Walls in mobile homes have a vinyl layer on the wallboard and battens covering the seam gaps. It is possible to remove the battens and mud over the seams. It is also a good idea to prime the walls with BIN Shellac primer to stop any offgassing or leaching of plasticizers from the vinyl.
The following are some natural, non-toxic options that work well and won’t do damage to the leather in the long run.
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That Kilted Guy recommends the following:
- Remove the strip
- Sink the existing nails
- If there is movement in the boards use screws to secure it, that will prevent cracking of the mud
- Use drywall mesh tape on the seams
- Use USG Easy Sand 45 or Easy Sand 20 which are zero-VOC drywall muds.
- Add texture to even out the surface (since the vinyl is not smooth like the mud)
Another contractor recommends using paintable caulk at the small seams like in the corners. Regular paintable caulk is an acrylic latex, and in my opinion, this is too high in offgassing.
A healthier option is a polyether caulk there like AFM Caulking Compound. If you don’t do well with polyether caulking you can use a 100% silicone (like the non-toxic brands outlined here) but then you need a shellac primer before you can paint the caulk with regular paint.
One contractor recommends painting the vinyl walls first with a Zinsser primer. BIN Shellac is a great block of VOCs or other chemicals that could be leaching from the vinyl. Those who are chemically sensitive do find that BIN Shellac needs some time to offgas itself but it’s usually well worth it to wait for that to offgas so that you can achieve that blocking of what is below.
Orange peel texture often works the best over these types of walls. USG Sheetrock Spray Texture is a good one that is zero-VOC. There is more info in my post on drywall texture and drywall mud.
You can watch a video tutorial here: