Re-skimming down to existing skirting

by Will

Hi Paul,

I'm looking to put some coving up and have a go at reskimming a bedroom. The walls and ceiling have lining paper on. The ceiling is actually quite new and doesn't need any work doing on it, but I will obviously need to remove the lining paper on the walls before skimming. I was wondering if you think it is necessary to remove the paper at the edges of the ceiling where the coving will sit or whether it will adhere well enough with it there? Also, I intend to leave the original Edwardian skirting in place - I've found elsewhere in the house that it's impossible to remove it without damage as it is so well attached - do you have any tips for working with it still in place?

Many thanks,


Hi Will,

As you are removing the paper on the wall for skimming, I would do that extra few inches to the ceiling, so as to ensure the coving will properly adhere.

With regards to the skirting that you intend to leave in place, you just need to ensure that you don't apply the plaster to thick at the bottom of the wall. In fact the best tip I can give you is not to apply any plaster at all within a couple of inches of the skirting. The starting point for the 1st coat will be 3 inches above the skirting. Then as you are applying the plaster, it wants to be flattened every now and again on this bottom edge by turning your trowel 90 degrees and flattening off any bulges with your trowel travelling in the same direction as the skirting. Ensuring your trowel is touching the old existing plaster will help you to run the plaster out to nothing. Then when applying the second coat you can go a bit closer to the skirting but still stay an inch or so away, making sure to keep it nice and flat by changing the direction of movement so as to be parallel with the skirting.
Then when you are on stage 4 and trowelling the wall, any plaster that collects on your trowel will be very fine and can be used to fill in right down to the skirting. As there will only be a very small amount on your trowel it is easier to keep thin, flat and neat right down to this edge of the skirting. Use a brush to wipe any excess plaster off the skirting and form a nice line where the wall meets the skirting.

In Short
Don't overload the bottom of the wall with too much plaster - start a bit higher than the skirting and run a very small calculated amount right down to the skirting board - keeping it thin and flat. Use your brush in the trowelling stages (4 to 6) to help you form a nice edge.


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