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 flooring in a mobile home.
You have a lot of options when replacing flooring in a mobile home.

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 - installing hardwood flooring in a mobile home - installing real hardwood flooring in a mobile home

 

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.

Read our answers to the most asked questions about mobile home subfloors here. 

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.

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28 Comments
  1. Alish Tasen says

    We have a single wide old mobile home but desire to install a plywood subfloor over existing particle board but there is some damage to old particle board in places. Can we still level it out somehow under the new playwood?

    1. Crystal Adkins says

      Hi Alish,

      It’s probably best to replace the damaged areas. This article will tell you how. After that, you can add a new subfloor over the existing (I’ve seen it done many times with good results). In our first home, a 1978 single wide, the previous owner put a new subfloor over the carpet even. We’ve never changed it and have had no problems.

      Best of luck!

  2. Kelly says

    I’m replacing all the flooring in my 1995 Windham double wide that came with the farm we just bought in NW Alabama. Except for the kitchen and laundry (vinyl sheeting) the entire house was carpeted with pile carpet and pad, even the bathrooms, ugh. We have rippped/cut the carpet and pad from 2 bedrooms, but the staples and parts of padding have proven bears to get up. Can I safely lay Shaw vinyl planking (Asheville Pine) over this without worry of later damage to the planking? I’m just wondering how much extra time I need to dedicate to this tedious task, or if it will be ok? My husband thinks we can just hammer down any staples. I’m also placing roofing felt as an underlayment for sound and temperature insulation.

    1. Crystal Adkins says

      Hi Kelly,

      Usually, you have to lay foam under floating flooring or laminated flooring (the more expensive planks may already have it attached to the back) so I would think that staples wouldn’t hurt at all after you hammer them down (easily) but any of the paddings may need to be removed since it’s thicker and squishy (it could throw off the level plane of the floor). Best of luck! I would love to see pics of your new flooring!

  3. Mello Buchanan says

    Hi, Texas resident with Oakwood DW MH. Putting a floating floor down, concerned that the house is not square or plumb. So curious as to whether I should start from the center and go toward the walls or from walls to marriage line. Would like to hide any issues under furniture instead of in the center of the room, is a woman’s thinking.
    Thanks Mello

    1. Crystal Adkins says

      Hi Mello,

      Floating floors are just about perfect for mobile homes because you hide the issues under the trim around the perimeter of the room. I think this installation article on DIY will help you tremendously. Best of luck!

    2. James jack says

      I want to no if i can put marble on floor in my mobile home 1985. 12/12 inch.is my floor strong enough.thanks very much

      1. Crystal Adkins says

        Hi James,

        It all depends on the weight of the marble and the design of your floor joists (measurement between the joists). I’ve read that ceramic tiles usually weigh around 4 pounds/square per foot and stone tiles weigh 6 lbs per foot. If you use 1/8″ thick tile you should be OK but I wouldn’t recommend going across the marriage line.

        Best of luck!

  4. T says

    Bought a 1989 park model in a senior land owned community. Replacing the roof and plumbing. The appraiser said it was in good shape. Any tips on what we can do so this will last us a long while?

    1. Crystal Adkins says

      Congratulations on your new home! When you install the new roof, make sure there are at least 6″ eaves but preferably 8-12″ to keep the water from hitting the side of the home. Plus, it makes a home look a lot better in my opinion.

      Add shut off valves to all the water sources and if possible go ahead and make the backside of the tubs (where the guts are for the faucet) as easily accessible as possible (make a hinged door or an access panel of some sort). This will save you a lot of money in the future should you have a leak. If you are in an area with cold winters (below freezing for any length of time) try to run those waterlines (Pex if possible) as close to your ductwork as possible and then replace the insulation and belly wrap if that’s in your budget.

      Those things should set you up for a good healthy home. Best of luck!

  5. Dennis says

    I recently purchased an older hurricane damaged mobile home 14 X 60 by the ocean. My thinking was I would have it completely rebuilt from the floor up. So I have a few questions:

    1. What is a ballpark estimate I should expect to have it rebuilt using quality materials?
    2. I know sometime in the next 20 years there will be another hurricane. Do they make subflooring out of other materials other than wood that is water proof or at least resistent? I was thinking of using galvanized steel studs for instance throughout and possibly a galvanized steel subfloor?

