How do you paint the walls in a mobile home? We are trying to update my boyfriend's mobile home, which is about 10 years old. The walls have these strips of plastic type stuff every 3 feet or so, and I don't know how to get wallpaper out from under those strips or how to paint them and make it look good. Do I have to pull the plastic strips off? And what is the purpose of them, anyway?
Abby from Pensacola, FL
The plastic strips you mentioned, are covering for the spaces between the panels. Removing them and spackeling them will give you a smooth surface to make the walls look better. A pro painter also recommends using Binz or Kilz. Thinking of doing the same. Being a smoker, I have washed the walls using window cleaner. It doesn't leave a film like some cleaners do. (11/12/2007)
I am an asthmatic, and very sensitive to strong smelling substances like Kilz. Is there something a little more tame on the smell department? I have to just use paint and sand paper, and an open window now in my trailer.
I've painted almost every room in my 1988 trailer, it sure does help the looks. Accenting with border does too.
We painted the walls and ceilings in a mobile home 10 years ago and they still look fine. We painted the cheesy paneling, the wallpaper, both matte and shiny, and the plastic strips. We defied the experts and primed with water based primer, Bullseye 123, then a good quality paint. It's held up beautifully, even in areas that get regular scrubbing. We didn't sand anything. Most rooms required 1 coat of primer and 2 coats of paint. The exception was the wallpaper in my bedroom. This was the stuff that came permanently adhered to the sheet rock with strips between the panels. It had very dark brown dogwood branches that took 2 coats of primer and 3 coats of paint to cover. Removing the strips wasn't an option. I also live in FL, south of Tallahassee, and the sandy soil means mobile homes never stay level. Re-level them and it lasts about a week. Extensive spackel would have cracked. The strips seem to blend in with the wall when they're painted. We used satin finish paint on the walls and ceiling paint on the weird ceilings.
The vaulted ceilings in this old trailer are prone to mold and mildew from a lack of air circulation between them and the roof. Several times a year we have to go over them with a strong bleach solution, actually 1/2 and 1/2 water/bleach. The water based primer and paint are still holding up fine, even under that assault. The ceilings have long acoustical like panels with plastic strip on the edges. We primed and painted the whole thing with the same stuff.
Lou from Crawfordville, FL (11/12/2007)
By Miz Lou
Batten strips on walls and a lack of "real" moldings and baseboards scream mobile home. I have used two techniques to solve the wall problem. My son taped and floated every seam in the living room and dining room. It was a nightmare of sheet rock dust, and took several days, but the results were beautiful and has remained flawless for over 2 years. However, he does this for a living and his results far exceed those of the average homeowner.
Another easier and cleaner technique I used in the bedrooms was to remove all batten strips, and hammer in any remaining trim nails. I used a razor blade to lightly score and peel off any wrinkled, loose or damaged vinyl from the wallboard. Then I applied textured, prepasted wallpaper from Lowes that is specifically made to bridge the uneven surfaces of paneling, block, etc. I selected a very light texture that ended up looking like linen on the walls ($11 per roll). I followed the manufacturer's directions, and used a cheap plastic wallpaper smoothing tool to smooth out bubbles without pushing the paper into the cracks. It's easy to apply, just don't overlap the seams. Even a tiny overlap will show. You can see through the paper when wet, but once dry, it's pure white and flaws are greatly minimized.
I let dry overnight and then painted with two coats of satin paint. The paper bridged the vertical gaps between the wall panels beautifully, because the weight of this special paper prevents it from falling into the gaps between the wall panels. Finally, I always apply pre-primed baseboards, and window/door moldings to complete the update. Don't scrimp on size, i.e., 3-4 inch baseboards look good. If you don't have an electric miter saw $15 will buy a miter box and handsaw that will work just as well. Tip, if your window frames are attached with hex head screws, remove and replace with sheet rock screws before applying window moldings so they will lay flat against the wall. Also a high-adhesive primer and white paint can make the cheap hollow-core, fake wood doors look better too. (01/12/2008)
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