Things You'll Need
Drywall joint compound
Sponge paint roller
Satin enamel paint
A mobile home with basic faux-wood paneling can be transformed by using a few drywall techniques. By transforming grooved paneling to a smoother base, you can create a drywall look throughout. If a very old mobile home has plywood or wood veneer walls, smoothing these surfaces and adding the right paint will make a huge difference in updating the entire interior.
Take down molding around the edges of the ceiling. Gently pry them loose with a flat-head screwdriver or other small tool, so you won't dent the paneling or plywood surfaces. Remove baseboards as well using a small crowbar. Expose all paneling to reveal any vertical grooves behind baseboards. Plan to fill all grooves with drywall joint compound to create a smooth surface from floor to ceiling.
Use joint compound to fill each vertical groove using a putty knife to smooth the application. Allow the compound to dry overnight and then sand smoothly. Apply joint compound a second and third time, with 24 hours drying time between applications. Sand after each application, finishing the grooves just as you would finish the gaps or seams of drywall. Sand each wall to a smooth finish to give the appearance of drywall.
Fill the seams between sheets of paneling with caulking. Use your finger or a putty knife to push the caulking into any tiny gaps to fill the seams. Apply the caulking in layers and sand the wall so that no seams or gaps are visible.
Roll on wall paint in three separate applications. Do this with a special sponge roller constructed to give a flawless finish. Purchase a roller that states "ultra smooth high density foam" on the package. Buy satin enamel paint versus semi-gloss, so that walls don't look overly shiny. Buy paint that includes primer in the mix. Use satin enamel versus any type of flat paint, because you want the walls to be washable. Don't try to cover the wall surfaces with one coat or you may have difficulty obtaining a smooth finish. Apply at least three coats for the best results, allowing it to dry thoroughly between coats.
Install new baseboards, crown molding and any other wood trim or chair rail. Purchase semi-gloss high-quality paint for wood trim and baseboards. Buy the same shade of paint used on wall surfaces, but use semi-gloss instead of satin enamel so wood surfaces will have a polished, professional look. Go over the wall surfaces and wood trim to make a final check for any small dents or nicks. Fill any needed places with caulking and allow to dry thoroughly. Sand any rough places and touch up with paint for a smooth finish.
To save time and added steps, it's possible to use drywall mesh tape over paneling grooves before adding joint compound or drywall mud. However, movement in the paneling can cause the mesh to come loose. By filling the grooves completely in three separate steps, you will ensure the finish stays in place for many years.
Judi Light Hopson
Judi Light Hopson is a national stress management expert and psychology issues writer. Her column on relationships, co-written with a nurse and a psychologist, is distributed by McClatchy Newspapers to over 300 major publications worldwide. Ms. Hopson has written for employee assistance programs that serve over 15% of America’s Fortune 500 companies. links provided below.