By Emily Rivers
Last updated 25th June 2024

If you’re looking to redecorate a room but you’ve noticed the walls are looking a little tired with a few lumps and bumps, you probably need to have them skimmed.

Skimming a room involves a plasterer smoothing a thin layer of finishing plaster over the walls to give them a perfect surface ready for painting or wallpapering. But how much will it cost?

How much does it cost to skim a room?

Skimming a room is an effective way to achieve smooth, even walls ready for painting or wallpapering. It’s cheaper than plastering a room, as only a thin layer of plaster is applied over walls that have already been plastered in the past.

Expect it to cost £490 for an average-sized room (approx. 3m x 3m) to be skimmed.

Job

Average cost

Skimming a small 2m x 2m room

£437

Skimming an average 3m x 3m room

£490

Skimming a large 6m x 5m room

£613

Re-plastering a small room

£635

Re-plastering an average-sized room

£748

Re-plastering a large room

£1,185

Cost to skim a room

Skimming cost per m2

Skimming cost per m2 tends to range between £20-£30. However, it’s rare for plasterers to give you a quote or estimate for skimming, as it’s easier to give a price per job. The cost will vary based on the complexity of the job – bear in mind that although less materials are needed for smaller rooms, the lack of space may make the job more tricky for a plasterer, so the cost per m2 may still be high.

Factors that affect the cost of skimming a room

There are a few factors that affect the cost of skimming a room that you should take into account when getting quotes or estimates for the job:

  • Room size: Larger rooms require more materials and labour, increasing the overall cost.

  • Condition of walls: Walls in poor condition may need additional preparation work, and if they are particularly bad, your plasterer may recommend re-plastering rather than skimming.

  • Access: Difficult-to-reach areas will take your plasterer longer, so they’re likely to charge more.

  • Experience of the plasterer: More experienced plasterers may charge higher rates, but their work can result in a better finish.

  • Your location: Where you live has a big impact on the cost to skim a room. The cost of living varies across the UK, so plasterers will charge accordingly. The most expensive rates tend to be in large cities, with more rural areas experiencing lower rates.

At HaMuch, we’ve used our database of hourly and daily rates to estimate how much skimming a room costs in your area. Simply take a look at the table further down the page and find your local town or city to get a more accurate idea of how much skimming costs.

How long does it take to skim one room?

The time required to skim a room depends on its size and the condition of the walls. The average-sized room will take between 1-2 days to be skimmed, including preparation and clean-up. Larger rooms or those requiring extensive prep work could take longer.

Job

Estimated time taken

Skimming a small room

1-1.5 days

Skimming an average-sized room

1-2 days

Skimming a large room

2-3 days

Plastering a small room

2-3 days

Plastering an average-sized room

2-3 days

Plastering a large room

3-4 days

What's the difference between plastering and skimming?

As homeowners, we tend to use the terms plastering and skimming interchangeably. The truth is, they mean slightly different things. Plastering is the term given to the trade, and encompasses a range of techniques related to applying plaster to walls and ceilings. However, plastering can also refer to the practice of removing existing plaster, plasterboarding over then skimming to finish. This is usually done when walls are in particularly bad condition.

Therefore, skimming is a technique that plasterers use when they’re applying plaster. It’s typically done to refresh walls ready for painting or wallpapering and involves applying a thin layer of finishing plaster over the walls.

Is skimming cheaper than plastering?

Skimming is generally cheaper than full plastering because it involves applying a thinner layer of plaster and typically requires less material and labour. Plastering usually includes removing all existing plaster, dry lining or plasterboarding, then skimming the new boards to create an even finish. This work is much more extensive and can take up to double the time, so usually costs significantly more than skimming.

How do I know if I need skimming or plastering?

Consider whether your home fits into one of the following scenarios to determine whether you need skimming or plastering:

You may need skimming if:

  • The walls are in relatively good condition but have minor imperfections.

  • You want to refresh old or uneven surfaces to prepare for painting or wallpapering.

  • There is existing plaster that needs a smoother finish.

You may need plastering if:

  • The walls are new or have never been plastered before.

  • There are significant damages, such as large cracks, holes or crumbling plaster.

  • You need to build up the thickness of the wall for insulation or soundproofing.

How long does a skimmed room take to dry?

