Removing battens from vinyl-coated wallboards in mobile homes - ask a mobile home expert

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  1. 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.

    1. 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!

  2. 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!!

    1. 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!

  3. 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.

    1. 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).


  4. 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?

    1. 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!