The most asked question from mobile home owners is how to deal with the faux wood paneling or vinyl coated walls in mobile homes. Practically every model has them and each manufacturer apparently use their own special brand of the vinyl on gypsum, or VOG panels. Colors and patterns vary drastically, some have a plastic coating and some only a glossy paper coating.  All have the strips or battens that cover the seams of the panels and nobody really knows how to update them. In this article, we’ll cover the most popular options used to update mobile home walls, as well as particular issues you need to to know for each option. We’ll also go over step-by-step instructions for painting mobile home walls.

5 Ways to Cover Vinyl Coated Walls in Mobile Homes

There’s several different ways you can handle the vinyl walls, from painting to papering. Here’s 6 most popular methods of transforming the walls:

  • Paint the walls.

Painting is the easiest and cheapest method to cover the patterned walls. You’ll be amazed at what a single color, as opposed to an outdated pattern, can do for a room. See below for step-by-step instructions and tips.  texture walls using stencil

  • Texture the walls.

Texturing is the easiest way to be able to remove the strips that cover the seams of the panels and make it blend in with the rest of the wall.  There’s several different texturing methods you can use and different tools available to achieve your desired texture. Drywall compound and the stucco texture is used most often because it’s easy to get, easy to work with and easy to clean up. It’s also affordable. You can go with simple textures, like stucco, sand or orange peel, or complex textures that add a 3D design to the wall. You can also use stencils to make raised textures that look great. The following websites provide great step-by-step instructions for texturing walls and stenciling walls with compound:

WikiHow: How to Texture Walls Domestic Diva: Raised Wall Art Trees PlumDoodles: Faux Bricks Using Drywall Mud

faux brick using drywall mud


One of our favorite websites, My Hearts Song, shares step by step details about how they removed the strips and added an orange peel texture to their single wide mobile home walls. If removing the strips is your main priority and you want to texture your walls lightly, then you’ll definitely want to check it out. Geneva, the owner, has a great question and answer section, too.

  • Wallpaper over the walls.

Remove the strips (battens) and hang. Wallpapering is not easy to hang, so get a pattern that can be matched easily. Research on the best hanging methods before you start.

  • Use Fabric, tile, or mirrors to cover the walls.

There’s plenty of industrial adhesive on the market that will work, depending on what you’re using. Just about anything can be used, even paper!

Local codes vary when it comes to using sheet rock or dry wall in mobile homes, so be sure to check before you start. Weight is an issue with mobile homes, not only due to transporting, but also because some older homes have 1×3 framing and it just can’t hold the weight without bowing or sagging. Preferably, you’ll use Ultra Light Sheet Rock, but you may also be able to use a 3/8″, or perhaps 1/2″ thick, if your framing can handle it.

In an ideal drywall situation, you will replace the ceiling before the walls are installed. This is especially true if you are using sheet rock or drywall to replace your ceiling as well as the walls. The new ceiling will be installed first because the wall will act as a support for the ceiling. If your ceilings are fine, or you have already replaced them, you have nothing to worry about.

If you will be re-wiring the home and moving the outlets and switches, it’s probably easiest to completely remove the original walls. Take this opportunity to add additional insulation and inspect your wiring, while you have the chance. If you plan on replacing the doors or windows go ahead and do it before or during the sheet rock installation. You can also use this time to add proper headers for the window framing if your home does’t have them.

If you aren’t re-wiring the home or moving the outlets and you’re satisfied with the home’s insulation, then add the sheet rock over the original paneling, it’s an additional insulator and less work. There are box extensions you can buy to extend the outlets. Use quite a bit of glue as well as screws (into the studs only) to reduce cracking. Getting the cuts correct for windows, doors and corners can be frustrating so plan on using trim or crown molding to your advantage.

Bead-board is installed over the wall and nailed into the studs. Some people install it over the entire wall and some only install it halfway up or to chair-rail height. Add a finishing trim to the edges. You will have to remove the strips or battens under the bead-board installation so there’s no bowing or sagging. If you like the cottage look, this is a perfect option for you. 

How to Paint Vinyl Coated Walls in Mobile Homes

Painting the vinyl coated walls in mobile homes is the most affordable, and perhaps the easiest, option you can choose. Many mobile homeowners have painted their walls with great success but it seems everyone that has been successful followed a certain process and had the same advice to share.

1. The first and most important step is to properly clean your walls.

Paint and primer will not stick to dirty walls. You may not even realize how dirty your walls can get and may think they are ‘clean enough’ but their not and that’s nothing against your housekeeping abilities. Smoke from cooking, dander from pets,  and various airborne particles from the furnace and air conditioner naturally stick to walls.

Some homeowners used expensive cleaners and some just used dish detergent. It doesn’t really matter what you use as long as there’s a cleaning agent of some sort involved. The most important things is that every inch of the wall is wiped thoroughly at least two times and allowed to dry. You want the primer and paint to bond to every part of the wall so its essential that there’s nothing between the wall and primer or paint.

2. Purchase top quality primer and paint or paint with primer in it. 

The number one piece of advice, that can’t be stressed enough, is to buy the highest quality paint you can. This is not the time to go cheap or be frugal (unfortunately). At the bottom of the article is a list of primers and paints that have been used successfully to paint mobile home walls by several homeowners.

