Can I skim coat with success my new bathroom drywall and plaster?

enduringAugust 25, 2012

I have dry walled my bathroom and have finished the seams. I have primed the whole room with Gardz in preparation to do a skim coat. My ceiling is old stable plaster with some paint still intact and areas of bare plaster where I peeled paint off. The walls are new drywall. There will be a tub in the room but no shower other than a hand held spray at the tub filler. I will surround the tub with Hardibacker and use Hydroban to prep for tile around the alcove tub. There is now an exhaust fan installed.

Now the next step. I would like to skim coat to even out the stabilized peeling paint edges on my plaster ceiling. Also smooth out the wall surface of the mixed textures of joint compound, and drywall paper. After the planned skim coat, I would go over the skim coat with Gardz, to protect the new skim coat, and prep for paint. I was going to use the pre wetted drying type joint compound, thinned a bit with water, rolled on and then knifed smooth. This is one technique that the US Gypsum site demonstrates in a video, for a level 5 finish.

I have read that sometimes the drying type joint compound softens in moist areas like a bathroom. I have read that sometimes people recommend setting type compounds like Easy Sand to skim coat. I know the skim coat is VERY thin and maybe my concerns are unnecessary. But here goes.

My concerns:

1) Bathroom moisture causing the drying type joint compound to soften, causing paint to blister.

2) Easy Sand, if used instead, producing a surface that is not smooth.

3) Will either skim coat method stay adhered to the surface as prepped? - out lined above.

4) Will paint maintain its integrity with either of these surfaces.

What are your thoughts and recommendations?


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First of all, it takes a VERY experienced plasterer to produce a smooth skim coat. Most drywall guys won't even attempt to do this. Have you practiced?

Drywall compound is NOT the preferred material for this use, and neither is actual drywall. Both absorb moisture too readily. If you really want to do the skim coat, but especially in a bathroom, you should have installed moisture resistant drywall as the first layer. If a skim coat is an absolute for you, then remove the drywall and start over.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 11:34PM
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GreenDesigns, thanks for your input. I am not plastering, just skim coating a thin joint compound over the entire drywall surface to even out the contrasting textures between the dry wall paper and the smoother areas of joint compound at the seams and at the screw sites. Maybe "skim coat" is the wrong term, or used loosely in this application.

I have read multiple opinions on the use of moisture resistant wall boards. Opinions are very divided. I was miss leading in my OP in that this is a moist room, as this room has never gotten steamy in the 22 years we've lived here and there was no fan. There is no shower, just a tub. But, because this is a bathroom I can assume there is more moister than, say, the living room. What I have read regarding regular drywall is that if it is used in the non wet areas of the bathroom it really is more important to have a proper primer and paint installation to protect the wall system.

When my kitchen was done last year the drywallers did skim coat my walls, I just wasn't there to see how they did it. I have watched the USG video and it is straight forward enough. I have attached a link below.

Lastly, to provide some context, this room is not our main bath, that is why there is no shower. This bathroom is next to my kitchen. The bathroom is really a combo utility room/bathroom for our farm house.

Here is a link that might be useful: US Gypsum video on level 5 finish.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 10:18AM
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Do not use the premix stuff.

Use setting compound.

A plasterer's trowel is the tool for the job, not a drywall knife.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 4:40PM
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Brickeyee thanks for your input. Do you think it would work to add setting type compound on top of the premixed JC without re-priming? I already put a very thin almost transparent coating of the premixed JC on the walls late last night. I want to add a second coat because it is so thin that I'm not sure if it really is added anything.

I bought a "pool trowel" today at Lowes. It has rounded edges and a tiny bit of a flex. It looks like it would work.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 6:06PM
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