Q&A with Jean: What Is Skim Coating and Why Is It So Expensive?

Sweeten’s Founder + CEO Answers Your Renovation Questions

Welcome to #6 in our series, designed to bring clarity to some of the mysteries of renovating! Whether you’re a first-time homeowner or a serial renovator, each project brings with it a new set of circumstances and new questions, and Sweeten is here to be a source of knowledge and reassurance. 

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QUESTION: What is skim coating and why is it so expensive?

JEAN: Skim coating is a process that essentially makes your walls look perfect. Every wall is a sandwich of different materials. Those materials—drywall, tape, and mud—are there to help insulate your home and keep you warm and dry. When it comes to the interior finish, you’ll want it to look as smooth as possible, and that’s really hard when, from certain angles, you can see where all of those materials come together. Skim coating takes the same mud that is used in the construction of the walls and spreads it across the surface—almost like a layer of frosting—before smoothing it by hand.

Do you need skim coating? No. Is it amazing when it’s done really well? Yes, because your walls look perfect under any kind of lighting. Why is it so expensive? Because someone has to go on a ladder with a flashlight and hand-sand the walls to make sure they’re perfectly smooth. That takes a while because it’s a vertical surface. It’s certainly your choice, but it definitely looks beautiful when it’s done.

Listen to Jean answer the question,

What is Skim Coating?


Thinking of freshening up your walls? Check out our guide Budget Basics: Interior Painting Costs.

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Looking for more advice from Jean? Be sure to check out the fifth installment in this series, Q&A with Jean: Are Wood Floors a Good Investment?

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.

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