3. Use high quality brushes and rollers to apply the paint.

This is another popular recommendation from those that have painted their mobile home walls successfully. High quality brushes and rollers transfer the paint to the walls better and give a more uniform finish which is exactly what you need.

4. Several light coats are better than thick, heavy coats.

It’s always better to paint in several light coats instead of one or two heavy coats. The paint will dry faster and the finish will be more uniform and smooth.

What kind of paint do you use for mobile home walls?

This is probably the trickiest part of the whole job. Go to 3 different paint stores and I guarantee you will hear 3 different things. We do know that lower sheen paints bond better than gloss or semi-gloss paints and you want the best bond possible so the paint doesn’t peel. That’s another reason why cleaning the walls is so important. Below is a list of products that we know for a fact work well on mobile home walls. They are listed in no particular order.

Best primers to use on mobile home walls:

  • Kilz Primer
  • Zinnser 123
  • Gliddin Gripper
  • Xium Uma
  • Valspar Bonding Primer

Best paint brands to use on mobile home walls:

  • Behr Premium Plus Ultra
  • Glidden Performance Edge Fill + Prime + Paint
  • Sherwin Williams


What about those battens or strips?

You can remove the strips, or battens, and use an acrylic caulk to fill in the gap or crack between the wall panels. Be forewarned though, it is difficult to get the tape even and it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to get it perfect. The panels in mobile homes are not made like drywall or sheet rock panels, meaning they don’t have tapered edges which makes taping the joints easier. You should prime the walls and the cracks with a primer before you fill in the gap with caulk to ensure a good bond. Tape and mud as you would sheet rock. That’s about it. Many people have painted their mobile home’s walls and you can too! The trick is to get the best bond possible and that’s possible by cleaning the walls well and using a good primer, whether it be a stand alone product or primer that’s mixed in the paint. If you have any questions add them to the comments and we’ll do our best to get you pointed in the right direction.

As always, thank you so much for reading Mobile and Manufactured Home Living!

The following websites were instrumental in collecting information and advice for this article:

Image by John Kannenberg

About The Author


Hello! I'm Crystal, the creator of Mobile Home Living and I appreciate you stopping by! I hope MHL is an inspiring and informative resource for you! Please consider letting me feature your remodels, room makeovers, and home improvement projects. There's not enough inspiration available for manufactured homeowners and I want to change that. Thanks!

93 Responses

  1. Annberly

    Have you ever heard of people having trouble with the existing vinyl walls getting damaged when sanding the mud after removing the battens?

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Annerberly,

      You cannot let the sandpaper touch the VOG panels. The paper coating is basically all that is holding the gypsum together and provides the little bit of water-protection is has. Work the mud while it’s still wet to get it as smooth as possible too. This is why I like caulking over mud – there’s a smaller chance of tearing that top paper coating.

      Best of luck!

  2. Maria johnson

    Can you use a oven cleanner to clean walls that are coverred in cigar smoke to take the yellow film and smell away and pant over that i cleanned a ladys apartment that had a gloss finish and it did clean but we were not able to pant decause of manager .will pant stick to that cleaner

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Maria,

      I think scrubbing bubbles may be too caustic (I’m not sure that’s the right word?). It’s basically the paint that will be doing all the work on the cigarette smoke since you can’t really remove that stuff, you just need to clean as much of the wall as possible to create good adhesion for the paint. I’ve had good luck with Mr. Clean and the big white jug with the word lightening (grease lightening, maybe?) at Dollar General Store.

      Best of luck!

  3. Jen

    Hi Crystal,
    I own a 1992 modular with, it appears, the vinyl wallpaper on the walls. The previous owner(s) painted the walls, which was fine, but there are screw holes everywhere and I want to cover them.
    My problem – I used my putty knife to “flatten” or pick off/smooth a hole and the paint AND the vinyl wallpaper sheered off!?!? I now have a good sized portion of bare wall – looks like sheet rock but with a brown paper covering? I think I’ve screwed up major here! 🙁 I have joint compound, should I just lather that on over the bare wall? Or can I use an oil based or latex primer right over the wall?
    Also, for future reference what’s the best way to repair holes without the whole sheet of wallpaper/paint combo peeling off?
    Thanks in advance!
    (love, love your site, btw!!!)

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Jen,

      What you are dealing with is the typical VOG wall. It’s just two sheets of vinyl holding together a little bit or gypsum (the clay like stuff in the middle). It’s easily damageable and a real pain in the neck.

      At this point, I think pushing the raised part down as best you can and painting with a thick primer (oil based so it doesn’t soak into the gypsum too much) and then painting over the primer is your best bet. If you use a joint compound or mud you’re going to have a lot of trouble getting it even and smooth. It’s likely that you will be able to notice the issue even after you prime and paint but it won’t be too bad, especially if you use a couple coats of the primer.

      The builders love VOG panels because they are so lightweight and offer a bit of waterproofing but hopefully sheet rock will eventually be used instead (sheet rock is getting much thinner and lighter than it used to be).

      Best of luck! If the priming and painting doesn’t work you may want to try texturizing the whole wall or using wallpaper over it.

