4 Popular Questions about Mobile Home Subfloors

This week in our Ask a Mobile Home Expert series, we are covering questions about mobile home subfloors. Subfloors are an important subject in the mobile home world. Most every home with particle board subflooring will need to have their subfloors replaced eventually.

Particle board is made of dust and small chips of wood that are glued and pressed together. It is a strong material but it soaks water up like a sponge. If you live in a manufactured home with a particle board subfloor you will likely need to replace it eventually. 

Before we continue, you may want to check out our step-by-step guide to replace flooring in a mobile home here.

Replacing old subflooring in a mobile home kitchen1 

Lowering a Raised Platform Kitchen Floor

I have a question, we have a 1967 Magnolia single wide, mobile home, 12’x 63′, with a front step up the kitchen. I would like to strip out the kitchen and lower the floor so it would be the same level as the rest of the house for our retirement years. Is a raised kitchen framed up on an existing sub floor so it could be removed?? I would really appreciate your help in this matter. We need new cupboards, appliances etc so would be a complete renovation.

Our 1978 Hommette single wide has the exact same step-up kitchen! I love it right now but I know it will be an issue as we age.

In our home, the platform kitchen is framed up (there’s a frame on top of the original floor joists). To lower our kitchen, we would need to remove the floor covering, the sub flooring, and then remove the additional framing for the platform. Once it is all removed, we can lay new subfloor down (assuming the bottom joists are healthy). Your home is probably the same way.

Without a doubt, this would be a large undertaking. However, if you are gutting the entire kitchen (cabinets and appliances) you could do it but it would be an untertaking. 


Questions about mobile home subfloors - floor tile finished for stove installation


Installing Tile in a Manufactured Home 

We just purchased a 1999 24×48 double wide home and we plan to remodel the whole thing one room at a time. My question is that I want to put the “wood” look tile in the laundry, kitchen, and living room. What is your opinion on installing tile in a mobile home? The home will never be moved nor has it been moved since the original owner had it set on the acreage.

Tile is a great choice for many situations but there are a few things that should be considered.

First, it is not recommended to install tile across the marriage line of a double wide. Tile is a more permanent choice and can be a real burden if you have to remove it for any reason. Settling issues are another factor. Manufactured homes can settle over time which is why it is recommended to do a re-leveling check every 2-3 years. One side of the home can settle differently than the other and cause cracking.

Secondly, tile is a great addition to bathrooms but when installing tile in bathrooms or laundry areas it must be installed correctly with proper pans and liners. You want to protect the subfloor and studs from water at all costs.

The material of your sub-flooring will play a big factor when deciding to install tile. The cheaper particle board sub-floor that is so notorious in manufactured housing is not a good foundation for tile. The material acts like a sponge and soaks up water quickly which will bow and warp the wood. Tile doesn’t do well on wet and warped wood. if you are laying tile you need to consider upgrading the subfloor to plywood that doesn’t soak up water so quickly. Marine grade plywood is a smart choice for kitchens and baths regardless if you are planning to tile. 

Questions about mobile home subfloors - mod manufactured home - subflooring installedl



Best Sub Flooring Material

I have water damage to my floors. I am in a 1995 single wide mobile home. The insulation is what came with it. I’ve read that I should keep the insulation below the wiring and pipes. Is this true? Or does heat get under the flooring from the heat duct? I’m tired of being cold!! What is the best subflooring to use?? Also, if the water has damaged the walls — how should I go about repairing them?

Energy.gov states that as much as 25% of a home’s heat will be lost through the vents and floor. That’s a lot! It is recommended that you have your heat ducts and vents checked annually. You’ll want cracks and holes sealed with duct tape and that insulation be used under and around the ducts. This helps the heat that escapes from the heating vents to remain in the home.

One of our readers installed insulating foam board under their mobile home and was kind enough to give us a full step by step guide. You can read it here.

The most recommended subfloor material is 5/8″ plywood. If you can afford water resistant marine plywood for your kitchen, laundry, and bath that would be a good idea.

 Related: How to Replace Flooring in a Mobile Home 


Questions about mobile home subfloors - laying new subfloors down in a mobile home

Step-by-step images provided Phillips Place Renovation, a blog that shares a couple’s gorgeous mobile home remodel. We featured the home here

Questions about Mobile Home SubFloors

What polyurethane coating would you recommend when painting a sub floor? 

Painting your subfloor is a good idea because it can help seal the cheaper material and protect it from water. There are a few things to keep in mind when painting your subfloor. First, you shouldn’t use water-based primers or paints. The standard particle board subfloor that is so common in mobile homes soaks up moisture.

Homeimprovement.com has a great list of all the best primers and paints for painting your mobile home’s subfloor. Suggestions include:

  • Sherwin-Williams ArmorSeal Enamel
  • Valspar Porch and Floor Enamel
  • Dutch Boy Latex Porch and Floor

Summary: Questions about Mobile Home Subfloors

A big thank you to all our readers that have asked questions about mobile home subfloors. If you have any questions please feel free to comment below and we will do our best to find your answer!

We hope you have enjoyed these questions about mobile home subfloors and our Ask a Mobile Home Expert series. As always, thanks so much 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.

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