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How to skim coat walls with a roller

Updated April 17, 2017

If your walls are slightly uneven or damaged, skim coating a light coat of drywall mud over the surface evens them out. Drywall mud is a thick substance that is spreadable and easily sanded to a smooth finish after drying. Choose between a dry powder you mix with water and a premixed mud. The drying time varies depending on the amount of mud you use and the humidity of the area, but the mud you mix yourself tends to dry faster.

Mix the drywall mud in a large bucket with an electric drill and mud paddle. If you purchased the powdered form, add water and stir. The premixed mud needs stirred also, and you may need to add water. Follow the directions on the package regarding the amount of water you need to add, as it varies with the manufacturer.

Continue to mix in small amounts of water to thin the mud down for rolling purposes. It is thin enough to use with a roller when it has reached the consistency of a milkshake.

Pour the thinned down mud into a paint tray. Use a roller with a 1/2-inch nap cover to roll three-foot wide by four-foot high sections, one section at a time so it does not dry before you have a chance to smooth it out.

Pull a drywall knife lightly over the wall. Leave just enough compound to evenly and lightly cover the wall. Sand with fine-grit sandpaper as needed.

Move on to the next section. Overlap slightly when moving to the next section to avoid heavy lines. Continue until you have finished the drywall that needs skim coated. Let dry thoroughly before applying paint.

Things You'll Need

  • Electric drill
  • Mud paddle
  • Large bucket
  • Stir stick
  • Paint tray
  • Drywall knife
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
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About the Author

Annabelle Lee has been working in the journalism field since 1990. She was a teacher and yearbook adviser for four years and holds two associate degrees from her local community college where she currently teaches computer classes. Lee also writes for a local newspaper and was a proofreader for McGraw-Hill.