    • Jennifer Bargeron

      I have had great results on textured walls by throwing DOWN the putty knife..and do your final strokes with an old towel (painter’s rags) The texture in the cloth recreates the original ‘grain’ much faster with a few feathery touches of a towel.

  4. Lisa

    Hi, Crystal. I’m really enjoying your site– so many great ideas! I am planning to paint the vinyl walls in my kitchen, and would really like to remove those ugly Batten strips. One method I keep hearing is to fill the seams with paintable caulk before mudding over with joint compound and feathering out. Another is to cover the walls with paintable wallpaper. Both prospects sound like a lot of hard work for one person, as I would likely be doing most of it myself. I also have some concern about the joints cracking after a while. So I came up with a sort of hybrid idea. I was thinking, since the vinyl walls in my kitchen have only a slight texture, perhaps I could first caulk the seams, and then cover them with wallpaper border, before priming and painting. Does this sound to you like an idea that will work?

    • Crystal Adkins

      Absolutely Lisa! This is a how a lot of us have done it. Make sure to get the thickest wallpaper you can for the kitchen (that can be painted and scrubbed). Add a single coat of paint to the seam before you add the caulk, it will help the caulk to adhere better.

      best of luck!

  5. Darin Clements

    Just a tip from a professional contractor; when mudding the joints, use a 14″ taping knife that is flexible. This will allow you to feather it out more, creating a much less noticeable hump.

  6. James Edwards

    In addition, to the above article (How to Update Vinyl Walls in Mobile Homes), I have found that you must make sure that the mobile home is level when hanging drywall. Because later down the road, if for any reason it needs leveled your drywall work will probably crack. This I learned the hard way. So good luck in your endeavor.

    • Crystal Adkins

      Thanks so much for the tip James!

      A level home is a happy home! I really need to get an article up about the importance of a level home, It’s not as difficult to check or fix as most people think and it sure can relieve a lot of headaches.

      Thanks again!

  7. Anne

    curious if you can move a furnace in a single wide mobile home ours is in the hallwall and protrudes into my kitchen with a bump out and hoping I can move it into a spare bedroom and give me more room in th ekithchen

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Anne,

      You sure can! One of the best things about manufactured homes is their simplicity when it comes to the heating and plumbing systems. The vents are usually in simple lines with few corners so you have a little flexibility.

      You’ll just want to do a little research to find the best place to put it (perhaps the middle of the home?).

      Thanks so much for reading Mobile and Manufactured Home Living!

  8. Judy C Mauldin

    Hi, I am re-wallpapering a mobile home.. The original wallpaper is on wood paneling.. Would I need to use primer? or any other bonding agent? thank you

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Judy,

      I’m not real knowledgeable about wall paper. I’ve only done it a couple of times. I was under the impression that as long as the surface was clean and the paste was sticky you could get good, longlasting results.

      Let me know how it works out for you!

  9. Mandi

    We have some issues where my daughter taped posters on the wall and when she removed them the paper went with it. Any suggestions on how to fix that? Will a light mud work?

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Mandy,

      That top coating is a vinyl covering that holds the gypsum together. Once it has been damaged you’ll have to do something to the entire wall to make it all seem cohesive and paint will show the difference so you will need to prime it really well. Try a Killz primer or a Gripper and then paint over it. . I think that will be a much easier option unless you just really want to texture the whole room.

      Light mud will work but that’s a lot of work

      PS Make sure to clean the wall first.

      This might help:

      Best of luck!

  10. Debbie

    We have a 2002 38 ft RV that we will be down sizing to. We want to update to make it our home. The paper on the walls is starting to come off from dryness and age. Do we take it off before we paint or glue it back on on to come off again. We also have bad water stains on the ceilings. The roof has been fixed. Do we redo them or clean them some how. I am also worried about painting the cabinets. I did many years ago and they looked painted. Is it easier now and do they look better. Thank you.

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Debbie!

      For the walls, or VOG vinyl on gypsum panels, it’s best to leave as much of the top paper layer on as possible. It kinda acts as a water repellent and keeps the paint from soaking into the gypsum. If you can glue it the loose paper go ahead and try that.

      For your ceiling, there is some great ceiling primer and paint on the market these days. Some even say they will cover water stains. Try a product that has both primer and paint that is very thick (Killz has a ceiling paint I think).

      Cabinets are all about the prep work. The more you prepare them before painting, the better. Scrub them well and then use a paint with primer (like Killz, Gripper, etc).

      Hope that helps – Best of luck! I’d love to see how everything turns out!

  11. nancy

    Hi … I have a 1980’s model Windsor home the walls in the hall separated from the luann back from leaking roof over time. The wall was wood paneling with luann put up over that Took all of it down to repair and behind the installation was some sort of foil paper next to the aluminum siding that had deteriorated. What is the foil and what was it there for and does it need to be replace or just put back up new installation?

  12. Dale

    Hello. I have a 70’s double wide in AZ. I’m just beginning to have some work done. I notice my kitchen cabinets look like they are hanging from the ceiling. Once I gut the kitchen out, can I hang new cabinets on the paneling or can I upgrade the walls to sheetrock? I’m not sure which route to go. I am guessing I have all metal type studs so I am not sure what is best to hang the cabinets on.
    Thank you!

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Dale!

