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Skimming plaster is a relatively straightforward job. It’s literally a few millimetres thick, but it can have a huge impact on your home. Finding an expert for your skimming is a must to get a smooth crisp finish. To refresh your walls and ceilings this year and create the ideal surface for decorating, find an expert plasterer today.

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Skimming plaster is the secret weapon of any home renovation connoisseur, giving you a smooth, modern finish to work from. It instantly transforms a drab interior and can be used to cover up dated decorative surfaces and fusty old-fashioned patterns.

It may look easy enough, but skimming is a job for a seasoned plastering pro. The skim layer itself is wafer-thin –just 1–2 mm in depth. That means it must be applied precisely, and with painstaking care. And before you even reach for a trowel, you’ll need to ensure the surface you’re plastering is correctly prepared, while also mixing your skim plaster to perfection.

Once your tradesperson has finished skimming walls and ceilings in your home, it will be ready to decorate however you choose. But remember – painting on fresh plaster may need a dedicated base coat, or the new surface may start to flake and crumble.

What is the price of skimming?

Most plastering jobs are priced per square metre. While a full plastering job will cost around £15 per sqm, skimming alone is usually cheaper (as it’s quicker). Expect to pay between £3–£5 per sqm.

How to skim plaster

  1. Every experienced tradesperson knows that the essential first step in any job is gathering the right tools and materials. For skimming plaster, it means the correct type of plaster (more on that below). It also means a large bucket, an electric mixer (or a drill with a mixer attachment), a stainless-steel trowel, a plastering hawk, a float, a step ladder and a large paintbrush. Finally, you’ll need a supply of clean water nearby too.
  2. The next task is measuring the ceiling or wall to calculate how much plaster is needed. Depending on the type of plaster your professional is using (and the manufacturer), this could vary. Be sure to check the instructions on the plaster bag. 
  3. Following those same instructions, your plasterer will slowly fill the required measure of water in a large bucket and gradually add the plaster, stirring the mixture as they go. When all the water and plaster has been added, they’ll start to mix using an electric mixer or drill. The consistency they’re looking for is similar to that of double cream.
  4. Your pro will moisten the surface of their hawk and apply some plaster to it. They can then take the necessary amount of plaster from the hawk onto the float and apply it to the wall or ceiling. When plastering, they’ll hold the float at a slight angle to the wall and work towards themselves, aiming for a thickness of around 1–2 mm.
  5. The entire wall or ceiling needs to be covered in one hit, including all edges and extremities. The plaster lasts around 30 minutes before it goes off. At this stage, the plasterer will just be looking to make sure there are no large lumps.
  6. After around 10–15 minutes, they can do a touch test. If the plaster marks but doesn’t leave a fingerprint, it’s ready to be smoothed over with a clean float. This is when any lines or bumps can be removed.
  7. It’s then time to apply a second coat of plaster, following the same process that we’ve outlined above. As soon as the second coat is dry, it can be “closed in” – smoothing it over with a metal float. This process should be repeated another three or four times, leaving an interval of around 10–15 minutes between each pass.
  8. Finally, your plasterer will use a dry paint brush to sweep away any plaster from the edge of your wall or ceiling. The plaster will then need to be left to dry out fully for a few days before decorating.

What type of plaster to use for skimming

Pop down to your local DIY store or builders’ merchant and you’ll probably find a deluge of plaster products. The type of plaster you’ll need will depend on the surface you’re skimming over.

Here’s a brief guide to the types of plaster you can use for skimming:

  • Multi-finish plaster. A versatile plaster that can be used to skim over undercoats, existing decorative surfaces and plasterboard.
  • Board-finish plaster. Ideal for use on plasterboard, as well as other low grip surfaces.
  • Durable or tough-finish plaster. This versatile product is tougher than standard plaster and engineered to withstand knocks or bumps.
  • Finishing plaster. Designed to finish undercoat plasters and plasterboard, this product delivers a supremely smooth surface.
  • PVA-less plaster. A plaster that will grip without having to prepare surfaces using PVA first.

