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Painting Walls in a Mobile Home

Category Painting
Mobile homes, especially older ones, have walls that are not the traditional drywall construction found in stick built houses. This is a guide about painting walls in a mobile home.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

December 30, 20130 found this helpful

In taking off the panel spacers, I found that the gaps are about 1/4 inch. The existing panels have beveled edges. So I have to put a lot of putty/float in the gaps. Is there something else I can do? Help!

By Curly from Freer, TX

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September 15, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

I had the same problem. Filling it with Spackle will not work sadly, Even when it looks level and smooth when you go to paint u will see where the gap was. There will be an indent. I would use a filler such as a flexible caulk to fill it in most of the way then spackle over it. Depending on how wide your gaps are it may be beneficial to cut a strip of wood for a filler then spackle over it. Just make sure you wait for 48 hrs for your compound to dry and harden. Its recommended for 24 but with the amount of compound you will need you will need to wait longer.

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By 0 found this helpful
March 14, 2008

I rent a mobile home. I painted and stenciled one bathroom. It looks pretty good. For bigger rooms, what do you do with the spaces/panels? Do they spackel well? Wallpaper is not in my budget. Thanks in advance.

Keeper from NC

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March 14, 20081 found this helpful

To Glinda: For people with allergies, you could probably use this product it's made to use in Schools, Hospitals & Industrial Kitchens. It has an Alcohol Base & the primer is made from Shellac which is a natural product: Zinsser B-I-N ... Just because Zinsser 123 is safe AFTER it's been up & has dried & aired-out for several days, doesn't mean that it's safe for YOU to paint on yourself! ... Another product that's better than Kills is a latex type primer by Zinsser called Zinser Bullseye 123, or another product that I haven't used but have heard good things about is called: Gripper.

* It would be wise for you to have someone else prime for you when the weather warms up a bit & you can open the windows up for several days in a row.

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March 14, 20080 found this helpful

For Laurel: The thin plastic strips cover the tacks or nails where they put the panels of the mobile home together. You'll need to keep these on the walls & ceiling. Believe me, they wouldn't be there for JUST decoration (these builders are way to cheap for THAT!) the strips are there to HIDE something even more ugly than the plastic molding strips. Sometimes the DIY channel has shows on how a mobile home is made. You can get allot of information from one of these shows.

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 15, 20080 found this helpful

The plastic strip that hides the space in the paneling. What is it called so I can purchase it? And for the paneling after the stripes are put on. What kind of paint texturing would be good?

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March 16, 20080 found this helpful

For Tanya Stone & others. Here's several places you can order mobile home repair stuff from. Just describe what you need & they'll be glad to help. I live in Washington State so I buy from these guys in Washington State:
VJ's Mobile Home Parts & Supply
1 (800) 600-6903
1 (360) 273-6903

But if you Google "Mobile home parts" then add your state like "Mobile Home Parts Florida" for example, you'll get a listing of places close to you.
FOR BUYING ONLINE:
Magic Mobile Home Parts:
http://www.mhparts.com/

OR: MOBILE HOME REPAIR .COM (click on "books & parts" at the top of the page) You can also buy down loadable books with detailed directions for DIY projects about most anything "Mobile Home". http://www.mobilehomerepair.com

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These guys also have a forum where you can read & ask questions about mobiles, plus a decorating section in the forum area: http://www.mobi  epair.com/phpbb/

As far as "TEXTURE" goes, I'm going to do one of the Brow Bag Wall Treatments (there are many) Just Google "brown bag walls", but before you begin the brown bag wall treatment in a mobile home, first tape all the cracks (or lines) in the paneling with WHITE duct tape. I like the brown bag (or paper bag) technique because it covers a multitude of sins (& wall grooves). If you find the pictures here to dark for your decor (like I do) then you can go back over the walls with either a plain paint, a water base stain, or you can do what I'm going to do: Add one part white Acrilyc or Latex paint (I'm using an Ivory color) to 4 or 5 parts Glaze, (this will make a transparent paint that works like a stain) then with a clean rag or large sponge, wipe this mixture onto the walls in a circular motion.

When it dries, If it's not the color you like, then go back over it again with another coat. Another option: While it's wet, you can also wipe off the top-most areas, this way the color will only be in the cracks (you'll want to wrinkle-up your paper bags first).

Here's several of the many brown bag wall techniques: (there are also more on ThriftyFun)
http://www.bozz  nnyeManning.html
http://www.wuvi  ownbagwalls2.htm

You can also buy one of the many textured wallpapers that are made for painting. They even have one that looks like stucco. They have MANY patterns. The trick is, to pre-duck tape you walls with white duct tape, & buy the Thickest wallpaper you can, so it'll cover those wall grooves in the paneling. Buying a textured wallpaper is the easiest & least messy of the ways you can texture your mobile home's walls.

