For the finish (skim) coat
Work through all stages of skimming - don't just put it on and want to smooth it out straight away.
An overview of the 6 stages
Plastering Tips for Applying Skim Finish:
Apply a flat even coat of approximately 2mm
When this 1st coat has gone tacky (so that it doesn't all come off on your finger tips) run your trowel over the wall to flatten all ridges and bumps higher than 1-2 mm.
Apply a 2nd coat of about 1mm
(50% - 70% complete)
No more plaster is applied - 'trowel' (smooth out) what you have on the wall.
When the plaster has firmed up and gone tacky, push firmly with trowel and get every hole or hollow filled.
(70 - 90% complete)
Let the plaster firm up a bit more and all the ridges and trowel marks will push out.
(90 - 100% complete)
When the plaster is nearly set you can resolve any issues such as blisters or problems due to thicker areas 'hanging wet'
The percentages figures are an approximate breakdown of completion. Dryness of the wall or how quick the plaster is setting mainly influences the variable figures, with technique playing a small part also.
If at any time you feel you're going round and round in circles then they're may be nothing wrong with your technique but simply that the plaster is too wet. Once you have achieved what you need to at each stage let it firm up a bit before you move on to the next. Sometimes though by the time you have finished completing one stage you are ready to start all over again at the beginning of the wall with the next stage.
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The author cannot accept liability for the use of any of the materials or methods recommended in this manual or for any consequences arising out of their use. The author cannot guarantee the suitability of any recommendations made in this manual and shall not be under any legal liability of any kind in respect of or arising out of the content of this guide.