Manufactured Home Wall Panels Guide: A Cost Effective Decorating Option

Wall panels can be a great option for you if you are looking for a way to decorate your manufactured home walls effortlessly and cost-effectively.

They are some of the easiest add-ons to install.

Furthermore, they offer a wide range of color and texture choices. They can also be made from both artificial and natural materials.

Today, wall panels are starting to gain on other popular wall decoration solutions – like tiles, for example – and have since become a priority solution for many homeowners and commercial entities.

You may be shocked to hear that wall panels haven’t been in the market long. But, what exactly are they?

See Also: How Can You Make Your Manufactured Home Walls Look Better?

Wainscoting is the old school word for wall paneling (although there’s a type of wooden wall panels by this name – more on this later).

Wall paneling is a way of not only a way of adding your favorite decorations to the wall, but also a technique that can boost the insulation and soundproofing properties of the wall.

Traditionally, wall panels served as insulators between stone walls.

Today, however, the role has transitioned to wall adding an aesthetic appeal to interior spaces.

You still can install them for all these applications at the same time. In some cases, you can use wall panels to prevent wall damage, provide structural support, and hide unsightly electrical cables.

See Also: How Do You Clean Manufactured Home Walls?

Five Manufactured Home Wall Panel Shopping Factors

If you are planning to buy wall panels, you need to factor in a few defining factors of the excellent product.

This guide will walk you through various factors to consider when shopping for a set of these.

Consider these factors:

  • Type
  • Material of Construction
  • Cost & Dimensions
  • Coverage Area
  • Location

1. Type

Wall panels are sold in 3 main modifications (or types), which differ in shape, size, installation methods, and structure.

The choice of a certain type can give you some unique advantages over others when paneling your walls.

Rack Typesetting Panel

If you intend to use your wall panels to cover a wall with a smaller surface area, you should go for this type of wall panel – the rack typesetting panels.

These planks often measuring 2400 to 3700 mm in length and 125 in 300 mm in width. Their thickness can be in the region of 8 – 12 mm.

These panels normally feature grooves and tongues that make it easier to fasten individual pieces together.

Some designs feature simple tabs and slots that connect every two panels.

Each panel is designed to stick to the main frame with self-tapping screws or staples. Most manufacturers prefer to use chipboard, PVC, MDF, or hardboard.

Besides the main panels themselves, various skirting boards, corners, and stubs are also available.

Tile Patterned Panels

These panels take the form of regular tiles.

Tile patterned panels come in square shape.

Their sizes normally range from 30 by 30 to 98 by 98 cm.

If you are looking for wall panels perfect for laying out different figures and combining virtually all imaginable shades and textures, you should go for this type of panel.

To achieve wall bracing with these panels, you will need an adhesive material or capping work. Panels are attached through inserts and grooves.

Manufacturers love to use chipboard, PVC, MDF, and MDF for tile patterned panels.

Sheet Wall Panels

If you are looking for large-sized wall panels to help you finish your wall, you should go for sheet wall panels.

A typical sheet wall panel measures between 1.22 – 2.44 m, and comes with a thickness in the region of 3 – 6 mm.

What sets these wall panels from others – apart from their enormous size – is their multilayered structure.

The surface sometimes imitates a stone, tiles, or wood. Installation can be completed using glue; seams are concealed by careful moldings.

Manufacturers like to impregnate their sheet metal panels with resin fiberboard.

On top of the above 3 main types of wall panels, there are many other designs geared towards complimenting your interior walls and coating different partitions.

They include both sandwich and concrete panels for modular homes.

All of them come in the form of premade walls equipped with a heater and vapor/moisture barrier in them.

It is standard to use sandwich panels in country homes and villas.

2. Material of Construction

Here, we will touch on a fistful of the most commonly used materials in the production of wall panels.

If you take your time to go through what’s already on offer out there, you will be surprised with the diversity of materials used to make modern wall panels – virtually any material used in construction work can also be used to make wall panels.

It would take a full post – two of them, even – to take a glance at each of those materials in detail. For now, let’s have a look at the most often used materials:

Natural Wood

The most preferable woods for wall panels are

  • oak
  • alder
  • cedar
  • and maple.

They are perfect for almost any wall surface provided you want it covered in environmentally friendly wood panels.

