Soft Spots in Mobile Home Floors

Mobile Home Floor Problems

Soft spots are less common in newer homes that have plywood or OSB (Oriented Strand Board) subfloors. They are a big problem in homes with particle board floors. They occur when the subfloor gets wet, causing the sub floor material to begin failing. They frequently occur in bathrooms, under flower pots, below windows, and behind washing machines.

The only solution is to find and fix the water leak and then replace the damaged floor. Novices typically do not replace a large enough area and they fail to make sure all the edges of the repair section are supported properly. Many repairs are attempted by cutting out the damaged particle board and fitting in a new piece. This can be difficult and time consuming work because you are having to cut the old floor away half way across the joists without damaging the joist or the existing floor.

The most common place for damage is the bathroom floor and frequently the damage extends under the wall to the bedroom. If the wall is not resting on a joist and you cut the flooring at the bathroom edge of the wall, the wall is no longer supported properly.

I was much happier repairing floors by covering the old floor completely with new plywood. My time and materials costs were no larger and I produced a floor I knew I would never cause problems. It turns out that the height of the new plywood is about equal to the height of carpet. So if I was replacing a vinyl floor in a carpeted home the extra height was not a problem.V
{ 77 comments… read them below}
BURTON
The floors give right around the vents. This is in the kitchen and bathroom. I have had the flooring replaced and new vinyl put in about 2 years ago. The sub flooring was good so didn’t have to replace any. Don’t know if there is a need to get under the trailer and look at the heating vents where it goes into the flooring.
What do you suggest?
Paul
That seems a little unusual. I can’t think of anything you would learn that would make worth tearing up the belly to look from below. Could there be some kind of condensation problem from the AC that would cause this. Where I live, (NM) it is so dry I never had to deal with this. I wonder though if your AC condensation isn’t draining properly and water is getting into the vents.

Manning
Good article and very informative. I have a rental property mobile home that was built in 1978 by Skyline. Its located in upper WA State. Has several soft spots of about 3′x4′ each in the floors. Your tips seem appropriate to my problem.
paul gallion
is 1/2 inch plywood thick enough to place over original floors in a mobile home?
Paul
Maybe? Seriously, it would depend on what kind of shape the old flooring was in and what kind of load might be placed on it. For example, would it hold a piano? I always figured the extra cost of 3/4″ was such a small percentage of a flooring project it was worth it.

BRIAN
I have remodeled mobile homes for years and would much rather deal with them than conventional housing. When I purchased a MH with damaged floors, which is usually the case, I remove the carpet and padding and/or tile, put down black roofing paper over the original floor and then lay plywood or OSB down with screws rather than nails. Screws won’t work up over time like nails because the MH floor will have some degree of movement with use. If you screw the sub floor down correctly you also eliminate squeaking. 90% of the time doors are no problem because they are manufactured with greater bottom clearance than conventional homes. I have in the past torn out damaged particle board but it is much simpler and faster to just overlay the particle board if you have excessive damaged to repair. Normally if I have 20% or more damage to a room I replace the entire floor. Most of the time I replace all flooring front to back if I find multiple soft spots in the home. In the long run it is cheaper if you plan to keep the MH as rental property or entended living for yourself. The beauty of MH’s is that everything is very easy to get to for repair and most repairs are simple and inexpensive depending on your personal tastes for decor.
Crystal
I found that your comment was very helpful and I would like to thank you for that informative piece of information. I currently live in a mobile home, the floors have multiple soft spots and I am wanting to replace the entire floor.

Kathleen
Brian, I live in southern Calif. east county of San Diego, my sq footage is approx 1140. Do you have some idea what it may cost to re-do my plywood flooring so when I get estimates i won’t get ripped off , as I’m in a senior park & some of these folks have been taken advantage of. Thanks for your help
Kathleen

holly
i need to repair the sub floor of my 1997 doublewide i want to just go over the entire floor but can i do that in the kitchen ? what about the toe kick -any advice would be very helpful-i plan on replacing all the floors room by room
Paul
I think the decision to cover the old versus remove and replace depends on the skills and tools available to the person doing the work. To me it looked like a lot of work to cut out the old, clean off old glue/nails, install support along the cut edges, etc. In addition, I didn’t think the 3/4″ height increase from doing it that way was a problem.
If you already own a good power saw and have some carpentry skills removing the old subfloor may be a better choice.
As far as the toe kick, what if you get a piece of 3/4″ plywood and lay it on the floor to see if the added height will be a problem?

