Renovation A-105 Specific Problems

Pictures will come later
This page has closeup pictures of many of the problems that need to be fixed in this home. All images link to larger pictures. Your browser may require you to click on the large photo a second time to see it full size.
Many of these trim strips are loose and/or faded from the sun. New strips are expensive and it will be hard to get a good pattern/color match. A drywall guy will suggest covering them with drywall compound and painting to match the walls. For someone without drywall skills it will be much easier to buy new trim.
This house is built on a permanent foundation. However, you didn’t think that what looks like the foundation was actually load bearing did you? The weight of the home rests on piers
under the I-beams. What looks like the foundation is just a barrier to keep out vermin, water, dogs, etc. The required venting for this house is provided by the metal strip covering the gap between the “foundation” and the exterior walls of the house. If not repaired this is an invitation to mice, wasps, and other trouble makers.

This is the inside of the front door showing the quality workmanship done when the door was replaced. Not only is it not trimmed out, but the door frame is not flush with the door. The renovator can’t just put in a new door; the sheetrock has to be redone too.

The ceiling texture is created by spraying on an acoustical material. This has gotten wet and is starting to peel off. It is very difficult to match the texture by shooting drywall material. This house has the problem in several areas. The best solution is to scrape it off and shoot the usual texture.

In this picture the ceiling texture has actually come off. There is also a lot of drywall and trim work to be done. Hopefully, the wires from the thermostat are intact.

Particle board is terribly vulnerable to water damage. That is why water leaks are such a menace in mobile homes. In this situation water has run down the wall and soaked an inch or so into the flooring. Since the plan is to carpet this room the problem can be fixed by just scraping it flush with the rest of the floor. It might also be worth driving in a couple of screws to make sure the carpet strip is firmly attached.

The floors in this house are particle board even in the bathrooms. The two quarters show the scale of the gap. You can get by with putting carpet (with a good pad) over this. However, if you are one of the people who likes easily washed floors in the bathroom, you will have to do considerably more prep work. Before putting down vinyl you would want to put down plywood and seal all the seams to make an absolutely flat surface for the vinyl.

That bulge you see in the ceiling is water damage, not camera distortion. You could just paint it with Kilz and hope for the best. The proper repair requires cutting out the damaged
sheetrock, replacing it, taping, bedding, and re-texturing.

This is what you get into when you open up the ceiling to do the repair the “right” way. The labor cost of doing it this way instead of just using Kilz and paint is huge.

New sheetrock in place with hole cut for exhaust fan. What are the chances the insulation above this area is as thick as it was and without voids? Very hard to tell unless you watched while they put this repair in place.

What do you do with a cabinet with all it’s doors ripped off and missing? You could buy a new one, but you can’t match the others, so if you replace one you have to replace everything. Visit the Completed Project section to see how the owner elected to handle it in this house.

Finally something that’s cheap to fix! That plastic flange needs to be tightly against the bottom of the cabinet. There is plenty of room for a mouse that came through that loose vent
strip I showed earlier, and climbed through one of the openings in the belly (coming later on this page) to get into the house here.

Vinyl covered sheetrock. The bane of the renovator and home owner! You can’t get replacement panels because the factories are always changing what they use. If you paint it without using an expensive primer, the paint peels off. If you have looked at the contractor bid page you will see that for this project he plans to rip it all down and replace it with sheetrock which he will tape and texture.

More vinyl covered sheetrock to deal with. The cabinets are also an issue. Do you repair or replace them?

This is the answer you get from a drywall guy. Probably not the right answer for the average homeowner! I think even the drywall guy was having second thoughts by the time he removed the glue and staples from the studs and completed all the prep work needed to hang new sheetrock.

Looks a lot better when the wall studs get covered.

