COST CALCULATOR

How Much Does It Cost To Skim Coat?

Typical range:Β $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.

Applying a skim coat is a great way to refresh your dingy-looking walls and ceilings, especially if they are textured. An alternative to using lining paper or plastering your walls, skim-coating tends to be less expensive than these other methods. Read on to learn more about skim coating, including how much it costs. 

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
arrow_drop_down
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
arrow_drop_down
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

Costs to skim coat walls

Skim-coating is a type of wall plastering that has grown in popularity over the last few years. Also known as a level-five drywall finish, or veneer plastering, a skim coat is a thin layer of diluted drywall compound (mud) that is applied evenly over walls and ceilings before being smoothed with a trowel or a drywall knife. At an average of $1.10 to $1.30 per square foot, the skim coat cost is up to $569 to skim coat your entire home — this applies to the skim coat ceiling cost as well. These costs are priced depending on square footage and required labor.

Skim coating labor costs

It’s best to hire a professional since skim-coating can be labor-intensive. Before you engage a contractor, get several estimates for the job. You may also want to look for company reviews, so you can be sure to get the best price, from a reliable company. Each estimate should show the following:

  • Cost of materials
  • Transportation to and from the job site
  • Prep work
  • Labor
  • Charges for any surface repairs
  • Clean up

So, how much does skim coating cost for labor? If you have lead-based paints or asbestos, you will need to hire a contractor for asbestos abatement first. The contractor you hire for skim-coating should be able to tell you if you require any permits for the job, as those will be your responsibility.

Labor costs, which cover 4.5 to 6 hours of prep work, mixing and applying the skim coat compound, spot sanding and cleanup, should average between $287 to $348.

Skim coating material costs

For a 534sq. ft. area, the materials cost to skim coat walls should be between $172 to $200. The materials needed for skim coating include:

  • Seam tape
  • Drywall sealer
  • Fasteners
  • Outside corner beads
  • Drywall mud

Prime and Paint

Having your walls primed or painted is a separate labor cost. In this case, the contractor will smooth the surface before applying primer and then paint. The cost to prime and paint can vary substantially but, if you want to have your entire home primed and painted after the skim coating, expect to pay between $2,114 to over $5,000.

Required tools and materials

Prepping, applying and finishing a skim coating requires several tools, including:

  • Safety gear, such as eye protection and face masks
  • Mud pans
  • Putty knife
  • Manual or electric sanders and sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Paint rollers, brushes and/or a spray rig

These tools allow the contractor to prepare the surfaces, apply the skim coating solution, and sand the wall, including working the mud into nicks and holes with a putty knife to create a smooth surface.

The process of skim coating

Now that you know a bit more about what skim coating is and a general overview of the cost of skim coating walls, what's involved in this meticulous process?

  1. Preparing the surface. Before your surfaces are able to be skim coated, they will need to be repaired with joint compound and then primed with a high-quality primer.
  2. Rolling on the mud. Once the primer is dry, a layer of diluted all-purpose mud is applied in small sections so that the contractor can smooth it out before it dries.
  3. Smoothing the surface. Using a squeegee blade, the contractor smooths the mud out even further. The contractor will work, section by section, to even out any residual ridges and bumps.
  4. Applying Layers. 2 layers are required for most skim coating jobs. Since the compound dries fast, the contractor has to work quickly to apply and smooth it out.
  5. Sanding. Once the application is complete, the contractor will sand the surface to remove any last imperfections and to even out the texture so it’s all smooth.

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

  • Lower cost. To skim coat walls costs a lot less than removing the existing texture on your walls and ceilings.
  • Smooth. Skim coating gives your walls and ceilings a smooth finish that is perfect for painting.
  • Aesthetic. Skim coating can make your home look modern and elegant, with seemingly larger rooms.
  • Easy repair. If your ceilings or walls get damaged, repairing them will be easy if they’re skim coated — and the cost to skim coat ceilings could also be cheaper. Textured surfaces can be difficult to repair, since blending the texture seamlessly is tricky.

Skim coating cons

  • Work intensive. The prep work and application of a skim coating require more work and skill than methods other than skim coating. Skim coating also takes more time, since the primer and compound have to dry completely before you’re able to paint.
  • Visible nicks. Another con of skim coating is that nicks and other damage are more visible on skim coated walls, whereas textured walls hide imperfections better.
  • Professionals required. If you attempt to do the skim coating yourself, you’ll find the process to be time-consuming. And if you miss any bumps, you’ll have to apply another layer and wait for it to dry.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Last updated
Ready to get started?
Share a few additional details about your project and receive competitive quotes from local pros.

Find out how much your project will cost

Related Calculators for Similar Services
More cost guides
SEE ALL