As we spend more time in our homes, we are more apt to notice little imperfections and things that need our attention. Whether it is a damaged countertop, a loose piece of trim, a broken piece of furniture or a crack on the wall, these repairs can slowly drive us all crazy.
What I hear about more often than not, are homeowners asking how they can make their walls look better, cleaner and smoother. Whether their walls look like an orange peel, have joint lines showing through the paint or there are little nicks in the wall, homeowners are looking for a solution to restore their walls so they appear seamless.
The walls of your home can experience major wear and tear over time. That coupled with your home settling, can lead to joint separations, chipped paint and other imperfections. There is no need to replace the drywall to restore that brand new look you are looking for. Surprisingly enough, there is an easier way to make them look new again. Apply a skim coat before you paint.
A skim coat is a thin layer of drywall joint compound that when applied properly, gives a seamless, smooth finish. Drywall compound can be used for a variety of purposes – to add wall texture, to fill in gaps and holes and to smooth out any type of damage done to your walls.
However, you cannot just open a bucket of drywall compound and slap it on the walls. The material is too thick and needs to be properly thinned and mixed to prepare it for the skim coat process. The skim coat should also be applied with the proper tools and technique, as applying it incorrectly can lead to a more uneven finish.
Skim coating your wall is different than just painting it. so you may need some practice, or a professional. Before skim coating your walls, it is recommended you apply a primer on the existing surface to seal it from further damage and moisture. It is important to prime the whole wall, not just spots here or there.
It is not uncommon for homeowners to think that a new coat of paint will make the walls look brand new again – it happens all the time. They only realize that is not the case once the paint job is complete and all the flaws that were in the wall before are either still noticeable or more noticeable than before, especially when using a paint finish with some shine. A flat or matt paint finish can mask some of the defects, although not fully, and not always. Remember, when applying higher gloss paints on your walls, the imperfections will more likely show through.
If you are on the fence about skim coating all the walls of your home, consider at least skim coating the ones where direct sunlight or shadows hit the wall or where the room makes the most impact – like a living room or dining room.
Imperfections are more visible when there is either light shining directly on the wall or shadows. If you are planning to install lighting directly on the wall or want to place track lighting along the ceiling, consider skim coating the walls to help with uneven shadows.
If you have or are buying a new home, look carefully at the painted and finished walls. Are there tape lines or uneven patches of paint? It could be that the walls were not properly primed and prepped for paint. Too often, new sheetrock is installed, taped and prepped improperly and the paint appears uneven and blotchy. Making an investment in skim coating your walls can improve the aesthetic of your interior space and make the paint part of the design, as opposed to it being a covering of the ugly walls under the paint.
Overall, skim coating is critical to having perfect walls, like the ones you see in home decorating magazines and on renovation programs. Primer and paint cannot fix a damaged, dented or slightly warped wall – but a layer of skim coat can.
Skim coating is a craft and an important part of refinishing the walls of your home. In the grand scope of your home renovation (or even just redecorating a room or two), the investment is a small price to pay when the end results provide such an impactful difference.
If you are considering painting or applying wallpaper on your walls, consider consulting with a professional first. They will assess the condition of your existing walls, taking into consideration both natural lighting and the placement of your lighting fixtures, and provide you with their professional opinion on how to make your home even more beautiful.
Lou Spagnuolo, President Finishing Touch Painting
(646) 302-6511 www.finishingtouchnyc.com