Load-Bearing Walls in Mobile Homes

This week we are looking at questions about removing walls in a mobile home. These questions cover questions about marriage walls, load-bearing walls, and removing closets.

Questions about Removing Walls in a Mobile Home

Is The Marriage Wall Necessary?

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

Great question! Your marriage line is always load-bearing. That doesn’t mean removing it is impossible. Still, it would be an expensive and delicate job requiring an engineer with proper knowledge of load and shear-bearing construction techniques in manufactured homes. Even when the experts are brought in, there will usually always be some issue that arises in the future.

Simply put, anything is possible if you want it bad enough, but it’s not a good idea to modify the marriage line in a manufactured home.

Load Bearing Walls

According to the article, “In a single wide, with recent construction methods, there is no load bearing interior walls.” How recent?

From what I understand, that is a broad brush that can be applied for all single wide construction as they are designed so that the exterior walls hold the load. However, there can be load-bearing walls in the interior of a single wide – it is dependent on the home’s design.

The best thing you can do is bring in an expert and have them look to see if the wall is load-bearing. Of course, even load-bearing walls can be modified with the correct reinforcement used.

painting mobile home walls and using new trim to cover the seams -questions about removing walls in a mobile home

Related: Ask a Mobile Home Expert Questions about Mobile Home Additions

Can I Use A Beam Where My Marriage Wall Is?

We are in the process of doing a complete remodel on a double wide. Right in the center of the family room and kitchen/dining room is what used to be a pantry that was probably 4 ft wide. I know it is the marriage wall, but have you ever seen someone take it completely out and put in a large beam to support the weight? I want to completely open up this area.

Listening to homeowners that have modified their marriage line has made me realize that there will almost always be some issue arising from a marriage line modification. It could take 5 years or 20, but there is usually always some problem that will occur. I suppose the homes are just so intricately designed to perform well in transport that even the slightest modification can cause a butterfly effect.

Of course, you can do anything with the right knowledge, people, and budget. In most site-built construction, a post and beam concept is used to replace load-bearing walls. I must recommend that you bring an engineer that is familiar with manufactured home construction to ensure that you can do the project without damaging the home.

Related: Read more about removing walls in a mobile home here. 

Removing Closets

I want to remove my daughter’s closet in our single wide to give her more space due to a tiny room. It is a 1996 Norris, and her bedroom is on the very end with a bay window. The closet takes up the entire left side of her wall beside her window with two doors. Would this be a pain to remove? It also has an electrical outlet placed 6 inches from the exterior wall on the wall we want to remove to make more space.

As far as I know, a typical single wide will have no load-bearing interior walls, so it should be fine to remove the closet walls. You’ll need to be careful, though and make doubly sure there is no load on whatever walls you want to remove (look for doubled studs and odd angles). Hiring an engineer is never a bad idea.

Since it has double doors, I doubt it’s load-bearing. You’ll need to cut the power to the room and take the paneling off very easily to ensure electrical safety. Also, plan on the way to re-route the wiring if it needs to be moved. Other than the marks left on the flooring and the ceiling, this should be a fairly easy weekend project.

Related: How to Paint Vinyl Walls in Mobile Homes

1985 Conner single wide mobile home - painted panelling and closet in bedroom - should you buy an older mobile home and remodel it - questions about removing walls in a mobile home

Removing Half Walls

I have a Redwood manufactured home that’s about 20 years old. In my kitchen, there are two little walls. One is next to the fridge and laundry room door. I want to remove it so I can get a larger fridge. Is it possible?

Typically, you can remove interior walls in a manufactured home as long as it’s not load-bearing.  Load-bearing walls in manufactured housing include the exterior walls and the marriage line in a double wide. But I have to suggest that you consult an engineer before you do it (legally). Load-bearing walls are usually the exterior walls and walls along the marriage line of a double wide.

Our Ask a Mobile Home Expert Series Continues Next Week!

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Disclosure: Any answers to questions about removing walls in a mobile home 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.