Mobile Home Bathroom Guide
Mobile home bathroom remodels can be difficult. There are several different types of faucets, sinks, counters, toilets, and bathtubs. The choices are endless!
Do you need a pedestal sink or a floating sink? Should you buy a center set faucet or a wall mounted? Do you need to special order your bathtub?
We’ve produced this mobile home bathroom guide to help you answer the most common questions and make the best buying decisions for your home and your family.
Remodeling Cost and Value for a Standard Bathroom Remodel
A bathroom remodel isn’t cheap but they have a great return on investment. For every dollar you spend on the remodel you can expect to get around 70% back when you sell the home. In 2014, the average bathroom remodels (in a site-built home) cost $16,128 with a resale value of $11,688. That’s a good investment since you get to enjoy the new bathroom, too!
Standard Mobile Home Bathtubs
There are a few different standard bathtubs for mobile homes: alcove, corner, oval, and whirlpool. In addition, there are several modern choices in unique shapes options. We’ll go over each one.
The National Kitchen and Bath Association states that the average bathtub size in the US is 60″ x 30/32″ but that’s not the case with mobile and manufactured homes.
Mobile home bathrooms with alcove bathtubs are a bit different from your standard site-built home alcove tubs. The standard tub in your mobile home is probably around 6″ smaller, both width and lengthwise.
You have 2 options to combat the size difference if you want a standard bathtub: buy a bathtub specifically made for mobile homes or buy builder-grade acrylic tubs from a regular bathroom supply company and retrofit their products to fit.
If you choose to buy from a mobile home supply store you will pay a bit more but the process of removing and replacing the tub will be a lot easier.
Mobile home bathtubs are usually 54″ x 27″ and a bathtub at your local home improvement store is 60″ x 32″.
It’s hard to find an additional 6 inches in an already small bathroom so buying a mobile home sized tub is probably easiest.
Corner tubs were very popular in mobile homes. They’ve been found in homes from the 1970’s to the 2010’s. Most of them are 54″ x 54″and run between $700-750 to replace.
Site-built homes have corner tubs that are usually 60″ x 60″. That 6″ difference strikes again!
Believe it or not, the standard mobile home bathroom with an oval tub is bigger than the average site-built home oval tub! Mobile Home Supply Store has two oval tubs, 64″ x 42″ and 64″ x 44″. Per About, the average size for a oval tub in a site-built home is 60″ x 41″. Score one for factory-built homes!
Modern and Upscale Bathtub Choices
If you are completely gutting your bathroom you can choose whatever tub you want in whatever size or shape you want. That’s one of the best perks of a total gut remodel.
If you have a bad back or neck or just enjoy water jets a whirlpool is a perfect choice for you. These tubs have powerful water jets in the sides and bottom of the tub. They are complicated to install and have high maintenance needs. You will need have the proper electricity wiring available wherever you plan to place the tub. Luckily, whirlpool tubs are available in several sizes and shapes so you’ll find one that suits your space.
One of the first bathtub designs was made with cast iron and had 4 awesome claw feet. The ‘feet were usually made to look like an eagle claw holding a ball. They have always been, and will likely always be a very popular bathtub design.
A popular new tub shape is the cloud tub. They are freestanding and look great in both small and large bathrooms.
Once you pick your tub shape you will need to put some thought into the tub’s material. There are 4 popular materials: acrylic, fiberglass, enamel-coated cast iron, porcelain-enamel steel. Each has pros and cons. Here’s a screenshot from Home Depot explaining how the materials are used to make a bathtub along with their pros and cons:
Yellowing of Mobile Home Bathtubs
Factory supplied mobile home tubs are prone to turning yellow after a few short years. It is typically caused by poor UV coating. Many homeowners have had to spend hundreds of dollars to replace a bathtub shortly after the warranty expires so please make sure the bathtub you choose has sufficient UV protection and cannot turn yellow after a couple of years.
Learn about the 3 best ways to repair and paint a yellowing mobile home bathtub here.
Mobile Home Bathroom Faucets
Bathtubs choices are complicated but faucet choices are maddening! Faucets come in 5 varieties: center-set, mini-spread, single hole, wall-mount or widespread.
Single Hole Faucets
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 scalding. 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 handles or 1 lever designs that are attached to the base. Their compact size is beneficial for small spaces.
4″ Minispread Faucets
4″ Minispread Faucets are also classified as center-set yet are a bit different. They have 3 separate pieces which give the look of a widespread faucet but 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 off and it will overpower everything in the room.
The Right Faucet
You can put any kind of faucet you want in your home, especially if you are changing out the counter and sink at the same time. If you are simply replacing a leaky faucet you should buy the style that fits the opening you have (most often its going to be 4″ center set in a mobile home). You can get a replacement faucet from a mobile home supply store for cheap or you can spend a bit more on a piece that really makes a statement in the room.
