Skim coat for smoother walls

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Q: I live in a home built in 1979 and want to create a smoother surface on my walls. They were finished with a textured finish of long strokes of finishing mud, which I have heard called a skip-trough finish. I believe what I want is called a Level 4 surface, which looks like fairly smooth plaster with a minimum of texture. Is there a way I can fill in and/or sand down the wall and ceiling surfaces myself before painting to achieve the desired effect? A: Yes, you can get the finish you want. The process is well within the abilities of the average do-it-yourselfer. Sanding the high spots is not the way to go. We'd "skim coat" instead. What you refer to as a skip-trough finish is actually known as skip-trowel, a method of texturing walls that was common in the 1970s and 1980s. Skip-troweling replaced the smooth-wall plaster or drywall finish. It took less time and expertise to do, thereby lending itself to the construction of mass-produced housing. The disadvantage ...