Is skimming cheaper than plastering?

If you’re looking to get some work done to your walls, you will likely have come across both the term plastering and the term skimming. But what is the difference? Is one cheaper than the other? Can you dodge the plastering cost by opting only for a skim coat? Or is it worth getting a plastering job done in the long run?

With tips from Top Notch Walls here’s what you need to know about the question: is skimming cheaper than plastering?

A person plastering with a spatula.

What is plastering?

Plastering, sometimes called wet plastering, is the process of protecting walls and ceilings from deterioration using plaster. Plaster is made up of either lime, gypsum or cement and water. Regardless of whether you are using lime, cement or gypsum plaster, it will work the same way. The powder is mixed with water to form a very stiff paste that is workable for a short time. It is applied to the surface of the wall and then sets to form a solid cover.

What is skimming?

Skimming or skim plastering is a technique that can be used in a plastering job. It involves plastering using only a very thin coat and is usually done to a wall with existing plaster to smooth the surface area.

How much does plastering cost?

How much a plastering job might cost will depend on where you’re looking to wet plaster and who you hire. Professional plasterer companies will charge for both the equipment and the labour costs, so you must always consider that.

Alternatively, you can opt to do the wet plastering yourself, but it is a messy job, and if you’re taking down existing plaster too you might find it quite hard.

Small patch repair plastering cost

To just repair a hole in the plaster on a wall, the cost is relatively minimal. You can expect to pay between £70 and £130 for a small patch repair on average.

Single wall plastering job cost

For one whole wall plastered you can expect to pay between £150 and £200. Obviously, this will depend on the size of the wall, as well as the state of the wall. A new wall that has not been plastered before may cost slightly different amounts than a wall with deteriorating plaster, for example.

Plastering costs for a whole room

The cost to plaster a room will depend on the size. To plaster a room classed as a ‘small room’, you can expect to pay between £400 and £500. The cost to plaster a medium sized room will be slightly higher, at £500 to £700. For a large room, the cost to plaster could be as high as £1,000 to £1,400.

Again, these costs are dependent on size, and also the state of the walls.

Ceiling plastering cost

Also dependent on size, plastering a ceiling can be more expensive than simply paying someone to plaster a room, as it is not as easy to access. The average wet plastering cost for a small ceiling is £200, but for larger ceilings it can be as much as £750.

A person using a trowel to plaster a wall.

How much does skimming cost?

As a general rule, skim plaster will cost less than plastering jobs. This is because plastering jobs involve multiple layers (usually including a skim coat) whereas skim plastering is a single smooth surface.

Single wall skim coat costs

On average, plaster skim for one wall will cost £150 to £200. This will obviously depend on size and state of the wall, for some large walls it could be as high as £400. You may find that your professional plasterer recommends that the wall be actually plastered rather than skimmed.

Skim coating a ceiling costs

To apply a skim coat to a ceiling, you can expect to pay between £200 and £550 depending on the size of the ceiling.

Skim coat plastering cost for a room

For a whole room plaster skim, the cost will usually be between £350 to £800 depending on the room’s size. For a small room, the cost to plaster with just a skim will likely sit between £350 and £500, and then go up to £400 to $500 for a medium sized room and more for larger rooms.

Additional plastering costs to consider:

These are not the only costs to consider when you decide to plaster a room, though. There are a few things that could bring extra charges with them.

Cost of waste removal

Some professional plasterer companies will pay for this, but not all of them, and if you decide to DIY plaster a room then it’ll be up to you. There will inevitably be waste when you plaster, especially if you’re removing old plaster or existing plaster. This will cost to take to the tip or skip – how much will depend on your local prices.

Cost of materials

For those who decide to plaster themselves, you will need to buy the equipment needed to create that truly smooth surface. This is quite a big purchase, especially if you don’t intend to do a lot of plastering.

It is always recommended to get high-quality products, too, as these will help you to ensure you have a good plastering technique and the kit will last longer, making it more likely that you will be able to use them again.

Cost of painting skirting boards

Once you’ve decorated walls, you will likely find that you need to repaint your skirting boards. The existing plaster may well have been a different colour or may have simply faded over time. When you get new plaster walls, you might decide that they need the skirting boards done to match.

Storage costs

In rooms with lots of furniture in, you might find that you need to store your stuff. Especially in a small room. To make sure that you get a smooth finish, it is best to keep all the furniture out of the way to allow yourself or the professionals better access and space.

External walls

You can also get your external walls plastered, although this often costs more as the labour costs will go up. Plastering external walls involves scaffolding and much more labour than plastering internal walls. You may also find that you can only hire professional plasterers to do a full plastering job on your external walls at certain times of the year.

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