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Last updated on May 24th, 2023

Cost of skimming a room

If you want to give your walls or ceilings a smooth finish that’s all ready to be painted, then the chances are you’ll want to get them skimmed. Skimming is a method of plastering which involves adding a thin, final layer of finishing plaster to give surfaces that sought-after smooth effect (ready for painting or papering).

So, what exactly is the cost of skimming a room?

Cost of re-skimming a room

If your walls are already in good condition, you may only need to re-skim your room. This typically involves adding a 5-8 mm layer of finishing plaster over the top of existing plaster walls. So, it’s a lot cheaper than plastering a room from scratch.

To re-skim a medium-sized room, you’d usually be looking at around £480. This should include one to two days of labour, as well as the materials (which usually come to around  £20 - £25) per wall).

Cost provided itemCost+VAT
(Lower range)
(Higher range)
Typical cost
Re-skimming small room (approx. 2mx2m)£378£496£440
Re-skimming medium room (approx. 3mx3m)£430£550£480
Re-skimming large room (approx. 6mx5m)£536£690£650
Plastering small room from scratch£595£674£636
Plastering medium room from scratch£575£920£755
Plastering large room from scratch£995£1,375£1,300
Overboarding and plastering ceilings in a small room£210£352£275
Overboarding and plastering ceilings in a medium room£270£435£342
Overboarding and plastering ceilings in a large room£410£736£540

Our costs are ballpark averages – get a local tradesperson to quote now

Average cost of skimming a room

Unfortunately, re-skimming isn’t an option for everyone and many rooms will need a lot more work. Your walls or ceilings may require skim coating. So, how much does it cost to skim coat a room?

If your plasterer needs to remove the existing plaster and start again from scratch, the skim coating job will usually take around two to three days. This would typically involve creating a new base before skimming and finishing. For a medium-sized room, you can expect to pay around  £755.

You may be able to save a little if your room is small, but bear in mind that working in a small space can make the job trickier for your plasterer. For that reason, the job will still be likely to take two to three days, but with a typical cost of £636.

Room skimming cost factors

As we’ve already touched upon, there are a number of factors that can influence the cost of skimming a room. These include:

  • The size of your room
  • The condition of your walls
  • Your location
  • Whether your plasterer has to work at height
  • Whether you need to replaster the ceilings (which is generally harder)

Be aware that if you live in an old, listed building that needs lime plastering, you can expect to pay a lot more to have your rooms skim coated. This is because lime rendering and plastering takes much longer than cement rendering and is a specialist traditional craft.

If you are hoping to cover over an existing artex ceiling, consult with a plasterer, as it may be possible to skim over the artex rather than using overboard.

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How much should skimming a room cost?

It can be hard to get an accurate quote for room skimming costs, as often your plasterer won’t know the condition of your walls until they start. For this reason, many plasterers will provide you with an estimate instead of a quote.

Make sure that you get a number of estimates before choosing a plasterer. This way, you have the best possible chance of getting a realistic idea of the size of the job at hand.

You can also save on the cost of skimming a room by removing radiators, furniture and blown (loose) plaster yourself before the job starts. That way, you can minimise your plasterer’s work and hopefully get the job done quicker.

Plasterer skimming a wall

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How long does it take to skim a room?

This really depends on the size of the room but you can expect the job to take between 1-3 days from start to finish.

What is the difference between plastering and skimming?

The answer to this is that skimming is actually a technique that plasterers use when applying plaster. Plastering is the general name given to the trade of applying plaster to walls and ceilings. For more information on plastering take a look at our plastering cost guide.

How long after a skim coat can I paint?

The answer to this depends on the thickness of the plaster and the ambient temperature. Fresh plaster is extremely porous, and any moisture will be quickly absorbed into the wall. This is why you need to water down your first paint layer (known as a mist coat).

Plaster requires patience, so it is recommended that you wait anywhere from 24 hours to 3-4 days after the plaster has been applied before you can paint. If an oil-based primer or topcoat has been used then it is recommended that you wait for at least a week for the products to cure.

Useful room skimming checklist

  • Re-skimming a medium-sized room typically costs around £480
  • Plastering and skimming a medium-sized room from scratch will cost around £755
  • Plasterers often provide estimates rather than quotes
  • Remove radiators and furniture to save on room skimming costs

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What others think of this article:


Hi Moses, please use our free request a quote feature to get three quotes from tradespeople near you. I hope this helps!

Moses jessah

Good can you call me ASAP to give estimate

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