The qualifications your tradesperson needs

Your plasterer won’t necessarily need any trade body accreditations or formal certifications. But you should expect them to hold some evidence of training – either a City & Guilds, NVQ or diploma qualification. This shows they’ll be versed in best practices and have the necessary knowledge to deliver a top-notch service.

Insurance your tradesperson needs

Check your tradesperson has public liability insurance. Chances are everything will be fine. But just in case anything goes awry when your skim plastering is taking place (think stained carpets or damage to your possessions), public liability insurance will cover you and your tradesperson.

Questions you should ask your tradesperson

  • What type of plaster would they recommend using (and why)?
  • Can they skim over the particular type of surface you want to plaster?
  • Does their quote include labour and materials?
  • How would they recommend preparing the new plaster for decoration?

13 years experience in the plastering industry We offer high professional standards of plastering and friendly, free advice to all commercial and domestic customers Our company has worked on many projects from large contracts new builds to smaller domestic jobs we understand that clients require a professional approach and keeping them happy is our aim.

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Reviewed by Hudson on 18/6/2024

Quality work, clean and professional. Will be definitely using them again.

We take on all aspects of plastering work from artex removal ceiling replacements re-skims rendering we are Manchester based An work within greater Manchester

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Reviewed by Charlie on 11/6/2024

Undercoat and Finish Plastering. Skimming. Lath & Plaster repairs. Plastering & Electrical

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Reviewed by John on 8/6/2024

Great service and results at a last minute especially given the madness of site and late notice.

For friendly reliable service. Over 18 years experience. No Job to big or small - guaranteed work and attention to detail k is everything ????????

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Reviewed by Zeeshan on 29/3/2024

Very professional. Turned up exactly when he said he would and did a great job. Would definitely recommend.

I have been in the building trade for more than 30 years. I have a good reputation and I thrive on working to a high stranded. If references are required then I will provide them and I will guarantee all my work.

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Reviewed by Trish on 20/2/2024

Really pleased with the two guys that did my job, really hard working guys. They have done a great job for me and cleared up after themselves :) I would certainly recommend them to anyone. THANK YOU so much Mark & Dave ????????????????

Spreads Plastering Service established since 1979. Reliable, clean & experienced service with reasonable rates in Greater London.

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Reviewed by Maria on 4/6/2024

Top quality plastering. We're very pleased with the results and will definitely be using Spreads Plastering in the future. Thank you Val!

With over 15 years of experience, George and Co provide very good service in all aspects of plastering. I am a qualified and professional worker, aiming to be always on time and budget. My priority is customer satisfaction.

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Reviewed by Robert on 12/6/2024

Excellent plastering work

Hi there we are a plastering and building company We are a family run business Our aim is for customer satisfaction on every job Over 30 years exp All trades back up No job to small or big We cover Edinburgh lothians Fife Scottish Borders Artex removal specialist Damp proofing Fireplace specialist

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Reviewed by Allan on 4/5/2024

At DCA plastering and Roughcasting LTD our experienced team of tradesmen always do an exceptional job with a smile on their face. We’re a family orientated company, working for private and commercial customers, constantly hitting high standards. This is what sets us apart from other firms. All aspects of work undertaken We provide a ‘start to finish’ professional and reliable service incorporating all trades to complete the job that you require carried out by 1st class experienced and responsible tradesmen. All our work is fully guaranteed and 100% customer satisfaction is our aim.

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Reviewed by Paul on 18/6/2024

Daniel arranged our job quickly and easily at a very competitive price. He kept us fully informed at each stage of the process what was happening and when. Good quality workmanship. Would have given 5 stars but the colour of the harling is slightly darker than the other walls, however, we appreciate that it is very difficult to get an exact match, so would say 4.5 or 4.75 stars, rather than 4. Fantastic service overall, would definitely recommend without hesitation and would use again.

We are a family run business with 10 years experience in plastering and general building services - all our work is professional and guaranteed 100% satisfaction in all our services we are provide. Reliable,clean& reasonable prices to suit all budgets

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Reviewed by Michael on 12/5/2024

I am a plasterer with over 15 years experience specializing in the domestic sector. I am a hardworking individual with a professional approach towards my trade and always ensure that the job is left clean and tidy and the customer is satisfied.

