Repairing and remodeling a mobile home is different from a stick built home. Knowing the differences between mobile homes and stick built homes and how to make those difference work for you is the trick to a successful remodel or repair on any mobile or manufactured home. Here we take a look at some common differences between mobile homes and stick built homes.
I see posts in forums all the time about how you can’t replace a sink or a tub or a bedroom door and that kind of information is misleading. You can absolutely change anything in your manufactured home and even use the products at Lowe’s and any other home improvement store. All it takes is little know how and innovation.
Mobile Home Sinks and Faucets
Mobile home sinks are usually always the same standard size as the ones you buy at Lowe’s. This goes for both kitchen and bathroom sinks. To replace them you simply remove the faucet, loosen the clips or cut the seal and lift it out.
Most faucets are different but can absolutely be changed out with little effort. Faucets found in Lowe’s usually comes with the fittings you need in the box. If they don’t you only need to see what type of water line is supplying the water to the faucet and find the adapter (male and female fittings are the usual terms used) to connect the line to the new faucet. They will be about $2-5 dollars. It is recommended that you if you originally have a center set faucet that you replace it with a center set faucet. This keeps you from having to cut out new openings in the counter. If you are also replacing the counter you can buy any type you want, there will be a template in the box to help you cut the opening. I’ve spoken about the faucet, sink and bathtub issues in-depth on the post titled “Mobile Home Bathroom Guide” so jump over there for more details. Faucets come in several types, here’s the most prominent:
- Single Hole Faucets only require a single hole to be drilled on the counter. They usually come with one or two handles attached to the main spout. These can be tricky to operate for the very young or the elder as getting the right temperature is only controlled by one handle usually. You can buy them with temperature limiting valves to prevent scolding. If you are transforming from a center set to a single hole faucet, deck plates are available and often come with the faucet. This allows the modification to remain stylish and covers up the additional holes that are no longer needed.
- Center Set Faucets are the most often used style in mobile homes. The holes are drilled 4″ apart from the center of the holes. The water temperature is controlled completely through the handles as there are 2 lines, one for hot and one for cold and they are mixed together in the spout. They come in either 2 handle or 1 lever designs that are attached to the base. Their compact size is beneficial for small spaces.
- 4″ Minispread Faucets are also classified as center set yet are a bit different. The have 3 separate pieces which give the look of a widespread faucetbut you can still use the standard 4″ openings of a center set faucet. Each handle controls either the hot or the cold water. It’s mixed together in the spout.
- Wall-Mounted Faucets are exactly what they say they are: wall mounted. These are becoming increasingly popular for small spaces because they don’t require additional counter room for the faucet. They are perfect for the modern vessel sink. Make sure to chose one that is the right length for the sink you want. It should extend to the exact middle of the sink upon installation.
- Widespread Faucets come in either 8″ or even 16″ wide styles. The valves and temperature mixing chamber are below the counter. They are usually very large and should be used in the correct environment, with a large sink. Otherwise, the scale will be offand it will overpower everything in the room.
I found mobile home bathroom faucets at Mobile Home Parts Store for $9.95 and stainless steel kitchen sinks for $89.95. I like them and Complete Mobile Home Supply. Both are large enough to buy in bulk and pass the savings to the customers. Usually people buy from Lowe’s and retrofit because the mobile home products are so expensive but if what you need is the same price or cheaper and is made for mobile homes, you wouldn’t have to bother with retrofitting anything.
Mobile Home Bathtubs
Mobile home bathtubs are smaller than the tubs found at Lowe’s. They are usually 6 inches shorter and a few inches narrower and not as deep. We aren’t talking about the garden tubs though, only the regular ole rectangle tubs. I’ve always had a neutral opinion regarding whether to buy a mobile home tub or retrofit a standard tub, and I’ll tell you why. Mobile home tubs are expensive! The cheapest I have found was around $400 (that includes the surround) but that was online and didn’t include shipping. There is a 27″ mobile home bathtub online for $229 but that’s just the tub, not the surround, so figure in another $170 for the 27″ surround or think about tiling.
In order to use the tubs at Lowe’s that are $139 and the surround that is $69.99, you’ll have to retrofit it which means moving a wall. If you happen to have the water heater in front or behind a tub wall you can usually find just enough room to make it work. It’s a hassle though, no doubt about it.
We plan on remodeling our bathroom and we compared the 2 possibilities: retrofitting a cheap tub or buying a mobile home tub. We do have a small bedroom closet with the water heater on the left side of the tub so we can borrow a few inches to make the cheap tub work (I also have a master plumber and contractor at my disposal so I have an unfair advantage). Plus, we can go as fancy or as plain as we want with tile, surround, etc. However, I’m confident in saying that if you or someone you know has any construction experience they can do the same thing and save some money. Either way, you’re going to be tearing out a tub so moving a few studs isn’t going to make that much of a difference.
Mobile Home Doors
Both interior and exterior doors are different from the ones in home improvement stores. The exterior doors are shorter to allow for the shorter ceiling height and the interior doors are usually shorter and narrower. I have noticed that the newer manufactured homes are using standard sizes now so if your home is newer, you may be able to use any door on the market (lucky). It’s best to go with a door made for a mobile home. I say that because there’s a lot that can go wrong when replacing exterior doors. You’re dealing with siding and insulation and studs and possibly electricity so the easier you can make it the better. Future leak caused by having the door un-square can cause a lot of issues and cause more headaches than you’ll ever want to deal with.
My husband replaced an exterior door on a double wide with a standard sized door once. The homeowners had bought the door not knowing the difference and when advised that there was a difference, they wanted it done anyway (I think the receipt was lost or they had gotten it second hand and the original door was leaking so it was a quick fix to a problem. This is not advisable and I’m simply showing it so you can see the difference).
There’s a step up as soon as you open the door, this is a back door with a completely fenced in yard so the public isn’t going to be using it. As you can see in the bottom photo, there isn’t an inch to spare on the top and bottom and still allow the door to be properly framed. He made it work but this is not to code. Thankfully, WV isn’t stringent on inspections outside of town limits.
Mobile home interior doors are not as wide or as tall as regular interior doors found at your home supply store. I was able to find the doors with no frame for around $60 plus shipping.
I won’t say it’s easy to retrofit a standard door but it’s not that difficult really. You simply measure the opening, cut it out and frame it back in and attach the door on it’s own frame to the studs. If you only need the door and not the frame, you can make a $29 hollow door from Lowe’s work by cutting it to size and ‘re-attaching’ the end piece.
Those are the most common differences between mobile homes and stick built homes except a huge one that I’m purposely leaving out because I know nothing about electricity. Breaker boxes are different for mobile homes than stick built homes, too. Since I know so little about electricity and breaker boxes I’ll leave that issue to someone else to tackle for you. Just be aware that there is a difference and that is a big issue for anyone having problems in their homes circuitry.
Most of these problems can be easily remedied by buying from a mobile home supply store. I do advise to price check because for some weird reason mobile home products can be very expensive. The products are used because they didn’t cost the manufacturer much, right? So why are the after market products so expensive? Online retailers do have some decent prices and great sales but do your homework and get the best deal possible. If you’re looking to buy a lot at one time don’t be scared to call and see about free shipping. I’ve seen a lot of free shipping offers if you buy more than $50 or $100 worth of products at one time.
I found a 5% OFF deal at Mobile Home Parts Store that I can pass on to you through an affiliate link. Follow the link and enter ‘SAVE5’ in the coupon code box. I don’t think it expires so pass it on!
Thanks so much for reading Mobile & Manufactured Home Living.