Complete Guide to Mobile Home Doors
Because of the ROI and the beauty that new mobile home doors add to a home, it is easily one of our favorite DIY home improvement projects. We’re going to cover everything you need to know to chose the right door for your mobile home, how to install it, and how to keep it looking great for years.
We also have a great DIY mobile home door makeover project if you don’t quite need to replace your door but would like a fresh new look. It really is amazing how drastic a ‘new’ door changes the look of a home!
Why New Mobile Home Doors is the Smartest Home Improvement Project
As with any mobile home improvement, homeowners need to understand the return on investment or ROI. One article defines ROI as “a percentage point that identifies a projects validity. In other words, ROI is used to determine which investments are worth your while.”
Believe it or not, installing new doors is always the highest ranked home improvement project when considering the return on investment.
Zillow lists a few common home improvement projects and their ROI:
- New siding and deck builds pull in about 70-80% ROI
- Minor kitchen remodels bring in 70-80%
- Major kitchen remodels get about 65%
- Window replacement comes in at 68-78%
- Roof replacement is a top mobile home repair project and it pulls in 60-70%
- A bathroom remodel can bring in around 60-70%
Replacing your front door, a very affordable project compared to those above delivers an amazing 85-100% ROI!
Because of their high functionality and drastic upgrade to a home’s curb appeal replacing mobile home doors will be the smartest and most affordable home improvement project you can do.
Installing a new steel front door has an ROI of around 100%! In a Fortune Builders article, they’ve calculated the ROI at 101.8%.
You can recoup every penny you spend on a new door, including installation costs, and still get to enjoy the safety, insulating qualities, and added style for years.
You Can Replace Mobile Home Doors for Less than $500!
Another great reason we think replacing mobile home doors is the smartest mobile home improvement project is their affordability. You can replace mobile home doors for less than $1,000! Even if you get a fancy special-order door that has to be retrofitted you can still do it for less than $1500.
New exterior doors add several advantages to a home. In addition to the fresh new look, you will have added security and additional insulating qualities.
Benefits of New Doors
A new door does much more than look pretty. They can help you save a ton of money on heating and cooling costs.
Mobile Home Door Terminology
The diagram below shows a door opening from above. Imagine you’re sitting on the roof looking down. Your rough opening is the length and width of the hole you’d have if you removed the door and frame.
What’s Your Jamb?
Your jamb is the width of the exterior wall after you remove all the trim. The most common jamb width for manufactured housing is 4″ but there 6″ is getting more popular.
INSWING, OUTSWING, Left-Hand, and Right-Hand
The images below from Doors 4 Home shows an outswing and an inswing door in both a left-handed opening and a right-handed opening. To determine which kind of door you need just stand outside and look toward the home. Are the hinges on the left or the right? Does the door need to swing into the home or out?
Which Material is Best for Mobile Home Doors?
Mobile home doors are available in many materials. To choose the right one for your home you’ll need to choose which quality is most important to you: security, energy efficiency, and cost.
The most popular materials for mobile home doors are vinyl and fiberglass. Of course, wood is still a popular material, too.
Sill to Sash describes popular materials for mobile home doors well:
Fiberglass exterior doors are constructed in the same fashion as steel exterior doors with wood stiles and rails and an inner core of injected foam. The outer skin is fiberglass. Fiberglass is very strong and durable. In addition to a flat painted surface, fiberglass can also be embossed to give it the texture and appearance of wood.
Steel exterior doors are actually made from a combination of materials. The interior structural components (rails and stiles) are often wood, the inner core is filled with insulating foam and the outer skin is made of galvanized steel. The inner wood structure gives it stability and strength. The foam core provides good insulation and the steel skins are durable, resistant to warping or rotting and require little maintenance. Steel exterior doors can be painted any number of colors. They are also available with pre-finished PVC coatings that simulate a wood-grain finish.
