the materials ready in advance. Here’s a list of all the important materials:  

  • Primer;
  • Regular Drywall compound;
  • Setting-type Drywall compound;
  • Masking tape;
  • 120-grit Sandpaper.

The method of skim coating and important tools

You will probably prefer to use a hawk and trowel for skimming walls, if you are an experienced drywall taper or plaster. You can also use these tools as second hand.  However, if you are a remodeler who do wall skimming to repair wrecked walls only on certain occasions, it will be tough to master this skill.

This method is not much quicker than the conventional wall skim coating. As you will need to apply 2-3 coats and let each one the coats dry in between. But at the end you will get flat and smooth textured walls. Therefore, if you are a contractor who has given up on wall skimming and you may prefer to hire a professional taper for this job. But by tackling this task on your own, you can save on the labour. You will only need a regular paint roller and squeegee knife. Use squeegee knife of 14-in.-wide which is also called as a Magic Trowel.

  1. Begin by prepping the walls

You should start by prepping the wall surfaces. In this technique, you will not only need to prime the spot, but you will also need to roll on the whole wall by using a stain-blocking sealer. If you have always used solvent-based sealer such as traditional KILZ and BIN, you must try using one of the stain killers which is water-based.

Water-based stain killers like Zinsser’s Bulls Eye 1-2-3 primer will work well and you will not have any complaints from your customers about the smell. But before you apply any joint compound, make sure that the sealer is dried thoroughly.

These are usually thin layers that won’t repair holes, torn away paper, or make irregular section level. Make sure to patch these issues with setting-type joint compound. Leave the compound to set properly, before you before you start skimming the walls.

  1. Roll in the mud on the wall surface

Make sure to mix all-purpose joint compound in about the same consistency as mud that you would use for bedding the tape. The mixture must be thin enough to roll on the surface of the wall. Because if you mix it too wet, you’ll get shrinkage. Even if the first coat that you used gets cracked, there is no need to worry.

Just ensure that the next coat you to mix is a little thicker, you can do this by spooning in some more mud from another bucket. It is recommended to use a 1/2-inch-nap roller to roll mud in the area of about 4 ft. Square. Also, try to keep the surface as even as possible, so you can do the squeegee work in a better way.

  1. Smoothen the mud

Make sure to smoothen the mud by using a squeegee knife. Also keep a mud pan and a damp rag handy. Wipe the blade by using the rag, after every few strokes. Also, use the mud to pan to remove the excess mud that builds up on the blade. Set the squeegee knife against the wall and put it down beginning from the top corner. Ensure to overlap each vertical pass, until you finish each section.

After sometimes you may have to go over some surfaces. It will not take you much time to get the hang of using the squeegee knife. After you are done with the top section, roll on the joint compound on the lower half area. This time pull the squeegee knife from the bottom up and also touch up along the edges as you go.

Once you are done with this, let the first coat of joint compound dry. If the air is humid and you want to speed up the drying time, use a space heater and a box fan. Remember, you do not have to sand between the two coats. Just knock off the lumps or mud lines by using a 5 or 6-inch putty knife to prevent streaks in the next coat.

  1. Use one or two more layers

When it comes to applying 2 or 3 coats of joint compound, it may sound like a lot of work to do. But the process is actually quick and the thin layers may dry quickly. The more smooth the wall is, the less sanding you will require to do. Make sure to trowel off each successive layer at a right angle to the previous layer. When the last coat dries, use 120-grit sandpaper to pole-sand the wall. If there are many peaks and valleys on the wall surface, use the 100-grit sandpaper first.

Handy Tip – Next time when you tape the areas on the wall, give this squeegee-like taping knife a shot for smoothing out the tape joints. It will taper the edges and you will have no taping knife marks or trowel.

Got a question? Feel free to get in touch with Interior drywall solutions in Auckland today.