If you are completely remodeling the bathroom, your options are wide open!
Most recommend that you buy the faucet first, then the sink based on the type of faucet you’ve selected. You’ll also want to choose a counter. All new faucets should come with a template to help you place the holes in the correct spot.
Mobile Home Bathroom Sinks
There are several types of sinks, too. Mobile home bathroom remodels are more complicated than most people think! There are 6 basic sink types: vanity top, console, vessel, pedestal, wall mounted, under-counter and countertop.
Vanity Top Sinks
Vanity Top Sinks is a one-piece sink and counter combination. They are simply installed on top of a cabinet or as part of a complete furniture piece. They come in several different types of materials and sizes. Easy cleaning is one advantage but the size and weight can be disadvantaged.
Console Sinks are similar to vanity top sinks but they are often supported by 2 front legs in the front and wall mounting in the back. They are great for small spaces but there’s little to no storage space under the sink. They come in various materials and sizes. They are easy to clean since it’s one piece with legs.
Vessel Sinks are very popular these days. It’s basically a decorative bowl that sits either on top of the counter or inside the counter, though the top installation is far more popular. Numerous materials are available although glass seems to be the most popular. You must choose the correct faucet for vessel sinks.
Pedestal Sinks are free standing sinks with a base. You often have to buy the 2 pieces separately but that gives you an opportunity to get the exact style you want. There’s no storage under these but they are beautiful and simple. Plumbing is often exposed.
Wall Mounted Sinks
Wall Mounted Sinks are self-explanatory. They are attached to the wall and nothing else. They are often small in size and perfect for tight spaces.
Under Counter Sinks
Under countersinks are set under the counter. This allows the inside of the counter to be seen around the opening of the sink so it should be decorative or one solid piece such as granite. They are installed under the counter with mounting kits. These are very popular as well and are often referred to as under mount sinks. They come in numerous materials, shapes, and sizes.
Countertop sinks are the most popular style of any sink. The rim of the sink rests directly on top of the counter inside of a hole. The countertop material can be practically anything as long as it’s waterproof. Materials choices are numerous and they come in several sizes and shapes.
Most mobile home bathroom sinks are set with clips placed under the sink opening. The parameter is sealed under the lip of the sink. Unscrew the clips and run a blade between the sink and counter and lift it out. Then replace them with whatever style you want!
Try to get a replacement product that has a warranty and a good company reputation. Kohler Bathroom sinks are known to be good quality with a lot of styles to chose.
Mobile Home Toilets
I can’t really say much about toilets in mobile homes. They seem to stand up very well. Of course, the guts needs replaced occasionally but that’s the case with any toilet.
Mobile home toilets are easily replaceable with anyone on the market. You have 2 basic choices; a regular toilet or a handicapped one. The handicapped toilets are higher and may be helpful if someone has mobility issues in the home. All toilets you buy today are going to be low flow which is good, we don’t need to use 10 gallons every time we flush.
Replacing toilets is not complicated: turn the water off, empty the water out of the tank and bowl. Unscrew and lift. Anytime you move or replace a toilet you must use a new wax ring. It’s just not smart to reuse them (yuck!). There’a little more to it but the magic is in making sure it’s level. If it’s not level, you are going to have complications. Leveling brings me to the last section, bathroom floors.
Mobile Home Bathroom Floors
I believe subflooring is the most important part of a mobile home bathroom remodel.
Every drop of water that is allowed to reach the flooring (meaning the sub-floor and joists under the floor covering as well as the insulation) can get damaged. It can rot and cause weak spots and swelling. Chances are within 15 years of buying your home you will need to replace the bathroom floors completely if the appropriate precautions aren’t taken.
In the 80’s, some manufacturers had the bright idea to put carpeting in the master bathrooms. What a mess! If you have carpet in your bathroom or floating floor without a waterproof membrane under it, get it out. The mold growing under it is not healthy and I will guarantee that it’s there, you may just not realize it.
In the 34 years that I have proudly lived in a manufactured home, I’ve been involved with no less than 5 total bathroom floor replacements. It’s not easy.
Using a waterproof membrane will help keep the bathroom dry and allow you some peace of mind that you won’t have to do it all again.
Designing Your New Mobile Home Bathroom
Whether you have a lot of space or just a little, you need to utilize every inch. Here are some commonly used layouts in smaller bathrooms.
If you are completely gutting your bathroom and love the modern look this is a great design.
If you’re ready to do a complete bathroom renovation in your mobile home, begin from the bottom and work your way up. There’s no sense in buying all the fancy new fixtures if the flooring isn’t protected. Factoring in sub-flooring and giving the joists a good inspection before you install anything is the smartest move you can make.
Alright, that should get you started on planning your bathroom remodel. Good luck!
As always, thank you for reading Mobile Home Living!