Skim Coating: How to Make Textured Walls Smooth

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Textured walls were at one time quite a popular trend that often experiences a resurgence, so much so that they may still exist in your home today. You may or may not like this trend, and if not, there is an easy way to get rid of it once and for all. All it takes is time, effort, and a small supply and material investment to banish rough, textured, or even damaged walls from your home for good.

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Photo: Learn the Practice

In order to complete the task that is skim coating walls, there are a few things you will need. Primer and joint compound are a good start, but you will also need a heavy-nap roller and something to smooth the joint compound with once it is actually on the wall. What you choose to use should depend on your skill level and be something with which you are comfortable using over a large surface area. For this job, tools such as a trowel or spackle/putty knife may strike your fancy, but something to remember is that you are going to have a lot of surface area to cover, both above and below your head, so using something wider such as a tape or squeegee knife will help the process along.

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Photo: Tape My House

With your tool selection made, begin the process by applying primer with a roller. Ideally this should be a stain sealing primer that dries fast. It's goal will be to cover up anything unsightly and create a surface that allows joint compound to bond better. Even though using something fast drying is best, don't jump the gun on moving on to the next step; the primer will still need to be allowed to dry thoroughly regardless of the time it takes. Once your primer is dry, start adding joint compound to problem areas. This means filling in holes and cracks that might be present. Allow the joint compound to harden before you begin the skim coating process.

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Photo: DIY Advice

At this point, it is time to begin the overall joint compound application. Use your heavy-nap roller to do this in small sections of a few feet at a time. Remember not to get too far ahead of yourself because you will need to smooth the joint compound with the tool of your choice before it dries. After you have completed the whole room, let it dry before starting the process over. It will take 2-3 coats to complete the job and hide the textured wall below for good. Each coat should be applied in a different direction from the last and sanding between coats is not necessary although large globs of joint compound should be removed as you go.

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Photo: DIY Network

When you have applied your final coat, allow the wall to fully dry before sanding it with 120-grit sandpaper. This is the final step in creating a new, smooth wall of which you can be proud. Once everything is dry and you have sanded it to your satisfaction, you will be free to move on to a new project: painting those smooth, new walls!

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