How to Replace Mobile Home Floor

by Oct 13, 2022


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For the longest time, mobile homes have always had one common challenge in terms of maintenance and structure, and it has a lot to do with flooring.

After a certain period of time, the floors can get soggy and start to bow, warp, have soft spots, or even worse, it can start to grow bacteria and rot.

Once you start to notice a difference in how your floors hold up, it is best to take the necessary steps in replacing your sub floor before it gets worse. After all, repairing damages early on can greatly help in lowering the cost of owning a mobile home.

Below, we have put together a handy guide on how you can go about it.

Can you put new flooring in a mobile home?

Yes, you can definitely put in new flooring in a mobile home. In fact, it is advised to do so once you notice that your current flooring is not holding up or has lost some support compared to before, which usually still takes a couple of decades if your mobile home is brand new.

Can I put a new subfloor over the old subfloor in a mobile home?

Generally speaking, you can add a new subfloor right over the old subfloor in your mobile home. However, there are a few things to assess before deciding if this is the right choice for you.

First, ensure that your current subfloor is still stable, fixed in place, and is of satisfactory condition. If not, then you may need to cut between (parallel to the joists) and replace those areas first, or replace it completely if you find that cutting it up weakens the foundation.

Secondly, you should know that updating your subfloors by layering entails you putting the new layer perpendicular to the old one – meaning, not in the exact same direction.

If this does not sit right with you, you need to first add a layer of plywood before putting down the new sub flooring.

What is the best subfloor for a mobile home?

Typically, all flooring systems have 4 main layers in order to provide enough stability. The four layers are:

Joist

This is located at the very bottom and is meant to support the entire weight of the floor. Joists are most commonly made up of redwood, hemlock, yellow pain, engineered timber, and other strong wood.

Subfloor

This acts as the foundation right beneath the flooring and makes the entire floor structurally sound. The most common materials for this are particle boards or wood planks, plywood, OSB, or concrete. We discuss more on this below.

Underlayment

This is a smooth flat surface placed above the subfloor and is typically made of plywood or cement board.

Finishing

This is the decorative layer and goes at the very top. Most common materials are hardwood, laminated wood, or tiles.

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The best subfloor material for your mobile home

Since your flooring system is made up of multiple layers, you need to ensure that the materials you are using work well together. Starting at your finishing layer, first determine what you want to put at the very top in order to decide what support is best for it.

For a tiled finishing, we recommend either a concrete subfloor or a plywood subfloor with cement board as its underlayment. This is because tiles require a hard surface in order to avoid cracks.

For a hardwood finishing, we recommend plywood or OSB sub flooring since these are most compatible.

For laminated finishing, we recommend plywood or OSB sub flooring paired with a thin plywood underlayment. This is to minimize risk of dents and ridges on the finishing.

How often should the subfloor be replaced?

When properly maintained and protected from moisture, most subfloor materials can last as long as the mobile home itself.

However, if it is consistently dampened, the average lifespan goes down to about 20 to 30 years, or sooner depending on the level of moisture that has seeped in over the years.

What causes soft spots in mobile home floors?

Soft spots are often caused by the build up of moisture. There are many sources of moisture in a mobile home, including a leaking pipe, leaky roof, indoor plants, windows or doors that aren’t properly sealed off, or even areas wherein water usually passes through such as the bathroom, laundry area, and kitchen.

Is replacing flooring in a mobile home a DIY project?

While you can most certainly outsource the job to professionals, replacing the flooring of your mobile home shouldn’t be too challenging of a DIY project. Especially if you have a knack for these things and know your way around the power tools, it is definitely achievable on your own.

For one, there are no special tools or materials needed to get the job done.

So long as you can properly work the basics of carpentry, are motivated enough to finish a tedious job, and have somewhat of a passion for woodwork, this is a great task to take up!

What do I need to replace a mobile home floor?

If you are going about it as a DIY project, which a lot of mobile homeowners do, you first need to get the right tools and materials.

Basic tools you will need:

  • Blade
  • Circular saw
  • Hammer
  • Knife
  • Level
  • Pry bar
  • Scraper
  • Face mask
  • Gloves

Materials you will need:

  • Lumber (either 2×4 or 2×6)
  • Galvanized screws
  • Liquid nail adhesive
  • Marine-Grade Plywood (either 3/4” or 5/8”)

How do you replace the subfloor in a manufactured home?