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Reviewed by S on 23/5/2024

I was very pleased with the plastering service Gary provided. I thought his costs were very reasonable and he was friendly, punctual and left the area clean and tidy.

Stefans plastering Ltd are a a quality plastering company which aims to provide a reliable and cost effective Plastering and building service to the general public and clients working with in construction. Al our plastering and building work is delivered to the Highest standards. Our team of experienced time served plasterers are clean, tidy well presented and adhere to health and safety policies. If you require any of our services please do not hesitate to get in touch we will be happy to help. Also we may provide with following: Plastering Rendering Painting Tape and Jointing Flooring Garden fencing. With more than 15 years of experience and knowledge.

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Reviewed by David on 4/4/2024

Work done very tidily and cleanly with no issues.


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Reviewed by Vince on 18/6/2024

Liam was great. No fuss, he just got on with the agreed work In a punctual, efficient and very satisfactory manner. Would definitely recommend him to anyone!

Nick Welcomes you to Sycamore Property Maintenance. We are a Tameside based company that prides itself on quality of workmanship and working to customers deadlines. We pride ourselves on great levels of customer service and importantly client satisfaction, which we achieve by using the best professionals, ensuring an exceptional finish, delivering on time and importantly within budget. Our aim is nothing short of 100% client satisfaction from conception to completion It is inevitable that any building project can be a very stressful time for clients and their families, whether you are building yourself a new home, an extension or simply require some general maintenance things can be overwhelming. Here at Sycamore Property Maintenance. We will ensure your experience with us will be a comfortable one from start to finish. we pride ourselves on constant quality workmanship and set ourselves high standard throughout each project. We are a company that focuses on customer care. We guarantee that the work will be completed on-time, on-budget, and above all else to an excellent standard. With our dedicated team of friendly qualified tradesmen and our successful relationships with all our clients, you will have peace of mind that you are in safe hands, and you will receive no less than a top quality job that you can be proud of.

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Reviewed by Leigh on 28/5/2024

Nick was punctual and did an excellent job on the pantry. He cleaned up all his mess and was very helpful and efficient. Overall, I found his work to be outstanding.

I've been plastering for 35 years and I take great pride in my work.

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Reviewed by des on 24/4/2024

Frank did an excellent job. The walls are perfect! I would definitely recommend.

Internal skimming Plaster boarding Dry lining External rendering and dashing EWI Over 30 years experience NVQ time served

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Reviewed by Jane on 12/12/2023

Really great job done, no mess and a great price!

All types of plastering work undertaken from small patchwork to full house. Very friendly service and extremely clean. Hard working and reliable team.

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Reviewed by Alan on 5/4/2024

Hi guys, we are here to help get all your project completed to a high standard and also on time we have 15 years of experience in plastering and a great team Daniel is here to make this happen and get you your quote and job completed within reason and feel free to ask any questions etc thanks. We also Cover bathroom revamps and kitchen revamps and full house renovations also. Check out the before and afters Thanks Daniel

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Reviewed by Nicky on 4/3/2024

Very pleased with work, price and comunication. Would definitely recommend.

Benchmark plastering services has 20 years experience in delivering the perfect finish to homes and businesses all over the uk. All our work is guaranteed and we are fully insured. We cover all aspects of plastering from minor repairs to larger construction sites . We also cover all areas of plumbing first fix and second fix . Bathroom installation and general plumbing and heating Emergency call outs 24/7

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Reviewed by Steven on 10/5/2024

Great guy, hard working and does a great job. Turns up on time and does exactly what he promises. I will be using Phil again in the future. Thanks Phil.

Amd Plasterers has been trading for 45 years and has a very good reputation. Most work coming from recommendations. We supply all materials, take no money upfront and all work is guaranteed.

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Reviewed by Sharon on 10/5/2024

Arrived promptly to provide a quote and did NOT arrive on the first date agreed to do the job but let me know and did not arrive on the second date and was uncontactable. This has given the person 5 stars I’ll never use it again.

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