A very common misconception among the mobile home community is that removing walls in a mobile home isn’t possible. That’s not really true and as long as you understand how the homes are built and how their structural integrity is achieved, you can remove just about any interior wall you want. You simply have to know which walls are load and shear bearing and which aren’t.

Removing Walls in a Mobile Home – Single Wide

In a single wide, with recent construction methods, there are no load bearing interior walls. The homes stability and integrity is derived from the roof and the exterior walls. Imagine a spiderweb. Alone, one single thread does nothing for the spider but a bunch of threads together makes a strong home that catches dinner and houses the family safely. The roof and side frames of a mobile home is roughly the same concept. It’s called integrated engineeringand there’s many, many ways to design that ‘web’. Some companies use screws that go through the roof studs into the wall studs, some simply staple or glue them. It’s up to you to do the homework to know which method was used in your home’s construction and unfortunately only the manufacturer that you purchased the home from can give you that information. Don’t be afraid to call them and ask questions. If your home manufacturer is no longer in business, do the best research you can online and off to secure the knowledge you need and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Here’s a couple of photos to help you conceptualize the way a single wide is manufactured. Notice how the interior walls are attached to the floor first. Next the wall that is hanging on the left in the top photo will be placed on the floors edge. See how the interior walls aren’t going to the very edge of the flooring? That space is where the exterior wall will sit. Only staples, nails or glue will be used to mate the exterior wall to the interior walls. Once all exterior walls are placed the roof is laidand it all makes a perfectly strong and structurally sound home.

mobile home wall construction

In the following photo you can see a few interesting things. First, in the bathroom the laminate floor is under the interior walls and tub. Second, the wiring will be ran through the ceiling. You can also see that this manufacturer utilizes top and bottom horizontal studs in the interior walls. All that is useful information and if you can learn that same kind of information about your own home you’ll be well prepared to tackle removing a wall in a mobile home.

mobile home construction

Removing Walls in a Mobile Home – Double Wide

A double wide is essentially 2 single wides joined together. The center line is called the marriage line and is what forms the spider web of integrity. Each piece has to have it’s own integrity and strength, they are simply brought together as one in the end. As long as you’re not messing with the marriage line or the exterior walls and corners, you shouldn’t have any issues at all.

A Word of Caution

Take proper precautions because I can’t guarantee you that every mobile home is the same. One example that you need to look for is if your ceiling changes height or goes from one height to another on the same wall. That could signify that either a shear or load bearing wall is being utilized. Each company did things just a little different and I’m painting with a broad stroke here. If your home does have a shear or load bearing wall within its interior it’s still possible to remove the wall but you really need to know what you’re doing or your entire home could suffer some very bad consequences (collapsing is always a possibility). You can use a beam and span support system to replace the wall but this is when things start getting serious and you need to have a professional contractor and a licensed engineer on speed dial or in the room. Preferably in the room.

The 5 Steps of Removing a Wall in a Mobile Home

If you are removing an interior wall there is an order in which you should do it. This ensures you don’t start busting through a wall and find out that it is load/shear bearing or full of juicy wires.

 

  • Turn off the electricity in both the room you are in and the neighboring rooms. If possible, turn the breaker off on the entire side of the home you’re working in. If you’re near a bathroom or kitchen or there’s a slight possibility that there could be a pipe anywhere close to where your working, turn the water off as well. Better safe than sorry! Some mobile homes have the electrical walls traveling through the ceiling and down into the walls, some through the exterior walls and some under them. Again, it’s up to you to the homework and research, please do it!

 

  • Take the strips and molding off the wall. Peel back the flooring if needed. Then tear only the paneling/wall board off of one side of the wall very carefully. Start at one corner and make a small hole. Use a crow bar or hammer to gently pull the paneling away from the framing. Do not alter or harm the framing within the wall at this point. Go a little bit at a time to ensure there are no wires, pipes or load bearing frames.

 

  • If all is clear and you only see single 2×4’s (or whatever your home is studded with) go to the other side of the wall and remove the paneling/wall board from that side.