If you do decide to use real plaster or drywall mud, then be sure to only put on VERY thin coats. A little at a time, PLUS, you'll need to rough-up your walls first. The absolute best product to use is Flexall. (it's called something else in the Eastern US). Google " Flexall Joint compound"

HERE'S A PICTURE OF FLEXALL:
http://building  LER-s268720.html
http://doitbest  t-sku-268720.dib

Christopher Lowell (the famous Designer) swears by Flexall. It sticks to anything & doesn't shrink like most joint compounds do, plus it's flexible. You can also sand it after it gets hard. But let me forewarn you, if you DO decide to fill in the paneling cracks, be prepared for a very long, hard, VERY mess job!. You'll have plaster dust EVERYWHERE. Buy some plastic for your rug AND to cover ALL your furniture! I myself WAS going to fill in all my trailer's wall-cracks, but decided this was just to big a job! Plaster or Flexall can also be PRE-tinted. OR they can be stained after you've put them up. (For more info post me a note on ThriftyFun, as I'm a Decorative Painter by trade)

Also, Reading back to the very beginning of the posts: For nicotine coverage, use a "High adhesive primer" like Zinsser 1-2-3 or Gripper BEFORE you paint, you can tint these (don't use Kills!) otherwise you'll have to put AT LEAST 4 coats of paint on, as the nicotine will continue to bleed through Been there, done that mistake!

As far as getting a sheen with Kills or another tinted primer. Paint over the top of the primer with a clear gloss or semi-gloss GLAZE, OR, you can buy "Artists Medium" this is basically clear paint, or paint without the tint. It comes in all sheens, but it's much more costly than glaze. You can also use a clear glossy water base Varathine. Any of these can be tinted with acrylic artist paint.

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By guest (Guest Post)
December 12, 20082 found this helpful

There is a lot of cool things you can do with these homes. We purchased a 2100 sq.' manufactured home for 55,000 that needed some updating. Our budget was limited but I feel that we got a lot for our money. First, we removed the tack strips. We filled the seams with a flexible caulk then joint compound.

After we lightly sanded the walls we painted. I used a 1/2" roller for the walls. I did leave the strips on some of the corners for protection. My home did not have much wood work so I did purchase and add some from a store. We did change all of the moldings to white including the kitchen cabinets and fire place. The results were incredible.

We also took apart those fake brass ceiling fans and sprayed on a faux finish ( white, dark brown). I did not do much with the ceiling. I just painted it white and added some fixtures. We got rid of those plastic bathroom sinks. We replaced them with new sinks and faucets for about 70.00 each. I also added ceramic tile back splashes to each counter in the house and new cabinet hardware. I did all of this work myself and the materials ran me around 800 bucks.

I wish I could post the before and after pics for you to see. The house is transformed and it looks like a residential "stick built" home. My friends and family can't believe the results. I do not feel like I am in a manufactured home. It is worth the investment! I would tell everyone to buy a manufactured home. It makes good economic sense in these harder times.

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By 0 found this helpful
September 10, 2015

I am remodeling my mobile home. I read the answers to painting walls in a mobile home. You said to prime them first. Can you use a paint with the primer already in it to repaint the walls? These walls are not vinyl.

Thanks a bunch.

God bless.

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By 0 found this helpful
December 21, 2013

I have a mobile home with pre-printed drywall. The previous owner painted over it and now it's flaking. I can't remove it with a scraper without destroying the wall what is my best option for removal without destroying the wall?

By Dustin

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July 23, 20150 found this helpful

Scrap or sand off any lose paint then prime with some kliz primer then repaint with any latex paint, flat or gloss.

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July 23, 20150 found this helpful

P.S. Just to let you know paint dose not adhere to glossy surfaces. That is why the previous owners paint is peeling off the wall. He should have primed the wall before painting it.

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March 27, 20120 found this helpful

Has anyone painted leaving the wall strips on in a mobile home? They are ugly, but I was wondering if I just painted them the same color as the walls what it would look like. Please post pictures if you have them.

By Bonita M.

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March 27, 20120 found this helpful

Yes you can! Our mobile home's walls have all been painted and we left the strips in place. In our former mobile home we took the strips off and filled and sanded the cracks with automotive 'Bondo'...looked great! Since we are older now we don't have the energy to do this again so we left the strips in place this go-round and you really don't notice them, especially since we have lot's of pics and art on our walls.

I'm sorry I can't send a pic but I am on a terribly slow dialup and unable to upload pics in a reasonable amount of time. :-(

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March 28, 20120 found this helpful

We just did the same thing last year. We took down all the strips, spackled and taped the seams and bought a special "bonding" base at Sherwin Williams and then painted 2 coats over that. It looks beautiful. We did it in every room. No one can believe its not sheetrock. p.s. Be sure your home is good and level so that the seams don't crack if you have to re-level. Some of ours cracked but wasn't a big deal. We just re-spackled and painted the seams.

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August 6, 20140 found this helpful

How can I paint over vinyl mobile home walls?

By Grace

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August 7, 20140 found this helpful

I don't think this is something you should attempt. If you insist on it, contact a very reliable paint company and ask if they have a product that will work. I am very skeptical.

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August 7, 20140 found this helpful

There is nothing to fear. You just need good paint and rollers. It's no different than painting over paneling. Make sure they are clean, using some TSP (Tri Sodium Phosphate) and you can also find help here.

http://www.thes  railer-home.html

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October 2, 20130 found this helpful

I have a mobile home that was build with the flowered wall panels on the walls, but the flowered walls have been painted over. So the question is how to remove the paint and go back to the flowered walls?

By Kakkie

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December 16, 20130 found this helpful

Why would you actually want the flowers there? I have them now and getting ready to paint over them!

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December 23, 20130 found this helpful

I would like to suggest you dont try to remove the flower panels. Go to resurfacing. I think resurfacing is easier than removing. Use primer and then paint.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 12, 2013

I want to paint the ceiling in our mobile home, but my husband is insisting it can't be done, as it is not dry wall. I would like it white and not the cream it is now. I believe it is vinyl. What prep and paint can I use?

By Diana

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August 14, 20130 found this helpful

Many of the ceilings that I have seen in mobile homes are a vinyl hardboard that I do not think one can paint. You could inquire at a quality paint store where the staff actually know about paint, but I think that you will find that your husband is correct. If it is a vinyl coated board, I think you are just asking for a mess if you try to paint it.

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August 15, 20130 found this helpful

Hi - you can probably find out - for sure - at a store that specializes in mobile home items.

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By 0 found this helpful
September 23, 2016

Can you paint modular home walls where the paper has been torn off? What is the process?

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August 3, 20140 found this helpful

What is best method to use when painting walls of moble home? I'm using a semi gloss with kilts primer. Should I use paint roller, brushes or a spray gun?

By D. Sangster from Dallas, TX

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August 3, 20140 found this helpful

We went thru this last year and this is what worked for us. If you have the prefab walls, the problem is the gloss and pattern in the walls shines through. Using a roller, apply 1 coat of Kilz vertically and let dry. Apply a 2nd coat of Kilz horizontally and let dry (we used a roller for this as well). Then paint as normal. for some reason the horizontal really covered the shine and pattern of the prefab wall. Good Luck!

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April 10, 20140 found this helpful

I stripper wallpaper that was put over vinyl wallboard in my mfg home. I want to paint now and one painter suggested to paint over the backing of wallpaper, which is smooth. Or do I strip off the backing and take a chance on pitting or marking the vinyl wall board?

By Janice G from Winter Haven, FL

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April 13, 20140 found this helpful

I would just paint over the backing. I did this and used a spray 'texturizer' to make it look like the other painted walls. It comes in a big spray can and you just spray the wall with it to make it look texturized. Works great. Then I used 'kiltz' and painted - looks just fine! Can find it at the big box stores!

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October 1, 20130 found this helpful

What type of paint do you use to paint over prepasted mobile home wall board?

By Naomi

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October 3, 20130 found this helpful

I've done it by first thoroughly wiping every square inch of the wallboard with TSP or straight vinegar. Doing so roughs the surface enough for new paint to adhere.

Then I used a top quality primer like Kilz - two coats if the pattern shows through is enough to cover the old pattern and finish preparing the surface for the decorator colour.

(If done properly, your primer adheres to the original surface so the decorator colour can adhere to the primer so you get a lovely, even, long-lasting coverage)

And then I applied the decorator colour. Looked great and lasted years:) Be sure to read the labelled instructions on everything you use on the walls for best results.

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By 0 found this helpful
March 25, 2010

I have textured mobile home walls. I want to take the strips down and mud the gaps. How do I do this with the light texture on the walls? Has anyone ever done this before? Please let me know.

By Jennifer from KY

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March 27, 20100 found this helpful

I've painted mobile home walls. The finish on these walls are usually made of vinyl, therefore need to be primed.(Ask your local paint store what kind to use.) The strips have to stay there inasmuch as they are covering the panel ends. You will probably have to replace the mud strips with new as they will more than likely break if you try to remove them. Mine couldn't be painted over because they have a paper coating on them. Good Luck

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September 15, 20140 found this helpful

I want to re-paint the walls in my mobile home. I found out that the walls were not treated before painting the first time (I believe it was that vinyl shiny stuff), just painted on top of the vinyl. The paint is peeling in spots. What should I do before re-painting?

