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Skim Coating

 
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Old 03-30-2008, 10:59 AM   #1
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Skim Coating


I do drywall work all the time, sometimes big jobs, sometimes little repair jobs, but the one thing I always turn down, is skimcoating. Is there a science to this or is it just getting a nice even coat of mud down and sanding or WHAT?
I turned down a pretty big living room job because I was not familiar with it and that bothered me to turn down a job.
So, like I asked, is this a science or are there products out there to help to make it a little easier? IE, I was watching that new construction show on Discovery, the one with the 2 brothers in Brooklyn (Design Tech is the name of their business), and the one laid down a mesh tape about 4 feet wide and then mudded over that. Now I don't know if that was specific to plaster walls or not, but it's just something I noticed..
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Old 03-30-2008, 01:42 PM   #2
 
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Re: Skim Coating


I hate skim coating I avoid it at all cost its not that hard to do its just very time consuming and hard on the shoulder. was it a scraped stipple ceiling? if so you should probably do at least two coats. kinda like hand coating a butt joint you just keep going till you hit the wall :P then sand like your life depends on it and start skimming. you may need a third touch-up coat if you want hyper quality. I try not to assume this position at all costs.

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Old 03-30-2008, 02:04 PM   #3
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Re: Skim Coating


I have to do this quite a bit in plaster repair for old homes. No way around it, it's a PITA. I do two light and tight coats and the a touch up after sanding.

I do this for level 5 finishes as well. I can't afford to buy a very expensive sprayer for something that only comes up on occasion.
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Old 03-30-2008, 02:33 PM   #4
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Re: Skim Coating


I do mostly carpentry, but I can tape and repair old plaster, and had worked primarily on older homes in Connecticut and Massachusetts before moving to the midwest. For skim coating I use a finishing trowel and a 20" rubber squeegee. If you don't need to be historically correct try a squeegee first and then a trowel with topping mix. There is a learning curve, but you can do a nice job with those tools. As you said Towertaper, tough on the shoulders.
Trowel, squeegee,spray water bottle and topping mix.
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Old 03-30-2008, 03:14 PM   #5
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Re: Skim Coating


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Originally Posted by silvertree View Post
I do mostly carpentry, but I can tape and repair old plaster, and had worked primarily on older homes in Connecticut and Massachusetts before moving to the midwest. For skim coating I use a finishing trowel and a 20" rubber squeegee. If you don't need to be historically correct try a squeegee first and then a trowel with topping mix. There is a learning curve, but you can do a nice job with those tools. As you said Towertaper, tough on the shoulders.
Trowel, squeegee,spray water bottle and topping mix.
Thats an interesting technique! Do you use the squeegee on the first and second coat or just the second? I would want to build the material up on the first time through and then maybe smooth things out with the squeegee method second. Might try that next time
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Old 03-30-2008, 03:28 PM   #6
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Re: Skim Coating


I don't do much coating and taping now-a-days... but, I can still hold my own.

The key is the shape of the knife. The one I still use, when I have to, is slightly curved or leveled on the edges. Arched slightly at the center. It got this way from alot of use. (Filing, if knicks developed).

FWIW: I didn't think much of my taping skills/coating skills, till about 8 years ago, when a very old timer (retired) paid me a compliment, while we were both on a volunteer project. That made me realize that I am half-decent at it.

I can do very smooth and even, compound skim-coating with this knife, and leave virtually no ridges. However, give me a "new" knife, that isn't shaped that way, and, there are going to be lines and edges...

The thing that you (bujaly) need to realize, is that this is something that was learned from about 5+ years of doing taping/coating/drywall fulltime (when I started off in the business). It is not something that you will pick-up" from doing "alot" of "drywall" ....on projects. I am still glad that it is the first skill I learned in the trades, as I consider it the most difficult, patience-racking, and advantageous skill for the line of work I am in.
I still chuckle when our tapers (newly-hired guys) try to slip something (crappy work) by me on a project at the drywall stage, because they think I "need them" in order to get the work done...

Example (before sanding):




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Old 03-30-2008, 04:28 PM   #7
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Re: Skim Coating


I recently skim coated a large ceiling that had vermiculite acustic texture . 2 coats(90 min. mud) opposite directions and 1 touch up coat(all purpose) then srayed w/ Knockdown. Turned out nice.







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Old 03-30-2008, 05:03 PM   #8
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Re: Skim Coating


Nice Job!
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Old 03-30-2008, 05:41 PM   #9
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Re: Skim Coating


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason W View Post
Thats an interesting technique! Do you use the squeegee on the first and second coat or just the second? I would want to build the material up on the first time through and then maybe smooth things out with the squeegee method second. Might try that next time
Jason, I use the squeegee on the first coat, and I bought 2 squeegees, the ones the commercial window washers use. At first you lay some mud, get it on there and then squeegee. I have a 20" that takes some muscle and a 12". Sounds crazy, but it works. Expect a mess until you get the hang of it. You can also do some interesting textures, although thats not my thing. I like smooth walls and ceilings, no raceways just everything smooth. If you want drama, I do moldings. When I lived in New England (I was born in CT), I did homes in Londonderry,VT and played guitar at an inn in the center of town, then I spent time working all over the New England states. Some of my Minnesota friends still refer to me as the Yankee! Picked up the squeegee thing when a friend and I were trying out different ways to lay mud on large areas. Personally, a finishing trowel and a hawk are hard to beat.
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Old 03-30-2008, 06:24 PM   #10
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Re: Skim Coating


Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlanticWBConst View Post
Nice Job!
Thanks. I forgot to mention after the 1st coat and 2nd coat I scraped the high ridges w/ an 8" knife. I usually don't get ridges, but when you going directly over hard vermiculite popcorn you tend to get a little chatter.
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Old 03-30-2008, 07:17 PM   #11
 
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Re: Skim Coating


I just did a 3200 squ. foot straw bale house in Utah. The interior was gunnite and knockdown and the lady was tired of the roughness so she wanted it slick. After much experimenting this is how we got the best results. SWP sells a wall squeegee it looks like a window squeegee but thicker and flemsier rubber. You have to use sheetrock 90 or duabond for best results because it won't shrink back as bad. Scrape off all high spots and tits, then mix up 90 min. mud to a thick paint consistency, roll it on the wall with a 1 inch nap lambswool 9 inch roller, trowel behind right away with the squeegee you will be amazed. This was an occupied residence so lots of sanding was not an option. This method required very little. I tried premixed mud and it was not nearly as successful. There is good money in it because not many do it. To skim and prime and finish paint this ran 30,000.00. Because of the learning curve I din't make a lot of money but it was a warm job this winter. MOPAINT
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Old 04-13-2008, 05:30 PM   #12
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Re: Skim Coating


I think the nicest skim coat job I've ever seen was at PGA West in Palm Desert, Ca. Everything there was curved lots of bullnose etc.

These guys had magical trowels it seemed, they left no edges to speak of. Then of all things they pulled out a Hudson sprayer and sprayed the walls with water and sponged them. This finish looked like glass. I even tried it a few times, even tho my results were not as good as theirs, but it did work.
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Old 04-13-2008, 06:05 PM   #13
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Re: Skim Coating


Cool, I've never used the water/sponge technique, anyone know what the benefits of it is, besides the lack of dust?
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Old 04-13-2008, 07:32 PM   #14
 
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Re: Skim Coating


Hi, I read the post, and I thought I would add my "2 cents". I like skimming walls! I usually put the mud on with a 10" knife, and "lay it off" with a 14" trowel, then I skim that with a 12' knife. I don't sand much! The wide fiberglass mesh is good when going over plaster walls. staple the mesh on and it can take 3 coats to really make it "sweet". On that, if it really must be SMOOTH, I take a sanding sponge, (fine) and very, very lightly, use a circular motion and sand. Then you take a high wattage lightbulb and go over every inch. Each job is different, but I like doing it.
I never had much luck with a squeege, and I usually am working by myself on that type of job so maybe it is better with two, (the same with rolling it on with a roller first) because if you don't lay it off fast enough it will dry on you. ONE more thing, when doing brocade or knockdown, Ames tools sells a plexiglass knockdown blade, and it works great! when I was in Texas, I did a bunch of knockdown, and a guy told me about them. Works much better than the metal knockdown blades. I hope this helps and it adds some value or ease to your jobs
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Old 04-13-2008, 08:27 PM   #15
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Re: Skim Coating


Mix a lot. Doesn't it get a bit expensive to use 12-2 wire for your can lites?...or is that a 20 amp lighting circuit?
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Old 04-13-2008, 08:58 PM   #16
 
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Re: Skim Coating


If the wall is flat and fairly new, I, to great success have done the following: using a 12in box stripe the walls sideways leaving about 10 inches in between, then the next day stripe in between the first coat. on the third day go up and down very close and then like a nail line skim the middles, it comes out great with only a lite sanding with 220 grit, and can be painted with high gloss!!

I have also used thinned out compound and used a paint roller..twice does the job and using a flourescent lite for any finishing touches..
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Old 04-13-2008, 09:08 PM   #17
 
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Re: Skim Coating


12-2 might be code in his area. In my home town no 14 is allowed for ANYTHING. Electrician building my own home didn't know it (me either at the time). We both learned real fast come inspection time. All 14g had to be tore out.
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Old 04-14-2008, 06:49 PM   #18
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Re: Skim Coating


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Mix a lot. Doesn't it get a bit expensive to use 12-2 wire for your can lites?...or is that a 20 amp lighting circuit?
I'm just the Drywall, Texture, and paint guy.
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Old 04-15-2008, 06:07 AM   #19
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Re: Skim Coating


I have done skim coating of ceilings and walls for 25 years now, I have done hundreds of houses this way, A guy I use to work for calls me the Durabond King. My Brother and I use to use all Durabond 20 in the brown bags as our base coat put about a 1/8" thick then shave down the high spots, then we would hand sand to a smooth finish, as time went by we moved to 90 that way we could mix a whole bag of 90 in a 5, we would mix so it's like soft serve ice cream, then we would use a textured roller skin since it holds the mud better, then I would use a 14" knife and smooth it out, we would let it dry up then shave it down, then we take topping compound roll it on then I would use a 14" trowel and smooth this out then let it sit over night and then the next day we would come in set up our dust collector and set up ladders and planks around the room to do the ceiling and then sand everything using Dewalt palm sanders with 80 grit sandpaper, I have all kinds of pictures of this on my site, I can even do Crown mouldings with this stuff.

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Old 04-15-2008, 03:51 PM   #20
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Re: Skim Coating


I was on a job once and saw a guy skim coat with a roller.His helper would roll it on and he came befind him with a trowel.It is to this day one of the best jobs I have seen.I am not sure cause it was a few years ago.But I think he used some kind of "secret" mix of compound and primer.

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