 

  • You’ve only just begun! Now that the wall covering is gone what do you see? Are there vertical studs attached to a top and bottom horizontal stud? Look closely and see what was used to attach the horizontal boards to the floor and ceiling; nails, staples, glue, or screws? You have to figure out how to get those studs away from the ceiling and/or floor without causing too much damage. Easy does it. Think about it first and then do the manual work. You want to do this in a way that causes the least amount of damage to the home.  You don’t want to scar the ceiling at all; no holes allowed! Before you begin to cut through the studs, you need to do something with the wires or pipes if there are any. You can take each stud down one by one or the whole wall unit as one. It’s completely up to you. Personally, I try to save the wood in its original length so I can reuse it in another project. I watched one guy just cut right through the middle of the vertical studs, knock them out and then attack the horizontal stud. It worked for him :)

 

Now that the wall is removed, you need to figure out 3 more things:

 

  • How are you going to fix the exterior wall that the interior wall was ‘attached’ to? It’s going to be obvious that something used to be there. Paint, paneling, and trim are always good ideas. If glue was used, sand it smooth. This is a great time to paint the whole wall or room that new color you’ve been wanting.

 

  • There will be an obvious scar on the ceiling where the wall used to be. How are you going to remedy that? Paint, speckle, new ceiling panels, maybe a faux trim?

 

  • Flooring is going to be an issue too. What are you going to cover it with? Laminate, floating floor and carpet are great ways to cover imperfections in a floor. Just make sure it’s level!

 

Of course, by removing a wall you’re probably going to be remodeling the room affected by the walls removal so you already have a good idea of exactly what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do. Just make sure you have a plan and nothing is a surprise.

Here’s a photo I found of a double wide that is in the process of being remodeled. It will give you a good idea of what to expect. There will most likely be a horizontal stud on the top but not necessarily on the bottom (it varies with manufacturers) and since this is a double wide, you can see the double studs in the middle that signify a load bearing wall. If you look at the top right, you can see a horizontal stud that looks like some nails are hanging from. That could be where they removed a wall.

mobile home walls

 

That’s it. I think I’ve fried your brain enough! If you have any questions or if you’ve removed walls yourself, please comment about your experience. Every little bit we can share can help someone out there get one step closer to their dream home and that’s a pretty awesome thing to help someone do.

As always, thank you for reading Mobile and Manufactured Home Living!

Photo Source      Photo Source

21 Responses

  1. mmhmakeover

    This is great to know! We have torn out some of those silly short walls that form "hallways" by bathrooms and such…a real waste of space if you ask me. And we tore out a wall that enclosed a walk in closet. But knowing we could rip them all out is a pretty liberating feeling! Excuse me…I have some projects to line up :-)

    Reply
  2. Tena

    We removed the wall between the bathroom and the guest room and are building it into one very nice bathroom.
    Also, in order to accommodate a wheel chair, we knocked out the interior hall walls and significantly widened the hall, building a 10 ft bookcase on the wall that encloses the bathroom.
    We are tearing into all the exterior walls to repair any structural damages and over-insulate like crazy. My elec bill tells me, it's working.
    My recent post Removing Walls in a Mobile Home

    Reply
  3. Tena

    We removed the wall between the bathroom and the guest room and are building it into one very nice bathroom.
    Also, in order to accommodate a wheel chair, we knocked out the interior hall walls and significantly widened the hall, building a 10 ft bookcase on the wall that encloses the bathroom.
    We are tearing into all the exterior walls to repair any structural damages and over-insulate like crazy. My elec bill tells me, it's working.
    My recent post Removing Walls in a Mobile Home

    Reply
  4. Tena

    We removed the wall between the bathroom and the guest room and are building it into one very nice bathroom.
    Also, in order to accommodate a wheel chair, we knocked out the interior hall walls and significantly widened the hall, building a 10 ft bookcase on the wall that encloses the bathroom.
    We are tearing into all the exterior walls to repair any structural damages and over-insulate like crazy. My elec bill tells me, it's working.
    My recent post Removing Walls in a Mobile Home

    Reply
  5. Tena

    We removed the wall between the bathroom and the guest room and are building it into one very nice bathroom.
    Also, in order to accommodate a wheel chair, we knocked out the interior hall walls and significantly widened the hall, building a 10 ft bookcase on the wall that encloses the bathroom.
    We are tearing into all the exterior walls to repair any structural damages and over-insulate like crazy. My elec bill tells me, it's working.
    My recent post Removing Walls in a Mobile Home

    Reply
  6. Tena

    We removed the wall between the bathroom and the guest room and are building it into one very nice bathroom.
    Also, in order to accommodate a wheel chair, we knocked out the interior hall walls and significantly widened the hall, building a 10 ft bookcase on the wall that encloses the bathroom.
    We are tearing into all the exterior walls to repair any structural damages and over-insulate like crazy. My elec bill tells me, it's working.
    My recent post Removing Walls in a Mobile Home

