Mobile Home Floors

Manufactured home floors

I get lots of questions about floors. People ask about:

-Sub floors – What its worth paying for.

-Belly – The underside of a mobile home is much more important than on a site built home.

-Replacement – LOTS of mobile home floors need to be replaced.

-Insulation – With the increases in the cost of heating insulation has become more important.

-Carpet – Carpet comes loose, wears out, tears, gets dirty, looks ugly and kids and/or pets do unmentionable things to it.

-Vinyl – It looks nice if done right. Unfortunately, it requires so much floor preparation and labor I no longer recommend it. In my opinion you will do much better with wood laminate flooring.

-Soft spots – Water is the curse of mobile home floors and soft spots are the early warning sign of trouble.

-Squeaks – Can I say annoying?

-Wood laminate floors have become really popular in the last few years. They work wonderfully in manufactured homes.

{ 57 comments… read them below }
Chris
We have found some significantly cheaper hardwood flooring we would like to put into our double wide. Would the weight be an issue? We would also like to put in ceramic tile in the bathrooms? Would there be an issue with doing so? We will be drywalling with 1/4 inch. any thoughts?
Paul
I think hardwood flooring looks great in mobile homes. I don’t see weight as being a problem. Ceramic tile is nice in bathrooms. I would not install it over particle board. 1/4″ drywall seems to be the standard.

Anna
I am trying to replace water damaged subfloor under the kitchen cabinets in my mobile home. How do you detach the sink from the cabinet? And how do you remove the cabinets to get them out of the way? The floor has been slowly sinking since I moved in and now one of the cabinets has fallen forward away from the counter. The counter goes all across the width of the kitchen and the left side, where the caulking is, has detached and fallen about 2 and 1/2 inches. I think the damage was caused by a leak from the dishwasher. I don’t use the dishwasher because of it. Thank you for your help.
Anna
I just looked and the cabinets have only fallen about 1 and 1/2 inches

Paul
I’m having trouble picturing your situation in my mind. Cabinets are usually held in place with a few screws through the back supports and into the wall studs. In most cases I wouldn’t think you would have to remove the sink. You might have to disconnect the water supply lines and the drain line.
Anna
On the back wall, where the counters are attached to the wall, the cabinets have pulled loose and the cabinets under the counter are falling down. The cabinets go all across the width of the house and the counter is one piece. It’s actually an “L” shape. I have already capped off the water line that goes to my ice maker. And I’m about to disconnect the dishwasher lines and cap them. I’m just not sure how to get the cabinets out so I can replace the floor without damaging the counters. It looks like the cabinets may not be attached to anything. But the counters are attached to the wall and I guess I have to remove the counters to get the cabinets out. Not sure how to do it. And, yes, I really don’t know what I’m doing. I just really can’t afford to hire someone to do it for me and I decided to try to do it myself since the other day when I found a possum in my house that had come in through a hole in the floor

Dean
Several years ago I put laminate (with a rubber-like silencer) in my double-wide’s kitchen after replacing what was rotten with PT plywood and running 1/4″ backerboard over that and the remaining partical board, have had no problems. 6 months ago or so my daughter wanted her carpet replaced in her room with laminate, so we ran it right over her partical board subfloor (with a styrofoam-like silencer). Now the partical board is sagging bad between the floor joists. I cut a hole in the vapor barrier and insulation underneath, the partical board looks fine but feels a little soft. (the other rooms in the house are still fine, where there’s carpet) Do you think the styrofoam stuff is acting like a vapor barrier, should I have used the rubber type stuff instead? Should I have run backerboard over the PB? At this point I’m probably going to have to pull it all up and redo the floor, but I don’t want this to ever happen again.
Paul
This is the first I have heard about problems with a laminate floor, so all I can offer is guesses.
As far as I know, the only thing that causes the damage you describe to particle board is water. It makes me wonder if you have a small leak near her room. I can imagine, but have no facts to prove it, that moisture would evaporate more quickly though a carpeted floor than one covered with laminate.
If any readers have run into this problem, I would love to hear from them.
Christine
I have a Double Wide also and have had this issue with our floors that only have laminate flooring. We noticed this happening after our Central AC Unit broke down and we put Window units in. So our Kitchen was the first place we noticed it. Our only conclusion is that it was so humid, we live in Texas! and the Window Units are actually keeping our rooms really cold and since it is just Particle Board it soaked up all the moisture and buckled, now we have hills all over our kitchen and and one hill even in my closet.
Waiting on a couple companies to come out and give us estimates.
We also had issues a couple years back from leaks we had under the house that went UN-noticed and so it rotted out parts of the floor, we replaced the particle board where needed to and those places are the only areas we do not have the hills.
Hope this gives you a little insight or some explanation.

