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How to get rid of bumpy walls

If you live in an older home chances are you have ugly bumpy walls. For some unknown reason there used to be a time when plasterers thought it was the 'in' thing to give walls a textured finish.  That might have been the case then, but now we live with bumpy walls where dust collects and it just looks ugly. But there is a way to smooth those bumpy walls.


Textured walls might have been popular in the eighties, but now we love the look and feel of lovely smooth walls. That' all fine and well but how do you get rid of textured walls without having to spend hours (or days) sanding them smooth? The answer is Rhinolite or Finishing Plaster. Both Rhinolite and Finishing Plaster allow you to apply a skim coat to textured walls to give walls a smooth finish. But before you rush out and buy the product, bear in mind that this is not a 5-minute quick fix and there are certain steps that have  to be followed. If you don't feel that you could handle this project yourself, take a look at the process involved and employ casual labour, or use the services of a home handyman to do it for you.

Where walls have inconsistent layers of texture, with high and low bumps, it is better to use a steel trowel beforehand to remove as much of the texture as possible. While a skim coat will cover minor bumps and imperfections, it's not a miracle product and any prep you can do in advance will make for an easier project with better results. To ensure a proper bond between plaster and wall, for both products an application of bonding liquid is applied over previously painted surfaces. You can download the technical specs here for Plascon Finishing Plaster or visit for information relating to Rhinolite.

If you use Finishing Plaster, this is a paste that is ready to use. Rhinolite, on the other hand, needs to be mixed according to the instructions.  Bear in mind that while both work well, in a powered form that is mixed, this often dries faster than the ready-made one.

It is important to use the proper roller for application of the skim coat. You need a textured foam roller as shown left, and these are available at your local Builders Warehouse. The process of application is simple: Use the roller to apply the skim coat onto the wall. Work in small sections at a time, say about a one square metre area, so that the skim coat doesn't have time to dry before you start working it.

A skim coat refers to the application of a layer of finishing plaster to smooth textured walls or cover up imperfections. A skim coat normally requires the application of two layers of finishing plaster, allowing each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the second coat. Whatever skim coat you choose, this has to be finished with a suitable primer. You can visit for information relating to Rhinolite.

How to apply skim coat
1. Use a special textured foam roller to apply mixed skim coat onto the wall.

2. Working from the top of the wall down to the bottom, use a squeegee to lightly float the surface in one smooth, even stroke.

3. The next stroke works from the bottom of the wall to the top, again applying a smooth, even stroke.

4. Use a paint scraper to remove any excess plaster around fittings.

Let the first coat dry and then lightly sand to remove any imperfections before applying a second skim coat.

After application and once dry the surface needs to be lightly sanded smooth before primer is applied. A tip for this is to use a flat floor cleaner and wrap a sheet of sandpaper around this to be able to sand large areas of wall easily.

The process of skim coat can also be used to cover up unsightly popcorn or heavily textured ceilings.

If you want to try this yourself, practice on a small section of wall until you master the technique of smoothing.


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