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Can You Skim Coat Over Paint?

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Last updated on August 14th, 2022 at 01:28 pm

Skim coating has always been an option for damaged walls or minor cracks; most homeowners prefer it to orange feel textures. Also, it is a simple alternative to chipping away from texture materials and, even plasterers love using it.

Now, with the growing popularity of skim coating, people wonder if it’s applicable in every case. Thus, there is quite a growing concern about whether you can carry out skim coating over paint.

You can skim coat over paintings. But just in case the wall has been painted in recent times, don’t skim coat! The fact is, no matter how you paint your house or building, intentional or unintentional wear and tear are bound to occur. Skim coating is a good and easy technique to put all these damages in place.

Can You Skim Coat Over Painted Plaster?

Skim coating over painted plaster is possible though you ought to think about some elements first, as the state of your plastered wall. If the paint on it appears to be alright and the wall is in a decent condition, you can skim coat over it with practically no doubts.

When I say a decent condition, it implies a wall with no breaks and damages. Skim coating over plaster that is already cracking is not a good thought.

Significantly, use a setting-type compound for the primary layer or base coat while skim coating over painted plaster.  Also, you should utilize a setting-type compound because they intensify drying by their synthetic activities. However, these activities don’t affect any paint on the wall.

On the other hand, air-drying compounds can debilitate a paint bond, causing the paint and skim-coating to fall away eventually. Nonetheless, once the base coat is on the wall, you can use a ready-mix joint compound for the second and third layers.

You can see how the skim coating removes a lot of burdens. It is as easy as that. Now you’re aware of applying a level five drywall finish over your painted plaster wall. Go and start yours!

How Do You Skim Coat Over Paint?

The process of skim coating over paint may take you some time, although it’s straightforward. You can skim coat over paint by firstly, getting rid of any shedding paint if there is, and lightly sanding the surface. After that, clean the surface, apply the joint compound, and allow it to dry. After it’s dried, sand the surface.

Also, in this skim coating process, you will need some pieces of equipment. For example, you’ll need medium coarseness sandpaper, a wet cloth or piece of fabric, a taping knife, and a wallboard joint compound.

1. Get rid of any shedding paint you find

The initial step of skim coating over paint is to check if there is any shedding paint on the wall or not. If you find any shedding paint on the wall that you plan to skim coat, eliminate it tenderly before starting.

2. Lightly sand the surface.

Take medium coarseness sandpaper, which I recommend from Amazon, and sand the surface softly with it. This stage is fundamental, particularly in a case where there is a gloss or semi-shine finish.

It will shape the surface somewhat rough. Likewise, you can eliminate wall paint with a drywall sander for a quick sanding process.

3. Properly clean the wall surface.

At this point, take the wet piece of cloth or fabric and clean the wall properly. This step helps to eliminate all the residue from the sanding. Additionally, it removes other derbies and dirt, if any are remaining.

In most cases, the wall turns out to be so dirty that only a piece of damp rag will not be able to clean it appropriately. Instead, you can utilize a gentle yet compelling dish cleanser in such a situation.

It will surely clean the wall impeccably. Ensure to allow the wall to dry before stepping into the next stage.

4. Apply the joint compound.

In applying the joint compound, you’ll need a wallboard joint compound and a taping knife, which I both recommend from Amazon. Use the taping knife to spread the drywall compound on the wall. You can even use any broad knife.

If the wall you wish to paint is big, use any 8, or 9-inch knife. It will be the best option. You also can use a 4-inch blade to deal with unnoticeable imperfections.

5. Allow it to dry, then sand it.

Wait for about 30 to 60 minutes after applying the compound to dry without any problem. After drying, take a Sandler or grit paper and sand the outskirts delicately to dispel ridges and other imperfections.

Then, apply a second skim coat again and wait until it dries. You could even sand the wall again if needed. After using the second coat of skim, hang tight for a more extended period so that the wall can dry appropriately.

Then, take a damp fabric or piece of cloth and wipe down the entire region to remove the dust and unwanted residues. Finally, skim coating over paint is straightforward. You merely need to follow the procedures step by step to achieve the desired result.

I suggest that you call the attention of a specialist in the field of skim coating and not try it yourself if you’ve never done it before or seen how it’s done.

Pros And Cons Of Skim Coating Over Paint?

Skim coating over paint has upsides and downsides. The upsides include; it gives you a beautiful and consistent surface, gets rid of the damages that wallpapers cause, updates your house, and makes it pleasing. In addition, you can easily apply it. Likewise, the downsides include the fact that the paint under the skim coat can start stripping and preparing the painted walls usually take much time, amidst others.

Advantages of Skim Coating Over Paint

1. Beautiful and consistent surface.

Skim coating over paint gives you lovely and steady surfaces, especially when there are long stretches of mileage from the occupants in the house or external agents. Surely these wears and tears destroy the walls or buildings.

Also, in the skim coating, they usually sand the walls before the main job of covering, which is an excellent procedure.

2. Eliminates damages wallpapers cause

The paintings underneath the wallpaper in your home might be ruined after some time when you have removed wallpapers. Skim coating assists you with recovering the walls in a short while.

Merely clear the wall surfaces totally, and apply the skim when the walls are completely smooth. If you mix and apply the skim coat correctly, the walls will last longer than you even think.

3. Ambience for your house

A short skim coat will make your house look more appealing and less outdated.

4. Easy to Apply

It is an excellent alternative to replace your current texture, especially when you’re tired of it. The good thing is that you can do it without paying for the previous work.

Disadvantages of Skim Coating Over Paint

1. Paint under the skim coating can start stripping

Paintings peeling underneath skim coats are the worst experience you can ever witness.  When painting strips under skim coats, they undermine the skim covering itself and result in uneven surfaces. Sometimes if you’re lucky, it can occur right in the process of your skim coating, where you’ll be able to fix things.

2. It usually takes a lot of time.

In the course of skim coating, you might take much time setting up the painted dividers. You may even need an intense sanding process to ensure that the walls are in good condition.

3. Extra costs which you may incur

There is likewise a chance that it will be costly because you’ll risk using more materials than usual.

4. Requires an expert individual

An amateurish individual wouldn’t be too good at completing on the outer layer of the wall. You need a person with professional skills to skim coat over paintings.

5. The whole process could be very stressful.

Skim coating is a more workable and skilled process. However, it needs more time while the joint compound drying precisely takes time. Just imagine the stress of going around a large surface area.

It’s more than you could even think cause in the final stages of the coating, you’ll need to apply the Joint compound and allow it dry, after which you’ll sand and repeat the process it can go on and on.

I strongly advise that if the state of the wall is not good, don’t skim over it. Also, observe if there is any shedding paint while surveying the condition of the walls. Remove any shedding paint if there’s any before you skim coat.

The nature of the paint you wish to skim coat over also matters. When skimming over painted surfaces, it’s ideal to allow the nature of the paint, guide the items you will use. Skim coating over paint won’t be a problem if you make legitimate and fundamental arrangements!


Skim coating is relevant in building and construction because it has created alternative techniques and methodologies. Now, it has gone to the extent where you could use it over paint and painted plaster.

Applying a skim coat over paint is also a straightforward process, air-drying compounds On but always try to weigh the upsides and downsides of skim coating over paint and see the one that suits you. If you feel skim coating will do more harm than good, it is always advisable to find another solution.

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