Painting a Trailer Home: 10 Steps to a Stunning Mobile Makeover

Transform your trailer with a fresh coat of paint. Learn special techniques, materials, and paint types in this step-by-step guide to a stunning mobile makeover.

Grado, Italy - December 11th 2020. An empty tourist resort in the winter in north Italy. The chalets have been moved to temporary positions to allow for work on the grounds

Want to transform your trailer home? Start with a fresh coat of paint. Painting a trailer requires special techniques, materials, and paint types. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a step-by-step guide.

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Step 1. Selecting the Right Paint

Tiny sample paint cans during house renovation, process of choosing paint for the walls, different green colors, color charts on background

The walls in trailer homes or mobile homes are typically made from Vinyl on Gypsum (VOG), a material that’s different from traditional drywall or plaster. This means you’ll need to choose a VOG-friendly paint that will adhere well to these surfaces.

Some paints simply cannot stick to VOG walls, which could lead to peeling and flaking over time. It’s important to ask for VOG-friendly paints at your local paint store or search for them online.

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When it comes to painting the exterior of your trailer home, a good quality exterior latex paint is usually the best choice. Latex paints are durable and resistant to the elements, making them ideal for outdoor use.

They also dry quickly, reducing the chance of dust and bugs getting stuck in your fresh paint. Plus, they’re easy to clean up with just soap and water. Look for a paint that has a lower sheen, as it will stick to the walls better than something excessively glossy.

Step 2. Preparing the Walls

Cleaning service washing building facade with pressure water. Cleaning dirty wall with high pressure water jet. Power washing the wall. Cleaning the facade of the house. Before and after washing

Just like with any painting project, preparation is key to getting a smooth, professional-looking finish. Start with a thorough cleaning of your trailer home’s exterior.

Use a power washer or a hose with a high-pressure nozzle to remove dirt, grime, and loose paint. This will help the new paint adhere better and last longer.

Another crucial part of preparing the walls is bleaching and scrubbing them. This step is significant if you have noticed any mildew on your home’s exterior. Mix a solution of three parts water and one part bleach, then apply it to the mildew spots.

Let the solution sit for about 15 minutes, then scrub the area with a stiff brush. Rinse the walls thoroughly before moving on to the next step.

Step 3. Applying Primer

Man on ladder painting a house

A common question people ask when painting a trailer home is whether they need to use a primer. The answer is yes.

Primer acts as a bridge between the wall surface and the paint, helping the paint adhere better. It can also help block any stains or dark colors on the walls from showing through the new paint.

When applying primer, make sure the surface is completely dry and free from dust and debris. Use a brush to apply primer on narrow surfaces, edges, and smaller areas, and a roller for large and long surfaces.

Allow enough drying time before applying paint; it usually takes around 30 minutes for the primer to dry.

Step 4. Choosing the Right Paint Finishes

Paint comes in several finishes, each with its own set of pros and cons. For trailer homes, flat or matte finish paints are often recommended because they hide imperfections well.

However, they aren’t as durable or easy to clean as glossier finishes. Satin or eggshell finishes offer a balance between appearance and durability, making them a great choice for most mobile homes.

When selecting a paint finish, consider where you’ll be applying the paint and what look you’re going for. High-traffic areas like kitchen walls or kids’ rooms may benefit from a semi-gloss or gloss finish as they’re easier to clean.

For a more sophisticated look in adult bedrooms or living rooms, consider a matte or eggshell finish. Ultimately, the best finish is the one that suits your needs and aesthetic preferences.

Step 5. Selecting the Perfect Paint Colors

Paint cans and brush, top view. 3D rendering

Choosing the right color can make a world of difference in transforming your trailer home. While it’s tempting to go with your favorite color, remember that certain colors may make your home appear larger or smaller.

Light colors tend to make spaces feel more open and airy, while dark colors can add depth and richness but may make a space feel smaller.

When selecting paint colors, consider the overall aesthetic you want to achieve. Neutrals are always a safe bet and allow for more flexibility in your decor. If you prefer bolder colors, consider using them as accents on doors or shutters.

For inspiration, look at other painted trailer homes, browse color palettes online, or consult with a color specialist at your local paint store.

Step 6. Applying the Paint

Painting a trailer home isn’t much different from painting a regular house. Most homeowners find that a combination of a roller and brush works best.