{ 37 comments… read them below }
Wayne
We have an older trailer (14X60) with the living room in the middle. The trailer was moved at least twice before and we moved it once more. The living room windows must have leaked for a long time because the floor under each window is mushy and has dropped at least an inch from the wall. Would you have any suggestions as to the severity of the problem?
Paul
Is the floor still getting wet? Can you tell if the damage is limited to the subfloor or are the joists under the subfloor and/or the wall studs rotted? Water is the kiss of death for mobile homes. I think many new mobile home occupants don’t appreciate how water resistant site built homes are. In a mobile home you have to be constantly on the lookout for water.
Assuming the floor stays dry and there is no ongoing damage it comes down to whether the existing damage causes problems. If the damage is only to the subfloor along the wall, it may be out of sight behind furniture and not a big deal. If you are worried the legs of your couch may penetrate the floor you can always put down a plywood strip, hidden under the couch, to spread out the weight.
Paul
Deb shipp
How do i remove old countertops to be replaced ?
Paul
They aren’t usually held down with much besides gravity. Shut off the water to the faucets (if there are any), and disconnect the water lines. Disconnect any drain lines. Loosen the clips that hold the sink in place and lift it out. You will probably need a hammer and a putty knife or scraper to break loose the caulking between the sink and the counter material.
You may also need to use the scraper to break the backsplash loose from the wall.
Paul
joyce silva
looked underneath my mobile home today i live in peabody ,ma just purchased in march 2011 to me you can see the sagging is that dangerous whats above that is it insulation then my home floor im confused? also my kitchn floor is very cold i wonder are the floors insulated with fiberglass insulation do they do that in mobile homes?
Paul
The belly in the area between the I-beams is supposed to sag. However, there should not be any insulation visible. The area between the belly insulation and the subfloor is called the plenum. All your water and heating/cooling lines & ducts are in there. That way they don’t freeze. On the outside of the I-Beams the insulation is stuffed up between the floor joists like you would see in a site built house. So, your kitchen floor should be insulated.
You didn’t say if it was new or used. If used and there have been water leaks you will see the belly fabric ripped and insulation hanging down. In that case it needs to be sealed up to insulate better and keep cats, mice etc. from getting into the plenum area.
Ronna
My parents just remodeled their mobile home kitchen with new hickory cabinets and laminate flooring. It looks really nice. My brother came along and told them they should not have done that since a mobile home can’t bear the weight of the cabinets. I don’t feel that is an issue since the contractors framed everything in and also put in a new countertop. I want to put my Mother’s fears to rest, now she thinks the cabinets will fall.
Paul
Properly attached I can’t see why there would be a problem.
Karmen Copp
Our 14×70 mobile needs the whole front wall replaced it is rotten; due to it the windows loosing their seal and whomever installed the satellite dish obviously didn’t do anything right. Anyways ive been trying to find pictures of the framing of the trailer and have had no luck. I need a visual and my husband thinks he needs no help, but i do. Its hard to plan on finance, etc. Can you help me with pointers on HOW to do this the right way? What building materials are needed, etc. We will be replacing the bay windows with some other style: 2 smaller ones. HELP please!!!
Paul
This book has a chapter on how to do exactly this repair.
Dana
How difficult is it going to be to replace a new sink that is 2 1/2 inches deeper than the previous one?
Paul
Measure your counter tops from front to back. Measure the new sink inside the lip from front to back. Is their enough counter material left to properly support the sink?
I found I could buy pre-made countertops at Lowes or Home Depot that were made for site built homes and use them in mobile homes. They were a couple of inches deeper than the stock counters, but that created room for a house type replacement sink. I just had to make sure when cutting the hole in the counter the cut was far enough from the front lip to clear the cabinet framework under the counter.
Thelm
Can I just paint the ugly cabinets in the kitchen? And what type of paint should i use?
Paul
Yes. You will want to scrub them clean to get rid of accumulated cooking grease. I would also suggest a primer coat. Any good latex paint should work. The paint dept. at any of the big box stores should be able to point you in the right direction.
John Morris
Thank you for having this site up…..I own a large double wide manufactured home and am contemplating an internal renovation.
I want to take down a wall thet seperates the “office” from the hallway that leads to 2 bedrooms and a bathroom, this will make the dining and living room are 25 % or so larger. My question is this,
At the corner of the office wall there is a post that runs up to the ceiling this is located right on the center split line and aprox 1/3rd the length of the of the home. Could this be a supporting beam for the ceiling/roof?, can I remove it?. Any help would be appreciated.
Thank you,
John
Paul
“Could this be a supporting beam for the ceiling/roof?” Yes
“can I remove it?” No
lisa
can I take down the vinyl walls of a manufactured home and install drywall? I would like to move an existing home, dig and pour and basement and reset it on the foundation. What precautions do I need to be aware of? Lisa
Paul
You can replace the vinyl covered drywall with regular drywall if you want. I would suggest using the 1/4″ panels so you don’t add a lot of weight.
Your basement and foundation plans are what is done to setup a modular home. Details and precautions will depend on where you live, soil characteristics, rainfall, drainage, etc.
I had a dealer tell me that a modular home will cost about 30% more than setting a mobile home on piers. He thought it was worth it because it would then qualify for conventional house financing which was much easier to find.
Charles Thompson
Hi!
I own an older mobile home with 4″ outer walls, and I was thinking about framing a “blanket” around it to help insulate, and lower electric cost, along with more energy efficient windows, and a metal roof. Is it worth all this cost?
Paul
John T. Krigger has written a book about mobile home insulation that covers insulation and weatherization in detail. You can buy a new one on Amazon.com or you can probably find a copy in your local library. You should read it yourself, but my understanding is that it is very hard to make this kind of project pay for itself in a reasonable amount of time. The book will help you decide which fixes have the quickest payback.