Vinyl exterior doors are a mix of steel, aluminum or wood re-enforcement that adds strength and prevents distortion. Vinyl doors are good thermal insulators because of their multi-chambered designs and offer good thermal performance ratings. Vinyl is a very durable material and is resistant to extreme weather conditions. It is also very resistant to breakage and provides good protection against forced entry through the door. Vinyl doors will not rust, dent, or scratch, and require no special maintenance.
Aluminum doors are the most popular material for mobile home doors. They are affordable but still offers a ton of advantages. While aluminum is a weaker material than steel, it holds up remarkably well in extreme temperatures. There’s a reason Airstreams are made from aluminum, it doesn’t rust and it’s lightweight.
Today’s aluminum mobile home doors are designed with other materials to create a longlasting and more durable product.
What’s the Difference Between Mobile Home Doors and Doors You Can Buy at Lowe’s?
Lowe’s or Home Depot have dozen’s of doors all stacked perfectly in aisle 7 but if you own an older mobile home or a smaller manufactured home you probably can’t use them because they are too wide and/or tall. This isn’t as much of an issue in newer manufactured homes, thankfully.
Mobile home doors should be purchased from a mobile home supply center. Yes, you can use the doors at Lowe’s but they will require some retrofitting.
Geneva and her husband, both experienced DIY mobile home owners, cut down a storm door to fit. You can read more about their gorgeous home here.
cutting a regular sized exterior door down for a mobile home
Watch a video about resizing an exterior door here.
Yes, you can retrofit it and make doors work in all kinds of situations but if you want a simple installation just buy the right door size.
Measure Your Opening
Now that you’ve picked the right door material for your home and understand the swings and the common terms associated with mobile home doors it’s time to measure so you can find the perfect door for your home.
Here you’ll see a standard mobile home door on a frame.
Here’s a video about measuring mobile home doors from Mobile Home Parts Store:
Measure the width of the door using the outer jamb, not the door itself. Also, measure the height of the door from the inside of the top jamb to the floor. Select the door that is closest to those measurements.
Installing Mobile Home Doors
Once you have decided you need to replace your mobile home door, the next step is to find a replacement.
There are a few mobile home door styles that are most common:
The solid style is just that, solid, with no windows.
The diamond window is especially popular in my neck of the woods.
The slider and the cottage are popular backdoors for mobile homes.
The 6-panel steel is perfect for the front of your home and is especially smart if you are in a very hot or very cold climate.
We are partnering with our friends at Mobile Home Parts Store to create this DIY guide to mobile home doors. They have tons of exterior doors and parts to help make your mobile home door replacements easier. Here are a few of their doors you can buy between $225-$279. Just click the images to learn more about each door.
This door combination is perfect if you want to let the light in. Basic mobile home door with a storm door.
No room for a screen door? This basic mobile home door is what you are looking for.
Buying mobile home doors can cost upwards of $500 but with that, you will get a storm door and a door with:
- White vinyl laminated galvanized steel attached to a high quality painted finger jointed solid pine jamb (standard 4″ sidewall jamb, optional 6″ sidewall jamb)
- Weather stripping to protect against air, light and water penetration
- 1 3/8″ thick with energy efficient polyurethane foam insulation
- Four leaf sill sweep and pre-drilled for entrance and deadbolt lock
- Six panels with chrome knocker and viewer
- Pre-hung, pre-squared and pre-punched for fast and easy installation
- Made in the USA and manufactured to comply with HUD Std 3280-405
- White aluminum self-storing storm door with the following features:
- Heavy gauge all aluminum construction
- 1″ thick hollow aluminum door frame reinforced with 14 gauge corner gussets
- Pre-drilled for latch handle
- Built-in drip cap
- Aluminum kick plate
- 1/8″ thick tempered safety glass
- Vertical sliding bottom glass with screen
Installing Your New Door
The Mobile Home Parts Store has put together an awesome step by step guide to installing your new door:
1. Make certain all mounting surfaces (siding seams included) are securely fastened and flat around the perimeter of the door opening.
