COST CALCULATOR

How Much Does It Cost To Skim Coat?

Typical range: $458-$542

Find out how much your project will cost

cost to skim coat Calculator

For your project in zip code 20149 with these options, the cost to skim coat starts at $0.92-$1.08 per square foot. Your actual price will depend on job size, conditions, finish options you choose.

If your walls or ceilings are in need of a refresh, applying a skim coat is a great way to make everything look beautiful and new. This unique process refers to a level-five drywall finish, and it can be applied by using a paint roller, spray rig, or by hand. A thin coating of a diluted joint compound is directly applied to the surface and then smoothed out using a trowel or a drywall knife. If you're unfamiliar with the process of skim coating, read on to learn more about how much it costs, the processes involved, and much more.

Cost Calculator
Calculations are dependent on where you live
Square Feet

Standard ServicesQuantityLowHigh
What you can expect
Range per square foot:$0.92$1.08
Range for this type of project:$458$542
Estimate: $500
Skim Coating Labor, Basic
4
hours
$284$344
arrow_drop_down
Labor cost, under typical conditions, for complete wall texturing. Drywall will be lightly sanded, texturing compound mixed, and uniformly troweled onto drywall. Rate is inclusive of all aspects of the project, such as thorough planning, acquisition of equipment and material, preparation and protection of project site, and meticulous cleanup.
Skim Coating Job Supplies
534
square feet
$174$198
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Requisite supplies for the job, including fasteners, seam tape, outside corner beads, and topping compound.
Optional Services
Option: Prime And Paint Patched Surface
65
hours
$2,088$5,085
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Patches over 10 SF will be leveled and smoothed. One coat of primer will be rolled or brushed on, and two coats of color- and sheen-matched paint will be blended along the patch's outer perimeter.
Standard services
Skim Coating Labor, Basic
$284 -$344
arrow_drop_down
4
hours
Labor cost, under typical conditions, for complete wall texturing. Drywall will be lightly sanded, texturing compound mixed, and uniformly troweled onto drywall. Rate is inclusive of all aspects of the project, such as thorough planning, acquisition of equipment and material, preparation and protection of project site, and meticulous cleanup.
Skim Coating Job Supplies
$174 -$198
arrow_drop_down
534
square feet
Requisite supplies for the job, including fasteners, seam tape, outside corner beads, and topping compound.
Optional Services
Option: Prime And Paint Patched Surface
$2,088 -$5,085
arrow_drop_down
65
hours
Patches over 10 SF will be leveled and smoothed. One coat of primer will be rolled or brushed on, and two coats of color- and sheen-matched paint will be blended along the patch's outer perimeter.
What you can expect
Range per square foot:
$1 - $1
Range for this type of project:
$458 - $542
Estimate:
$500
Cost Comparison
YOUR ESTIMATE
$500

NATIONAL AVERAGE RANGE
$451 -$534
YOUR ESTIMATE

Skim Coat national average cost

The national average materials cost to skim coat is $0.34 per square foot, with a range between $0.32 to $0.37. The total price for labor and materials per square foot is $0.98, coming in between $0.90 to $1.07. A typical 500 square foot project costs $492.34, with a range of $450.91 to $533.77. Your actual price will depend on your location, job size, conditions and finish options you choose.
cost to skim coat
National Avg. Materials Cost per square foot$0.34
National Avg. Cost (labor and materials) for 500 square foot$492.34
National Cost Range (labor and materials) for 500 square foot$450.91 - $533.77

Skim coat cost

Skim coating your walls is a form of plastering or "mudding" that has become more popular and has seen a resurgence in recent years. Often referred to as veneer plastering, this process uses a thin later of plaster or mud (drywall compound) that's applied directly over a gypsum panel when doing so on new construction. The paper over the gypsum board is chemically treated to create a bonding surface for the mud or plaster. This type of board is usually blue in color to distinguish itself from traditional gypsum board. Once the board is hung, an even coat of the material is applied as it's smoothed and polished to a beautiful finish. The cost to skim coat can range from around $1.10 to $1.30 per square foot not including new gypsum board. Overall, it could cost anywhere between $464 to $569 to skim coat your entire home, depending on the size and amount of labor required.

Projects that may use skim coating

The idea of skim coating is to create a smooth, flawless surface to make it easier for painting or surfacing your home's interior. You can request skim coating for a variety of projects around the home, including:

  • Wall repair: If you have cracks or other damage to your walls or ceilings, a professional application using the skim coat technique can make everything look new again. Damaged drywall and ceilings can easily be repaired with a few layers of skim coat.

  • Refresh: Skim coating can renew and refresh old, dingy walls. It's a great option if you have an older home, or if your walls just seem worse for wear. A new layer of skim coat can give your home a whole new look without having to do a complete demo and reinstallation of the drywall.

  • Texture: If you're planning to change the texture of your walls or ceiling, skim coating is highly recommended. This process will create a new, smooth surface that can make applying new texture easier and more uniform throughout. It's also a good way to remove old popcorn ceiling texture or the popular orange peel texture from your walls if you prefer things to appear smooth and seamless.

The process of skim coating

Now that you know a bit more about what skim coating is and a general overview of the cost, what's involved in this meticulous process? If you're not dealing with new construction or a remodeling project, the contractor will simply start by prepping your walls. Next, a special mud is applied and wiped down. Several layers of the product are applied to create a smooth, even finish.

