A wooden floor
January 24, 2024

How to Replace Flooring in Mobile Homes

As a mobile home dealership with extensive experience in the industry, we understand the unique challenges and requirements of mobile home flooring. Unlike traditional homes, mobile homes demand specific attention to detail in flooring due to their distinctive construction and usage patterns. Flooring in mobile homes also plays a pivotal role in insulation and moisture resistance. 

Our expertise in this field allows us to guide homeowners through selecting, maintaining, and, when necessary, replacing their flooring.

Preparing for Flooring Replacement

Before starting a flooring replacement project in your mobile home, you’ll need to gather the right tools and materials. Your toolkit should include a circular saw for cutting out old subflooring, a pry bar for removing floor coverings, a hammer, a utility knife, and a measuring tape. You’ll also need materials like new subfloor panels (plywood or OSB), screws, and possibly joist reinforcement materials. For the new floor covering, have your chosen materials (like vinyl, laminate, or carpet) and necessary adhesives or fasteners on hand.

Wear protective gear such as gloves, safety glasses, and a dust mask to protect against splinters, dust, and debris. Ensure the work area is well-ventilated, especially if using adhesives or sealants. Before starting, turn off the power and water supply to the area if necessary, especially when working near plumbing or electrical lines. Clear the area of furniture and appliances, and plan for debris disposal. Preparing thoroughly will make the job easier and ensure a safer environment for your flooring replacement project.

Step-by-Step Guide to Replacing Flooring in a Mobile Home

Replacing the flooring in a mobile home requires careful planning and execution. Here’s a detailed guide to help you through each step of the process:

1. Removal of Old Flooring

  • Start by Removing Furniture and Appliances: Clear the area to create a workspace without obstructions.
  • Remove the Existing Floor Covering: Depending on the type of flooring, this could involve pulling up carpet, prying up vinyl or laminate, or removing tiles. Use a pry bar and utility knife as needed.
  • Dispose of Old Materials Properly: Be mindful of local disposal regulations for old carpets or tiles.

2. Inspecting and Repairing the Subfloor

  • Inspect the Exposed Subfloor: Look for signs of damage such as rot, mold, or warping. Pay special attention to areas prone to moisture.
  • Measure Moisture Levels: If possible, use a moisture meter to check for dampness in the subfloor.
  • Repair Damaged Areas: This may involve cutting out and removing damaged sections of the subfloor. Use a circular saw set to the thickness of the subfloor to avoid cutting into joists.
  • Reinforce Joists if Necessary: If you find weakened joists, reinforce them with new lumber, ensuring they are securely fastened and level.

3. Installing New Subflooring

  • Choose the Right Material: Typically, ¾ inch plywood or OSB is used for subflooring in mobile homes.
  • Cut the Subfloor Material to Size: Measure and cut the plywood or OSB to fit the floor area.
  • Install the Subfloor Panels: Lay the panels on the joists, ensuring they are flush and level. Screw the panels into place, spacing screws every 6-8 inches along the joists.

4. Laying the New Floor Covering

  • Select Suitable Flooring Material: Consider factors like durability, moisture resistance, and ease of installation. Options include vinyl, laminate, carpet, or tile.
  • Prepare the Surface: Ensure the subfloor is clean, dry, and level.
  • Install the Flooring: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation. This may involve gluing, nailing, or snapping pieces together.
  • Trim and Finish: Install baseboards or trim as needed to cover expansion gaps and provide a finished look.

Tips for Ensuring Quality and Durability

  • Use Quality Materials: Opt for high-grade plywood or moisture-resistant OSB for the subfloor.
  • Ensure Proper Ventilation: Good airflow helps prevent moisture buildup, a common cause of subfloor damage.
  • Seal Seams and Edges: Use a sealant to protect against water damage, especially in moisture-prone areas.
  • Level and Secure: A level subfloor is critical for the longevity and appearance of the top flooring. Ensure all panels are securely fastened and leveled.
  • Follow Manufacturer Guidelines: When installing the floor covering, adhere to the specific instructions provided by the manufacturer for the best results.

Understanding Mobile Home Flooring

The flooring structure in mobile homes is designed to support a unique set of needs and constraints. Typically, these homes feature a layered flooring system that includes a subfloor, often made from materials like plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), and a top layer of flooring, which could be carpet, vinyl, laminate, or occasionally hardwood. This structure differs from traditional homes, where flooring options and installation methods can be more varied due to the different foundational and structural supports.

One of the most common issues faced with older mobile home flooring is moisture damage, leading to problems like warping, rot, and the formation of soft spots. This is because particle board was commonly used as a subfloor material. Particle board, while economical, is highly susceptible to moisture damage. Luckily, newer mobile homes, like the TRU Homes Glory, have shifted towards using more moisture-resistant materials like higher-grade plywood or OSB. 

Another key difference in mobile home flooring is the need for lightweight materials to maintain the overall mobility of the home. This requirement often dictates the choice of materials and installation methods, balancing weight, durability, and cost-effectiveness.

Signs That Your Mobile Home Flooring Needs Replacement

Recognizing when to replace the flooring in your mobile home is key to maintaining its integrity. Common signs of wear and damage include noticeable soft spots or sponginess in the flooring, often indicating underlying moisture damage or rot in the subfloor. Another red flag is the visible warping or buckling of the floor, especially in areas prone to moisture, like bathrooms and kitchens. Additionally, if you hear creaking sounds when walking across the floor, it could suggest a weakening of the subfloor material. Unexplained musty odors can also indicate hidden mold growth due to dampness beneath the flooring. 

