When do you need to smooth rough walls? Skim coat your rough walls when
• the texture is too much to put wallpaper over
• you are tired of that old texture and want a new one
• you just want a smooth surface
• too many repairs that show, need a uniform surface
The best materials in terms of expense and ease of use are drywall joint compounds. They will adhere well to clean painted surfaces, are easy to apply and sand, and can be textured over or painted smooth, as you desire.
Smoothing out a rough wall doesn't have to a be a complicated affair, but a few tips will go a long way to make the job easier and less messy.
The main thing to keep in mind when applying skim coat is to approach the project in a systematic manner. Break it down into a number of clearly defined steps, then follow them.
To start with, you have a choice of a couple tool sets to use for skim coating. A drywall knife, maybe eight or ten inches wide, and a mud pan of the right size is a tool set easiest to learn with.
Most do-it-yourself homeowners would opt for this.
A second choice is the plasterers hawk (mortarboard) and trowel. With this, you can go faster and get more done in a day, but these tools are harder to learn and do take some getting used to.
If you plan to snooth a lot of walls, it might be worth it to get these and master them. One drawback is that the set together will cost you about 40 dollars or so (US).
The plaster trowel is five inches wide, and you should not get one, in my opinion, smaller than ten or twelve inches long.
First step: be sure the area to be skim coated is CLEAN. This means no dirt, grease, flaking paint, or cleaning agent residues like soap or TSP. If you have to use soap to clean a wall, be sure to clean rinse after. Same with TSP. Scrape off all loose material.
Second step: apply the first coat of drywall compound. Start at the top and work your way down. Make all your strokes go in the same direction.
Third step: after the mud dries, take a smaller taping knife like a four or six inch and knock off the ridges left behind by the edge of your tool when you applied the first coat. Don't worry about the other ridges left behind by the jiggle of your tool.
Fourth step: Now smooth out the roughness by going the other direction.
Fifth step: Go back over the dried surface and smooth out anything that still looks rough.
Sixth step: use a 100 grit sanding sponge and carefully sand off tool marks, etc.
Seventh step: put on a good coat of drywall primer before wallpaper or paint.
That's the basic procedure in a nutshell that you should follow for smoothing a rough wall. There are many details that space doesn't allow for here, but you can read more on my website about skim coat materials and procedures. http://www.plaster-wall-ceiling-solutions.com/skim-coat-html
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