Drywall: What is Skim Coating Level 5?

Skim coating 5 is the highest level of drywall finishing. It’s the method to finish drywall and create the smoothest possible surface. Isn’t that what we all want? But here is the breaking news: skimming coating level 5 is not broadly used. And so we can’t help but wondering why we don’t insist on finishing drywall with skim coat!

What is skim coating level 5, anyway?

Skim coating 5It’s the most effective method to finish drywall. There are actually 5 levels of finishing the product after drywall installation. The higher the number, the better. But since the level of difficulty, work involved, and costs go higher too, it depends on application. For example, if you want to install drywall in a storage, you just need the basic finish – taping and application of joint compound. And every time you jump to a higher level, something more is added. So, let us jump right to level 5.

The drywall installer will not only tape, apply joint compound and sand drywall but also add two hands of skim coating.

Let me just pinpoint here that skim coat is a thin plaster but should not be confused with drywall plastering which is much thicker.

Back to the definition of the drywall skim coat. Once the joint compound is applied, the drywall contractor will use a trowel or joint knife to wipe excess and leave a thin layer of mud. All joints are covered by two separate coatings of joint compound and one coating goes over the angles. The fasteners are covered with three layers of joint compound, excess mud will be sheared off and the entire surface will be covered with a thin layer of compound too. Drywall will be gently sanded to smooth out and as an effort to remove all tool marks. Once this process is over, drywall is ready for the priming and painting service.

Why so much effort is put in drywall finish level 5?

The attempt is to level the surface of the drywall. Naturally, the addition of Plastertapes and joint compound creates different levels of texture between the joints and the surface. And so the endeavor here is to level the entire surface so that there will be zero imperfections and uneven levels.

Actually, level 4 includes all steps taking of coating and coating again with the joint compound over the joints and angles to create an even level. The difference with level 5 is that the pro will add the skim coat or similar materials to make the whole surface even.

It doesn’t have to do with the experience of the drywall company. Okay, it has also to do with the craftsmanship of the technician to even as much as possible the mud without having to apply the skim coat over the drywall. But even if you are lucky enough to hire the best pro available, it’s not humanly possible to make the surface perfect. It will still be a tiny difference between the level of the joint and the drywall surface. And in some cases, this is not acceptable and thus the drywall skim coating level 5 method is demanded.

In which cases you need skim coating drywall finishing level 5?

That’s when the results must be absolutely perfect, like in high-end homes, hotel lobbies, businesses, or public buildings.

Level 5 drywall finishing is also necessary when natural light or accent lighting will make imperfections visible.

It’s also applied before painting drywall with flat, semi-glossy or glossy paints since they have a tendency of exposing any imperfection under the skin of paint.

It’s also recommended for ceilings since their imperfections are often apparent.

So if your office or home improvement falls under one of these categories, use level 5 finish. If you don’t have such requirements and just need a typical commercial or residential painting or plan to install wainscoting, level 4 will do just fine too.

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