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Can You Skim Coat Over Wallpaper?

Can You Skim Coat Over Wallpaper

Have you ever had a wall that was just too ugly to cover with paint? Have you wondered if there was a way to just skim coat over a wall in a beautiful pattern, without the hassle of sanding, priming, or even painting the wall? 

So this question may accrue, can you skim coat over wallpaper? The good news is that it’s not impossible. You just need to learn how to skim coat over wallpaper. Here’s how you can do this without having to tear up your walls!

What is Skim Coat? 

A skim coat is a special coating you can add to your home’s wallpaper. It’s a form of latex paint that’s meant to protect the paper from damage caused by water and humidity. This special finish also makes the paper easier to hang because it sticks better to the wall than ordinary paint. As for why it’s called a skim coat, it’s due to the fact that when latex paint is applied to the wall, it forms a thin protective layer on the paper.

Can You Skim Coat Over Wallpaper: Step by Step Guideline

We wonder if it is possible to skim coats over wallpaper. The answer is yes. You can apply a skim coat. For that, you need to follow some steps and consider some factors.

Step 1: Preparing the walls to start

  • This method of how to retexture a wall is perfect for those who don’t want to spot-prime. Instead, you use a stain-blocking sealer to roll the entire wall.
  • Don’t waste your time with those old-fashioned sealers. Zinsser’s Bulls Eye 1-2-3 primer works well and it won’t smell.
  • Apply a fast-drying, stain-sealing drywall primer on the walls. The loose paper will be prevented from flaking off and the joint compound will be improved.
  • These are thin layers of concrete that are used to fill in any uneven areas in the walls or ceilings.
  •  You can make your skimming process more effective by applying the compound first.
  • Don’t hurry; wait until the sealer is dry before applying any joint compound.

Step 2: Apply layer of joint compound

  • To mix all-purpose joint compounds, add enough water to the compound to get the consistency of mayonnaise. There will be shrinkage if you mix it too moist.
  • Apply a thin layer of joint compound on the walls, then roll it with a roller that is slightly thinner than a heavy-nap roller.
  • It will be easier to work with if you smooth out the joint compound before it dries.
  • Use a mud roller to roll mud over an area about four feet square.

Step 3: The first coat should be trowel

  • Use the squeegee knife to smooth the joint compound.
  • To work on it, a damp rag and a mud pan are essential. After every few strokes, use the rag to wipe the blade and the mud pan to wipe off the excess mud that builds upon the blade.
  • Starting at the top of the wall, hold the squeegee knife and pull it down.
  • Complete each vertical pass until you finish the section.

Step 4: Pull up from below

  • Some areas might need to be done a few times before you can use the squeegee knife. After the top section has dried, you can smooth the lower half of the wall by pulling the trowel upward.
  • The knife should be pulled from the bottom.
  • Smooth along the edges as you go.

Step 5: Take off all the lumps

  • The first coat of the joint compound should be dry. Here’s a tip for making your dryer faster: Bring a space heater and a box fan or two.
  • A quick wipe with a damp cloth after the first coat of paint will remove lumps and prevent streaking.
  • You are now ready to clean your wall and get ready for the next coat.

Step 6: The second coat directions should be changed

  • It can be a lot of work to apply two or three coats of joint compound, but the process is quick and the thin layers dry fast.
  • You need to have a smooth surface before you can sand it. You can use this squeegee-like taping knife for smoothing out tape joints, too. It tapers the edges and you won’t have any trowel or taping knife marks.
  • Scrape off each successive layer at a right angle to the previous one.
  • If you notice flaws after the second coat dries, apply a third coat.
  • Sand the wall with 120-grit paper after the last coat dries.

Things to Consider while Skimming Over Wallpaper

  1. It’s best to avoid skimming over the walls if they are not in good condition or have recently been painted.
  2. When assessing the state of the walls, you have to check if there is any molting paint.
  3. You should consider the type of paint you want to skim.

Pros and Cons of Skim Coat

A skim coating is the most important part of the wall. It helps the wall or ceiling for a long time. The advantages and disadvantages of this are shown below.


  1. A skim coating has more process, but the cost is low, and it can be applied easier.
  2. A skim coat helps create a visual hierarchy.
  3. The colors in the skim coat can help convey a sense of realism. If you want to make a skimming effect, you can use muted colors like blue, green, grey, or white, which is the least distracting.
  4. A skim coat also helps to define a space visually. This is especially important if you plan to display photos, videos, or text on the wall.


  1. The first drawback is that it makes the paper difficult to remove. To peel it off, one must either tear it or pull the wallpaper up and off.
  2. Using a skim coat is that it tends to leave the wallpaper a bit sticky, making it hard to reposition.
  3. When wallpaper is skim coated, the surface can be easily scratched. 
  4. The major drawback of using a skim coat is that it isn’t removable, which means that the skim coating will be left behind when you wash the wallpaper.


Q.1 Is it possible to skim coat over painted concrete?

Ans: It’s possible to skim coat the paint.  If the paint looks good and the concrete wall is in good condition, you can skim coat it. The term “good condition” means a wall without cracks and damage.

Q.2 How to skim coat wallpaper with polyurethane?

Ans: Polyurethane can be used to help protect walls from paint and other things that get on the wall. It can also make your walls look more interesting. For a skimming effect, apply a light coating of polyurethane and let it dry overnight. Use a paper towel to remove excess. You may need to apply a second layer to make the finish really smooth.


If your walls are a little worn and starting to look dated, you can still keep the original color by using a coat of skim coat. This product is designed to give a glossy sheen to wall coverings. It also helps to hide imperfections on the surface of the wall, so it works as an easy alternative to paint for small projects like repairing walls or adding color to dingy walls.

Hope this blog post will help you to understand the right process about how you can skim over the wallpaper.

Can You Skim Coat Over Wallpaper?

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