Licensed & Insured Plasterers, Company Number: 06453625

What is the difference between plastering and skimming?

In the land of tradesmen, a lot of words get thrown around with terms being used all over the place. Sometimes it may get confusing and simply you don’t understand what certain things mean. Not to worry, we are here to help!
It is relatively quite simple:
Plastering – The term plastering is more of a generic term used by plasterers which could include the following:

  • Skimming
  • Bonding
  • Coving
  • Boarding / Plaster-boarding

Whereas, skimming is more of a specific term used for a specific plastering task. ‘Skimming’ refers to the process where a final layer (or two) of ‘plaster’ or British Gypsum Thistle Multi-Finish is applied to a wall or ceiling to give it a smooth finish. Usually skimming a ceiling or wall would contain 2 or 3 different layers. The first being fairly ‘rough’ as this layer is to be applied over the whole wall.

Whereas the second and/or last layer would be a smooth layer of plaster to really finialise the give off a smooth finish for the plastered wall. Reasoning behind using a really fine, smooth finish for the final layer is so that any painting/wallpaper applied once dried does not have any bumps, giving a smooth finish to the wall.

Skimming over plasterboard though would only require one layer of plaster as the surface is already smooth enough to go through on a finishing coat.

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By Tim Burnley on

Thanks for this, helped me a lot as I don't have any idea about plastering.


By Jack Connolly on

I wasn't quite sure what the difference was, thanks for the explanation.


By Mary Redhill on

Very useful blog post, thanks very much Ray for posting this.