What kind of compound is best to use when skim coating a plaster wall that had wallpaper removed. Should it be thinned with water? when would one use Toping Compound instead of joint compound. Light weight compound, blue bucket, or regular, green bucket if going with joint compound

  • I need to do something similar soon. I had a few veneer plaster products recommended to me (advice.thisoldhouse.com/showthread.php?t=109856) but I can't find any of those locally so might try thinned joint compound (they also make light joint compound I guess, which I will try for this) and can let you know how it goes. I also heard someone somewhere suggest joint compound mixed with primer. I tried a small test of this, I mixed it quite thin and ended up painting it on with a roller. But it didn't produce a smooth surface, just coated the rough plaster surface. Nov 10, 2010 at 15:20

5 Answers 5


I've used regular joint compound, thinned with water quite a bit. Be careful with any areas where the wallpaper pulled up the outer layer of drywall and exposed the brown paper - those will tend to bubble up when you skim over them. You might have some success with painting over those areas with something like Kilz, but even then, you might get bubbling. In that case, I use a utility knife to cut out the offending bubbles, and skim again. Thin coats should help reduce instances of bubbling.

  • Is this good for plaster, as the OP is asking about? I.e. will joint compound adhere well to a whole wall of plaster, or just drywall? Nov 10, 2010 at 15:24
  • I actually didn't notice that it's a plaster wall. I haven't used joint compound on a plaster wall, but hopefully someone else has and can confirm whether or not that will work. If I had to guess, I'd say it will work.
    – tnorthcutt
    Nov 10, 2010 at 15:37

General purpose compound will work fine. Be sure to read the label as some manufacturers specificaly state "Not for Skim Applications".

As said by the others, thin with water and mix well with a large drill and paddle to remove as many air bubbles as possible before attempting to apply. You can also add a few ounces of Ivory dish soap to the mix. It will really make the mud glide on smoothly with fewer tiny pock holes. I prefer a good 12 inch knife to a trowel, and dipping it in water before final pass helps make a smoother surface. If you do need to put on a second coat, which is almost always the case, be sure to knock down any trails or ridges with a drywall knife and lightly sand the surface to remove boogers and loose dried mud. clean the entire surface with a damn sponge, rinsing the sponge often. This will remove all the dust that will cause the skim mud to curl off the wall during application.

Once you are happy with the final finish, be sure to prime using a PVA primer or other primer specificaly described to be used on new drywall. What you are doing is sealing the mud so the water in your latex paint won't be absorbed into the mud, lifting it and ruining all your hard work. Good luck.


You can use regular "all-purpose" joint compound. If you are going to thin with water, I would do it very sparingly (to avoid the compound sliding off the bottom of the knife when moving horizontally).

After skim coating and sanding, apply a coat of primer to seal up the compound before painting.


This suggests joint compound but still not sure if there is something else that might be better for some reason: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/asktoh/question/0,,455195,00.html


There is a product sold by Sherwin Williams its a solvent based spackleing its similar to joint compound but it bonds a lot better than Sheetroc mud and dries very hard very much like plaster.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.