How do I Replace Wall Paneling and Window Sill on a Trailer or Mobile Home?

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It is possible for a mobile home to look just as contemporary as a site-built home.
It is possible for a mobile home to look just as contemporary as a site-built home. (Image: modern home interior image by Lucian Muset from Fotolia.com)

Mobile homes often have wood paneling as a standard wall covering. If you live in an older home with this dated look, it is possible to remove and replace with drywall. With a little elbow grease and help from your friends, you can update the look of your mobile home so it is comparable to any site-built home.

Things You'll Need

  • Pry bar
  • Leather gloves
  • Tape measure
  • 1/4-inch drywall
  • Drywall screws
  • Sharp razor knife
  • Drywall tape
  • Drywall compound
  • Putty knife
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Paint

Replacing Drywall

Remove all wood paneling and joint strips using a pry bar. This will expose the studs of the mobile home as well as the insulation. Remove any existing windowsills. For energy efficiency, remove old insulation at this time.

Remove any remaining paneling nails for hassle-free drywall installation. The walls need to be as smooth as possible when you begin drywalling.

Install new insulation. Mobile homes are notorious for losing heat because of improper insulation. Speak to an employee at your local home-improvement store for suggestions on the proper R-value for your region. R-value is the rating of thermal resistance in the insulation. The higher the number, the more insulation properties exist.

Hang new drywall using drywall screws. Use 1/4-inch drywall to avoid placing excess strain on the structure of the mobile home. Measure all window and doorway openings and attempt to place cuts near the edge of drywall sheets. To cut, place drywall on a firm surface and cut either by scoring with a razor and snapping the sheet or by using a drywall saw.

Tape all drywall seams. To do this, place a thin layer of joint compound on drywall and lay the tape over the joint. Place another thin coat over the top of the tape to secure in place. Also, use a putty knife to fill in all the screw holes on the drywall.

Sand all joint compound smooth. Every imperfection will show when you paint, so make sure the wall is as smooth as possible before priming.

Prime and paint walls. It is imperative to prime the walls before painting. This will prevent the drywall from absorbing the paint.

Replacing Sills

Measure the depth of the existing windowsill. If you want the new sill to be flush with the drywall, take into account the thickness of the drywall. If you would like a slight overhang, similar to many site-built homes, add the overhang to your measurement.

Select new sills from a home-improvement store. Many stores have prefabricated sills that you can cut to the width of your window, stain and install. When you replace the sills, also change the molding around the windows to further update the look of your mobile home.

Install new sills after painting the drywall. You risk dripping on the sills if you paint the walls after the sills are installed.

Tips & Warnings

  • When you remove paneling, check for ceiling leaks. Most leaks in the ceiling will travel across ceiling and down the walls.
  • To further reduce weight load on studs, consider using drywall on the upper half of the wall and wainscoting or rustic paneling on the lower half.
  • Avoid the temptation to use thicker drywall. It is not necessary, and you will risk placing too much weight on the structural studs.

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