Cost to skim coat walls will depend on the size and height to walls and ceiling as well as labor costs.

The labor cost for skim coat projects would normally run between $50 to $100 per hour. A 500 sq ft wall usually takes between 4.5 to 6.5 hours to finish, billing you at least a minimum of $225.

In calculating the labor cost, professionals consider the size of the target area, the job conditions, the materials to source, the time, and the complexity of the project. Some contractors offer different rates depending on their quality of work.

Drywall Skim Coat Labor Cost
Skim coast labor costAverage Price
Per hour$50 - $100
Per sq ft$0.45
100 sq ft$45
12 x 12 room$172

The entire process of skim coating walls can be tasking and would require an expert touch. While there are people who find it easy to do it on their own, hiring a professional with the necessary tools and expertise assures you quality work.

Most of the time, hired contractors would take into account the sourcing of the materials, the prep work, the professional application of skim coat, the clean-up job, and the transportation to and from your home.

If your walls have damages and imperfections, the hired expert will also fix them by sanding or repairing them before applying the coat. They will also be the ones to test tricky chemicals and see to it that your skim coat needs are well-met.

Labor Cost to Skim Coat Walls

Basic Labor

  • Prepping the material, mixing of compounds, sanding initial imperfections on walls, professional application of a skim coat, etc.
  • An average cost of $287 to $348

National Average Cost

  • Labor and Materials per 500-square foot
  • An average cost of $492.34

National Cost Range

  • Labor and Materials per 500-square foot
  • An average cost of $450.91 to $533.77

Skim coat: DIY vs professional

The materials and tools needed in applying a skim coat are not difficult to source from your local store. While purchasing new tools may sound impractical especially when you only need it once, it may not be a bad idea if you opt to do the job yourself.

Skim coating by yourself can help you save on costs, and doing so allows you to do it at your preferred time. People who are used to doing home improvements on their own find it easy, but doing it with zero experience can be disastrous.

Even with the help of a lot of YouTube tutorials that can walk you through the process of skim coating, it can still be difficult and the outcome may not be as satisfying and good as you think it would be.

Is hiring a professional a better option?

If you want to make sure that the job is of quality work, this is when hiring a professional contractor becomes the smarter choice. If your home has a high ceiling height, it can be more difficult for you to have good results.

When hiring a contractor to do the skim coat, they will bring their tools, source out the materials, and do the job for you with clear expectations of better outcomes. In the end, this saves you more money, time, and effort while being assured.

When needing a skim coat, it is normal to spend hundreds of dollars to have a professional do it. Hiring an expert just saves you more time and money since the process is taking and is labor-intensive.

Skim coat cost

The average skim coat cost per square foot is between $1.10 to $1.30 per single layer. Normally, walls would require a minimum of 2 layers, which would double the cost into $2 to $3 per square foot.

Depending on the type of material or specific finish that you want for your home and the size of the target area, the average costs could still vary. For reference:

Low-End Skim Coat

  • An average of $0.90 per square foot

Average Skim Coat

  • An average of $0.98 per square foot

High-End Skim Coat

  • An average of $1.07 per square foot

Usually, skim coating a much larger area instead of a small section would cost less. Thus, if you want to have a skim coat, it might be smarter if you do it for the entire home to save more.

Assuming a home with a 9-foot height, the average cost to skim coat the walls a room would be the following:

  • 9 x 11-foot room: $396 to $468
  • 11 x 12-foot room: $455 to $538
  • 12 x14-foot room: $515 to $610
  • 12 x 18-foot room: $594 to $702
  • 16 x 20-foot room: $713 to $842
  • 20 x 28-foot room: $950 to $1,123
  • 22 x 28-foot room: $990 to $1,170

A 10 x 12 room of 120-square feet room would require an average expense of $130 to $150 to skim coat it. While a room of 12 x 12 of 144-square feet would be at an average of $160 to $200.

It also makes more sense to skim coat an entire home so that every surface in your home will become more uniform with the same finish. In the long run, it would be more cost-efficient to have a skim coat job in one blow, instead of chunked jobs.

Skim Coat Cost

Advantages and disadvantages of skim coat

Skim coating can be one of the ways in making your home appear newer and fresher. If you intend to paint over your walls with brand new colors, skim coating over old and worn wallpapers can help the colors appear more vibrant.


  • Skim coats reflect natural light better, turning the spaces in your home to appear bigger and brighter.
  • If your wall looks worn out with visible holes and cracks, applying a skim coat can do a good job in hiding the imperfections, making it appear brand-new.
  • If your home has uneven surfaces, a skim coating can remove the unwanted bumps and lumps that are visible.
  • If you are planning to have a glossy paint finish, the entire surface can look rough and wrapped if not applied with a skim coat. Skim coating is essential in getting these types of finishes.
  • Skim coating will cost you less instead of removing and replacing the unwanted texture on walls. It is also easier to skim coat a whole wall instead of replicating a damaged section in a textured wall.

While skim coating surfaces in your home is a process that every professional or homeowner will deem important and beneficial, it still has its disadvantages and downsides.

As mentioned, the application of a skim coat requires work and skill. As a time-consuming process, it can compel you to seek professional service to do the job and get satisfying results. Doing so would cost you a lot.


  • If you want to save money by not sourcing a contractor to do the job, doing it on your own can be messy and force you to incur more costs just to cover up the imperfections.
  • The process takes time. For homes that are not favorable for a speedy drying process, it can take longer, especially when there are a lot of layers necessary to apply.
  • When using a skim coat as a way to hide surface imperfections, the damaged area can appear more apparent if the job is done poorly.

A skim coat can be very good if you want a decent finish of your walls and if you want your home to appear better. However, you should be sure that it is done well to avoid ruining the appearance of your walls and ceiling.

What are the disadvantages of skim coating
Ben McInerney
Author: Ben McInerney - is a qualified arborist with 15 plus years of industry experience in Arboriculture. He ran a successful tree service before turning to writing and publishing. Ben is dedicated to providing users with the most accurate up-to-date information on everything trees.