      I’m no construction expert but I think cabinets are best hung from the walls and not the ceilings. Unless you have an Airstream or Spartan type home you likely have wood studs so there shouldn’t be any issues with hanging the cabinets. You can easily upgrade to sheetrock if you want too! Mobile homes have so much potential and are fairly easy to remodel which is one of the reasons they are so great!

      Thank you so much for contacting me!

  13. Irene King

    Two words: Paintable Wallpaper. Give me don’t mind doing the little bit extra work of cleaning, lightly sanding, filling in the holes and the seams, then you’ll find that this heavy vinyl paper will work great. I don’t have a mobile home yet, but I’m planning to buy one when I retire. However, in my condo I have used it a lot. I have used the Martha Stuart brand in the beadboard pattern, and people don’t know that it’s wallpaper. There are other brands, patterns and textures, so there’s quite a lot of choices.

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Irene!

      Paintable wallpaper is awesome! I have seen some gorgeous patterns over the years. At first I was a bit hesitant because I didn’t think it could hold up to the paint but it does. My grandmother is even using it as a back splash in her kitchen and it has been up for at least 7 years and looks brand new.

      Thanks so much for commenting and sharing your tip!

      • Crystal Adkins

        Hi Miranda!

        To be completely honest, it’s not as easy as regular wallpaper but you can do it! It’s very thick and that’s a good thing and a bad thing. Thicker wallpaper, in my opinion, is easier to position but it’s a bit harder to get started because of the weight. Just follow the directions and have a helper hold the top section while you do the positioning and it will go easier (assuming you are doing an entire wall). I just found it a bit awkward to get each row started but with a little help it was a lot quicker.

        Best of luck! Let me know how it goes!

  14. Dessire

    Just purchased a used mobile home with vinyl wall coverings. The previous owners painted two of the bedrooms. One room still has battens over seams, one room does not. Looks as if they tried to tape and mud the seams and paint in the one room that battens are removed…however, they didn’t do so well.

    My question is how do I fix the unsightly mud job?

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Dessire!

      You’ll probably have to sand the mud down and start over. At least you’ll have a head start! Be careful not to rip that top layer of paper off the wall panel (if it’s vinyl coated) and use several light coats of mud and sand between each layer. That should make it look a lot better!

      Best of luck!

  15. Jane

    Hello! I am wondering how to update stenciled panels in a double wide that has all the trappings of the 80s mauve color everywhere! The stenciled panels are tulips that vines that run the entire length of the panel. These panels are on cabinet doors and panels between the kitchen and living room. Need ideas of how to update! Or cover up.

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Jane!

      If it’s on the vinyl covered walls or the cabinetry you should be able to paint right over the stenciled areas. You’d need to use a good primer to give the area a clean canvas and to allow the paint to adhere to the surface but it shouldn’t be too hard. There’s also paintable wallpaper you could use to cover the area. Paint is a great way to freshen up a room and give the space a whole new look.

      Best of luck!

  16. Nicole

    So glad to have found you! You explain the seemingly impossible so well. I feel like I can tackle my mh and really change it into my dream home. Thank you!

  17. Kathleen E

    Hi, We just purchased a double manufactured home in a retirement community in Arizona. We need to spruce up the outside. and inside the house it has the old vinyl walls. I would like to paint and tape the seams that they don’t look vinyl and near the ceiling put the wood boarder all the way around. will the walls still have that vinyl look and texture. Could you recommend a good book for repairs and fix-ups guide.

  18. sheila

    Hi Crystal,
    I purchased my singlewide new and love mobile home living! I have some issues with the wallpaper because of all the holes the manufacturer have made from hanging curtain rods in the wrong place. How can I repair them? I don’t care to paint since it is a new one. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks, Sheila

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Sheila!

      I’ve used toothpaste to fill-in holes on a white wall before and it worked great. I bet you can find some type of color putty that would work well too! Caulk or drywall mud would be good if you can find a paint pen that matches the color of your wall. Just let it dry well before you paint.

      Thanks so much for reading MHL and good luck!

  19. m88

    Fantastic blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring
    writers? I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a little
    lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or
    go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m totally confused ..
    Anyy ideas? Thanks!

    • Crystal Adkins


      I definitely recommend WordPress with your own domain name. Hosting is always an issue – starting out I used a $5 a month plan and it was awful! Hosting is one of those get what you pay for deals.

      Focus your topic as narrow as possible. Instead of home decor, focus on manufactured home decor. Learn about keywords and search engine optimization as quickly as possible. It took me 2 years to even learn what SEO meant but had I learned about it faster, I could have done a lot better as far as traffic.

      If you have any other questions just email at crystaladkins @ Good luck!

  20. Amanda Wilburn

    I am getting ready to start on removing the batten strips and fill in the cracks like you recommend with the caulk. My question is in my living room my vinyl walls have a light texture to them. If I fill in the cracks with caulk can I run a thick paint roller over the seams to add a little texture so as not to have thin flat strips where the battens used to be?

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Amanda!

      You can! There’s a few things that you can do to make the caulk work a bit better for you. First, paint the seam before applying the caulk. Apparently the paint helps the caulk adhere better. Then paint over the caulk to get it all one color.

      It is difficult to get the caulk to match the walls, even when the walls are textured, but using a special textured roller when applying the paint will help a lot. The first strip will be the hardest, so start somewhere that’s not as noticeable and just work with it till you get it as close as you can.