Kevin
I have a doublewide and my floor in one room has swollen up, like there is a big hump in the floor. I was going to cover the entire room with new plywood but now that it has the hump a sheet of plywood won’t lay flat. Any suggestions?? I was thinking of cutting that spot out installing a patch then covering the floor. Just not sure what to do. Any help would be great!!
Paul
I hope I can assume you have fixed whatever caused the floor to buckle like that. If you fasten down the new plywood with serious screws every 6-8 inches you can put a huge amount of force onto the the bump and may be able to flatten it that way. You could also carefully use a saw to cut some kerfs into the floor. That would make it easier to flatten the bump. Be careful you don’t cut deeper than you need to.

Kellee
I am looking at buying a 1978 14×70 MH that has some significant soft spots in the kitchen and hallway(I would say 3′x6′ each) that were caused from a improperly installed dishwasher line and a bathroom problem respectively. The dishwasher line has since been fixed but the floor is so soft that I feel like I could fall through it when I walk there (I am an average size girl). The bathrooms both have what looks like new partical board patched around the toilets. Would you still recommend laying new floor over this of OSB or Plywood? Should I lay the same in the bathroom to prevent future problems? And in the kitchen, would you recommend that I lift the cabinets and lay the new floor under them as well?
Paul
How many patches are you looking at in the kitchen area? If it is two or three I seem like cutting out the soft spots and placing new plywood would work. It would save you from having to re-do the whole area and dealing with the cabinets.
In the bathroom I would suggest covering all the old with new plywood. I would not have much trust in a bathroom floor repair done with particle board. I would not use OSB for any of this. The savings in materials cost is to small. It takes just as much work to install cheap materials.

Nancy
I have a older mobile home with soft spots through out. I would like to just go over the entire floors with 1/2 or 3/4 inch plywood, my concern is what about the threshholes to main doors, my doors are metal and can not be cut. is there away to just butt up against door threshholes?
Paul
Probably no way that doesn’t involve a lot of carpentry. What if you cut out the old subfloor in just the area where the door swings? Lots of entries have vinyl or tile there to reduce dirt on the carpets. There would be a bump which might be a tripping hazard I suppose. You could reduce that by beveling the edge to create a sloped transition.
You have fixed the problem(s) that caused all the soft spots, right?

Nancy
It is just week spot around my heating vents. I only have heat coming out of them, I have a a/c window unit. I beleive just weak particle board. Do you think maybe I could butt 1/2″ plywood to threshholes or transitions strips with some kind of floor striping?
Paul
I don’t believe in “weak particleboard” I think it got wet at some point.
As I understand what you are describing, I think cutting out the soft spots and filling them in with plywood would be easier and cheaper. I think you could buy or rent a circular saw that has an adjustable blade which can be set to whatever depth you want. You can use that to cut out a piece of the old floor without risk of damage to joists or anything else. Cutting a piece of plywood to fill the hole, making sure the edges are supported by joists seems much easier than dealing with the door issues.

cathy
we are looking at doing some repairs to our mobile home. we have a very soft spot about to cave just in front of the toilet. we also have caved in floor at on of the doors. how would we go about fixing this?? would plywood do the job???
Paul
First of all, make sure any water leaks have been fixed. Second, whether you put new plywood over the old, or replace the old with new plywood fix as large an area as possible. I frequently see repairs where people splice in whatever little pieces of wood they happen to have around. The result is the boards are not properly supported and soon fail.

erik
The subfloor in my MH kitchen is buckling in several spots. The floor has no water damage that I can tell after tearing up the vinyl. I’m not sure what’s causing it anyone else have this problem?

Randy
I have a general question. I have a mobile home that I have decided to replace the floor in sever sections. Do you recommend treated or untreated plywood for the floor. the trailer is about 3′ above the ground and I have heard treated boards shrink and warp.
Paul
By treated do you mean treated to prevent rot? I always used exterior grade plywood so it would not delaminate if it got wet occasionally. Treated wood should only be necessary in places where it would be continually wet. That shouldn’t be your floor

Lester
I have a Modular Home with every floor having soft spots or swollen subfloors (caused by evaporation from a leak under the house wrap in crawl space) . All leaks have been repaired and the dining room completely remodeled (torn up & replaced with plywood). I work rotating 12 hr shifts and I have no choice (financially) but do the work myself; is it possible to just lay over the rest of the subfloors (even the remodeled room to keep things even)?
Paul
Yes

Trisha
I have a 2001 doublwide mobile home which has brick around bottom. We have a hard hump in the Dining room and I am wanting to replace carpet but I am afraid of what is going on with the floor. Any ideas on what this could be since it’s in the dining room and not near any bathroom, dishwasher….etc?
Paul
I have seen a circular area of a floor destroyed by a large plant in a clay pot that wasn’t properly waterproofed. Can you get someone to crawl under the house and look for wet spots in that area?