A skim coat can take anywhere from 24 hours to 3 days to dry, depending on factors such as room temperature, humidity and ventilation. In colder or more humid conditions, it may take up to a week to fully dry. The good news is that there’s a tell-tale sign that your skim coat is dry: it goes from a dark brown colour to a light pink. Once there are no more dark patches, the plaster is dry.

How long after a skim coat can I paint?

After skimming, it is essential to wait until the plaster is completely dry before painting. It’s sensible to wait at least 2 days before painting, even if you’ve noticed all the plaster turn light pink.

Don’t forget that you must apply a mist coat to fresh plaster, as it’s extremely porous. Water down your paint so that it’s half paint and half water then apply this to your walls before painting properly.

How long does a skim coat last?

A well-applied skim coat can last many years – often up to 20 years, provided your walls remain stable and free from significant movement or damage. Regular maintenance, such as filling minor cracks and repainting, can help extend its lifespan.

Can I skim my own walls?

While it is possible to skim your own walls, it requires a high level of skill to achieve a professional finish. Plasterers train for a number of years to get the finishes they achieve, and it’s difficult to get the same look on your first try.

We’d always recommend hiring an experienced plasterer for any skimming or plastering work you want to have done, but if you want to try a DIY job, it’s best to start on a small area first and practise before you go ahead and try to skim your own walls.

Ready to get quotes for skimming your walls? Post your job on HaMuch now and we’ll put you in touch with reliable plasterers in your area.


Estimates for common plasterer jobs;

