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5 Top Questions about Removing Battens from Vinyl-Coated Wallboards

In our weekly series, Ask a Mobile Home Expert, we have been tackling common issues that we all face as manufactured home owners. Today, we are talking about the infamous mobile home wallboards. Lots of homeowners plan on removing battens from vinyl-coated wallboards.  If that describes you, these questions and answers should be helpful.

Before we continue, you may want to check out our best articles about updating mobile home walls here:

How to Update Vinyl Walls in Mobile Homes

5 Common Questions about Painting Vinyl Mobile Home Walls

Removing battens from vinyl-coated wallboards

Can you use things like tile, grout or mud to replace the battens? We were told no because of shifting during the 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.

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:

First, 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 make homes less likely to shift or move. Of course, they have to be able to shift but not enough to cause damage.

Second, today’s tiling products like DuraRock and HardiRock and the new grouting products available are a lot better than before. Many manufactured homeowners have successfully removed the battens and used a medium to fill in the gaps.

There’s a trick with adding grout between the panels, our article about updating vinyl walls in mobile homes goes into detail but the basics are to remove the batten, paint the gap with a good primer 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.

removing battens from vinyl-coated wallboards in mobile homes - ask a mobile home expert series (painting the entire wall to blend in everything)
After patching or filling in the gaps after removing battens from vinyl-coated wallboards, you will need to use texture and paint to create cohesiveness.

Patching Vinyl-Coated Wallboard

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

You can patch damage on vinyl-coated wallboards but you will need to cover it in a way that makes the patch and the wall cohesive.  You may have a hard time blending well so adding a speckle or orange peel design before you paint the wall will help hide the patch.

You could also cover the wall with wallpaper or beadboard, too.

removing battens from vinyl-coated wallboards in mobile homes - ask a mobile home expert series wall patch kit
This patch kit will work on vinyl-coated wallboard.

Matching interior door trim 

I have a problem with the doors when adding sheetrock over the panels. How do I get the trim to match the door jam and the walls without replacing the doors?

You’ll need to extend the jam and use molding 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 intact with the Dry Wall, but under the bulk of the trim, the Dry Wall is 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.

Related: Mobile Home Improvement Projects You Can Do Yourself

Using tape to cover the gaps after removing wallboard battens

removing battens from vinyl-coated wallboards in mobile homes - ask a mobile home expert series (drywall spackling)Do you have to use tape to cover vinyl wall strips? Can I use just the acrylic caulk? I’m painting and not adding beadboard or Sheetrock to existing walls.

I like to use caulk and mud more than tape. Mobile home walls don’t have the tapered edges like standard drywall so using tape is more difficult. Also, transitioning the seams is tough.

Many homeowners have had success using a good primer like Killz to cover the seams, then caulk it half way (don’t fill the seam up completely) and let that 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.

Getting the paint to adhere to vinyl-coated wallboards

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

removing battens from vinyl-coated wallboards in mobile homes - ask a mobile home expert series (Kilz adhesion)

It sounds like the paint isn’t creating a strong bond to the wall. I’d remove the old paint and then wipe the walls down with a very strong industrial cleaner. Scrub the wall down a couple of times and let it dry overnight before repainting.

If that doesn’t work, try a separate primer like Kilz or Gripper.


Removing battens from vinyl-coated wallboards makes a difference

We hope you found some helpful information for removing battens from vinyl-coated wallboards. Watch for our Ask a Mobile Home Expert series next week when we continue to answer questions about mobile home vinyl walls.

Do you have a question about removing battens from vinyl-coated wallboards in mobile homes? Comment below and we’ll do our best to help.

As always thank you for reading Mobile Home Living!

Disclosure: Any answers to questions posed and any recommendations or information provided herein should not be used as a substitute of an expert or any relevant professional that has inspected the issues in person. Best of luck!

Kim Alley

Kim Alley

Kim Alley has been a part of Mobile Home Living since 2017 and has written over 300 articles for the site.View Author posts

Join the conversation!

  1. The strips are put there to cover the gap between the wallboards so that during transport they have a little bit of flexibility so they don’t crack. So, if you remove the battens and smooth out the seams and then later decide to move the home there is the possibility of some cracks. However, they should be minor and easily smoothed over and repainted. Hope this answers your question.

  2. Hi there I was told that if you remove the batten strips you can’t move the home elsewhere if you want to transport it to property is this true?

  3. Hi Kevin,

    The only way I know that you could get a match is to texturized the entire wall and even then you risk the seam being visible if it’s not perfectly smooth. Removing those battens are a pain and a bigger job than most realize.
    I think mudding the seam would work with the old school wood paneling since it has vertical lines anyway but for the newer panels like yours, I would put up removable paintable wallpaper and call it a day. You’ll get the look you want without too much trouble and it’s completely reversible.

    Best of luck!

  4. The vinyl walls in our house has a slight texture to it. I want to remove the wall battens but am worried about not being able to match the texture. In addition, I’ve tried using paint as well as primer (gripper) but the texture still shows through. If I remove the battens, how do I fix the issue of texture on the walls but not at the seams? I’d like to paint all of the walls once we remove the battens.

  5. Hi Cindi,

    I’m a big fan of Dawn. For the really hard stuff like mold and mildew, I’ve had good luck with Jomax, TSP, and ZEP as well. There’s one called White Lightning (maybe Purple Lightning?) that comes in a gallon jug that worked very well for me at one job site.
    Hope that helps!

  6. What would be the BEST industrial cleaner for the vinyl walls for our trailer? we have the paneling and the vinyl (VOG) in our newly bought older trailer and I’d like to paint all the walls. Sounds like I have a big job ahead of us!!

  7. Hi Joe,

    I think we just use different terms. In this case, the battens are the strips that cover the seams where the wallboard meets. Different parts of the country use different words, I suppose?

    Sorry for the confusion!

  8. Hi Maebe,
    Removing battens is mostly a lot of gentle preying. Most builders used flat battens and finishing nails or glue but some have the J-channel or h-channels (the h-channels you will likely damage in the process).


  9. I can’t find anywhere in this article that explains how to remove the battens. The ones I encountered were H channels and I had to take a chisel and hammer to chisel off the front part of the H channel. Filling the cracks was the easy part! There’s got to be an easier way to remove the battens – and I’d sure like to know what it is.

  10. Why replace the battans? Is there a health risk? I’ve been wanting to do this but we decided its not necessary. I would like to take the strips out and fill with a product that will be easily painted over. Again, why replace the battans?

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