What the heck is a level 5 finish? A level five finish refers to drywall that has first been taped, then coated and then sanded lightly. This process removes the tool marks before applying a thin skim coat to the entire surface including the seams and field. The skim coat is sanded lightly and checked with a halogen light to look for any imperfections. The surface is coated with a high quality drywall primer before painting. This texture is sometimes referred to as “hospital grade”.