      Good luck and let us know how it goes!

  21. Kristine

    Hi Crystal,
    I live in a 1974 mobile home. I’ve been living here since 1990. I’ve made a lot of improvements over the windows, paint,additional bathroom etc. still have the existing painted panel walls and ugly ceilings. I want to texture the walls and the ceilings. Ceilings are foot and a half strips running the width of trailer. Was told I shouldn’t use joint compound to texture because of the movement of the trailer. Would be nice to have more of a ,stick built, house feel. If you know what I mean. Any recommendations?
    Thanks, Kristine

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Kristine!

      If you have no intention of moving the home and it’s set on a good foundation you can definitely use joint compound. The worse that can happen is you’ll need to patch it if the home suffers any kind of movement. Joint compound is one of the most useful products in the remodeling/construction industry – use it to your advantage! Manufactured home builders are using sheet rock and drywall more and more these days and though it’s a bit of a hassle after setup it makes a home look and feel more like a site-built home so it’s worth every bit of the hassle.

      There’s a lot of misguided advice out there regarding manufactured homes – lots of people believe the homes are nothing like a site-built home but that’s not the case at all. Same materials, same construction techniques…their just built in a factory and hauled to the site. I’ve also heard people say you can’t use tile but I’ve seen no issue with it, just make sure the tile didn’t cross the marriage line and isn’t too heavy.

      Your only concern will be settling or high wind movement but if the home has been there for 25 years already I’d say it’s settled and will be there another 25 years! Good luck!

      • Jim

        May I suggest you spend a little more and get a acrylic or silicone caulk. they are more flexible than standard caulk and survive slight movement be aware silicon will be harder to workwith.

  22. Norma

    Which type of primer sticks better to the wall? Latex, water-based, or oil?

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Norma!

      Great question! To be honest, I still have to look it up cause I can’t keep all the different paints, primers, uses, and materials straight! I’ve always used regular ole latex primers on my home (like Killz) because I like the easy clean-up and it seems to stick to the faux-paneling and vinyl on gypsum walls that I’ve had very well. However, I haven’t tested the others so I may be missing out on a better product.

      Here’s what True Value had to say about primers:

      Oil-based primers and paints have been an industry standard for decades. These primers work with both oil paints and latex paints, making them very versatile and applicable to a wide variety of surfaces. Wood (painted or unpainted), steel and other metals, and surfaces with existing paint, such as interior and exterior walls are ideal surfaces for oil-based primers.

      Many oil-based primers are good “stain killers” and prevent stains from showing through your new coats of paint. They are good for blocking stains on your walls from ink, nicotine and water.

      Oil-based primers are ideal for interior and exterior unfinished or bare wood because they seal the porous surface of wood, enabling the coat of paint to better cover the surface. They stop tannins, released from woods, such as cedar or redwood, from bleeding through the surface of the paint. They also prevent or slow down paint peeling, cracking and blistering.

      A drawback of oil-based primers (as with oil-based paints), they are often slow-drying and release high amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can be harmful to people in high concentrations and with prolonged exposure. They also require that you use harsh thinners and solvents to clean brushes and applicators, and have to be disposed of carefully and properly. Oil-based primers should not be used on masonry.

      Latex primers are water-based and ideal for prepping unfinished drywall for painting. They are more flexible and fast drying, and are less brittle than oil-based primers, making them less susceptible to peeling and cracking. They are also good for priming soft wood (such as pine), brick and concrete and galvanized metals.

      Latex primers are good for drywall because they even out the surface of the wallboard and any joint compound applied to it, and any areas that have been patched or repaired. They also can cover and seal in previous minor stains from smoke, lipstick, crayon, etc., but are not as effective at covering stains as oil- and shellac-based primers.

      These primers are water-soluble and so are easy to clean. They also come in low- or no-VOC formulas, making them a healthier alternative to oil-based and shellac primers.

      Shellac Primer
      Shellac has been used for centuries to seal wood and other surfaces. Good for interior paint jobs, shellac-based primers are possibly the best stain-blocking primers, working well on severe water and smoke damage to walls and surfaces — they even seal in smells from smoke damage. They also are excellent at preventing normal water, rust and smoke stains, as well as wood tannins from bleeding through new paint. They work well on wood, metal, plaster, and even plastic, and are fast drying and highly adhesive. They also can be used with both oil-based and latex paints.

      The drawback to using shellac-based primers is that they are not as versatile as latex or oil and they give off more fumes. They require that you use denatured alcohol to thin them and clean applicators.

      And here’s a few more articles that has a lot of great information about primers and paints:
      Today’s Homeowner
      Bob Villa
      DIY Network
      Family Handyman

  23. Linda

    I have a 1987 Carrollton single wide. The bathroom has a tall narrow linen/storage closet that is made with wood looking paneling, it abuts the sink vanity. I want to paint the closet & doors as it is a different wood hue than the vanity cabinet and another cabinet which is over the toilet. The rest of the room will be done with beadboard and paint. What do you suggest I do?

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Linda!

      With bead board and a good trim you can give your bathroom a cute cottage look. Since that storage closet is already in a different paneling it sounds like it would be great to continue its ‘oddness’ and use it as an accent. Paint it in a complimentary color that goes with the rest of the room but isn’t used much. Maybe a nice blue or grey?