When installing wooden panels in spaces prone to high humidity such as the kitchen or bathroom, you must coat them with a wax-backed coating panel to repel dirt and water.

How natural wood wall panels are manufactured can influence the panel’s ability to resist moisture.

For that reason, most brands produce their products via the hot pressing process which involves pressing sawdust and wood chips together in hot conditions.

The end product is very much like wood in most aspects, but it is less strong.

The product tends to be a bit vulnerable to temperature variations and high levels of humidity. As such, is mostly used as a finishing product in dry areas.

There are several types of natural wood wall panels:

  • Wainscoting: you can cap your wainscoting with narrow picture shelves or decorative moldings. This sort of wall treatment is mostly used to cover the bottom part of the wall. Usual heights off the floor include 36”, 42”, 54”, and 72”.
  • Reclaimed Wood Paneling: another ecofriendly way to create accented walls with natural wood
  • Hardboard Panels (Fiberboard): Fiberboard wall panels too are manufactured through hot pressing.

The difference is in the ingredients – wood and plant fibers – which comes with better waterproofing qualities than sawdust and wood chips.

As such, fiberboard is more ecofriendly and resists moisture better than most other wood-based wall panels.

However, they are still not very recommendable for rooms in direct danger of being hit directly with extensive water encroachment.

MDF Panels

MDF wall panels are relatively new in the industry.

They are made of hard-pressed MDF boards (pressed wood shavings is one of the ingredients) produced under great pressure and high temperature.

The wooden ingredients release lignin during the heating process.

Lignin is an important connecting element.

MDF wall panels perform impressively when it comes to supporting commonly used moderate wall loads such as shelves and hanging lockers.

Better yet, it is sufficiently waterproof and has superb sound and heat insulation. It is fire-resistant, nonetheless. If you are looking for a hygienic and durable wall paneling solution, consider MDF panels.

Glass Panels

Glass wall panels require a firm and durable base more than any other type of wall panel.

This is because glass is sharp and comes in thin sheets – if allowed to stand on a delicate base, the high surface area on the bottom of the panels will certainly sink.

Glass wall panels can be a great choice for you if you wish to create reflective photographic images on walls.

The biggest flaw of glass wall panels comes from the usual drawback glass is known for – spontaneous breakage and shattering.

However, this can depend on the type of glass you choose; toughened glass, for example, resists breakage well but at a higher cost.

Vinyl Gypsum Panels (or Vinyl Drywall)

Vinyl Gypsum is about to overtake the famous gypsum board in popularity. It is a common material in the production of walls (drywall), ceilings, and partitions.

This material is very much like the old gypsum board we’ve all been accustomed to except that the surface is covered with smooth vinyl instead of regular cardboard.

This construction gives it a competitive edge over traditional gypsum boards especially when it comes to durability.

Credit to the vinyl coat, these wall panels come with an attractive finish often complete with a certain beautiful pattern. Again, they are reliable and durable better than conventional gypsum boards.

3D Panel

This is for interior design progressives who want to try the latest trends in wall paneling.

3D wall panels are more of design excellence than material breakthrough because users choose them solely for their aesthetics although they can be made from a wide range of materials including glass and PVC in combination with other materials.

These wall panels are the best if you are looking forward to creating your style.

Most of the 3D panels you will find out there are “fashion panels” or made of bamboo – a not-so-orthodox yet durable material that has come to represent a new decorative line of sculptural textured wall panels, painted in a range of colors often acrylic paint (matte or glossy finish).

These panels can produce a stunning effect in your interior space.

PVC Wall Panels

PVC plastics are not new in the world of construction and interior design.

But PVC wall panels haven’t been commonplace until just recently.

The rigid PVC (polyvinyl chloride) used in wall panels comes with the least amount of plasticizer unlike the PVC used in other applications such as flooring.

The best thing about these wall panels is that they can be easily and safely used in virtually any room with any needs.

One of the best places to install PVC wall panels in the bathroom because they last longer and are impressively waterproof.

PVC panels are some of the popular (if not the most popular) out there because they beat most other materials in almost every area.

Here is why you may choose PVC wall panels over others:

  • Environmentally friendliness
  • Fire resistance – most can withstand up to 250 Celsius degrees while some are equipped with fire retardants or self-distinguishing properties
  • Excellent moisture resistance
  • Easy to install
  • Superb decorative abilities

3. Cost & Dimensions

The cost of wall panels depends almost entirely on the material used to make them and their dimensions (size).