Dean
I’ve had the same thought about leaks. There’s no plumbing in that area. If water was coming down inside a wall I’d think I’d be able to detect some drywall damage, and/or the flooring itself would be damaged. I did notice that when I reached up through the insulation the area between the insulation and the subfloor was cold (the a/c is on, we live in FL) suggesting condensation??
Paul
The whole belly area between the I-beams is one large open space. So there is really nothing to keep moisture from a leak at one end of the house to spread everywhere. So, if laminate reduces the rate of water movement through the floor as compared to carpet, & you are running A/C in a high humidity environment, &/or you have a leak in some part of the home, there may be enough moisture build up in the subfloor under the laminate to cause damage?
It would take some serious testing to change that from “if” to “yes”!
Thinking about that a little more, you did say that you did your kitchen some time ago and have had no problems. The difference being that you used backerboard in the kitchen. Would you notice if there were developing issues in the subfloor under the backerboard? If you were to stick something like an ice-pick into the subfloor from the bottom would you feel any difference between the kitchen, bedroom and under a carpeted area?
Dean
Thought I’d let you know how it turned out. I pulled up the laminate after numbering the pieces with a dry erase marker. The particle board subfloor had no water staining, swelling, or soft spots at all, either side, but was horribly warped (as in 3 inch dips between joists!). I cut as close to the walls as I could leaving a little room to scab the old to the new, and replaced the subfloor with plywood. Numbering the laminate pieces turned out to be my best idea of the day, made reinstalling much easier. This was a few months ago, so far so good, I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Carrie
I have a VERY water damaged kitchen floor. In the summer it is the worst and slattens out alot in winter. I need to replace it because it looks like a bunch of “mini hills” in my kitchen. It goes all the way across the kitchen to the cabinets and my cabinets and EVERYTHIING along that wall is sinking in the back. My counters are not level and I dont know what is really going on. Somehow I am getting a leak in through my window because that is the window i put my A/C in in the summer. I have vinyl flooring but have no idea what is under it. It is an OLDER model mobile home. 1984 to be exact. What should i do to start? Thanks in advance. Im a single woman on disability and cannot afford a contractor and MUSt do it myself CHEAPLY. Thank you again.
Paul
The only thing that matters at first is to find and fix the water leak(s). Until you are certain that is done there is no point in attempting any repairs.
If you counters are sinking you are going to have to replace at least some of the subfloor. It will be hard/impossible for you to handle 4′ x 8′ sheets of plywood and they aren’t cheap. You might be able to have the lumber yard cut them in half without loosing to much strength. It sounds like lifting up the cabinets and sliding plywood under them would be the most important step. The rest of the floor could be done as you have energy/money.

Fairley
I am getting ready to cut the carpet out of my double wide to install laminate floor (1100 sq). How close to the wall do I have to get. Do I need to get a little under the wall or right up to the wall? Home Depot is doing the installation, I am doing the prep…
Paul
Right up to the wall s hould be good enough. They will leave a little space along the edge for expansion.

hmmwhat
I am thinking of the laminate floor route. I have a double wide whose carpet has a bump right where the halves meet. The family room and living room are separated by the kitchen, however the carpet does not care. Will putting laminate down be possible since it will transect the bump line? I can feel a slight difference of height between the halves.
Paul
I really like laminate flooring in mobile homes. I believe most laminates have a pad under them (or part of them) that should smooth out the bump.

Alice Owens
We are planning to move a single wide mobile home. We installed hard wood flooring in the living room and tile in the kitchen and bathrooms a couple years ago. How much damage should we expect from the move?
Paul
I would worry most about the tile. A lot will depend on the driver of the transport truck. They are often in a hurry and getting paid by the mile. It might be worth talking to the driver, even offering a bonus for no issues, so he will take it easy during transport. Anything that torques the home puts your floors at risk. For example, if the home has to go over a curb where the wheels on one side drop first, that will twist the frame and could creack tile/grout If the driver is moving slowly the forces will be much smaller.