2. Apply a suitable non-hardening sealant tape (Putty Tape or Butyl Tape) to the backside of the door’s mounting flange.
3. Do not remove any shipping clips or fasteners and keep the door closed and locked during the installation. Opening the door prior to the installation will destroy the pre-squaring by the manufacturer.
4. Insert the door assembly carefully into the rough opening. Make certain the door sill is secure on the floor. Move door to the hinge side until it is firmly against the stud.
5. Proceed to fasten door with Hex Head Screws. Drive the first 3 screws into the outer pre-punched flange in the middle at the hinge side. Then, drive the next 3 screws in the middle on the lock side. Then, secure the balance of the hinge side, across the sill, up the lock side and the header.
6. Remove the shipping clips and open the door. Install the Locks, Threshold Plate and Safety Chain.
7. Some doors will have an adjustable stop. Adjust the stop to the exterior of the inner door to ensure a good seal.
Here’s Mobile Home Parts Store video on installing a new mobile home door:
Repairing Mobile Home Doors
In many cases, you won’t need a whole new door. You can simply replace or repair the hardware and make your mobile home door last many more years.
Common Mobile Home Door Issues
This is too funny! But, really, sticky doors are no joke!
If your mobile home doors stick excessively if could be a sign that your home needs to be releveled. Learn more about mobile home leveling issues here.
It could also just mean that your hinges could use a little love and are sticking due to swelling or rust.
Hinges can be adjusted or replaced on old doors.
This article on This Old House covers sticky doors.
This article from Family Handyman shows you how to replace hinges and has many photos to guide you through the process.
If your doorknob doesn’t seem to turn or doesn’t want to lock or unlock, something as simple as lubricating it with some W-D 40 could do the trick. Of course, you can replace your doorknob fairly quickly and easily. You can buy a stainless steel exterior mobile home door knob with lock for less than $15 here.
Changing your knob/lock can be an easy fix.
This video is a good resource to learn how to quickly replace your mobile home doorknob:
How to Give your Exterior Mobile Home Door a Budget-Friendly Makeover
Buying new mobile home doors is an investment and sometimes we just don’t have the money to get a new one. This budget-friendly project can help you. We found this affordable exterior mobile home door makeover on Home Talk (link unknown).
If a new door isn’t in the budget yet you can still give them an update on a budget. This homeowner had a piece of vinyl laminated paneling that’sd popular for bathrooms and added it to the old exterior mobile home door he had.
The homeowner cut the paneling to size and pre-drilled the necessary holes for the locks. attached the new exterior skin using small white paneling nails that matched the paneling.
Viola! The old mobile home door has a fresh new look that only cost a few dollars. The door looks great to have only cost a few dollars!
This is a good project only if your mobile home door is not warped. If you have a warped door it will need to be replaced.
Interior Mobile Home Door Projects
You can makeover interior mobile home doors, too. Mobile home interior doors are also shorter and more narrow than the doors you can find at Lowe’s so you’ll want to buy them from a mobile home supply store whenever possible, too.
But, if there’s nothing wrong with your interior doors and you just want to give them a new look these two projects are perfect.
We featured Shannon’s great double-wide manufactured home makeover a couple of years ago. Her interior door makeover is one of our favorite projects of all time. It’s so simple yet so significant!
She simply nailed trim to make the door appear to be the more expensive panel door. The trim, nails, and paint will cost you less than a good pizza!
Wainscotting Adds Depth
This next homeowner is on her way to a similar mobile home door makeover. She glued thin wainscotting panels to the door and then trimmed it out. This image shows her in the process of painting the door.
Not only will new mobile home doors improve the look of your mobile home, they can also help reduce heating and cooling costs, make your home safer, and add to the equity of your mobile home. New doors are a great investment and you should make it one of the top projects on your mobile home remodeling to-do list.
Stay tuned, we will be continuing our partnership with Mobile Home Parts Store and discussing other DIY projects in the future.
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