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Hey all. I took a stab at drywalling my 400 sqft basement. Just finished with my 3rd coat, onto sanding next. I was excited to start priming, but then I came across a video on level 5 finishing:






Near the end he rolls paint onto a sample wall (no primer) and you can very easily see the texture difference between the drywall paper and sanded mud. Freaked me out a bit.



Do I really need to skim coat the entire area of drywall to get a half-decent finish, or would 2 coats of primer with sanding in between even-out the texture? The mudding and taping has nearly killed me thus far so would like to avoid more of it if possible :D




Edit: This is the primer I plan to use: https://www.homedepot.ca/product/be...ite-interior-drywall-primer-sealer/1000427555
 

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Doesn't a level 5 finish require a skim coat of the entire surface? I haven't read the list in a while but this was the thought off the top of my head....

As to your primer, you should be shopping for paint and other products somewhere else.

EDIT: Yes, level 5 includes a skin coat of the entire wall: https://www.thespruce.com/the-five-levels-of-drywall-finishing-4120152
 

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I never use Behr so I can't really comment other than they don't have a great reputation. Big box paints are normally stocked based on low price, not quality. Also paint stores generally have better trained help.


While skim coating can produce the nicest finish, most homes are not finished to that level. A decent finish job, a coat of primer and 2 coats of finish paint will give a nice looking job that many folks will think is great.
 

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The nap of the roller plays a big part.

The less nap the smoother the finish.
I use 1/2" nap, not a foam roller on new drywall.

I don't use any primer on drywall just two good coats of paint with half strokes.

The ceiling I use only ceiling paint.
I roll in one direction then the other and do this for two coats with half strokes.

The walls I use satin paint.

The trim I use semi-gloss paint.

For cabinets I use a good Enamel paint.

I think the one thing everyone here agrees on is good prep, it will show.
 

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use this as a primer

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Glidden-Gripper-1-gal-Gripper-White-Primer-Sealer-GPG-0000-01/100166028

its a latex primer with high build which will help hide defects in your work.

Then use a quality paint from Sherwin Williams such as Super paint, or Duration, or from Benjamin Moore, Regal is a nice line... or PPG - ultrahide 250...

dont buy the paint from a big box store.

And while at the paint sotre of your choice, sign up for a home owners acct while your there, youll save 10-15%, and those standing behind the counter generally know more about paint than you could ever dream of.
 

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Do I really need to skim coat the entire area of drywall to get a half-decent finish, or would 2 coats of primer with sanding in between even-out the texture?

No, if you did a good job with the 3 coats, just one coat of primer, sanded, and 2 coats of finish paint will work fine. Some paints are self-priming over standard drywall and 2 coats of finish paint will work fine. Many people don't know how to put on a standard "thick" coat of paint and therefore their textures don't work out well. The paint should be quite liquid. If the paint says coverage of 350-400 sf, I would plan on getting about 325 sf and you'll be putting it on about right. (Their specs are based on perfection and lack of waste, but no one can really apply paint that way with a roller.)
 

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What's wrong with Behr paint? I've had good success with it so far.

Don't listen to the doomsayers here. Lots of guys just love the bash the big box stores, they just can't seem to get enough of it. Behr paint is fine for the price. Especially their Ultra. I've actually had quite good results with some Valspar paint such as Simplicity or better, too. And I have accounts at Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, and PPG. Actually Home Depot carries PPG Timeless now, which works well as a 1 coat paint on previously painted walls, for many colors.
 

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The nap of the roller plays a big part.

The less nap the smoother the finish.
I use 1/2" nap

1/2" will make it easier to get on a proper full coat thickness of paint, but some people aren't happy with the slightly heavier texture. I normally use 3/8" myself. But you have to get enough paint on the wall. People who go around painting W's all over the place because they saw it on TV or YouTube, normally don't get good results. You are better off using a more consistent technique where you know exactly how much paint you've loaded on the roller, and you cover the exact same square footage of wall space with that load. I usually cover about 7 sf with one full load of a 3/8" x 9" roller cover (one floor to ceiling strip of around 10-11" wide). This will give you the full mil wet film thickness that's called for. Trying to spread it thinner is one reason people get such bad results, and think they need 3 coats when they only need 2, or 2 coats when they only need 1.
 

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I like to get smooth walls without the hassle of skim coating. That's just a whole 'nother layer of perfection and opportunity to screw something up, not to mention the incredible mess it makes with dust, unless you have a great HEPA vac to suck it all up.

Use a good primer for sure. One coat is all that is needed, but, if it gives you peace of mind, another one won't hurt. Let that all dry overnight. Sand with 80 or 100 grit sandpaper if using an orbital sand. You can also use a sheet sander if you are not skilled in the use of an orbital. If used correctly, a power sander won't cut into the primer and into the drywall. What it will do is eliminate that roughness from the latex primer soaking into the paper facing of the drywall.

Mop off the dust. Touch the walls. They will be "baby-butt" smooth. Apply your topcoats and you will have a nicely finished wall surface. Level 5? No, but adequate for most residential homes.

If you don't feel comfortable with a power sander to do the sanding, you can use drywall sandpaper (comes in black sheets) in 150 grit and sand by hand. The best painter in my area still does new homes using this method. His guys hand sand every square inch. They then vacuum off all the dust. Walls are damp mopped. His jobs are amazing. I try to emulate that process but I cheat with the orbital. Can't say that it is a whole lot faster, but I FEEL like I'm moving faster, lol.
 
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