    Reply
  7. Tena

    We removed the wall between the bathroom and the guest room and are building it into one very nice bathroom.
    Also, in order to accommodate a wheel chair, we knocked out the interior hall walls and significantly widened the hall, building a 10 ft bookcase on the wall that encloses the bathroom.
    We are tearing into all the exterior walls to repair any structural damages and over-insulate like crazy. My elec bill tells me, it's working.
    My recent post Removing Walls in a Mobile Home

    Reply
  8. Tena

    We removed the wall between the bathroom and the guest room and are building it into one very nice bathroom.
    Also, in order to accommodate a wheel chair, we knocked out the interior hall walls and significantly widened the hall, building a 10 ft bookcase on the wall that encloses the bathroom.
    We are tearing into all the exterior walls to repair any structural damages and over-insulate like crazy. My elec bill tells me, it's working.
    My recent post Removing Walls in a Mobile Home

    Reply
  9. Tena

    We removed the wall between the bathroom and the guest room and are building it into one very nice bathroom.
    Also, in order to accommodate a wheel chair, we knocked out the interior hall walls and significantly widened the hall, building a 10 ft bookcase on the wall that encloses the bathroom.
    We are tearing into all the exterior walls to repair any structural damages and over-insulate like crazy. My elec bill tells me, it's working.
    My recent post Removing Walls in a Mobile Home

    Reply
    • Amber

      Thank you sooo much for sharing your experience, I am planning the same project and am a wee bit frightened I might mess something up. Knowing someone else has done it gives me peace of mind. Ty, Tena!

      Reply
  10. CrystalMHL

    Hi!

    Sounds like you've been busy! I'm a bookshelf junkie (probably cause I'm a book junkie, too) and I would lOVE to have a 10ft bookshelf. Lucky you!

    Mobile homes can be a bit naked when it comes to insulation. Small additions can really make a huge impact, too. I'd love to share your home on MMHL, I'm always looking for remodels and updates!

    Reply
  11. CrystalMHL

    Hi Emily,
    I'm a big fan of the laminate flooring (floating floors) or tile. They seem to be the easiest to install and keep clean. There's a lot of choices out there though. Good luck!

    Reply
  12. Marsheila

    I'm wanting to take down a wall in my kitchen to make one of my bedrooms a dining room I have a dining room already which I want to extend my kitchen, however the dining room is right there at the laundry and bathroom who wants to eat while being next to those rooms.

    Reply
  13. Jackie

    Question, I have the dreadful marriage wall running right through the center of my house. Family room on one side living room on the other. A real separation in the home. Is there anyway I can take out the marriage wall? I’d settle for taking it out and putting in two columns to support the overhead.

    Reply
    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Jackie,

      Great question! Your marriage wall is always load bearing. That doesn’t mean removing it is impossible, but it would be an expensive and delicate job that would require proper knowledge of load and shear bearing structures (engineer, specialty contractor, etc). The columns, or a post and beam system, could work as a replacement but they would have to be placed strategically to handle the weight of the roof.

      Basically, those walls, along with your ceiling and other exterior walls, are what holds up the home and they are holding (distributing) the entire weight of the roof for each section. One wrong move and you face a possible collapse (seriously).

      So, technically, yes – it is possible, but it would be an expensive and delicate job. With all that said, I’ve seen some amazing things done with a double wide and anything is possible. Thanks!

      Reply
  14. jones

    I am trying to find out how to go about putting my mobile home on a slab vs leaving it on the blocks and possibly blocking around the house.. I don’t know pros and cons and was kind of looking for advise.. thanks so much

    Reply
    • Crystal Adkins

      Hello! That’s a hard question for me to answer since your location has a lot to do with it. Each state and climate zone has their own regulations. Here’s an article about installation and setup of a manufactured home that may help you make a decision. http://mobilehomeliving.org/the-ultimate-manufactured-home-installation-and-setup-guide/

      To be honest, I’ve never been involved with or seen anyone install a new slab under a home that’s already been setup. I’ve only seen re-leveling and slab/tier repair. If you are having issues with leveling you should be able to find a workaround that follows code.

      Adding a block foundation around your home is a great way to update the appearance, but it has to be done correctly in order for the home to qualify as a permanently installed home. Just adding brick or cinder block under a home does very little for the support itself.

      You’ll probably want to contact a couple different installation companies and have them give you an estimate. Just make sure to get a couple different estimates and check their references before hiring anyone. If you have any more questions just let me know. Good luck and thanks so much for reading Mobile Home Living!

      Reply
  15. john lee

    Having just purchased a mobile home i wish to perform some alterations i.e. removing walls etc. Are there any guides which may be obtained to help in such projects. Regards

    Reply

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