      I bet whatever you chose will be beautiful! Take photos for us and good luck!

  24. Mary Gillette

    I have an older mobile home and we are using liquid nail and staples to hang the walk panels over the existing ugly ones. We are also porting them up flush so as not to have to use batten strips. At first the walls looked great-smooth and everything. A week later and I get dish walking in the room. The walls are wavy. Help!

    • Mary Gillette

      Sorry for the typos
      *wall panels
      *putting them up
      *dizzy walking into the room

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Mary!

      So sorry you’ve had issues! There’s nothing worse than putting a lot of hard work into a project and it backfire on you! I’ve been there!

      It kinda sounds like a water issue, maybe the glue was water based and seeped into the drywall or gypsum? We’d be happy to take a look if you want to send me photos of the walls.

      My email is – If you do send photos, let me know what type of walls you used (drywall, VOG, paneling,etc) and the type of liquid nail. That may help.

      Thanks so much!

  25. Diana

    We purchased a 20 year old modular with paneling in both bathrooms with the battens between panels. I see all the comments about remove the battens and prepare the surface. My problem is how to get the battens or strips off, is there a trick to it or what could I be doing wrong. It seems to be a sort of plastic and breaks leaving a ridge.

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Diana!

      Usually the battons are just stapled into the panels so any pry bat type tool will work. Just slip the tool under the strip and pry gently along the length and it should come right out! Good luck!

      • Nicole

        Hi Crystal! Ours were actually in a “T” shape, and when I tried to use a pry bar to get it out, I had to actually get a hammer to break the back side of the strip. I couldn’t get it out otherwise. So now I have a beat up section of the wall (where I was learning how to make it work with the hammer) and I don’t know how to fix it. I painted over it thinking that would be ok, but it just makes it stick out more now! The cardboard like stuff that the walls are made of is not flush with the rest of the wall (it looks gapped and a mess), and I can’t figure out how to get it back right. Any suggestions? I was thinking to just run sand paper lightly over it and then repaint, but I’m afraid that might tear it up more.

      • Crystal Adkins

        Hi Nicole,

        Can you maybe send me a photo? My email is If it’s a vinyl on gypsum wall it’s going to be a different fix. When sheet rock is overly damaged it’s best to just cut the section out but I don’t want to tell you to do that if it isn’t necessary.


  26. tamie

    I would like to wallpaper over my vinyl gypson walls in my mobile home but I’m not sure how to proceed and don’t want the paper to fall off! So can you pls tell me what I should do for prep work prior to applying the paper, sanding, cleaning or primer with paint? Do I need to fill the batten seams and what would work best? Drywall mud or caulking? Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Tamie!

      I’ve used regular ole pre-pasted wallpaper and the temporary wallpaper over our VOG panels in our previous double wide and they both worked great. I only had to reseal the corners but that happens on just about every surface.

      Remove the battons and fill the crack in with caulk (or mud if you prefer). Clean everything really well and you’ll be set (save your battons in case you want to add them back someday). You should have no troubles at all! It’s a very simple DIY project (unless you get a tight pattern paper – I always have difficulty getting them straight – I would not make a very good wallpaperer).

      Good luck!

  27. Norma A.

    Is there a 2 in 1 that is recommended? I imagine its easier to already have the primer in the paint that way you don’t have to do so many coats right?

    • Crystal Adkins

      I’ve always like Valspar and Behr. I think with today’s chemical technology just about any mid-to-high priced 2-in-1 would work very well.

  28. Marcia

    I’m purchasing a manufactured home, it has been lived in before and the previous owners painted over the vinyl wallpaper. The strip are still on the walls, I’m wanting to remove those and possibly texture over everything. Can this be done? If so what’s the best way to go about this. Without adding extra sheetrock?

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Marcia! You sure can! Here’s what we recommend for removing the battens (strips):

      You can remove the strips, or battens, and use an acrylic caulk or even drywall mud and tape to fill in the crack. Then texture over it. Texturing the walls makes the job a lot easier since you won’t have to get the seam so perfect.

      Just remove the batten, prime the crack and add caulk or mud (whichever you prefer to work with – I like caulk better) and fill the crack and use a soft, pliable edge (like a credit card) and work it up and down to make it even with the wall panel. Once it’s dry you can use whatever you prefer to add texture (drywall mud is popular).

      Good luck! If you can please take photos and share with us!

  29. Kay Arnold

    I bought a HUD home and I had a lot of wall repairs to do. I used standard drywall patch screening and then using regular drywall mud to cover the damage. I removed all the battens and filled with dry wall mud and any rough spots I sanded down. I used Lowe’s brand paint and it stuck very well. The house looks nice and it has been a year and half and no problems with the paint or drywall. I had to replace nine doors and I upgraded to panel doors that meant that the door locks didn’t fit correctly and I had to re-drill the doorjambs and fill in with wood putty and it all worked out fine. I also recovered the bathroom floors with the peel and stick flooring that looks like hard wood but can be cut with sheers. That job went so well I may cover the kitchen floor with it too. I had the carpet replaced by a professional with the best padding I could afford and that made a dramatic improvement in the house. Everything takes longer to do and costs more than you thought. But the results are worth it. I still have the laundry room and kitchen floors to do. Then maybe the kitchen cabinets ? Does it every ALL get done?