You can keep the cost down by doing it yourself if you don’t put much value on your time. The problem is you are still left with an old and inefficient furnace, possibly leaky ducts, etc. If you think of what it would cost as a discount on the price of a newer home you may find it would be cheaper in the long run to buy a newer home instead.
Holly
Looking into buying a newer doublewide. However I hate the vinyl walls and the huge seams!! Can you remove seams and cover wall with something like Venetian plaster? I want to stay away from wallpaper too.
Paul
Yes you can. It will be a lot of work and expense.
Heidi
We are looking at DW mobile homes for sale to buy one, we found some we like, but some say no foundation, is this expensive to remedy? Can a foundation be put under and existing DW? What kind of contractor/professional would we call to do this or is this a job a DIY’er can do?
Thank you for any help or advice you can give us,
Heidi
Paul
It will be very expensive as in thousands of dollars. It can be done and will add value to the property. Check your local Yellow Pages under
manufactured Home Setup. There are so many standards and rules for how it must be done that I would strongly suggest you not DIY, even if you have experience with concrete.
MontyJ
Hi folks,
This site has some interesting reading! I own two mobile homes myself. The first is an early ’70s and is my primary residence. The other is a late ’70-early ’80′s model. Both are so old, I don’t even know the make/model. Anyway, I purchased the “newer” mobile on the property adjacent to mine to use as a temporary home while I demo the older one in preparation to build our new house.
I thought I would share the adventure with you so maybe it can help someone else (I am doing all of the work myself):
After taking possession of the new property and mobile home, we discovered many major problems. We kind of expected it, but can’t complain considering how cheap we bought the property and home for.
The two major problems consits of extensive water damage in the bathroom and kitchen from many leaks over the years, and urine damage from nine cats and two dogs doing their “business” where ever they pleased. Believe me, you can’t imagine the odor!
Since we decided to either let one of our daughters live in it, or rent it out once our house if finished, we chose to completely renovate the home.
We started with a total demo of the interior, all interior walls, paneling, insulation, cabinets, plumbing fixtures, electrical fixtures, you name it. We didn’t even leave the interior wall studs.
We then began systematically removing and replacing the subflooring. The floor in the bathroom was so rotten that the ground under the home could be seen in many places. That rotten area extended into the hall where the washer/dryer were, and into the kitchen under the cabinets. The floor was also rotten under many of the windows and around the back door.
While the living room floor appeared solid, there were so many urine stains, that there was not a square inch of clean wood. That floor was also replaced. All in all, we have used about 14 sheets of 3/4″ T&G OSB. Also, in several places we had to replace the outer rim joists and floor joists along with the bottom plate in some walls.
Both the front and back doors were practically unusable, so both were removed, the openings re-framed and new doors were installed. We are fortunate in that the exterior walls are true 2×4 construction so we were able to use standard house doors. Seven of the original eleven windows have been replaced, with the last four scheduled for replacement soon.
Once the remaining windows are replaced, we will strip the aluminum siding, install 7/16″ OSB sheathing, and vinyl side the home. Currently I am sealing up the aluminum siding as best as I can to make the home water tight because we will not get the new siding on before winter sets in on us.
I will spend the winter re-working the entire electrical system. I do not like the idea of so many outlets on so few breakers, nor do I like the idea of lighting circuits on the the same breaker as outlets. Being a licensed electrician, this is something I am very comfortable with.
That is where we stand so far. My wife has been taking pictures of the entire process. We would be happy to share them if anyone would like.
Paul
Congratulations. It sounds like you are off to a good start. I will email you about getting copies of your pictures so I can add them to the site. Words alone don’t do the job.
I would also enjoy hearing any thoughts you have on the costs of all this. Both the actual cost of materials but also you “labor” cost in terms of the time it took for various projects. I generally recommend against doing this much work on an “old trailor” because when you are done it’s still an old trailer. In this case, where you can do most/all of the work yourself, have a place to live while you are doing it, and have the time/money for materials it makes sense.
Thanks for your comments.
MontyJ
My thoughts on the cost are pretty simple. If I take into account the cost for a complete demolition and haul away of the trailer, then the cost of a newer one that would be in almost “like new” condition (as mine will be when I’m done), plus the cost of transporting it and set-up, costs could easily reach $20-30,ooo. I also failed to mention that the existing home has a very large (two room) built on.
Renovating the one I have will come out somewhat cheaper. I’m rough estimating about $10-15,000 from start to finish. Obviously that’s way more than the home will ever be worth, so it’s an instant loss. However, if it’s re-built right and one of my daughters could live there for a few years, well:
Cost of the trailer and land: $8,000
Cost of renovation $12,000
Having the grandkids living right next door…Priceless!
Another positive side to renovating is the experience my wife is gaining in the construction arena. Since we are building our own house, I am using the renovation to introduce her to various power tools and how to safely use them. I’m teaching her the basic structural components, what their names are and what they do. She certainly won’t know everything before construction on the house begins, but she will be able to measure and cut pieces, use the various air nailers and saws, etc…etc. When I ask for a speed square, she won’t hand me a framing square, that sort of thing.
So, all in all, it’s a good investment for the purpose it will serve.
I received your email and will put together a series of pics and descriptions.
Scott P
Hello,
I have a question about the plastic that is located between the metal frame and the floor joist (that holds in all of your insulation plus plumbing and electrical). I did a major renovation to a newer modular tore the trusses of gutted the place basicly alls we left was 6 foot of the extrerior wall and some of the flooring/plumbing. I had to go underneath the home and cut the plastic to get to the pipes so my Q’s is how do i seal these large holes back up and put the insulation back in them?
Thanks Scott
Paul
Mobile home supply places should have belly repair material. It comes in various sizes. I even saw one that came with a U shaped zipper so when you had to go back and redo your plumbing repair access was easy