Timely intervention upon noticing these signs is crucial. Delaying repairs can lead to more extensive damage, potentially affecting the structural integrity of your mobile home and leading to more costly repairs in the future.

Choosing the Right Materials for Your Mobile Home

Selecting the appropriate flooring materials is crucial for the durability and functionality of your mobile home. Here’s a guide to help you make an informed decision:

Plywood

  • Pros: Plywood is known for its strength and stiffness, making it a reliable choice for subflooring. It holds nails and screws well and is less susceptible to water damage compared to particle boards.
  • Cons: Plywood can be more expensive than other options like OSB. It’s also heavier, which might be a consideration for mobile homes.

Oriented Strand Board (OSB)

  • Pros: OSB is generally more cost-effective than plywood and has become a popular choice for subflooring in mobile homes. It offers good load-bearing properties and is suitable for various flooring types.
  • Cons: OSB can swell and weaken if exposed to moisture over time, so it’s crucial to ensure it’s well-protected in damp areas.

Vinyl Flooring

  • Pros: Vinyl is a versatile and affordable option for the top layer of flooring. It’s water-resistant, easy to clean, and available in various designs.
  • Cons: Lower-quality vinyl can be prone to tearing and might emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Laminate Flooring

  • Pros: Laminate offers the look of hardwood at a lower cost. It’s durable and resistant to scratches, making it ideal for high-traffic areas.
  • Cons: Laminate is not waterproof and can warp if exposed to moisture, making it less suitable for bathrooms or kitchens.

Carpet

  • Pros: The carpet provides warmth and comfort underfoot and is available in various textures and colors.
  • Cons: It requires regular cleaning and isn’t ideal for areas prone to moisture or spills.

Importance of Moisture-Resistant Materials

Choosing moisture-resistant materials is essential in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms. Materials like vinyl or waterproof laminate are preferable for the top layer, while moisture-resistant plywood or treated OSB is recommended for subflooring. This consideration helps prevent water damage, mold growth, and structural issues.

DIY vs. Professional Installation

Deciding between DIY and professional installation for your mobile home flooring hinges on several factors.

DIY Benefits: Undertaking the project yourself can be cost-effective and offer a sense of accomplishment. It allows for greater control over materials, design, and timing.

DIY Risks: DIY efforts can lead to mistakes without the necessary skills and tools, potentially causing more expense and damage. Complex tasks like subfloor repair or leveling might be beyond the scope of a typical DIY project.

Professional Installation: Hiring a professional ensures expertise and efficiency. Professionals can foresee and mitigate potential issues, ensuring a high-quality finish. They also often provide warranties for their work.

When to Hire a Professional: Consider professional installation if the project is complex, if you are unsure about your DIY skills, or if the flooring material requires specialized installation techniques.

Cost Considerations and Budgeting

The cost of flooring replacement in a mobile home varies based on factors like the size of the area, material choice, and whether you opt for DIY or professional installation.

Estimating Costs: For DIY, costs primarily involve materials and tool rentals. Professional installation, however, will include labor costs. On average, DIY projects might cost between $1 to $5 per square foot, while professional installation can range from $3 to $10 per square foot, depending on the flooring type.

Budgeting Tips:

  • Compare Material Prices: Research and compare prices for different flooring materials to find the best deal.
  • Get Multiple Quotes: If opting for professional installation, get quotes from several contractors to ensure competitive pricing.
  • Consider Long-Term Value: Investing in higher-quality materials can be more cost-effective in the long run due to better durability.
  • Plan for Extras: Allocate a portion of your budget for unexpected costs, such as additional subfloor repairs.
  • Do What You Can Yourself: Even if hiring professionals, you can save money by doing some work, like removal of old flooring, yourself.

Effective budgeting and a clear understanding of the costs will help ensure a successful flooring replacement project in your mobile home.

Maintenance Tips for New Flooring

Regular maintenance is key to ensuring the longevity of your new mobile home flooring. Here are some best practices:

  • Regular Cleaning: Keep the floor clean from dirt and spills. Use cleaning products suitable for your specific flooring type to avoid damage.
  • Prevent Moisture Damage: Use mats or rugs in moisture-prone areas and quickly address any spills or leaks.
  • Avoid Heavy Loads: Distribute weight evenly and use furniture pads to prevent indentations and scratches, especially on softer flooring types like vinyl or laminate.
  • Routine Checks: Regularly inspect for signs of wear or damage, particularly in high-traffic areas.
  • Sunlight Protection: Use curtains or blinds to protect flooring from prolonged sun exposure, which can cause fading or discoloration.

Final Thoughts on Mobile Home Flooring Replacement

Proper flooring replacement in a mobile home is more than a cosmetic upgrade; it’s an investment in your home’s safety, comfort, and longevity. Whether you choose the DIY route or opt for professional installation, the key is to act promptly and wisely. Remember, the right materials, coupled with correct installation and maintenance, can significantly enhance the quality of your living space. 

We encourage you to assess your mobile home’s flooring needs and take the necessary steps toward improvement. With the right approach, your mobile home’s new flooring can provide beauty and durability for years.

If you’re tired of your old mobile home’s problematic flooring, you can pay us a visit at our San Antonio or Odessa mobile home dealerships. Alternatively, you can buy a new double wide or single wide mobile home from the comfort of your couch on our website.