Pam Willis, Mobile Home Living’s newest contributor, has been busy remodeling her 1975 single wide mobile home in rural Wisconsin. You can see her ceiling fan face lift project here, and her creative tile board back splash makeover here, and her experience with Federal Pacific electric panels

There are lots of common wood paneling makeover ideas such as paint, wallpaper, caulk, and grout. Each method has pros and cons and should be carefully considered to fully achieve the desired results.

In this case, Pam wanted to create a cottage look using an aged plaster treatment over the wood paneling in her older mobile home.

We’ll cover her process and get first-hand tips and tricks to get the best results.

Wood Paneling Makeover: DIY Aged Plaster 

I wanted a cottage look for the house and this treatment worked well to get the feel that I wanted.

The aged plaster application is great for covering wood paneling without having to remove it. It can also be used on drywall and vinyl panels.

Project Notes:

  • The aged plaster treatment hides a lot of blemishes, gouges, and holes in walls.
  • It is essential to use a super adhering primer before applying the ’plaster’/drywall compound. It’s pretty easy to do, but takes some time.
  • Because it is done in multiple layers, there is a lot of drying time between each step and will take several days.
  • The plaster look was done on the upper 2/3rds of the wall.
  • Tongue in groove pine panel board (aka ’car siding‘) was used as wainscoting.
  • The panel boards were stained with Minwax Whitewash Pickling Stain and then polyurethane was applied.

Supplies: 

  • Dirtex All Purpose Cleaner
  • Wire Brush
  • Trowel and Mud Pan
  • Sanding Block
  • Ultra-Lightweight Drywall Compound – I like the pre-mixed which comes in a tub or bucket
  • Drywall tape for butt joints, corners and large holes. I prefer the webbed self sticking type
  • Super Adhering Primer ( I used Zinzeer brand) DON’T SKIMP ON PRIMER, GET THE SUPER ADHERING!!
  • Paint brushes , rollers, foam brushes.
  • Rags
  • Latex Paint – One color to paint the entire wall, this will be the base color. I used a very light grayish white called Travertine
  • Latex Paint  – (smaller amounts for the glazing) I used three different colors. Brown, Grey and Off White.
  • Glaze – I used a product called “Artistic Impressions” from Ace Hardware
  • Disposable cups (like Solo cups) for mixing the glaze and paint

Mobile Home wood Paneling Before aged plaster treatment Makeover

Prep Work:

Prep work is essential. Clean paneling thoroughly with Dirtex.

Step 1: Using the wire brush, rough up the surface. If you use the super adhering primer, you don’t have to get too aggressive with the wire brush.

Step 2: Tape and mud any butt joints (where two panels join). If you don’t tape, the drywall compound will crack along the seam. Tape and mud any large holes or gouges. Tape and mud around corners. Let Dry.

Applying the Aged Plaster Treatment to Wood Paneling 

After the prep work has dried you can start on the process to achieve the aged plaster look on your wood paneling.

Step 1: Paint the paneling with the Super Adhering Primer, just as you would any wall.

Let the Primer dry thoroughly.

Mobile Home wood paneling during painting makeover

Step 2: Trowel Drywall Compound into all seams and grooves in the paneling. Let dry. You will find that the compound will shrink down into the grooves. If you don’t fill them first and let the compound shrink down before going to the next step, you will have a striped wall, the grooves will show through and it will look bad.

Step 3: Trowel Drywall compound over the entire wall. You can make this as smooth or rough as you like, moving the trowel in sweeping , curving and smoothing strokes. If you Google “Aged Plaster Look”, you will see many ideas. Let Dry. You can come back the next day and add more compound if you need it. Let the second application (if needed) dry.

Step 4: Using the sanding block, sand the wall. You can sand down as much or as little of the drywall compound as you desire, depending on how rough or smooth you want the wall to be. Remove dust with vacuum cleaner.

Step 5: Paint the entire wall with the Latex base color you have chosen. Let Dry.

Step 6: Mix some of the glaze and the secondary paint color in cup. The more paint you add to the glaze, the more intense the color will be on the wall. This might take some experimenting in an inconspicuous place. You can always repaint the test area with your base color.

Mobile home paneling gets makeover

Step 7: Brush the pigmented glaze over the wall, small sections at a time. Use a sweeping motion. (You will get different effects when using either the bristle paint brush or the foam brush, experiment….have fun). After glazing a section, and before the glaze dries, lightly go over the area with a wet rag. Rinse the rag often. The glaze pigment will collect in the nooks and crannies of the ‘plaster’ and give you that aged look. How much or how little glaze you leave on the wall is up to you. Be sure to do small areas at a time. You don’t want the glaze to dry completely before going over it with the wet rag. The glaze will also give a nice seal on the paint, and will make it easier to wash later. Let Dry.

wood paneling makeover - aged plaster treatment

Step 8: If desired, you can add more layers of different colors of glaze. I generally use two to three layers. Let Dry.

aged plaster treatment over mobile home wood paneling

new wood stove installed in mobile home

Thanks so much for reading Mobile and Manufactured Home Living!

About The Author

Hi, I’m Pam. I live with my husband and Corgi dog in Wisconsin. Upon retiring my husband and I got rid of our 2000 Sq. Ft. home in a booming suburb of Chicago - with it’s mortgage and high property taxes. We paid cash for our 864 Sq. Ft., 1975 Marshfield Single Wide, which sits on some lovely acreage here in Wisconsin. “Downsizing” has had it’s challenges, but the freedom from too many ‘things’ and a mortgage has made our lives immensely better. We are remodeling our home as our fixed income allows, trying to choose wisely where to spend the ‘Big Bucks’.

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8 Responses

  1. Christine Deuel

    Instead of doing the full glazing process, is there a way to just paint over the wood paneling where you don’t see the seams? I just inherited a 1969 doublewide. It’s in good shape but definitely needs some updating (kitchen especially). I would love to lighten up the color by painting the paneling but am afraid it will just look like painted paneling:(

    Reply
    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Christine,

      Unless you add some kind of texture to the wall or use a wallpaper (the thick paintabtle kind is awesome) your likely going to see the lines in the faux wood paneling. I have it in my 1978 single wide and we painted it a medium teal and while it does look a lot better it is still obviously painted paneling.

      Research the paintable wallpaper – I think it may be exactly what you need and it’s gonna be a lot easier to deal with over the texturing.

      Reply
  2. Jane Black

    What type of fireplace is that, and does it need to be vented, or is that for decor?
    Thanks!

    Reply
  3. Suzanne Melton

    Pam, you and your husband did a wonderful job…and the step-by-step instructions are great!

    Reply
    • Pamela Willis

      Thanks Suzanne. I’d used this method in my old house when we were getting ready to sell and needed to update the old paneling. When we moved into our Single Wide with the 70’s paneling, the decision to do the same treatment was a no-brainer. Actually, I really enjoy doing this process….it’s kinda fun!

      Reply

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