tina
I need to patch some holes in my modular home. The walls are vinyl covered drywall panels and I cannot find anywhere how to accomplish this. One site said you can’t replace or fix them so just cover it up, huh? I find it hard to believe there is nothing we can do about it otherwise why would anyone use this stuff to build a home? We are repainting the room and this needs to be done before we can proceed. Any suggestions?
Paul
Vinyl covered drywall is used because it is cheap and looks nice. Problems you might have with changing things when you get tired of the look or there has been damage is not their problem (cynical but true).
That said I think you are mixing two issues. If you want to patch a hole but keep the original look it is hard and you end up cutting a replacement piece out of a closet wall. In your case you mention you are planning to paint anyhow so standard drywall patch techniques should work fine.
john
Hello my name is john. im thinking of buying an investment property. But the mobil has a wall that is bowing outwards and deffinately needs to be torn apart and fixed how much work and how easy is it to do?
Paul
More work than it’s worth even if you got it free is my thought. By the time you can see the wall bowing out it has to involve structural members in floor, wall and ceiling.
Camille
Hi. I have a 1980 something single wide with those horrible acoustic ceilings and I don’t know what to do with it. The thought of pulling it all down and replacing it is just too overwhelming. Is there anything I can get to just put on top of it?
thanks.
Paul
It’s a problem for which I don’t have any great answers. Take a look at decorativeceilingtiles.net and see what you think. Let me know if you give it a try.
lu
HELLO I HAVE A OLDER MOBILE HOME THAT HAS A WINDOW THAT I WANT TO REPLACE WITH A BIGGER WINDOW WHICH MEANS IT REQUIRES A LARGER SPACE CAN THIS BE DONE AND WHAT WINDOW COMPANY WELL DO THIS WORK ON MOBILE HOMES I LIVE IN THRONTON CO
Paul
Larger windows are a nice improvement. I would think the company from whom you buy the window(s) might be able to suggest an experienced installer. You might also try calling the manager at a local mobile home park and see if they have someone they can recommend.

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