1. Preparing the wall

Your wall will need to have a layer of primer applied before the skim coating can begin. If there is any visible damage, holes or ripped wallpaper can be patched using a joint compound before applying the primer. The compound is hardened and smoothed, and then a high-quality primer is applied to the surface.

2. Rolling on the mud

Once the primer is dry, a layer of all-purpose joint compound is applied. The contractor will work in small sections as they smooth out the joint compound before it dries. The consistency of the mud is slightly thinned out and usually applied with a heavy-nap paint roller. This compound is applied evenly onto the surface, and it must be as smooth as possible before moving onto the next step in the process.

3. Smoothing the surface

Using a squeegee knife, the mud is smoothed out even further. Starting at the top of the walls, the contractor will slowly smooth everything section by section. Each vertical pass is overlapped to ensure that everything is evened out. Next, the joint compound is dried and inspected for any uneven sections, then sanded to remove remaining mud lines or lumps. If necessary, a second coat of joint compound may need to be applied.

4. Applying Layers

For most skim coating projects, at least two layers will be required. The second layer is when any imperfections or other damage is covered by the joint compound. This material dries fast, so the contractor will be able to apply additional layers quickly. Once everything is complete, your walls or ceiling will be sanded with 100 or 120-grit sandpaper.

Painting over skim coat

If you're not planning to re-texture your walls, you'll want to paint them after skim coating. The thin layer of joint compound may show through, so it's essential that you apply a quality primer before painting begins. This will seal the porous joint compound and make it easier for the paint to adhere smoothly and evenly. Once the skim coat is complete and everything is dry, you can begin to apply the primer. Paint your new walls or ceiling the same way you would with any other painting project. Adding primer first should ensure that everything looks uniform and that you'll only need one coat of paint instead of several.

Skim coat labor cost

Skim coating can be a labor-intensive process, which is why it's best to consider hiring a professional. Make sure you get several estimates before you agree to the job to ensure you're getting the best price and a reliable company that can make your walls as beautiful and smooth as possible. The estimate should include the cost to source any material as well as transportation to and from your home. The cost for prep work should also be included. The contractor may also charge for any repairs that are needed to fix damaged areas before skim coating can begin. You'll also pay for the labor to set everything up and for cleanup once the job is complete. If you're having any resurfacing done to the wall or ceiling, this will be an additional separate cost. Your estimate should not include the cost to remove, relocate, or change any existing framing in your home. If you have lead-based paint or asbestos, you'll need to pay for a separate abatement before skim coating can begin. If any permits are required, you may be responsible for those, too. Ask your contractor or local jurisdiction if any permits are needed, however, it's likely not required if you're only having a skim coat applied to your home.

  • Basic labor: Labor costs to prep and sand, knock down high spots, mix and apply compounds, and spot sand/smooth typically takes approximately 4.5-6 hours. This cost should be between around $287 and $348, on average.

  • Materials: Your material costs will include seam tape, fasteners, any outside corner beads, and the mud or plaster compound. For a 534 square foot area, it should cost anywhere from $172 to around $200 for materials.

  • Prime and paint: If you need to have your walls primed and/or painted, this will be a separate labor cost. The contractor will level and smooth the surface and apply a coat of primer and then a separate coat of paint. This cost can vary greatly, but if you're planning to have your entire home primed and painted after skim coating, be prepared to pay anywhere from $2,114 to over $5,000.

Required tools and materials

There are several tools and materials require to perform skim coating. Safety gear like eye protection and a mask is recommended to keep dust and debris out of the eyes, nose, and mouth. A drywall sealer will be used to protect the gypsum board underneath and protect it from moisture. Mud pans are used to hold the joint compound as the contractor applies the skim coating to the walls. A putty knife is also required in order to fill in and smooth nicks and holes with the joint compound. Hand sanders or long-handled sanders and sandpaper are also required for skim coating to help create a smooth finish. Primer and a roller are both included in the list of tools needed in order to prep and finish the walls or ceilings and get them ready for painting or texturing.

The pros and cons of skim coating

As with any home project, applying a skim coat has many benefits as well as a few drawbacks. Here are some of the pros and cons of completing this type of project:

Skim coating pros

  • Skim coating costs a lot less than removing existing texture on walls and ceilings. If you're tired of your current texture, this is a great way to "remove" it without having to pay for a demo job first.

  • With a skim coat, you'll get a perfectly smooth surface that's perfect for painting over. It's also a good option if you like the inside of your home to appear fresh and modern without excess texture on the surface of your walls.

  • Skim coat can give your home an elegant look, and it can help the ceilings to seamlessly blend into the walls. This process also reflects the natural light for a bright and airy home. Skim coating also visually makes your ceilings look higher, which in turn makes your home look and feel bigger.

  • If your ceiling or walls undergo any damage, repairs are much easier if they're skim coated. It can be difficult and costly to replicate textured surfaces and make them blend together without noticing the change.

Skim coating cons

  • Skim coating requires a lot more prep work and skill, which means it's more costly than opting for textured walls and ceilings. It also takes more time since you'll need to wait for the primer and joint compound to completely dry before doing any painting.

  • Nicks and damage are much more visible on skim coated walls. A textured wall hides damage more easily, while smooth surfaces can make any imperfections stand out.

  • If you're trying to apply skim coat yourself, it can be extremely time-consuming. Any missed lumps or bumps means that you'll have to go back, sand, and then reapply another layer of skim coat. This process requires a lot of skill and patience, which is why it's something that is best left to the professionals.

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