By CLD

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September 15, 20130 found this helpful

We are starting to paint a bedroom in our 1994 mobile home. The wallpaper is made on the wall and it started peeling. The surface underneath is not a smooth finish. What should we do so the room looks evenly painted?

By Toni

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March 14, 20080 found this helpful

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

Answers:

Painting Walls in a Mobile Home

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)

By suem1009

Painting Walls in a Mobile Home

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.
(11/12/2007)

By glinda

Painting Walls in a Mobile Home

Abby,

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

Painting Walls in a Mobile Home

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)

By KoiFlowers

RE: Painting Walls in a Mobile Home

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November 11, 20070 found this helpful

How should mobile home wallboard be treated before painting?

Shae from Mooresville, NC

Answers:

Painting Walls in a Mobile Home

It's a great look, Shae. Check with your local hardware store? The staff are usually quite knowledgeable. As far as I recall, all we did was make sure the wallboard was clean.

Good luck!

Rose Anne (11/02/2006)

By wordswork

Painting Walls in a Mobile Home

From our experience. You need a good primer like Klitz or Oops. We painted it with that and then painted a color and they look great. (11/02/2006)

By Michele

Painting Walls in a Mobile Home

I like semi-gloss. So, take some light sandpaper, scuff the wall board a little. I used mildew proof semi-gloss on kitchen and bath. And had no trouble. Just on the first painting, you'll have to do two layers to allow for soaking in. I've also painted paneling like this. (11/02/2006)

By glinda

Painting Walls in a Mobile Home

Kilz now comes in colors so you don't have to prime then paint again. I used it in my kitchen and loved it. Wal-mart carries it. I don't know who else does. (11/03/2006)

By Carla

Painting Walls in a Mobile Home

Zinser makes a primer called BIN. I have used it to prime everything from unfinished wood to formica. It works like a charm and the paint sticks like white on rice. So very worth the price! Get it at Home Depot and Lowes. Maybe other places too. (11/08/2006)

Painting Walls in a Mobile Home

WOW! I didn't know that Killz comes in colors! Thanks for that info!! :) (11/08/2006)

By Ariela

Painting Walls in a Mobile Home

Kilz in colors works well and I have also used a Ralph Lauren from Home Depot ($5 Oops can) of sand paint. That was amazing one coat coverage and looked beautiful! Best wishes!! (11/14/2006)

By LindaLou

Painting Walls in a Mobile Home

WE ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF DOING THIS OURSELVES. WE JUST PAINTED RIGHT OVER THE WALLS.IT LOOKS GOOD.AND JUST A THOUGHT DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN ACTUALLY HAVE THE KILZ OR PRIMER TINTED A SPECIFIC COLOR? WOULDN'T NECESSARILY NEED TO BUY PAINT THEN (11/15/2006)

By IMAQT1962

Painting Walls in a Mobile Home

Does Killz need to be sanded or smoothed or what ever? Once on the wall isn't it sort of powerdy, doesn't it show powerdy on your hand when touched? (11/15/2006)

By Ariela

Painting Walls in a Mobile Home

KILZ IS JUST LIKE USING PAINT. IT DOESN'T NEED TO BE SMOOTHED OR SANDED AND WON'T BE POWDERY UNLESS YOU'VE SANDED IT(WHICH YOU DON'T NEED TO DO)IF YOU SAND ANYTHING YOU SHOULD ALWAYS TAKE A CLOTH AND WIPE IT OFF.

OUR LOCAL HARDWARE STORE TINTED OUR KILZ FOR US BECAUSE WE WANTED A SPECIFIC COLOR,THEY HAD A MACHINE THAT IF YOU TOOK SOMETHING IN OR PICKED A COLOR FROM A COLOR CHART THEY CAN MATCH IT. WE DIDN'T EVEN BOTHER TO PAINT OVER IT AND YOU CAN'T EVEN TELL IT WAS A PRIMER AND NOT A PAINT (11/16/2006)

By

Painting Walls in a Mobile Home

Does Klitz primer come in Semi- Gloss? The Mobile Home we are buying is very smoked damage from the lady smoking Cigarettes. I was told to use the Klitz primer then paint over it but I can get it in Semi- Gloss that would be a big help and cheaper on us. I like the shine from the Semi-Gloss plus you can wipe it off. Please let me know if anyone can help us on this little project.
Thank You,
(11/21/2006)

By Tammy

Painting Walls in a Mobile Home

I would also like to know if Kilz comes in semi-gloss or if
semi-gloss paint can be added to it to get the sheen or something else can be done to get the ease of cleaning, thanks. (11/21/2006)

By Ariela

Painting Walls in a Mobile Home

We are moving into a modular home where heavy smokers lived. Can you paint the walls of a modular home? Or will it leave wrinkles in the wall? How do I go about doing this? My email address is southernvkb AT hotmail.com (11/09/2007)

By Vickie Brooks

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