Leslie
I have been looking at a double wide they want 23000 for it and the deposit is 3000 which goes toward the 2300 and i would pay 245 for lot rent and 200 toward the payment every month. Not sure what year it was mad though I have to ask them. It’s a 3 bedroom 2 bath. And the last owner just up and left it bc there was water commin down the kitchen wall from the ceiling. The landlord and a few guys are working on it they have replaced the floors and and they are putting new cArpet and panting the walls and they replaced the roof. But can water damage that was runnin down the wall cause issues with the electric? That’s my main concern.
Paul
Certainly it could. It would depend on things like how long the problem went on, etc. Did they actually replace the roof or did they patch/seal it? Could there be hidden damage to the sub-floor and/or insulation. If they had to do extensive floor work the water did more than “run down the wall”. Is the seller willing to offer any kind of warranty or guarantee?
I am guessing but in many cases like this the previous “owner” knew there was a problem but could not afford to make the repairs. Folks in that situation often stay as long as they can put up with the problem. Then they quit paying and save their money so they have a deposit for the place they move to after the eviction.
I’m a little concerned about the financing you are looking at. Taking a guess that the interest rate is around 10% my calculator says the loan will take about 17 years to pay off. That seems like a LONG time for a home that was seriously damaged. I’m thinking you might be able to find a better deal

Heather
I’m looking at buying a mobile homes. All the floors need replaced. But under the bedroom the joist is rotted. How would I replace it?
Paul
I would look for a different home. Even doing the work yourself I don’t think you can come out ahead financially. There is also the potential for hidden damage which may increase your costs substantially.

carol
We bought a manufactured home in 2013 and it had baby blue carpet thru out its 2400 square. ft. Needless to say our carpet is no longer baby blue. This home was manufactured in 1982 and we have no idea what kind of floor is underneath. We would love to have laminate flooring but not sure.
Paul
I think laminate floors look good, are easy to clean, and durable.
Paul
Hi Tom,
I’m going to have to ask for reader help with this question. All my work was done in New Mexico where our annual rainfall is about 10″ and few use compressor based air conditioning (Evaporative coolers are the norm).
It occurs to me that the ducts for the heating/cooling system run down the middle of each side of a doublewide. There are sometimes problems with the condensation drains inside the the A/C unit which cause water to drain into the ducts. There would be more condensation during and after rain which would create the pattern you see. What if you removed the covers from some floor ducts and used a mirror and bright light to see if you can see any water there?
Totally a guess on my part. Please let me know what you find when you figure it out.

Jerry
Look at the vinyl planks. They look like wood, are very durable, and are WATER PROOF. If you get laminate wet, you’re in trouble. We’re installing the vinyl planks ourselves and it’s pretty easy.

Carolyn
I have a mobile home and am considering installing the wood laminate in Kitchen, Living Room and down hallway. I have a contractor friend who would do the job for me but I would pay him. My question is whether I should have someone who is familiar with mobile homes do the work or if it is similar to a regular installation and no special insights or experience is needed.
Paul
Your friend should do fine.

Jerry
Look at the vinyl planks. They look like wood, are very durable, and are WATER PROOF. If you get laminate wet, you’re in trouble. We’re installing the vinyl planks ourselves and it’s pretty easy.

Kimberley
We just bought a 1994 manufactured home and completely redoing the inside. What would you use to put under the laminate wood flooring. I have heard foam but does it need to be a water barrier or breathable? What type is best?
Thanks!
Paul
My investor friend who has done a lot of these suggests 30# roofing felt. That’s the black rolled paper you can find in the roofing supplies at Home Depot or Lowes.
Theresa
What a fountain of information you are! Just bought a ’68 mobile home in SW Florida and all floors have been replaced; with the exception of the bedroom. I can’t get the carpet pad up and there is a bare spot 15″ x 15″ wood floor where I ripped out a cabinet. Can I double/triple up on this roofing felt in that area? Or do I have to get this glue-stuck padding up before I do anything? Thanks. Oh, I want to do the laminate.

Irene
I have a double wide. I want to place tile in the bathrooms. Can this be done in a manufactured home, seen rumors that due to the shifts in floors that you should not place tile in them. The tile will go on top of plywood, removing carpet.
Paul
I don’t see why it would be a problem over plywood.
Eric
It would be a good idea to consider installing backerboard over the plywood first. This would minimize but not eliminate the possibility of developing problems, like tiles cracking. The goal is to have as stable as a foundation as possible. Since you have the presence of moisture in the bathroom more so than any other place in the house, many problems originate in this area. A little more expense now can save a mountain of problems later. Lowes sell a product called Hardibacker board. Its easy to install, and is about $11 for a 3×5 sheet. It has to be cemented to the floor, and screwed down. It takes less skill to install the backer board than to lay the tile.

Melinda
We are getting ready to install laminate in a double wide trailer. Is underlayment necessary? The laminate already has a padding attached, but I am wanting to make sure the floor is insulated and has a soft feel. Will I get that without underlayment in a mobile home?
Paul
I recently talked with a mobile home investor friend about this. They have installed laminate flooring in about 50 mobile homes over the last few years. He finds that mobile home floors are more springy than floors in site built homes. The floors actually felt to bouncy. He has started using 30# roofing felt instead. It costs 1/4 as much and acts as a vapor barrier.
He is really cheap so I know cost is part of what he likes. I think some probably comes down to a personal preference.
Let me know what you decide and how it works out for you.

lisa DOUGLAS
I am remodeling an 1988 double wide. Structurally it is sound. Can I put 12by 12 floor tile down through out the home?
Paul
Yes. The weight is all spread out and evenly distributed.

