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Woemmel Plastering Points Out the Differences Between Plastering and Skimming

 Differences Between Plastering and SkimmingWoemmel Plastering Points Out the Differences Between Plastering and Skimming

December 28th, 2021 – Woemmel Plastering, based in St. Louis, offers homeowners and commercial locations premium plastering services. Frank Woemmel founded Woemmel Plastering Company in 1933. He has launched the St.


“Working with both small and large residential projects, the company has gained almost 90 years of experience equipping to offer a high standard of expertise and service quality”, says a spokesperson for Woemmel Plastering.

The company began by servicing small residential, and to this day, they remain an integral part of the business. Their methods continue to remain exclusive, with a fast-growing reputation throughout St. Louis. Some of their experts give a brief description of the difference between plastering and skimming.

The process of applying a thin layer of plaster to a wall is called skimming; it is a form of plastering. It is typically applied on top of an existing layer of plaster to smoothen the surface area. This technique is a difficult task and can only be done by a professional. While skimming and plastering can both be used to decorate structures, skimming is simply retouching an old structure while plastering is applied to a new one.

Woemmel Plastering Points Out the Differences Between Plastering and Skimming
Woemmel Plastering Points Out the Differences Between Plastering and Skimming

The main purpose of plastering is to give the wall a wear resistance against fire, building elements, and to increase the overall appearance of the wall. Although plastering can be carried out by an amateur, having a professional do it is a better choice.

Smaller projects have allowed the company to provide homeowners with detail and customization, and larger projects enable them to create a steady style. The company’s clientele includes St. Louis Zoo, Missouri Historical Society, Fox Theatre, Saint Louis University, Washington University, Federal Reserve Saint Louis, Discovery Elementary, Hillsboro Intermediate, and Villa Farrato’s Restaurant.

Understanding Differences

Plastering vs Skimming

Plastering and skimming are two distinct techniques used in the construction industry to achieve smooth and even surfaces. While they may seem similar, there are key differences between the two skim coats.

Plastering is a process that involves applying a thick layer of plaster to a surface, such as walls or ceilings, to create a solid and durable finish. It is commonly used for new constructions or when repairing damaged surfaces. Plastering provides a strong base that can withstand structural stress and offers excellent insulation properties.

On the other hand, skimming is a technique used to create a smooth and flawless finish on existing surfaces. It involves applying a thin coat of plaster over an existing wall or ceiling to hide imperfections, such as cracks or unevenness. Skimming is typically done as part of renovation projects or when preparing surfaces for painting or wallpapering.

The techniques used in plastering differ from those employed in skimming. Plastering requires more skill and expertise as it involves building up layers of plaster to achieve the desired thickness and texture. Skimming, on the other hand, focuses on achieving a fine and uniform surface by carefully spreading a thin layer of plaster.

One of the key distinctions between plastering and skimming lies in the final finish they provide. Plastering creates a more robust and textured surface that can be left as is or further decorated with paint or wallpaper. The textured finish adds character and depth to the walls or ceilings. On the contrary, skimming results in an ultra-smooth surface that is ideal for painting or wallpapering directly without any additional preparation.

Key Techniques

Both plastering and skimming require specific tools to ensure successful results. For plastering, essential tools include trowels, floats, hawks, and mixers for preparing the plaster mixture. These tools help in applying the plaster evenly and achieving the desired texture.

To achieve a smooth plastering finish, it is important to follow a step-by-step guide. Firstly, the surface needs to be properly prepared by removing any loose debris or old plaster. Then, a bonding agent is applied to improve adhesion between the surface and the plaster. Next, multiple layers of plaster are applied, allowing each layer to dry before adding the next. Finally, the surface is smoothed and finished using trowels and floats.

When it comes to skimming, it is crucial to avoid common mistakes that can result in an uneven or unsatisfactory finish. One common mistake is applying too much pressure while spreading the plaster, which can lead to an uneven surface. Another mistake is not allowing enough drying time between coats, causing the layers to mix and create imperfections.

Application Areas

Plastering is suitable for various surfaces such as brickwork, concrete, or block walls. It provides a durable and long-lasting finish that can withstand different weather conditions. Plastering is commonly used in residential buildings, commercial spaces, and even outdoor structures like fences or pillars.