  30. Ashley

    Can u sand the walls before paint? I to have a home where paint has already been added and I can not get the old off?

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Ashley!

      If your walls are the VOG panels with the glossy finish then no, you shouldn’t sand them at all. That topcoat is basically paper with some sort of gloss or glaze over it and it’s what holds the panel together and gives it what little bit of water protection it has.

      Thanks so much for reading MHL!

    • wallace

      You can as long as you are very gentle and use a fine sand paper like 220 grit and do it by hand. NO power sanders ! But keep in mind what Crystal said about the outer layer. You are not trying to sand anything off just lightly scuffing the gloss down from the existing finish . Be light handed and you should be fine.

  31. Kim

    We just purschased a mobile home and started painting. We have did 2 rooms ( kitchen and master bedroom) so far but we are having a problem with the paint not sticking. We are using the Behr paint with primer but everytime something hits the wall the paint easily chips off. Any suggestions?

    Thank you for your help!

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Kim!

      Thanks so much for contacting me! It sounds like the paint isn’t creating a strong bond to the wall. I’d peel the paint off and try a very strong industrial cleaner. Scrub the wall down a couple of times and let it dry overnight before re-painting. If that doesn’t work, try a separate primer like Kilz or a Gripper type.

      Good luck!

    • wallace

      Another step to promote paint adhesion is to lightly hand sand the walls with some of those cheap sand/sponges or some 220 grit paper. This will further take the sheen off which is key to doing this right. Nothing likes to stick to a slick shiny surface .Do this step after you’ve thoroughly washed your walls and let them dry. Then use a tack cloth to wipe off the loose dust from the sanding. now your ready to prime and paint you heart away and dare your paint to peel, chip, or flake.

  32. Nancy

    We have an early 1990’s park model in Mesa, AZ. The wallpaper is coming off in the living room. Underneath it I can see a dark paneling/wallboard of some kind. It has a rough feeling to it. Can we pull off the vinyl wallpaper and just prime and paint it? I haven’t been able to find any information on this topic.

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Nancy!

      Yes! As long as its regular ole wallpaper. If its been there a while you may have to steam it off. Then prime and paint. It sounds like someone added wallpaper over the old faux-wood paneling. My house had it too!

      Let us know how it goes!

  33. patty

    Do you have to use tape to cover vinyl wall strips? Can i use jyst the acrylic caulk. Im painting and not adding bead board or sheetrock to exsiting walls

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Patty!

      I like to use caulk and mud more than tape – it’s just easier for me to work with. Mobile home walls don’t have the tapered edges like standard drywall so using tape is a bit more difficult and transitioning the seams is a big pain.

      Fill in the seams with paint, then caulk it half way (don’t fill the seam up completely) and let it dry. Apply another coat of paint, let it dry, and then add more caulk and use a flat edge to get it seamless. The paint helps the caulk to attach to the surface better but it’s not necessary.

      Good luck and thanks so much for reading MHL!

      • Loretta

        I have started removing the strips and tried to mud and tape before i seen that using caulk to fill works best. But I have only started on one room. This sounds much easier and maybe look better. I don’t like textured walls or the strips. So before I get going on the next room what type of caulk do you recommend?

      • Crystal Adkins

        Hi Loretta!

        Using caulk is a lot easier than the mud and tape method, especially if you’ve never worked with tape before. DAP is probably the most popular caulk brand and they have tons of different formulas. Here’s a few that would work well (I found them all on their site):

        DAP® ALEX® Painter’s Acrylic Latex Caulk
        DAP® ALEX Fast Dry® Acrylic Latex Caulk Plus Silicone
        DAP® ALEX FLEX™ Premium Molding & Trim Sealant
        DAP® SIMPLE SEAL™ Paint Projects Easy-to-Use Home Sealant

        DAP® CRACKSHOT® High Performance Spackling Paste (RTU)
        DAP® ELASTOPATCH® Pro-Grade Elastomeric Patching CompoundSmooth (RTU)

        Here’s a PDF of all of DAP’s products:

        Good luck! Just holler if you need anything else!

  34. Eric

    I have a problem with the doors when adding sheet rock over the panels . How do i get the trim to match with the door jam and the walls so i dont have to replace all the doors.

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Eric!

      You’ll need to extend the jam and use moulding to cover the transition. I found the following on DIY/Stackexchange to explain it way better than I can:

      For areas where the jam was slightly short, he would take a razor blade, and score the drywall about 1/4″ in from the edge of where the trim would sit, then take a hammer, and punch down the Dry Wall even with the jam. So the outside edge of the trim would be on intact with the Dry Wall, but under the bulk of the trim the Dry Wall was smashed down.

      In areas where the jam was sticking out too far, he would do one of two things- in most of our rooms we were painting the trim, so he would use a paintable caulk behind the trim to seal it against the wall, then use a piece of square wood dipped in some soapy water to make the caulk flush with the trim. After painting over it, you can’t see where the trim stops and caulk starts.

      For the one room with stained maple trim, he shimmed behind the trim when cutting the miters, and played with the thickness of shim until the trim would “rock back” against the drywall but still meet up with the trim it was mitered against. This seemed much more an art than a science.