Chere
I live in a mobile home in Florida and am thinking of having the old carpet taken out and laminated flooring put in probably 300-400 square feet. Do you have any idea what the medium price would be for tearing out the old carpet and then installing a laminated floor (I will be purchasing the wood). Thank you very much
Paul
Prices vary so much by location I really can’t even guess. Removing the old carpet only requires cutting it free along the edges or pulling it loose from carpet strips so it shouldn’t have much impact on cost.
My friends have used it in 8-10 houses now and have no plans to change. I should mention this is in New Mexico where it is VERY dry. I don’t know if your humidity will cause problems.

Lacy
We bought a double wide last year and it had really bad water damage through out the kitchen and laundry room. We’ve replaced most of the floor but where the air conditioning unit is located. We have to somehow lift it up to get the floor replaced underneath. Do you have any suggestions on how to do that? We’re at a stand still on the renovation until that’s fixed.

Charlie
Can I use osb board to keep critters out of insulation
Paul
Yes

Marie Bryant
I have vinyl sheeting to place on plywood in my mobile home. I was told to check under the home for a black moisture barrier before I install the vinyl. I was told if there is no moisture barrier there any moisture coming up from the ground would cause problems and rot the wood flooring under the vinyl. Is this true? I cannot afford to have any type barrier reinstalled. What else can I do?
Thanks,
Paul
Hi Marie,
If the underside (belly) material of your home is intact, it should block moisture. However, I live NM where the temperature today is 70, winds at 21 MPH and humidity is 13%. I have no experience with high humidity environments.
I do know that in some places it is standard practice to put down a sheet of heavy plastic on the ground under mobile homes.
Paul
However,
Marie Bryant
Paul,
I live in north Florida where the humidity is off the chart in the summer. This is a rental property of mine and I want to do the minimum on the floors but still need it to be OK and not rot. If I see there is no moisture barrier can I still chance it on installing the flooring?
Thanks,

Paul
It should not be really expensive to buy a roll of black plastic and have someone spread it out under the home. Then you could be confident you had done everything you could.

Barbara
I live in a mobile home. On Wednesday, the vinyl floor in the bathroom was bulging. The plumber came today and looked at the sink,tub, toilet, air conditing unit ad there was no water damage or leaks on the main floor or under the home. Do you have any idea what could of caused the bulging floor? Thank you
Also the bulge is very hard.
Paul
My first thought was that the plumber didn’t look hard enough.
I am having a hard time thinking of what could cause a hard bulge. If any of the people who read this have an idea, let me know.
Paul

Tracy Ihle
We have a double wide mobile home and in the last couple weeks ..that I’ve noticed ..there is a spot that is raising up. It’s hard and not a soft spot. About a 10″ x 10″ area. It’s right in front of a window but there are no signs of leaking around window. I’ve looked under house and I see no wet spots. There is a cenemt block support there. I haven’t torn open anyplace to check further up as I see no moisture there. We’ve also checked the water meter to see if it’s running and it’s not …hubby is water meter reader for city and says it’s not moving at all. Do you have any idea what this could be? Settling? We have had a lot of rain this year …it’s in WV …we aren’t in the flooded area we just had a lot of water standing in yard here and there …appreciate any help you can give …thanks
Paul
Hi Tracy,
In my experience floor problems in mobile homes are always caused by water. Water can be really sneaky in how it gets in and where it finally shows up.
Did you look around the window on the outside of the house? Even if you can’t see anything I would run a bead of caulk around the window on the outside of the house and see if that helps.
Thanks for writing,
Paul

Lana
During the past week, we experienced the shaking of an earthquake a few hundred miles away. It was enough to shake, rattle & wake the entire household. This week, every room of carpeting from the back to the front has begun to develop wrinkles. The carpet up front is newly installed this year & the wrinkles are running north to south. My bedroom carpet was installed in 2012 & the wrinkles are running east & west. I find it odd ALL carpeting us developing issues at the same time. Any advice/ insight as to what’s going on?
Paul
Hi Lana,
I started writing the content for Mobile Home Doctor in 1998 and have been getting questions since then. This is the first time I have had an earthquake question
Could there have been enough shaking that some of the supports under the house were damaged? Could some of the wood wedges often used on the top of block piers have slipped out of position? It seems like a couple of failed supports might be able to twist the home enough to cause the problem you see.
If anyone else has a better idea I would love to hear it.
Paul