Skimming, on the other hand, is preferred over plastering when dealing with existing surfaces that are generally in good condition but require minor repairs or improvements. It is commonly used for interior walls and ceilings that have minor cracks or unevenness. Skimming helps create a smooth canvas for painting or wallpapering without the need for extensive repairs or re-plastering.

The preparation of walls for plastering differs from skimming. In plastering applications, walls need to be cleaned thoroughly and any loose paint or wallpaper must be removed. The surface may also require priming before applying the plaster. In contrast, when preparing walls for skimming, the focus is on repairing minor imperfections such as cracks or dents using filler compounds.

Plastering Explained

Process Overview

Plastering is a technique used to create a smooth and even surface on walls and ceilings. The process involves applying multiple layers of plaster onto a prepared surface, resulting in a durable and aesthetically pleasing finish.

To begin the plastering process, the surface must be properly prepared. This includes cleaning the area, removing any loose debris or old paint, and ensuring that it is dry and free from moisture. Once the surface is ready, a bonding agent or primer may be applied to enhance adhesion.

The first layer of plaster, known as the scratch coat, is then applied using a trowel. This layer creates a rough texture that helps subsequent layers adhere better. After allowing the scratch coat to partially dry, the second layer, called the brown coat, is applied. This layer smooths out any imperfections and provides additional strength to the plaster.

Once the brown coat has dried, the final layer of plaster, known as the finish coat, is applied. This layer is carefully smoothed and leveled to achieve the desired surface texture. Depending on the desired finish, different techniques such as troweling or sponge floating can be used.

Common Types

Lime Plaster

Lime plaster has been used for centuries and offers several benefits in construction projects. It is known for its breathability and ability to regulate moisture levels within buildings. Lime plaster also has excellent adhesive properties, making it ideal for use on various substrates such as masonry or timber.

Compared to other types of plaster, lime plaster has unique characteristics. It has a softer and more flexible nature which allows for natural movement without cracking. Lime plaster has a beautiful matte finish that adds character to interior spaces.

From an environmental standpoint, choosing lime plaster can have advantages. It is made from natural materials such as limestone and requires less energy during production compared to cement-based plasters. Lime plaster is also recyclable and can be reused or repurposed.

Cement Plaster

Cement plaster is widely used in modern construction due to its durability and strength. It is commonly applied to exterior surfaces such as walls, facades, or even concrete structures. Cement plaster provides excellent protection against weathering, impact, and fire.

The application technique for cement plaster differs from other types of plasters. It requires the addition of sand and water to create a paste-like consistency that can be easily spread onto the surface. The use of metal lath or mesh may also be necessary to enhance adhesion.

Gypsum Plaster

Gypsum plaster is specifically designed for interior finishes and offers unique properties that make it suitable for this purpose. It has excellent workability, allowing for easy application and a smooth surface finish. Gypsum plaster also has good fire resistance properties, making it a popular choice for residential and commercial buildings.

While gypsum plaster has many advantages, it does have limitations in certain environmental conditions. It is not recommended for areas with high moisture levels or frequent exposure to water as it can deteriorate over time. Gypsum plaster may not be suitable for exterior applications due to its vulnerability to weathering.

Pros and Cons

Skim coating, a technique often used in conjunction with plastering or as an alternative finishing method, offers several advantages. It is a quick and efficient way to repair damaged surfaces by applying a thin layer of joint compound or skim coat over the existing substrate. Skim coating can help achieve a smooth finish without the need for extensive sanding or re-plastering.

However, skim coating does have its disadvantages. While it provides an immediate fix, it may not offer the same long-term durability as traditional plastering methods. Skim coatings are more prone to cracking and damage over time, especially in high-traffic areas.

When deciding between traditional plastering or skim coating, several factors should be considered. The condition of the surface, the desired finish, and the intended use of the space all play a role in determining the most suitable technique.

Skimming Detailed

Skim Coating Process

Skim coating is a technique used to create a smooth and even surface on walls and ceilings. It involves applying a thin layer of joint compound or plaster over the existing surface to hide imperfections such as cracks, bumps, or uneven textures. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply skim coating effectively:

  1. Preparation: Before starting the skim coating process, it is important to prepare the surface properly. This includes cleaning the surface to remove any dirt or debris, repairing any cracks or holes, and ensuring that the surface is dry.

  2. Priming: Applying a primer before skim coating helps to improve adhesion and ensure a smooth finish. It also helps to seal the surface and prevent moisture from affecting the skim coat.

