Tell me what you know about skim coating.

Looking at very old " alligatored " walls. The worst open cracks will be scraped. I am considering skim coating to create a new smooth surface.

Rented apt. Cannot move out for walls to be torn out. S.O. quite eager to have walls re done.
How hard is it to learn? Do I buy a 4x8 panel of sheet rock, badly distress it and practice?

Looking for solid tips. " Hire a pro !" isn’t an option.


Pretty damn hard. May be worth looking into hanging and finishing 1/4" wall board over the existing walls. Much easier, IMO.

And, talk to your landlord, but he may be thrilled that you’re taking care of this for him.

You’re in a rented apartment? Why not just move out to a new place? Have you talked to your landlord about this?

I’ve skim coated a couple of rooms in my house and it’s a lot of work to do right. It’s not impossible, but it’s a pain. Any imperfection is easily noticeable. If you’re not prepared to do this job correctly, don’t even start since the results will look like crap.

I imagine you’d first have to sand the walls down smooth. I doubt you could skim over the old paint.

Check youtube for videos on how to skim walls. You can find many videos on all types of home improvement projects.

Get a water tank drywall sander. It almost totally eliminates the dust when you sand the drywall. You’ll need to hook it up to a shop vac.

We hired professionals to skim coat a room for us and they had to come back two more times till we were satisfied. I did one wall in another room. I’ve sheetrocked ~6 rooms in my life and tiled several bathrooms and kitchens and all of them were infinitely easier and more satisfactory than the skimcoating of either myself or the professional (he was a drywaller generally).

So my advice, leave it alone, it’s not worth the effort. If you really want to do it, I recommend:
1.scraping as much of the old peaks on the surface off as possible
2. use a wire brush to further smooth the surface as well as rough up the paint
3. 60 grit sandpaper
4. apply 2-3 thin thin thin layers of skim coat. Sand after the second and all subsequent layers
-when sanding use a full sheet (at least lengthwise) wrapped around a 2x4. Such that the sanding surface is 11" x 1.5". You need a long surface to prevent small areas of depression.
-don’t use electric sanders as they are too effective at removing the coating.
5. Paint only with flat paint.

It is really really dusty so you don’t gain much over your other plan of needing to move out for replacing the walls.

Wallpaper is inexpensive, easy to put up, requires few special tools (or none if you have some sponges and a straight smooth piece of wood 18-24 inches long). It’s available in lots of patterns, colors, and materials, some of them paintable. You’d just have to stuff some drywall compound in any wide cracks, scrape off peeling paint if there is any, and stick the stuff up. You just soak the paper in warm water to activate the glue, then hang it on the wall and smooth it. It’s cheap, so buy plenty of extra, and if it’s crooked or lumpy while you get the ‘hang’ of it, just peel it off, reposition, or throw it away and start with a new piece. If they weren’t my walls, I wouldn’t spend any more time, money, or effort on it than that.

Just to be clear.
Do you just want to get rid of the alligatoring and cracks or do you want to do a real wall to wall, floor to ceiling new coat of plaster? The former is something any one who’s comfortable hanging drywall can handle, the latter, a real skim coat, requires the same skill set that a professional plasterer has.

What’s in your toolkit? What’s the widest drywall knife you own? Do ya got a corner tool?
Learning the basics is simple, watching the ease that someone with l33t skills can do it makes it clear . . . it ain’t something you can master in a weekend!

CMC fnord!

Just returning to the Internet. Well, this is depressing but helpful. I didn’t think it would be a simple skill to work out but doing many hours of work for crappy results isn’t what I’m into.

1/4" board didn’t occur to me. Why not move? Because we cannot afford to move in this city and get anything that’s not even smaller than where we are now.

Landlady sorely owes my wife this work, but we would literally have to move out to have any walls worked on. ( Densely packed apartment ).

I thought that moving a wall clear at a time and skim coating might resolve things. I suspect now it cannot.

Pity, that.