How Much Does It Cost to Plaster Skim a Room in the UK?

Sometimes the only way to get a good finish on a wall is to stop patching and get a professional to do a proper job on it. So how much does it cost to plaster skim a room in the UK?

The average cost to plaster skim the walls of a 12-metre square room can range from £450 to £650 depending upon how much preparation is required. The price should include all labour and materials, and a room that size should take between two to three days to skim.

Here’s our guide to what to expect when asking for estimates for this kind of work.

How to Tell if You Can Have a Room Plaster Skimmed

Plaster skimming is a great way to improve the finish of a pre-plastered wall that might have seen better days. Typically it involves the application of a top layer of plaster between 5 mm and 8 mm thick.

If your walls are in reasonable condition it should be a straightforward task for an experienced plasterer.

If your walls are damaged, perhaps the plaster has blown (become detached) in places, then it could cost more and take longer.

How do I Keep the Cost of Plaster Skimming a Room Down?

To keep the cost of skimming a room down the best thing you can do is make the job as easy for the plasterer as possible. Remove all furniture and other loose items, including curtains and, if possible, carpets too.

Protect the floor with polythene sheeting. Tape a sheet of plastic over the window and protect the door.

Having the room ready before the work starts means that your contractor can get in and out quickly.

If you can, remove any radiators and cover any switches and sockets with masking tape. You will need to unscrew the covers so they can be reset on the face of the new plaster once it has dried.

How Much Does it Cost to Plaster Skim a Room in the UK?

For a smaller room, say two metres by two metres, the price including VAT should be around the £450 mark. Remember that smaller rooms can be hard to work in, so be prepared for the price quoted to sit above the £400 mark even if the room is smaller.

A mid-size room, nine metres square, say a second bedroom, should come in at around £500.

Moving up, re-skimming a room double that size shouldn’t double the cost. A room 18 metres square will likely attract estimates of £600 to £700.

What Can Add to the Cost to Plaster Skim a Room?

If the walls are in poor condition it may be that the room will need replastering from scratch and that a skim coat will not be viable.

When you have plasterers visit to assess the work for an estimate, they will be able to tell you whether a skim coat is a good idea or not.

Replastering a room is a much bigger job and will entail demolition and removal of any old retained plaster.

The wall beneath may also require repair.

How Much Does Replastering a Room Cost?

Plastering from scratch requires a lot more material than skimming. It takes longer as the base or scratch coat is thicker than the topcoat.

For a small room, the price will likely rise by about 30% from around £450 to £700.

At the other end of the scale, due to the amount of material required, and the time it will take to apply, the cost could double from £700 to a possible £1,400.

What About My Ceilings?

Ceilings are harder than walls for obvious reasons. If your ceilings are particularly high you may have to allow for access equipment.

For a ceiling allow approximately £40 per square metre for a large room, £60 per metre in a room with poor access, or one that is smaller than say five metres square.

The price should include for a new layer of thin plasterboard over the top of the existing ceiling. Ceilings are notorious for cracking, and the space above can hold a lot of very old dust.

Boarding over your ceiling is the recommended best practice to follow in most cases.

Should I Try to Plaster Skim a Room Myself?

There is nothing wrong with having a go at most trades to get a feel for what the job entails. However, plastering is one of those activities that is tough to master.

It takes a lot of upper body strength and a deft touch to be a good plasterer. You need to be quick, too! Plaster skim goes off rapidly so a tradesperson will have to get it right quickly to guarantee a good, flat finish.

Will the Cost go up if I Live in a Listed Building?

The short answer is yes. Many older listed buildings will require lime-based plaster, which takes longer to dry. It is a specialist form of plaster that lets the walls breathe.

What if I Have Artex on my Ceiling?

Artex ceilings can be incredibly tough and resilient. Artex resists cracking but can attract dust over time. Properly cleaned up, with a soft broom, Artex can be plastered over directly with a skim coat.

How Soon Can I Paint My Walls After Skimming?

A thin skim coat can be painted over just 24 hours after your plasterer has left the building, but it is always sensible to leave it a little longer if you can.

A freshly skimmed wall will be very porous, so water down the first coat of paint to allow for this. Decorators call this first application a mist coat, and it is typically a fifty-fifty mix of matt emulsion and water.

How Many Estimates Should I Get to Plaster Skim a Room?

The rule of thumb is that three estimates for the same work should be enough for you to be able to pick one that looks to be the best value. By best value we mean the estimate that best reflects your expectations.

Sometimes trades persons can underestimate costs and deliver a much bigger bill at the end of the job.