  3. Mixing: Mix the joint compound or plaster according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The consistency should be similar to pancake batter – not too thick or too thin.

  4. Application: Use a trowel or putty knife to apply the skim coat in thin layers. Start from the top of the wall and work your way down, using long, smooth strokes. Allow each layer to dry completely before applying the next one.

  5. Sanding: Once the skim coat is dry, sand it lightly with fine-grit sandpaper to achieve a smooth and even finish. Be careful not to sand too aggressively, as this can damage the underlying surface.

  6. Finishing: After sanding, you may need to apply another thin layer of joint compound or plaster to fill in any remaining imperfections. Repeat the sanding process if necessary until you achieve the desired result.

It is important to note that proper drying times are crucial during the skim coating process. Rushing through the drying stages can lead to cracking or bubbling of the skim coat, resulting in an unsightly finish. Patience is key when it comes to achieving a flawless skim coat.

Purpose and Benefits

Skim coating is commonly used in interior design for several reasons. The primary purpose of skim coating is to create a smooth and seamless surface that can be painted or wallpapered with ease. Here are some benefits of using skim coating:

  1. Flawless Finish: Skim coating helps to hide imperfections on walls and ceilings, creating a clean and polished look. It can transform rough and damaged surfaces into a smooth canvas for further decoration.

  2. Cost-Effective: Compared to full plastering, skim coating is a more cost-effective option. It requires less material and labor, making it an attractive choice for those on a budget.

  3. Time-Saving: Skim coating can be completed relatively quickly compared to traditional plastering methods. With the right tools and techniques, you can achieve professional-looking results in less time.

  4. Versatility: Skim coating can be applied to various surfaces, including drywall, concrete, or even wood paneling. This versatility makes it suitable for both residential and commercial projects.

While skim coating offers many advantages, it also has its limitations. Here are some pros and cons to consider:


  • Creates a smooth and seamless finish

  • Hides imperfections on walls and ceilings

  • Cost-effective compared to full plastering


  • Requires proper drying times for optimal results

  • Not suitable for extremely damaged or uneven surfaces

  • May require multiple coats for desired finish

Comparative Analysis

Technique Variations

When it comes to plastering and skimming, there are notable differences in the techniques used. Plastering involves applying a thick layer of plaster onto walls or ceilings to create a textured finish. There are different methods for achieving these textured finishes, such as using a trowel to create swirls, patterns, or other decorative designs. Skim coating, on the other hand, is a technique used to achieve a smooth and even surface. It involves applying a thin layer of skim coat over an existing wall or ceiling to hide imperfections and provide a clean canvas for painting or wallpapering.

In plastering, the techniques used can vary depending on the desired texture and design. For example, if you want a rough texture, you may use a technique called roughcast plastering, where small stones or pebbles are mixed into the plaster mixture before application. This creates an uneven surface with visible aggregates. Another technique is known as stucco plastering, which involves applying multiple layers of plaster mixed with sand for added strength and durability.

Skim coating techniques also vary based on the surface type being worked on. For smooth surfaces like drywall or concrete, a thin layer of skim coat is applied evenly using a trowel or putty knife. This helps to fill in any minor cracks or imperfections and provides a smooth base for further finishing work. However, when working on rough surfaces like brick or stone walls, additional steps may be required to ensure proper adhesion of the skim coat.

In both plastering and skimming, specialized techniques are often employed for intricate designs or specific project requirements. For example, in decorative plasterwork, skilled artisans may use tools like moulds or templates to create intricate patterns and designs on walls or ceilings. Similarly, in skimming applications where high levels of precision are required, professionals may utilize techniques such as feathering to seamlessly blend the skim coat with the surrounding surfaces.

Material Differences

The materials used in plastering and skimming also differ based on the specific requirements of each technique. Traditional plastering typically involves using a mixture of sand, cement, and water. This mixture is applied in multiple layers to create a strong and durable finish. Skim coating, on the other hand, often utilizes specialized products such as joint compound or ready-mixed skim coat. These products are specifically designed for achieving a smooth and even surface.

The composition of traditional plaster and skim coating products also varies. Plaster mixtures usually contain a higher percentage of sand to provide strength and stability. In contrast, skim coat products have a higher proportion of binders like gypsum or polymers, which allow for easy spreading and drying without compromising on durability.