      Overall, the process is not easy, and I doubt I would be able to duplicate the quality of his joints, for the exposed wood trim with jams extending past the drywall.

      Here’s some other links that can help too:

      Hope that helps and good luck!

  35. Chelsea


    I have a 2010 single wide mobile home. I’m going to be painting my walls soon, but I will be starting with our closet as a test run. I plan on removing the battens and then painting. I have heard that spraying ammonia on the walls before painting helps A LOT with the process!! Now, for the paint. I decided to not go with Glidden due to the horrible reviews. But, I have heard good things about Behr. Is there any tips or suggestions you could provide to make this as smooth as possible? Any help would be great!!!


    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Chelsea!

      Doing a test run is a very smart idea! I probably should put that in the article, huh? I researched about the ammonia and found that it is the most recommended de-greaser and cleaner by professionals. Plus it’s super cheap! Here’s a link on washing walls that has a ‘recipe’ for the ammonia:

      I always seem to buy Valspar but only because it’s always on sale at my local Lowe’s. I’ve learned not to buy cheap paint but I’m a bit too frugal to pay more than $30 a gallon for paint. I suspect paint is one of those products that makes the old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ ring true though. Plus I think most paint has a money back guarantee so if Behr doesn’t work well for you then you can get your money back.

      Cleaning the walls seems to be the most important step in the whole process and you’ve done your research so you should have no problem!

      In addition to this article, I wrote another article for about painting mobile home walls. It’s basically the same information but in a different format. Here’s the link:

      Good luck. Take some photos for us!

      • diona

        VALSPAR t is ones of the worst paints to buy. to thick and didn’t do as it claims. A few more $ buy Behr. One of the top 3 recommended by painters.. i prainted half a house with Valsar… terrible. .I went and paid for Behr myself for a job (which is what I use usually).Father wanted it, against my better judgement I did what he wanted. .. never again.

  36. Valerie

    I have pet damage marks on my wall how can I fix that? Should I just mud it like sheet rock?

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Valerie!

      Repairing a larger area is possible with VOG panels but you may have a hard time getting it to blend in well. You may want to add a speckle or orange peel design and do it to the whole wall to make everything blend in well. You could also cover it with bead board to chair rail height. That would probably be easier.

      Good luck!

  37. Diana

    I just got an older Mobile Home; 1979 single wide.
    The previous owners already painted all paneled walls with the wrong paint and it is peeling/chipping everywhere. All flat white over dark paneling.
    Kitchen and Bathroom I am going to cover with bead-board but what do I do now with the already painted walls?
    Thank You very much for all this Mobile Home DIY information.

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Diana! It’s great to hear from you! I’ve seen this problem a few times but I was always fortunate to be able to just peel the paint off. It was pretty fun…I bet in your case the wall was just cleaner in some parts and was able to bond to the wall better so peeling won’t work. I’d probably try to peel it off and then very lightly use a flat edge scraper and scrape it off using a light steam or heat (steamer or hair dryer).

      There’s a homemade paint remover mixture I’ve seen that may work too. I Googled it and found this article. It has a lot of great tips:

      Here’s another link with some good information:

      There’s lots of paint remover products you could try but I’d be very careful cause it could eat into the wall itself. One of those articles mentioned that if you do use a home made or store bought paint remover to clean the walls well afterwards so that the chemicals are neutralized. That will also give you another round of cleaning the walls so your paint will bond to the wall wonderfully!

      Good luck! Please take some photos for us – would love to see how it all turns out for you!!

  38. Jodi

    I was told that I couldn’t use things like tile, grout or mud ((?) to replace the battens.) for the walls/floors because of the shifting my home goes through for Michigan winters and summers. Is this true? My home is a 2013 Redman so the walls aren’t the thin vinyl, but have the vinyl wallpaper over them. I would really love tile, but I am afraid of what could happen.

    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Jodi!

      Congratulations on your new home! A few other homeowners have mentioned that they have heard the same thing and while I always hate to go against advice – I don’t think this advice is as relevant as it may have been, here’s why:

      Manufactured homes are now installed and setup based on a national code so homes are more likely to be setup in a way that decreases substantial shifting. Proper footers, especially on homes that have been permanently installed, are less likely to shift or move a lot. Of course, they have to be able to shift but not enough to cause damage.

      Today’s tiling products like DuraRock and HardiRock and the new grouting products is a lot better than they used to be.

      The tile is set in a way that keeps minimal shifting from causing any damage. There’s even a product for tiling in RV’s – it’s a flexible grid type base attached to the tile in the factory and they even have special grout so movement doesn’t hurt the installation at all.

      There’s a trick with adding grout between the panels, just add really good primer to the crack and let it dry before you grout or mud it – it will allow the grout/mud to adhere to the wall better and keep cracks to minimum.

      I think the advice was good advice years ago but with today’s installation and tiling products, I just don’t think it’s relevant anymore.

      PS I’m not at all familiar with construction techniques for really cold weather. Here in WV we get 0 degree temps and a couple feet of snow at a time but it’s nothing like MN! Good luck!

  39. mary

    We have a park model vacation home. We want to add a back splash in the kitchen. Can you tile over the vinyl walls??


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