Use the roller for large, flat areas and the brush for detail work around windows, doors, and trim. Consider using a paint sprayer if you’re comfortable with the tool – it can significantly speed up the job.

In addition to paint, you’ll need a few other tools to complete the job: a roller and roller cover, a paint tray, a variety of brushes (for detail work and hard-to-reach areas), painter’s tape (to protect windows and other areas you don’t want to paint), drop cloths (to protect your ground and furniture), and a ladder (to reach high areas).

Always remember to read the instructions on your paint and primer cans as well as any tools you use.

Step 7. Ensuring Painting Safety

Safety should always be a priority when taking on a painting project. This is especially true when painting the exterior of a trailer home, where you might be working at heights or dealing with potentially harmful materials. Always use caution and proper safety equipment to prevent accidents.

Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Use a stable ladder and ensure it’s on even ground before climbing.
  • Wear protective clothing, including long sleeves, pants, and closed-toe shoes. This will protect your skin from paint splatters and other potential hazards.
  • Use goggles to protect your eyes from paint splatters.
  • If you’re using a paint sprayer, consider wearing a mask or respirator to protect your lungs from paint fumes.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on all paint products and tools.

Step 8. Cleaning Up After Painting

Once you’ve finished painting, proper cleanup is essential. Start by carefully removing any painter’s tape while the paint is still slightly wet to avoid peeling off any freshly applied paint.

If you used latex paint, clean your brushes and rollers with warm soapy water. For oil-based paints, you’ll need to use mineral spirits or paint thinner for cleanup.

When disposing of paint and other materials, always follow local regulations and guidelines. Never pour leftover paint down drains or in normal garbage bins. Instead, consider donating leftover paint to local organizations or dispose of it at a designated waste facility. Empty paint cans can often be recycled.

Step 9. Avoiding Common Painting Mistakes

Even with the best intentions, mistakes can happen during a paint job. Some common errors include not preparing the surface properly, applying paint too thickly, and painting in inappropriate weather conditions. Each of these can impact the quality and durability of your paint job.

To avoid these common pitfalls, always take the time to prepare your surfaces adequately before painting. Apply the paint in thin, even coats, allowing each coat to dry fully before applying the next.

Avoid painting in extreme temperatures or high humidity, as this can affect how the paint dries and adheres to the surface.

Step 10. Maintaining the Painted Surface

After the hard work of painting, you’ll want to ensure your new paint job lasts as long as possible. Regular maintenance is key to preserving the appearance and durability of your painted surfaces.

This includes cleaning the surfaces regularly, touching up any chips or peeling areas promptly, and watching for signs of mildew or water damage.

Routine cleaning can go a long way in maintaining your paint job. Use a soft brush or cloth and a gentle cleaner to remove dirt and grime from your painted surfaces.

If you notice any chips or peeling, touch up these areas with some leftover paint to prevent further damage. Every few years, consider applying a fresh coat of paint to keep your trailer home looking its best.

What paint to use on a mobile home?

The best paint to use on a mobile home will depend on whether you’re painting the interior or exterior, and what materials the walls are made from.

For VOG (Vinyl over Gypsum) walls common in many mobile homes, look for VOG-friendly paints that will adhere well to these surfaces. For exteriors, a high-quality exterior latex paint is often recommended due to its durability and ease of application.

Do I need to prime the mobile home walls before painting?

Yes, priming your mobile home walls before painting is a crucial step. Primer acts as a bridge between the wall surface and the paint, helping to ensure better paint adhesion. It can also help block any stains or dark colors on the walls, leading to a more even and true color from your paint.

How many gallons of paint does it take to paint a double-wide mobile home?

The amount of paint needed to paint a double-wide mobile home will depend on several factors, including the size of the home, the number of coats you’re applying, and the type of paint you’re using.

As a general rule of thumb, one gallon of paint covers approximately 350-400 square feet with one coat. So, for a double-wide mobile home of around 1,300 square feet, you’ll likely need around 7-10 gallons of paint for two coats.

What is the best paint for metal siding on a mobile home?

If your mobile home has metal siding, acrylic latex paint is often recommended. Acrylic latex paint adheres well to metal, offers excellent durability, and resists fading and chalking in the sun. Be sure to start with a primer specifically designed for metal surfaces to ensure the best results.

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