    1. Crystal Adkins says

      Hi Dennis,

      Estimates for materials and construction rely on location more than anything. Construction manhours is a lot more expensive in FL than it is in WV so I can’t really tell you. Homeadvisor has estimates that may help you. You can use marine-grade plywood in your bathrooms but the steel subfloor idea is way over my head. Sorry, I can’t be any help!

  6. Ranya says

    Hi! I’d love to know if I can update my mobile home floor ( at least kitchen and bathrooms) with a micro cement? (It’s only 2 or 3mm thick, and the existing floor does not need to be removed! So convenient.)
    Thank you!
    Ranya

    1. Crystal Adkins says

      Hi, Rayna!
      I’ve seen some videos on this is and does look quick and easy. I like the look of it too!
      We use cement for shower pans and such but I’m not sure it’s the same product.
      I’m torn on this but I’m no expert. I see that it’s lightweight and long lasting and easy(ish) to install but I’m concerned that it could crack should your home settle or shift. Re-leveling would probably cause even more issues.
      I would maybe try it in a second bathroom that isn’t used as much (should you be lucky enough to have one..lol) and see how it reacts with water and condensation. Make sure it isn’t slick and holds the water and is easy to clean.
      I would not install across a marriage line.
      Sorry, this is not a very helpful reply is It?
      Let me know if you do it. I’d love to learn more about it.

      1. Ranya says

        Thank you so much for your suggestions! Your reply is very helpful. I will keep you posted. ?

  7. Tracy says

    Need to repair Mobile Home subfloor in a couple of spots. What type of 5/8 inch plywood do I use ? Lowe’s and Home Depot has tongue and groove I don’t want that since I’m just going to repair the spots that are soft . It keeps sending me to sheathing plywood that’s 5/8 or 19/32 is that type of plywood ok or what’s the exact type or name I need? Thanks

    1. Crystal Adkins says

      Hi Tracy,

      5/8 OCB would work fine for your project. Best of luck!

  8. Wendy says

    Hi! We have a mobile home that is in New England so sits all winter not heated. Do we have to use a certain vinyl plank floor to accommodate the temperature fluctuation?

    1. Crystal Adkins says

      Hi Wendy,

      I’m not sure to be completely honest. I’ve never encountered a problem like that (and I’m not well-versed in really cold weather). I would think your best choice would be floating / laminate since it can expand and contract easily (I’d def make sure there was plenty of space around the perimeter to allow for expansion and contraction).

      Best of luck!

  9. Cheryl kaswell says

    I recently had new rigid core laminate flooring (floating) installed in my mobile home. It was installed on top of the subfloor. Now I have bowing and separation at the seams of the laminate. It seems the whole floor needs to be replaced now. It has been very hot and humid and the A/C has been running. There is a musty smell now as well. How do I successfully fix this problem?

    1. Crystal Adkins says

      Hi Cheryl,

      It sounds like you have a water leak somewhere or a serious moisture problem. Water is the top reason for bowing and seam separations of laminated materials. It could be a water leak, AC condensation, or poor circulation under the home. Your skirting needs to have vents within 3 ft of all corners and then every 6-10 feet there should be a standard sized vent.

      You’ll want to inspect every possible source of the moisture otherwise the damage will just become a bigger problem over time. (sorry to be such a Debbie-downer but this is a serious issue and clear sign of a water/moisture issue). Best of luck!

  10. Dawn says

    Does anyone know who replaces flooring in a mobile home mine needs to be fixed in my hall way and kitchen area

    1. Crystal Adkins says

      Hi Dawn,

      You will want to hire a contractor that specializes in manufactured homes. Contact your local mobile home supply company and ask for a few recommendations. Then have them all come out and give you estimates. Never go with the cheapest (especially if its a lot cheaper than the others).

      best of luck!

  11. 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!

  12. 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.