Rates for other trades

Skim a room cost in the UK
Skim a room cost in the UK (excluding VAT or callout charges)
Location in UKSkim a room cost
Skim a room near Aberdeen£478
Skim a room near Amber Valley£474
Skim a room near Angus£530
Skim a room near Arun£477
Skim a room near Ashfield£480
Skim a room near Aylesbury Vale£502
Skim a room near Barnsley£466
Skim a room near Basildon£491
Skim a room near Basingstoke & Deane£488
Skim a room near Bassetlaw£460
Skim a room near Bath & North East Somerset£488
Skim a room near Bedford£484
Skim a room near Belfast£442
Skim a room near Birmingham£481
Skim a room near Blackburn£461
Skim a room near Blackpool£454
Skim a room near Bolton£460
Skim a room near Bournemouth£483
Skim a room near Bracknell Forest£504
Skim a room near Bradford£471
Skim a room near Braintree£474
Skim a room near Breckland£456
Skim a room near Bridgend£457
Skim a room near Brighton£484
Skim a room near Bristol£489
Skim a room near Broadland£441
Skim a room near Broxtowe£472
Skim a room near Bury£461
Skim a room near Caerphilly£475
Skim a room near Calderdale£466
Skim a room near Cambridge£486
Skim a room near Canterbury£507
Skim a room near Cardiff£474
Skim a room near Carmarthenshire£401
Skim a room near Charnwood£450
Skim a room near Chelmsford£485
Skim a room near Cheltenham£475
Skim a room near Cherwell£486
Skim a room near Chester£443
Skim a room near Colchester£460
Skim a room near Conway£445
Skim a room near Coventry£465
Skim a room near Crewe & Nantwich£455
Skim a room near Dacorum£503
Skim a room near Derby£478
Skim a room near Doncaster£464
Skim a room near Dover£458
Skim a room near Dudley£477
Skim a room near Dumfries & Galloway£450
Skim a room near Dundee£444
Skim a room near East Ayrshire£460
Skim a room near East Devon£440
Skim a room near East Dunbartonshire£487
Skim a room near East Hampshire£483
Skim a room near East Hertfordshire£498
Skim a room near East Lindsey£440
Skim a room near East Riding£455
Skim a room near Eastleigh£487
Skim a room near Edinburgh£475
Skim a room near Elmbridge£507
Skim a room near Epping Forest£498
Skim a room near Erewash£471
Skim a room near Exeter£476
Skim a room near Falkirk£447
Skim a room near Fife£470
Skim a room near Flintshire£441
Skim a room near Gateshead£454
Skim a room near Gedling£477
Skim a room near Glasgow£482
Skim a room near Gloucester£473
Skim a room near Guildford£507
Skim a room near Gwynedd£459
Skim a room near Halton£453
Skim a room near Harrogate£450
Skim a room near Havant & Waterloo£473
Skim a room near Highland£450
Skim a room near Horsham£482
Skim a room near Huntingdonshire£545
Skim a room near Ipswich£460
Skim a room near Isle of Wight£475
Skim a room near Kings Lynn & West Norfolk£480
Skim a room near Kingston-upon-Hull£455
Skim a room near Kirklees£477
Skim a room near Knowsley£457
Skim a room near Lancaster£461
Skim a room near Leeds£473
Skim a room near Leicester£442
Skim a room near Lisburn£457
Skim a room near Liverpool£456
Skim a room near London£501
Skim a room near Luton£502
Skim a room near Macclesfield£472
Skim a room near Maidstone£466
Skim a room near Manchester£466
Skim a room near Mid Bedfordshire£500
Skim a room near Mid Sussex£479
Skim a room near Middlesbrough£453
Skim a room near Milton Keynes£494
Skim a room near Neath Port Talbot£466
Skim a room near New Forest£483
Skim a room near Newbury£485
Skim a room near Newcastle-under-Lyme£465
Skim a room near Newcastle-upon-Tyne£456
Skim a room near Newport£477
Skim a room near North Ayrshire£458
Skim a room near North East Lincolnshire£432
Skim a room near North Hertfordshire£505
Skim a room near North Lanarkshire£469
Skim a room near North Lincolnshire£459
Skim a room near North Somerset£481
Skim a room near North Tyneside£456
Skim a room near North Wiltshire£451
Skim a room near Northampton£497
Skim a room near Norwich£447
Skim a room near Nottingham£476
Skim a room near Nuneaton & Bedworth£468
Skim a room near Oldham£467
Skim a room near Oxford£487
Skim a room near Pembrokeshire£430
Skim a room near Perth & Kinross£650
Skim a room near Peterborough£594
Skim a room near Plymouth£477
Skim a room near Poole£486
Skim a room near Portsmouth£474
Skim a room near Powys£410
Skim a room near Preston£454
Skim a room near Reading£490
Skim a room near Redcar & Cleveland£423
Skim a room near Reigate & Banstead£500
Skim a room near Renfrewshire£499
Skim a room near Rhondda, Cynon, Taff£461
Skim a room near Rochdale£462
Skim a room near Rotherham£446
Skim a room near Salford£465
Skim a room near Salisbury£468
Skim a room near Sandwell£477
Skim a room near Scarborough£460
Skim a room near Scottish Borders£450
Skim a room near Sefton£461
Skim a room near Sevenoaks£484
Skim a room near Sheffield£449
Skim a room near Slough£504
Skim a room near Solihull£467
Skim a room near South Ayrshire£469
Skim a room near South Bedfordshire£484
Skim a room near South Cambridgeshire£483
Skim a room near South Gloucestershire£488
Skim a room near South Kesteven£482
Skim a room near South Lanarkshire£449
Skim a room near South Oxfordshire£489
Skim a room near South Somerset£454
Skim a room near South Tyneside£455
Skim a room near Southampton£484
Skim a room near Southend-on-Sea£480
Skim a room near St Albans£503
Skim a room near St Helens£461
Skim a room near Stafford£479
Skim a room near Stockport£465
Skim a room near Stockton-on-Tees£448
Skim a room near Stoke-on-Trent£465
Skim a room near Stratford-on-Avon£454
Skim a room near Stroud£478
Skim a room near Suffolk Coastal£451
Skim a room near Sunderland£452
Skim a room near Swale£501
Skim a room near Swansea£445
Skim a room near Tameside£463
Skim a room near Teignbridge£458
Skim a room near Tendring£459
Skim a room near Test Valley£474
Skim a room near Thamesdown£462
Skim a room near Thanet£451
Skim a room near The Wrekin£474
Skim a room near Thurrock£492
Skim a room near Torbay£466
Skim a room near Trafford£464
Skim a room near Vale of Glamorgan£473
Skim a room near Vale of White Horse£486
Skim a room near Vale Royal£443
Skim a room near Wakefield£475
Skim a room near Walsall£479
Skim a room near Warrington£468
Skim a room near Warwick£459
Skim a room near Waveney£452
Skim a room near Waverley£510
Skim a room near Wealden£490
Skim a room near West Lancashire£465
Skim a room near West Lothian£481
Skim a room near West Wiltshire£451
Skim a room near Wigan£466
Skim a room near Windsor & Maidenhead£506
Skim a room near Wirral£455
Skim a room near Wokingham£503
Skim a room near Wolverhampton£480
Skim a room near Wrexham Maelor£443
Skim a room near Wychavon£471
Skim a room near Wycombe£500
Skim a room near York£458