When selecting materials for plastering or skimming projects, it is important to consider factors such as the desired finish, surface type, and project timeline. For example, if you are looking for a textured finish with added strength, traditional plaster may be more suitable. On the other hand, if you need to quickly achieve a smooth surface for painting or wallpapering, skim coating products offer convenience and efficiency.

Outcome Expectations

The final appearance of plastering projects can vary depending on several factors. With plastering, the texture and design choices made during application play a significant role in determining the overall finish quality. Proper curing time is essential to allow the plaster to fully harden and set.

For skim coating applications, the outcome is heavily influenced by surface preparation and skillful application techniques. The smoother the underlying surface before applying the skim coat, the better the final result will be. It is important to address any cracks or imperfections before starting the skim coating process.

To enhance the aesthetic appeal of both plastered and skimmed surfaces, additional finishing techniques can be employed. For example, decorative painting or faux finishing techniques can be applied over plastered surfaces to create unique and visually appealing designs. Similarly, skimmed surfaces can be further enhanced with the use of textured paint or decorative wallpapers.

Tools and Materials

For Plastering

Plastering is a technique used to create a smooth and durable surface on walls and ceilings. To achieve a professional finish, there are certain tools and materials that are essential for the plastering process.

1. Trowel: A trowel is the primary tool used for applying and smoothing the plaster onto the surface. It helps to spread the plaster evenly and remove any excess material.

2. Hawk: A hawk is a flat, square-shaped tool with a handle that allows you to hold and carry the plaster while working. It provides stability and control during the application process.

3. Plastering Float: A plastering float is used to level and smooth out the plastered surface. It helps in achieving an even texture by removing any imperfections or bumps.

4. Mixing Bucket: A mixing bucket is required to prepare the plaster mixture. It should be large enough to hold the required amount of water and plaster powder for mixing.

5. Plaster Mix: The type of plaster mix used depends on the specific requirements of the project. There are different types of plasters available, such as gypsum-based or cement-based plasters, each with its own set of properties.

When it comes to achieving a smooth and even plastered surface, there are some tips that can be helpful:

  • Prepare the Surface: Before applying the plaster, make sure that the surface is clean, dry, and free from any loose debris or paint. This will ensure better adhesion of the plaster to the wall or ceiling.

  • Apply Multiple Coats: For a smoother finish, it is recommended to apply multiple thin coats of plaster rather than one thick coat. This allows each layer to dry properly before applying the next one.

  • Use Proper Technique: Use long, sweeping motions with your trowel to spread the plaster evenly across the surface. Avoid pressing too hard or dragging the trowel, as it can create uneven patches.

While plastering can be a straightforward process, there are some common challenges that may arise:

To maintain the longevity of plastered walls, regular maintenance practices should be followed:

  • Cleaning: Regularly clean the plastered surface using a soft brush or cloth to remove dust and dirt. Avoid using abrasive materials that can damage the plaster.

  • Repairs: Promptly repair any cracks or damages to prevent further deterioration. Use appropriate fillers and techniques recommended for repairing plastered surfaces.

For Skimming

Skimming is a technique used to achieve a smooth and flawless finish on walls and ceilings. It involves applying a thin layer of finishing plaster, also known as skim coat, over an existing surface.

To achieve a flawless skim coat finish, certain techniques are essential:

  • Surface Preparation: Before skimming, ensure that the surface is clean, dry, and free from any loose debris. Repair any cracks or damaged areas before applying the skim coat.

  • Applying Thin Layers: Apply thin layers of skim coat rather than one thick layer. This allows each layer to dry properly and reduces the risk of cracking or bubbling.

  • Feathering Technique: Use a feathering technique with your trowel to blend each layer smoothly into the previous one. This helps in achieving an even and seamless finish.

One key difference between plastering and skimming is the drying time. Skimming generally has a shorter drying time compared to plastering. While plastering may require several days to fully dry and cure, skim coats can dry

Professional Insights

When to Plaster

Plastering is a traditional technique that involves applying a layer of plaster to walls and ceilings. While it may seem like an outdated method, there are certain situations where plastering is still the preferred choice. Industry experts recommend opting for plastering when dealing with structural issues such as cracks or uneven surfaces. Plastering can effectively address these problems by providing a smooth and durable finish.

