How to Paint Vinyl Mobile Home Walls Like a Pro

  • 01 of 06

    Painting Mobile and Manufactured Home Walls

    Man with paint tray looking up at white wall
    Chris Ryan / Getty Images

    Painting mobile and manufactured home walls is a great way to update your home. A new paint color can instantly change the entire look of the home. 

    Unfortunately, there's a lot of confusion when it comes to painting walls in manufactured homes. The panels aren't made of the same material found in stick-built homes, but that doesn't mean you can't paint them!

    Manufactured homes often use vinyl on gypsum wall panels or VOG panels. These vinyl coated walls have a shiny finish and usually, have some sort of pattern like flowers printed on the paper under the coating and over the gypsum. Builders used VOG panels because they are lightweight and easy to install. Instead of using tape to cover the seams, as you would drywall or Sheetrock, batten strips are installed over them.  

    Before you begin painting your walls, you will need to decide if you want to leave the battens up or remove them. Taking them down and filling in the seams is a cumbersome job but it looks great. If you can live with the battens simply paint over them, they will blend in very well and your painting project will be much easier. We'll cover both options. 

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  • 02 of 06

    Tools and Supplies to Paint Manufactured Home Walls

    Woman holding paintbrush with blue paint
    Paul Bradbury / Getty Images

    Basic cleaning and painting supplies are used to paint your manufactured home walls. High-quality products are recommended since you need maximum adhesion and flexibility. The primer and paint need to bond to the wall and generic paint simply doesn't have the adhesion that premium paints have.  

    Premium Primer and Paint 

    You can use a paint and primer in one or two separate products. A universal bonding or acrylic based primer should work well for any home. Using a bonding primer is much better than sanding the walls. The composition of VOG panels is not suitable for sanding, even light sanding can tear the coating. 

    Low sheen or flat paint bonds better than high-gloss and helps hide imperfections. High gloss is good for bathrooms and kitchens. It's your choice. 

    1. Cleaning Solution, Rags, or Sponge: Dish detergent, homemade mixtures, or cleaning solutions like TSP work fine. 
    2. Quality Paint Brushes and Rollers: Buy the best you can. An angle brush is invaluable.
    3. Drop Cloths and Painters Tape. 
    4. Spackle: If you have any holes in your walls you will want to fill and sand each one.
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  • 03 of 06

    Preparing to Paint Your Manufactured Home Walls

    man taping the ceiling and wall edge
    Arthur Carlo Franco / Getty Images

    Preparation is the most important part of any painting project. The surface you are going to paint must be clean. It's not about covering a surface, but bonding the paint to it. 

    1. Clean your walls with a sudsy, damp rag or sponge. If possible, go over every inch twice. 
    2. Cover your floors and furniture with drop cloths. 
    3. Once the wall has dried, use painters tape to cover trim, ceiling, and flooring. 

    If you have any kind of holes, fill them with spackling compound and sand. Follow the manufacturers' recommendations.

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  • 04 of 06

    Priming Your Manufactured Home Walls

    Priming the wall white
    art at its best! / Getty Images

    Now you are ready to prime the walls. Regardless if you are using a primer and paint-in-one, or a separate primer, the steps are the same. 

    Light coats work better than one heavy coat, though not too light. You want a nice even coverage. Use an angle brush for the edges and the roller for the rest. 

    Do one light coat and let it dry, then another. 

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  • 05 of 06

    Removing the Battens From Manufactured Home Walls

    Man installing wooden shelf on battens attached to blue wall
    Steve Gorton / Getty Images

    If you want to remove the battens, you will need to tape and mud your walls with drywall compound. 

    VOG panels do not have tapered edges that Sheetrock has so it's a bit harder to get a seamless finish, but still possible. Taping is the best option if you are texturing your manufactured home walls or insist on a smooth finish. 

    The best method to get a seamless transition and smooth wall is to follow these steps: 

    1. Follow the directions for the compound. Stir Gently to keep air from getting trapped in the mixture. Cut a thick layer of compound into the seam with a 6-inch drywall knife. You want the layer to be about one-quarter inch thick.
    2. Add tape, from bottom up, using a 4-inch knife. Press the knife hard enough so that the compound squishes out of the sides to ensure a good connection. 
    3. Add another layer or filler coat with the 6-inch knife. Let dry.
    4. Add another thin coat of compound, feathering the edges out as far as 10-inches to get a smooth even edge. This is called floating and it's best to use a 9 or 12-inch knife. Let dry.
    5. Sand smooth. Be very careful to not tear the VOG under. A light sandpaper is best. 
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  • 06 of 06

    Painting Manufactured Walls

    Man Painting wall in new home
    Alyson Aliano / Getty Images

     The last step is painting. Cut the edges first and then use a roller. 

    If you are using a paint and primer in one, this second coat should be enough coverage. Add another coat if needed and enjoy your beautiful new room!