We briefly covered how you can replace an old subfloor above. Now, it’s time to get into the details and discuss your step-by-step guide to replacing it correctly and safely on your own.

Determine the area to be repaired

Before fixing anything up, you first have to be sure which areas are in need of replacement. Like the old saying goes – don’t try to fix what isn’t broken!

As a start, you want to establish where all the soft spots are and which areas of the flooring are either slowly caving in or already unleveled. You also want to check for any holes and cracks along the way.

These are the areas you need to remove, and based on whether or not it consumes a huge surface area, you may have to either replace the whole subfloor and reestablish a foundation or cut the current subfloor into sections and fix it in patches.

If you decide to replace the entire subfloor because of too many soft spots, the finished flooring will definitely be much more leveled out and structurally sound.

However, this is not always necessary. In cases wherein your soft spots are focused within the laundry room alone, for instance, you can simply replace the damaged area and keep the rest as is.

Cut the Sub-Flooring Between the Joists and Remove The Damaged Parts

Now that you have determined that area of the sub flooring that needs replacement, start cutting them off around the edges. If the surface area is too wide, cut them down into more manageable pieces to lift them out.

Before doing so, you must guarantee that there are no pipes or wires between the joists that you may accidentally cut through. If all is clear, simply saw between the joists and remove the pieces.

Bonus tip: If the area needing replacement reaches the walls, you can also opt to cut out an inch under the wall to be able to slide in the new subfloor layer.

This is only advisable if the wall itself will not get damaged, of course.

Inspect and repair joists

Now that you have the old, damaged subfloor out of the way, it is time to inspect the lower layer for any damage.

The joists underneath the old subfloor can also get damaged with moisture, mold, and wear. If you do notice any signs of these, you can reinforce them by adding an additional 2×6 or 2×4 to the original set up, or by removing the damaged area and replacing it completely.

If the damage is only minimal, reinforcing instead of replacing may be the more practical choice.

Attach Floor Joist Supports For Subfloor Replacement

Even if there is no damage with the original joist, you will still need to prep the area for the new sub flooring. Before adding in the new subfloor material, you will first need to modify the joist support underneath.

This is to ensure that all edges of the new subfloor layer are efficiently supported and can be attached with screws.

You can do this by building a box of sister supports inside the floor joists. It is crucial that the support will also go underneath the edges of the existing subfloor (if any), in order to screw them into the new foundation.

Additionally, you will need to add cross supports between the floor joists if you have an existing subfloor left to keep them in place.

Add A Layer Of Insulation

Adding insulation in between can greatly help in reducing your electricity bill and overall energy consumption. If the area has any wiring or piping, ensure that they are placed about the insulation.

Replace missing floor section with new material

Once all of the reinforced supports for the floor joists are set, you may now lay down the new subfloor.

When deciding what material to use for your new subfloor, ensure that it is compatible with the finishing you will install at the top, and that it is of the same thickness as the original subfloor.

This way, you can guarantee a fully supported flooring system that is perfectly leveled all throughout.

In this step, it is absolutely crucial to get the exact measurements for the replacement areas and try to get everything to fit as snug as possible. Here’s a way to get it right:

Step 1 – First, screw in the existing subfloor to the new supports.

Step 2 – Measure out the size to cut the new subfloor layer.

Step 3 – Lay on the new subfloor layer in place.

Step 4 – Secure the new subfloor layer with screws along the edges and joist.

Level Out The New Subfloor

Once installed, level out the floor and double check if any of the areas have humps or dips in them.

Another fix for any unleveled areas is adding an underlayment on top. This will smoother and flatten out the surfaces before you install your floor coverings.

Install The New Floor Covering

You can choose between vinyl, tiles, hardwood, or any other floor covering you want to spruce up your mobile home.

You’re All Set

That’s all there is to it! Once you have determined the areas need fixing and have your materials all set, you’re good to go for your next DIY project. By reinforcing your floors and your home’s foundation, you are directly increasing the value of your property. Best of luck!



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