Ask an Expert Questions about Replacing Floors in Mobile Homes

This week in our Ask a Mobile Home Expert series we are going to answer questions about replacing floors in mobile homes.

Our four most popular questions about replacing floors in mobile homes are below. If you want to replace your home’s flooring soon these may help you!

 4 Popular Questions About Replacing Floors in Mobile Homes

 Ask an Expert Questions about Replacing Floors in Mobile Homes - flooring options

Best Flooring

My husband and I live in a manufactured home that is 20 years old. We have just had a new roof put on and new flooring put in. We had sticky vinyl plank flooring installed at the suggestion of the person we purchased it from. He told us that he installed it in his father’s mobile home and he is very satisfied with it. For us, it has been a nightmare. It is coming apart at the seams.  Also, the finish is coming off and it is just me and my husband no children. We are trying to get a new floor put in, what would you suggest? Is laminate a good choice?

I’m not a big fan of the peel and stick flooring for a few reasons. The glue is extremely hard to work with and you’ll struggle to get the cuts straight. It really takes an expert to be able to install peel and stick flooring so that it looks good and lasts. Sticky tile isn’t as simple as the advertisements will lead you to believe. Click here to read Lumber Liquidator’s installation manual for peel and stick plank flooring. 

I am a big fan of floating floor or laminate as some call it. These are tongue and groove planks that fit together to create a single plane of flooring. You can find brands that cost less than $.75 cents per square foot but the average price per square foot is around $2.00. We installed the cheapest brand Lowe’s had in 2012 and it has held up remarkably well against 3 people and 4 pets.

There are a few things you should know before buying floating flooring.  First, you will need to purchase all the flooring at one time so you can get the best match (they manufacture flooring in batches). You will also need to buy an extra box or 2 because about 10-15% of the planks will likely be damaged on the lips or corners (this is especially true with the cheaper brands). Second, you must have a perimeter that allows the flooring to expand and move.

You can read more about floating floors on Lumber Liquidators. 

For bathrooms and kitchens, I like single sheet vinyl. It acts as a great water barrier and some of the higher end vinyl has a nice padding to it which makes standing a little more comfortable. I wrote about luxury vinyl flooring options but the flooring we put in our bathroom was just the mid-grade vinyl from Lowe’s and I’ve been very happy with it. 

 Ask an Expert Questions about Replacing Floors in Mobile Homes -can you install real hardwood in mobile homes

Can you Install Real Hardwood Flooring in a Mobile Home? 

We are selling our stick-built house and downsizing to a used mobile home in a wonderful co-op park at the ocean. As this is our ‘forever’ home, we are looking to upgrade it. Personally, I love the funky vintage whitewashed oak cabinets — including built-in china cabinet — and will be preserving them.
The floors are vinyl and cheap carpet. I’d like to do hardwood floors throughout but can’t find anything to tell me if “nail-down” floors can be put in a mobile home. Can you tell me?

Yes, you can absolutely install real hardwood flooring in a mobile home. It’s a great option!

There are a couple things to consider. Probably the most important is crossing the marriage line in a double or triple wide. It’s simply not as good idea because of the hassle it will be to remove the flooring if the home has to be moved for any reason. More than 90% of all manufactured homes remain in the same place as they were initially placed so it’s not a big deal, just something to keep in mind. Settling could be another issue – if one pier settles and the home becomes unlevel you may experience issues such as separated boards.

Another issue with real wood would be the particle board subflooring. Particle board is often used in manufactured homes as sub-flooring though it really shouldn’t be. It soaks water up like a sponge and the least little leak can cause bowing or warping. If you are set on using real wood flooring you will likely want to replace the sub-flooring with real plywood first. It’s not necessary but it would be a smart thing to do for the prolonged life of the flooring. Just make sure you lay down a moisture barrier, especially in the kitchen, mud room, and bathrooms.

Ask an Expert Questions about Replacing Floors in Mobile Homes - installing laminate flooring - installing laminate flooring in a mobile home

We get questions about replacing floors in mobile homes with real hardwood quite a bit. It’s a great idea to use real wood in your home though a little pricey, its warmth and beauty makes the cost worth it.

Do I Need to Replace my Subfloor? 

I have original carpeting in by double wide manufactured home. My home was built in 2001 and I would like to replace this carpeting in the dining room, living room, and two hallways with laminate flooring. Do I have to replace the sub flooring in order to make the change? I plan on buying the flooring from Lowe’s but because Lowe’s says they do not do flooring in mobile homes I have to call in a separate contractor to do it.

You will not have to replace your subfloor when changing your floor covering unless there is damage.

Soft spots and bowing are the two most common reasons to need to replace the subfloors in a mobile home and that is likely caused by water damage. I’d pull the floor covering up in the bathroom and kitchen first and see if you have any signs of water damage. Also, look around doors and windows and your laundry room. If you don’t see any damage you can go ahead and just replace your floor covering.

If there is damage you will need to hire an experienced mobile home contractor since replacing subflooring is such a large project (that requires specific knowledge). Lowe’s will only install floor covering over healthy subfloors in mobile homes (or at least they did in WV).

If your home has the standard OSB subflooring you may want to take this opportunity to go ahead and upgrade to a better material but if there is no damage to the original floor or you already have the upgraded plywood it isn’t necessary at all.

Laminate is my favorite flooring for mobile homes. Since you have carpet you may be able to install the laminate right over the carpet (assuming you don’t need to replace the subfloor). That will save you money since you won’t have to remove the carpet and it will add a slight layer of insulation (every little bit helps). It will also reduce noise pollution a bit.

