Is Skimming Cheaper Than Plastering?

Skimming A Wall

Plastering a room and skimming a room are very similar, but there are a few distinct differences that separate them both in terms of plastering cost versus skimming cost, and the length of time they take. However, the two are not necessarily interchangeable.

If you’re doing some DIY, or looking to hire someone to do DIY, it is important to know whether skimming walls or plastering walls is cheaper, which one is best for your wall space and what each of them will involve. With insights from Top Notch Walls here’s all that you need to know about the differences when it comes to everything from cost factors to ease.

What’s the difference between skimming and plastering?

Skimming is technically a part of the plastering process. A skim coat is the final layer of plaster that is put on during plastering jobs. Plastering, alternatively, is the entire process as you would when first building a house.

On old plaster, skimming can help refresh the existing plaster and prevent dust or cracking. On wet plaster, skimming is simply an essential step in the process.

How much does skimming cost?

By nature, most of the time a skim coat will be cheaper than plastering jobs. This is because it’s only one layer. A professional plasterer will usually charge less, and if you’re doing it yourself you will not need as much plaster to apply a skim coat.

On average, skimming costs:

  • A small wall: £100 to £150
  • A medium wall: £150 to £250
  • A large wall: £200 to £400
  • A small ceiling: £200 to £280
  • A medium ceiling: £280 to £380
  • A large ceiling: £200 to £400

How much does plastering cost?

Alternatively, plastering costs much more and is usually for full house refurbishments. This is because it involves preparing the interior walls of the entire room (or entire space you wish to plaster), and uses much more plaster. As a result, the labour costs are also higher as it is more skilled work and takes many more hours.

Plastering is therefore usually saved for walls where the old plaster is completely falling apart or in a new home that has no plaster on the walls. The cost to plaster is a reasonable amount, so unless it is a small room, it is worth opting to skim where possible rather than re plastering.

On average, a plastering job will cost:

  • Plastering cost for a small room: £600 to £700
  • Plastering cost for a medium room: £650 to £900
  • Plastering costs for a large room: £1,000 to £1,500
  • Plastering costs for a small ceiling: £200 to £350
  • Plastering costs for a medium ceiling: £250 to £450
  • Plastering costs for a large ceiling: £400 to £750
Plastering a wall

Why does wet plastering cost so much more?

According to Drycore, to truly understand why plastering jobs cost more when they’re applying new plaster and not just plaster skim, it is important to know the process of plastering. This will help you to understand the cost of plastering – and help you to know what it is that you’re paying a professional plasterer to do.

What plastering involves:

  • Preparing the walls: the plasterer must knock loose plaster lumps and remove old paint or wallpaper from the wall before they can put the new plaster up. The old plaster must be fully removed so that the new plaster can stick and form a smooth surface. This will involve using a wire brush in a process called ‘scabbing’. The walls must then be treated with PVA or water to allow the new plaster to stick when the wet plastering begins.
  • First layer: once the existing plaster has gone, the plastering job can begin. This will start with a reasonably thick layer of plaster that is applied with a trowel. It must then be left to dry for several hours before the next step can take place.
  • The skim plaster: the skim coat can then be added as a finishing plaster. This allows a smooth surface to be formed and uses much less plaster than the first layer. It involves a lot of care, as the plasterer needs to ensure that it will dry a completely smooth surface as it is the final layer.

Should I get my medium sized room skimmed or plastered?

This comes down to more than just: is skimming cheaper than plastering? As it depends on the state of your existing plaster. If you have a medium sized room with plaster that is in good condition, but there’s one section of the wall that seems to flake away when you touch it, then you’re better off getting a plaster skim, as it will be cheaper.

Alternatively, if you have a room where the existing plaster is falling apart, or you’ve got a room (small room, large room or anything in between) that has never been plastered, then you will need to pay out. A full plastering job is in order. Just a skim job will not provide you with a smooth surface, and while you’ll have fresh plaster it will only be a very thin layer.

Can I plaster my own walls?

To save money, lots of people consider doing their own plastering and skimming. You can do it yourself, but one is much easier than the other. If you’ve never done anything like plastering before, and you only need a finishing plaster skim coating, then you’ll probably be fine. If, however, you need to do some re-plastering or you’re plastering a room for the first time, you should probably hire professional plasterers.

The professional plastering job will save you money, as they will know what they are doing and do it as quickly and efficiently as possible. You will not be left with leftover plaster or a botched job, and it will likely last longer than a DIY job.

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