Terms of the Trade: What Is Skim Coating? Terms of the Trade: What Is Skim Coating?

Skim coating is a technique of applying joint compound or plaster to walls or a ceiling with a trowel to create a very smooth surface. Often, the process requires multiple thin layers of the “mud” to achieve the desired effect. (Emphasis on thin layers.) As easy as this process sounds, it is a difficult skill to master. Any DIYer can attempt satisfactory results, however, with the right tools and a bit of practice. While skim coating is often done in new construction or in remodels, it can also be used to make repairs on finished surfaces with dents, holes, or other physical damage. Since skim coating can be time-consuming, here’s a tip: if your wall is located near natural light or you plan on using a gloss or semigloss paint, it may be best to skim coat since surface flaws will otherwise be highly visible; if your wall is in a darker area of your home or you’re using an eggshell finish paint, you may be able to get away with skipping the skim coat.

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