Ask an Expert Questions about Replacing Floors in Mobile Homes - - tiling in mobile homes
This is a new manufactured home for sale in California with a tiled surround (source).

Questions about replacing floors in mobile homes with tile is another common question. You can use tile in manufactured homes but there are some things you need to consider:

Can you Use Tile in a Manufactured Home?

I bought a 1979 mobile home last year and am ready to replace the flooring and remodel the bathrooms. The information you have provided on flooring is tremendous, thank you. I had a company come give me a quote to remodel the bathrooms. When I asked for tile on the floors and around the walls, I was told mobile home walls are not made to hold the weight of tile and neither is the floor. That surprised me as they are not large bathrooms by any means. Is there any way I can prepare my walls around the tub to have tile instead of a molded fitting? Then for the master bath can the walls and the floor is prepared for a fully tiled shower and tile flooring?

Back in the old days, mobile homes could have 1″ x 2″ studs but these days you get a minimum of 2″ x 4″ (most builders are even going to 2″ x 6″ standard). Installation and setup were iffy but nowadays we have national regulations so shifting and sinking are kept to a minimum. Simply put, the old rules were based on the old homes.

A newer manufactured home with at least 2″ x 4″ framing can handle modern lightweight tile as long as it’s done properly. You can’t use the heaviest Italian marble tiles but the lightweight composite tiles available on the market these days should be fine. Modern manufactured homes can withstand some serious weight per square inch (starting around 40 pounds per square inch, I believe) and some serious wind speed (110 mph). They aren’t the campers or trailers from the good ole days. They are engineering marvels!

Make sure your subfloor is strong (both the joists and subfloor). For floor tile, you will probably want to use 1/2″ Durarock and the correct grout for that particular project area. If you are tiling a shower buy the best shower pan system you can find. There have been some great advances in the tiling industry in the last few years.

Tile is great but I don’t like seeing tile cross a marriage line. It’s just a real pain should you ever have to move the home.

 

Our Ask a Mobile Home Expert Series Continues Next Week!

We hope that you found our questions about replacing floors in mobile homes useful! If you have a question about flooring add it below and we’ll do our best to help. We’ve answered over 6,000 comments, questions, and emails in the last 6 years so we are getting pretty good at it!

Take a look at our article, How to Replace Flooring in a Mobile Home, here. 

Or comment below with your question and we will try and find an answer! Be sure to check out next week’s Ask a Mobile Home Expert when we look at removing walls in a mobile home.

Thanks for reading Mobile Home Living!

Disclosure: Any answers to questions posed and any recommendations or information provided herein should not be used as a substitute of an expert or any relevant professional that has inspected the issues in person.

You might also like

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

5 Comments
  1. Cindy Vice says

    Hi! My name is Cindy and we live in a 1979 double wide in South Louisiana. (Not New Orleans, just north across the lake) All of our floors have begun to either bow or sink down. As we are replacing this, we notice that the joists are steel. Since the sub floor has been glued down to the steel joists, can we just lay better quality plywood on top of this old stuff (cutting out the bowed areas first)? It is really difficult to chisel this old flooring off the joists. One area we replaced about a year ago with treated plywood (1″) is beginning to give again! What are we doing wrong?
    Is there some sort of moisture barrier we are supposed to put down before re insulating and re flooring?

    1. Crystal Adkins says

      Hi Cindy,

      I’m going to put my money on the vapor barrier under the home (the big plastic sheet stapled to the bottom of the home). It keeps moisture from the ground (and I hear there’s a lot of that in Louisiana) from reaching your home and wood subfloors. Your skirting may need to have additional vents added so the air can circulate under there better as well. If that isn’t the problem you have a leak somewhere and you’ll need to track it down. Water follows the path of least resistance so it could start at one side of the home and not reveal itself till it gets to the other side.

      Once you find the issue, then you can start replacing the subfloor. Replacing sub flooring is really one of those jobs where you can only do so much. Since the walls are placed on top of the floors in most manufactured homes, you have to do all kinds of chiseling tricks to get the old wood out and the new in.

      Best of luck! Let me know how it goes!

  2. Nikki says

    Hi,
    I have a 2007 single wide mobile home. I plan to replace the carpet and laminate though out the home. I’m looking for something that will hold up well to wheel traffic and we also experience some very minor seismic activity. Originally the flooring company suggested tile for the wheelchair traffic, but once they found out that it was a Mobile home changed there minds and suggested a luxury vinyl floating flooring. The problem is I didn’t like the look of it. Do you have any suggestions?

    1. Crystal Adkins says

      Hi Nikki,

      I’m a huge fan of laminate floating floors. You can add it right over the carpet (in most cases) and it’s wheelchair friendly. I’m not familiar with seismic housing codes but because nothing is glued or nailed, I suspect that floating floor would be fine since it’s made to shift as a single plane.

      I noticed that the nicest flooring (that looked like real wood) was also the most expensive but you should be able to find a brand that you like and that’s in your budget. There are many manufacturers in the market.

      Tile in a manufactured home is one of those topics where everyone has an opinion based on someone else’s opinion. Most haven’t had firsthand experience or even bothered to actually research the subject. They were just told that the homes can’t handle tile and that’s what they believe (of course, there are instances when tile doesn’t make sense in a manufactured home).

      Best of luck!

      1. Thelma says

        I have a 1985 single wide in which I’m doing a fixer upper. I had all the carpet taken out ; there is laminate in the bedroom which isn’t to bad the kitchen also has it has separated and chipped it was here when I bought it. I replaced it with vinyl plank I love it so easy to take care of.