One of the key factors that influence the decision to choose plastering is the extent of damage or wear on the walls. If the walls have significant cracks, holes, or other forms of damage, plastering can help restore their integrity. If you are planning to renovate an older property or want to achieve a more traditional look, plastering is often the best option.

There are several signs that indicate the need for plastering repairs or renovations. These include visible cracks in the walls, flaking or peeling paint, and uneven surfaces. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to address them promptly to prevent further damage and maintain the structural integrity of your walls.

To ensure optimal results when undertaking a plastering project, it’s essential to consider the ideal conditions for application. Professionals recommend working in a clean and dust-free environment to avoid any contaminants affecting the quality of the plaster. The temperature and humidity levels should also be taken into account, as they can impact drying time and overall finish.

When to Skim

Skim coating, on the other hand, is a technique that involves applying a thin layer of joint compound or skim coat over existing walls or ceilings. This method is particularly suitable for situations where minor imperfections need to be addressed without resorting to full-scale plastering.

Skim coating is often recommended when dealing with walls that have minor cracks, dents, or uneven textures. It can effectively improve the overall appearance of the wall surface by creating a smooth and uniform finish. If you are looking to achieve a more modern or contemporary look, skim coating can be a great option.

There are several signs that suggest skim coating can be an effective solution. These include walls with small cracks, surface imperfections, or areas where the paint has started to peel. Skim coating can help create a fresh canvas for painting or wallpapering, providing a clean and flawless base.

To determine when skim coating is the ideal solution, it’s important to follow best practices. Professionals recommend assessing the condition of the walls and considering the desired outcome. If the imperfections are minor and do not require extensive repairs, skim coating can be a cost-effective and efficient option.

Seeking Advice

When it comes to plastering and skimming projects, seeking advice from professionals is crucial. Consulting with industry experts can provide valuable insights and ensure that you make informed decisions throughout your project.

There are various resources available for learning more about advanced plastering and skimming techniques. Online tutorials, workshops, and books can offer guidance on different aspects of these processes. By expanding your knowledge, you can gain confidence in undertaking plastering and skimming projects.

Seeking expert advice has numerous benefits when it comes to achieving desired outcomes in plastering and skimming. Professionals can assess the specific needs of your project, recommend suitable techniques, and provide guidance on materials and tools required. Their expertise can save you time, effort, and potential mistakes.

DIY or Professional

Assessing Complexity

Plastering and skimming projects can vary in complexity depending on several factors. When it comes to plastering, the complexity is often determined by the condition of the surface being worked on. If there are existing layers of old plaster that need to be removed or repaired, the project becomes more intricate. The presence of intricate architectural details such as cornices or decorative moldings can add another layer of complexity to the plastering process.

To assess the level of difficulty in skim coating applications, it’s important to consider the condition of the wall or ceiling. If there are significant imperfections like cracks, holes, or uneven surfaces, more preparation work will be required before applying the skim coat. The size of the area to be skimmed also plays a role in determining complexity. Larger areas may require more time and effort to achieve a smooth and even finish.

Fortunately, there are tools and resources available for evaluating the complexity of both plastering and skimming tasks. Online tutorials and guides can provide step-by-step instructions for assessing project complexity and determining if it falls within your skill set. It’s also helpful to consult with professionals or experienced DIYers who have tackled similar projects before. Their insights can provide valuable guidance on what to expect and how to approach different complexities.

Cost Implications

When considering whether to opt for professional plastering services or tackle a DIY project, cost is an important factor to take into account. Plastering projects typically involve both material and labor costs. The materials needed for plastering, such as plaster mix, sandpaper, and primer, can add up depending on the size of the project.

On the other hand, skim coating offers a budget-friendly alternative for achieving similar results. Skim coating involves applying a thin layer of joint compound or specialized skim coat material over an existing surface to create a smooth finish. This method requires fewer materials compared to traditional plastering, resulting in potential cost savings.

To estimate the overall cost of plastering versus skim coating for different surfaces, it’s essential to consider the size and condition of the area to be worked on. Larger areas may require more materials and labor, increasing the cost of both plastering and skim coating. It’s also worth noting that professional plastering services often come with a higher price tag due to the expertise and experience required.

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Media Contact
Company Name: Woemmel Plastering Company, Inc.
Contact Person: Scott Eagle
Email: Send Email
Phone: (314)781-9010
Address:5751 Dale Ave
City: St. Louis
State: MO 63110
Country: United States
Website: httpss://

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