Whether you are giving your walls a retouch or installing new drywall, skim coating it gives your house a new and refreshed look.

The average skim coat cost per square foot is around $1.10 to $1.30, which is for a single layer of skim coat. Typically, surfaces would need at least 2 or more layers of skim coat, which would cost around $2 – $3 per square foot.

While these may be reliable estimates, the actual cost of the project still may depend on the specific finish that you want, job conditions, the size of your home, and the location.

Labor Cost to Skim Coat

In recent years, skim coating has become more popular as a form of plastering surfaces. Also referred to as “veneer plastering”, this job uses a thin layer of joint compound that is directly applied to a surface and smoothened out to give a newer look.

Below is a reference for the costs of the kind of skim coat job that you want for your drywall:

Description Average Cost
Low-End Skim Coat Job$0.90 per square foot
Average Skim Coat Job$0.98 per square foot
High-End Skim Coat Job $1.07 per square foot

While the average skim coat cost per square foot is between $1.10 to $1.30, the price varies depending on the type of materials or finish that you are expecting.

Labor Cost to Skim Coat

In calculating the labor cost to skim coat, professionals would normally take into consideration the size of the project, the job conditions, the sourcing of the materials, and the transportation to and from the site.

Normally, the labor cost for skim coat projects that are billed per hour would range between $50 to $100. For scale, a 500-square foot area would usually take between 4.5 to 6 hours to finish.

Understandably, the entire cost to perform a skim coat project gets bulky since you are having an expert to do the job. Different professionals offer various rates, so it’s important to first have an estimate before signing off to have their service.

Skim Coat Materials and Tools Cost

There are a number of tools and materials involved in the process of skim coating a surface.

For reference, these would be the tools and materials involved in the entire project and their average prices.

Tools

Some of the tools you will need for a successful skim coat application include:

  • Safety masks – $15 to $40
  • Safety glasses: $10–$30
  • Mud pan – $7 to $20
  • Paint roller extension pole and covers – $25 to $40
  • Skimming blade – $30 to $80
  • Sanding pole – $20 to $30

Materials

If the target area has minor imperfections such as unevenness, these would need to be sanded out to have a better outcome. A drywall sealer would have to be applied to protect gypsum boards while keeping moisture from building in between.

Here are the materials you will require to skim coat your surfaces.

  • Sandpaper – $7 to $12 per package of five sheets
  • Drywall compound – $15 to $20 per 4 ½ half-gallon bucket
  • Others

If you choose to hire a contractor to do the job, they will most likely bring with them their tools and source out the needed material, helping you save trips to the store, the cost of buying your tools, and the mobilization of preparing to do the job.

CAUTION: For safety and protection, wearing eye protection and a mask would be necessary to avoid getting debris and dust from the eyes, nose, and mouth.

Cost to Skim Coat an Entire Room

In most cases, skim coating a larger area would cost less than a smaller area. Therefore, if you plan to skim coat a section of your home, it might be best if you do it for the entire space to get a better deal out of the expenses you will pay

For houses with a 9-foot ceiling height, the average cost depending on the size are the following:

Room SizeAverage Cost
9 x 11-foot room$396 - $468
10 x 12-foot room$130 - $150
11 x 12-foot room$455 - $538
12 x 12-foot room$160 - $200
12 x14-foot room$515 - $610
12 x 18-foot room$594 - $702
16 x 20-foot room$713 - $842
20 x 28-foot room$950 - $1,123
22 x 28-foot room$990 - $1,170

For most people, it also makes more sense to skim coat an entire home so that every wall will have the same appearance and finish. This would also save you more money and time in the long run, instead of having the same job at different times.

Cost to Skim Coat an Entire Room

Advantages and Disadvantages of Skim Coat

Advantages

  • Increases durability. The application of a skim coat is the most essential material of a wall or ceiling, making the applied surface stand for a long time. While most people think that it mostly makes surfaces appear brand-new, it also provides structural integrity.
  • Fresh look. Skim coating a surface makes an old and worn-out wall look fresher and smoother.
  • It boosts natural light. A skim coat also allows natural light to reflect better, making the spaces in your home appear brighter.
  • Makes the surface smooth. If you wish to have your home painted, having a skim coat makes it easier and better. Colors naturally come brighter and smoother if it is applied to a surface with a skim coat.

Disadvantages

  • High cost. As a project that requires skill and expertise, the process of skim coating might come expensive.
  • Takes time. The process takes time, especially when the conditions are not favorable for a fast drying process and there are a lot of layers to apply.
  • May accentuate damaged areas. If the skim coat is applied sloppily, the damaged area appears more visible.
  • Not ideal for DIY. If you choose or are forced to apply a skim coat on your own, it can be a very difficult and tasking process.

A skim coat might be a good idea if you want to have your home have a fresher and brighter look, and it works well if you are planning to paint over the coat. However, it might not be the best choice, especially when you are not assured of quality work.

Preparation for a Skim Coat

Having a skim coat can be messy and would require a few precautions in place to avoid any damages to your furniture or sloppy work.

To avoid any spillage or drops from your items, you need to prepare your area properly.

  1. Firstly, you should clear any furniture that might get in the way of the contractor while they do their job. Doing so will also assure you that they are not prone to damage. If you are unable to move them, covering them with plastic should be enough protection.
  2. If there are framed items on your wall or smoke alarms in your ceilings, you should see to it that they are secure and switched off. Covering them with plastic and tape should protect them further.

When hiring professional contractors to do a skim coat, it is part of their service to do these for you. To be sure, you can remind them to safely cover your furniture and items for you.

Preparation for a Skim Coat

Conclusion

Skim coating your walls gives your home a new, fresh, and smooth look. It also makes a home look brighter by boosting natural lighting. The process of applying a skim coat properly can be quite a labor-intensive task that requires experience, and the necessary tools. While some people find it easy to conquer the job on their own, hiring a professional can assure you quality expert work.

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.