How to Paint Your Mobile Home’s Subfloor

Mobile home remodeling can take a great deal of time, hard work, and money. The finished results are definitely worth the effort but what happens when you are short on cash? We went without a floor covering for a few months after we ripped up the old carpet. It had to go though.

We didn’t paint our subfloor but this clever homeowner did and she shared her process with us.

How to Remove the Old Carpet in a Mobile Home

The first step is to rip out the old carpet. You can follow these simple steps to remove the carpeting and the padding:

  • Begin at a corner. If one corner is loose, that’s the best place to start. If the corners are all secured tightly, take a small knife or other sharp object and cut the piece large enough to grab.
  • Rip away. While it isn’t necessarily easy work, it can be fun if you keep in mind you are getting rid of an unsightly mess. While ripping the carpet out, work from end to end, rolling the rug as you go.
  • After the carpet is rolled and removed from the room, take up the padding in the same way.
  • Next, remove all the tack strips from the edges. This is a lengthy and mundane process but there is no skipping it. Placing a large screwdriver under the wood and pushing up seems to work best.
  • Once the strips are all removed, you must remove any and all small nails. Again, this is a monotonous task, but an important one.

The last step is sweeping up the dirt and dust remaining. Don’t panic if feel you or someone else is nasty when you find a great deal of sandy dirt. This is normal.

New Flooring Options for your Mobile Home

From this point, you have a few options:

1. Have new carpet installed by a professional or do it yourself if you are capable.
2. Have linoleum or ceramic tile laid.
3. Install laminate flooring.
4. Install and finish hardwood.

Related: 4 Popular Questions about Mobile Home Subfloors

How to Paint Your Mobile Home Subfloor

But what can you do if you have chosen mobile home remodeling, ripped out carpets, and have no extra cash to install new covering? Don’t panic. All is not hopeless. While it may not be the most fashionable option, painting the subflooring is an option, and often a great one. You can use your creativity here. Pick a color that matches the décor, draw and paint designs, or do anything your heart pleases. Have some fun with it. Get adventurous!

Here are the steps on how to paint your mobile home subfloor and give it a unique look:

  • Sand the subflooring. Make sure there are no splinters sticking up and the floor is relatively smooth.
Paint Your Mobile Home Subfloor
  • Using a broom, sweep up all debris.
  • For stubborn spots or ground in dirt, use water and a good cleaner. Before painting the floor needs to be as clean as possible.
  • Begin painting. If you chose to do a design, draw it out before beginning. If your floor will be one color, dive right in. The best way to paint subflooring is with a roller sponge. Make sure all spots are filled in.
  • If needed, after the paint dries apply a second coat.
  • Once the floor is completely dry, apply a good polyurethane. You can choose from a variety of finishes from shiny to dull. This protects the floor from liquids and makes it easier to keep clean.
  • Allow the polyurethane to dry completely.
  • Stand back and admire your work!
Paint Your Mobile Home Subfloor

Most of all, while doing mobile home remodeling, remember to have fun, be creative, and don’t stress out.

As always, thank you for reading Mobile Home Living!

All images and text by T.M. Todorovich, updated by Crystal Adkins.

12 thoughts on “How to Paint Your Mobile Home’s Subfloor”

  1. Remember to be careful if using water on your subfloor for any reason. Many mobile homes have particle board subfloors. Water can permanently damage particle board.

  2. I have a 2000 mobile home and taking up the carpets . Fixed the soft spots in the floors . Was told could not paint them with out priming them first. Was thinking about using the paint made to restore decks or does it have to be something else. Please get back with me and let me know. I live on a fixed income so can’t afford to put in new flooring over the sub floors.

    • Hi John,

      I don’t see why you couldn’t use the paint to restore decks as long as it has a primer or gripper type ingredient in it. You may need to watch out for fumes (considering the paint is for outside). I know a lot of people won’t agree with me on this but I’m a firm believer in doing what you can with what you have. I’d give it a test at the front door and see how it goes.

      Best of luck! Let me know how it goes.

      • For anyone who reads this down the road, you CAN use deck paint! Its a great option for several reasons, many different colors, thicker than other paints so it covers the plywood texture and you can get 5gallons for appx 130ish dollars!

  3. I have a 2000 mobile home ,everyone is telling me that you can’t paint the sub floor with out priming it first. I really would like to pain all the sub flooring. Plus can I use the paint that is used for decking or dies it need to be something else.

    • Hi John,

      With subfloors, you will want to use a primer but there are a ton of brands that have a priming agent in them that will work for you. There are porch and deck paints (as you mentioned in the other comment, I think) and Kilz has a few products that will work well too. Google how to paint subfloors and you’ll find a ton of great tutorials and product suggestions. Best of luck!

  4. had to paint the subfloor to block the odor of the prior owners dogs who used the carpet for you know what. The subfloor was still in usable shape but the smell had to be blocked before the laminate went down. Kilz took care of it.

  5. Another FABULOUS and cheapie cheapskate’s way to cover your floors is using the “paper bag” method. We did this in our doublewide’s dining room and it turned out gorgeous. Google it for plenty of pictures.

    It gives you a floor that looks like a cross between leather and cork. Very attractive.

    Basically, you tear up big irregular-shaped pieces of brown kraft paper (we bought it by the big roll in the paint department at Lowes- $11, but paper bags or any kind of non-coated paper will work) crumple up the pieces for interesting texture, dip/saturate the pieces in a 1:1 or 2:1 water/glue mixture of either Elmer’s Glue ($16 a gallon) or a wood-glue like Tite-Bond ($23 a gallon), lay on the floor smoothing, and overlapping the pieces.
    When dry, you can wipe on wood stain for a dark color or leave the brown paper natural, which is what we did. Then you apply as many coats of polyurethane (we used a water-based floor poly- $27 a gallon- did about 7 coats) as you can.

    We did it over an OSB subfloor- the biggest mistake I made was not making sure it was perfectly leveled out- the cracks between the sheets of OSB and some nail heads show up because I was in a big hurry and didn’t bother to do the prep correctly.

    • Another take on the paper bag floor is also using magazine picture pages.. like in a kitchen you can use images of food or recipes etc to add some color and “spice” to your floors place as accents in the floor along with paper or cover the entire floor with them !! use your imagination !!!

  6. I knew there must be a way to paint the floors. I am one of those low income folks that just doesn’t have the money to lay lino right now. I asked years ago about being able to do this and got this answer, “no, you have to clean it and put down lino or tile or back to carpet. You can’t paint that kind of “wood”. I was frustrated. This was told to me by a man in the paint section of a hardware store!!!!
    Thank you for sharing. My budget thanks you as well.
    Have a great Sunday.


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