Exterior Painting

Back about 8 years ago or so I decided to paint on old 1984 metal sided singlewide. This was the first time I had personally painted the outside of a mobile home and I was in the midst of my learning curve of mobile home repair.

I spent about 2 hours just paiting one end of the singlewide. I was doing just about everything wrong. The metal siding was chalky as they tend to get. I was using Latex Kilz which is normally used as an inside primer but the 5 gallon bucket said exterior as well and despite the arguments I received from the few people I mentioned this to, I did it anyways.

After 2 hours on the short end of the home I had a contractor/handyman who was finishing up some other work and as he was loading his truck his helper called me to the side.

To back up a bit, my strategy when I got started doing repairs was typically to hire guys likes these 2 to do work I had not done (which starting out meant everything) and then watch what tools they used (buy them myself afterwards) and how they made repairs. The next time that repair came up I gave it a go by myself.

This day the helper called me aside while his boss was loading up tools and writing up my bill. This guy mentioned that they painted mobile homes as well which is why they let me struggle. I think he felt bad for me so he offered this advice.

Bet a deep nap roller cover, something like a 1 1/4" nap, a 5 gallon bucket screen that goes into the bucket and a 3" brush for the trim.

I proceeded to wipe the front of the home (the 70 foot front section of the home) to get some of the chalk/dust off and then went and bought the materials as he suggested. I still used the Latex Kilz since that was what I had started with.

I painted the entire 70 foot section in less time than it took me to the small end.

This past week I went back to that home to make a few repairs and section 8 had asked that I pressure wash the home. The home is in a shady area and had some green mildew on the sides. Instead of pressure washing I used a 50/50 outdoor bleach and hot water solution in a pump garden sprayer. I sprayed down the entire exterior, no scrubbing or mopping and let it sit.

I went back yesterday to finish a couple of final repairs and was amazed at how well this home looked. The exterior looks like it has just been repainted!

It was spic and span clean!

I am also impressed that after 8 years that Latex Kilz is still holding it’s own. It wouldn’t hurt to touch up a few places but for 99% of the home it looks fantastic.

When I see other homes that I own that are in need of repainting I am reminded that for a couple of gallons of bleach I can clean the home up. The bleach and pump garden sprayer don’t take up any space. I could drive out in my car for that matter and leave the truck at home. A 6 foot step ladder helps but depending on the lay of the land it might not really be necessary.

I could come back on the next sunny day and using the paint scheme above I could make this home look almost like new in a day. What an impact this curb appeal can have on a property. It lasts and costs very little for what you are getting.

One added note. For all my mobile home painting, especially inside I have found that the extension poles work great but because of the tight quarters, especially in hallways, the poles that collapse down to 24 inches work best. The cost a bit more but make the job so much easier and save all the bending and help when working overhead. I find that things just roll much faster this way.

For interior painting I have found that the 3/4 inch nap works best. They cost more than the 3/8" nap rollers but this deeper nap allows you to get into all the nook and crannies of the mobile home walls, ceilings and paneling.

Painting isn’t fun for most people and I didn’t like it any more than you but I finally realized that it had to be done and I could do it myself for little money, make a big difference in the home and with these few tools I could make the job much easier.

Just some ideas I wanted to pass along in case your handyman isn’t as helpful.


I too have discovered the use of a garden sprayer and bleach to help in the renovation of repo mobile homes. I use it inside and outside the homes we have renovated. I use an all plastic sprayer because of the rust issues with metal and bleach. I have one question for you though, do you need to rinse the bleach mixture off afterwards or not?

Yes you probably should rinse the home off but to be honest I never have. I have not seen any damage from the mixture remaining on the home and in most cases it rained within a day or so of me cleaning the siding anyways.


Exterior Painting


Did you use Kilz as just the primer, then another paint over it?

[QUOTE=Tony Colella;882496]Yes you probably should rinse the home off but to be honest I never have. I have not seen any damage from the mixture remaining on the home and in most cases it rained within a day or so of me cleaning the siding anyways.

Thanks for posting the tip on cleaning the siding. Hopefully when I go to do this I can remember to spray where the wind can’t blow the solution back in my face. I used my sprayer and cleaning solution to soak the heat duct collars to clean the gunk out of them on a recent repo. My advice is to remember to turn the heat OFF before doing this as it tends to blow back in your face and eyes if the blower comes on before you get things wiped up. Lesson learned the hard way.


Did you use Kilz as just the primer, then another paint over it?[/QUOTE]

I Just use Kilz both as the paint and primer. I started doing this on the interior of homes. Most of the homes had dark interiors and I wanted to brighten them up. I found that if I just stuck with Kilz I would always be able to match paint and need only keep one color on the truck. If you want to get fancy that’s ok too but I have found that Kilz worked great as paint and made future painting much easier.

I chose to use it on the exterior of this home more as a trial and as my post suggested, 8 years later and I am still very happy with the way it looks.