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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.