Expect to pay something in the region of $300 and $400 per square meter for solid oak wall panels, plus installation. For MDF, expect to part with between $20 and $50 per square meter. MDF often comes painted with eggshell (water-based).

Here are estimated costs of some of the often used wall paneling materials:

Panel Dimensions Cost
Plywood paneling 96” by 48” by 0.7” $30
MDF panels. Wood effects 32 square. ft. $20
Fiberglass reinforced PVC panels 48” by 96” by 1/16”
Hardboard wall panels 48” by 96” by 0.25” $26
PVC tongue and groove panels. 16” by 96” by 3/8” $125
Red cedar fake boards 16” by 48” by 0.25 $20
Aluminum sheets. Silver color 36” by 36” by 0.019” $22
PVC decorative wall panels. 48” by 96” by 0.028” $280
Wood composite 48” by 96” by 0.25” $30
Steel galvanized. 24” by 36” by 30 gauge $10
Hardboard laminated panels 48” by 96” by 0.2” $10
Type R-10 Closed cells rigid foam 48” by 96” by 2” $35

It is not all about wall panels but also the professional who will install them and sometimes the tools you will need.

Specialty contractors can be a valuable asset to your wall paneling project. Also, you may hire plumbers and electricians for their respective roles.

  • Carpenter: $70 – $100 per hour
  • Electrician: $65 – $100 per hour
  • Plumber: $45 – $150 per hour

4. Coverage Area

Most of the time, sheets of wall panels come in standardized sizes measuring 4 ft. wide and 8 ft. long, for about 32 square feet.

For this reason, you should measure the dimensions of the wall you intend to cover with panels before committing yourself to buy the paneling of your liking.

This can help you avoid buying excess or insufficient materials.

  • To determine the size and number of sheets required to cover your wall, grab your tape measure and measure the height and length of the wall.
  • Proceed to multiply the obtained measurements to find the area of the surface or the square footage needed to cover the wall.
  • Lastly, divide the obtained square footage of your wall by 32 – this will help you find out the number of panels required for your paneling project.

If this total includes a fractional part, round it up to a whole number.

It is always recommended that you add one or two additional panels to compensate for any waste pieces and also to the match patterns.

Complicated matching or patterns across an extensive wall requires several spare panels.

5. Location

Where exactly do you intend to install your wall panels?

What are the features of the wall?

Specific types and materials of wall panels can work on certain walls and climates.

It is also important that you factor in all the definitive parameters of the panel such as

  • flammability
  • toxicity
  • ignition
  • and smoke formation.

These parameters can determine the use of certain wall panels in specific locations for interior decoration.

There are four levels which are often put on a scale to show how appropriate or less qualified they are for the surface.

  • Combustibility
  • Flammability
  • Smoke formation
  • Toxicity

In nutshell

When choosing wall panels for your walls, remember to pay more attention to the appearance while they are still in the box or shop.

Make sure the surface of your favorite product is free from damages and defects.

The edges should be whole without cracks, chips, or other irregularities.

Also, if you choose to go for multi-layered panels, the protective coating needs to be solid, without scratches, blisters, or other signs of damage.

The color on the whole lot needs to be in one tone. Lock joints must wholly and ideally fit into each other like a jigsaw.

Wall panels are sold in 3 main modifications (or types) –

  1. rack typesetting
  2. tile
  3. and sheet

– which differ in shape, size, installation methods, and structure.

The choice of a certain type can give you some unique advantages over others when paneling your walls.

When it comes to material of construction, pretty much any material used in a construction environment can be used to make wall panels.

The most often used materials, however, are

  • natural wood
  • MDF
  • glass
  • composite materials
  • fiberglass
  • and vinyl gypsum.

The cost of wall panels depends almost entirely on the material used to make them and their dimensions (size).

You should measure the dimensions of the wall you intend to cover with panels before committing yourself to buy the paneling of your liking.

This can help you avoid buying excess or insufficient materials.

Most of the time, sheets of wall panels come in standardized sizes measuring 4 ft. wide and 8 ft. long, for about 32 square feet.

Specific types and materials of wall panels can work on certain walls and climates.