Patty
My husband and I bought a mobile home for retirement. There is only one soft spot (about 1 ft. diameter) in the living room; however, the 2nd one is directly under the shower in the master bath. There is a soft spot about the same size as the one in the living room. Should we just go under, remove the damaged wood and replace or will it be necessary to remove the entire shower insert?
Paul
Is it wood under there, or particle board?
Is the area under the shower wet? If it is, the first priority is finding and fixing the leak which is making it wet.
If it is dry, and the shower is still well supported, I wouldn’t worry about it.
If it is wet particle board and the you worry about how well the shower is supported, you are probably looking at removing it to do the repair.
If it is wet I would give it lots of time to dry out after fixing the leak. That way you can be sure you actually got the leak fixed and also decide if you really need to do the floor repair.

Christy
Should you use 1/2 or 3/4 inch plywood over an existing floor your covering in a mobile home?
Paul
I always liked to use 3/4″. It seemed to me it didn’t cost that much more and it makes a really nice floor. If you are going to do all the work why not use the best materials? I was continually amazed at the shoddy materials contractors would use to save a few cents per square foot.

fred
I have plywood floors in kitchen an bath the floors are swelling up please help
Paul
Are you sure they are plywood? Particle board is more common and has more problems. They are getting somehow. Moisture is the kiss of death for mobile homes so find and fix whatever is letting them get we. You may have to get under the home to find the problem.

Heather
I just purchased a 2008 double wide and I have notices a soft spot in the living room floor. What would cause this and would it be expensive to repair??
Paul
Is the soft area near a window where it could have rained in?
I have also seen that result from keeping a well watered house plant in a pottery base that let moisture wick through it.
If you have to pull back carpet, cut out the soft area, and put in new subfloor, it will get expensive. A old timer I know says that’s what old Realtor signs are for. Just slide it under the carpet over the soft spot.

Courtney
We just moved into a mobile home and found a leak in the dishwasher there was a lot of staining to the vinyl floor as well. About a week after we fixed the leak the floor started sagging between the Floor joices. What does that mean? At first the sagging and soft spot was only by the dishwasher but now it’s starting in front of the sink but we cant find any other leaks.
Paul
My first thought would be to crawl under the home and see if there is water trapped under there.

Tom
I have a double wide 1997 28×80. I have 3/4 plywood subfloors. Three of the room have a wet spot about the size of two 4×8 sheets of plywood in the center of the room. The inside walls do not seem to be wet just the middle of the room. The wet spot seems to expand after it rains. Also the rooms are on different sides of the double wide. I have replaced the roof and the problem still exists. If it doesn’t rain the floors start to dry. However, we live in Mississippi and do get a lot of rain. I have looked at the windows and caulked a few but the problem is still there. To the best of my knowledge there are no water lines leaking under the unit. This has been a real mystery to me and I have ran out of ideas as to what would cause this. Any ideas? My problems are in the Living room, Dining room ( on the other side of the double ) and bonus room next to the dining room. All interior flooring next to the outside wall remains dry.

leona kelly
We just moved into trailer our back bedroom where you walk in is carpet but the floor fell threw put a board on top an it is working for now an front room has a soft spot what do recommend tear all carpet in bedroom put in new boards or put a board over fallen spot as for the front room do we put a new boards over the floor an put new carpet or do we have to take up floor first it a old mobile home an on a tight budget
Paul
Hi Leona,
First and most importantly, make sure you have fixed the water leaks which caused the soft spots. Water destroys mobile homes faster than anything. So, please make absolutely certain there are no leaks or drips anywhere.
If the area is soft, but not completely broken through, you may be able to “fix” it by sliding a sheet of metal under the carpet. Old abandoned Realtor signs for example. Thin metal doesn’t make a bump you trip on. For a larger opening you might be able to get by with sliding a sheet of thin plywood under the carpet. If there are actual holes you might have to pull the carpet back and nail in extra supports to the floor joists. You want to make sure your plywood is well supported on all the edges.
I could never see any advantage to removing the old floor that made it worth the work. Its true that adding a layer on top of the old will leave a bump in the floor you may trip on. However, removing the old is a LOT of work. I tried to use quarter round or a threshold board to make the transition from the lower to higher floor level trip free.
In the end it comes down to:
1. Fix any leaks
2. Repair any dangerous problems. You don’t want to break a leg going to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
3. Make better repairs as your budget allows.
Paul

Sande
Hello! My husband and I have a mobile home that was given to us by his parents when they bought a new house. We have decided to gut the home and redo the whole thing since we are having some issues with it. We have multiple soft spots in the flooring that we have temporarily covered with plywood until we can get it fixed more permanently. There is one spot in our living room that has been there for years. It was caused by a drink being spilled on the same spot on the floor every day for years. The drink is no longer being spilled, so therefore the problem is fixed, however we have noticed that the original soft spot has gotten larger, extending past the wood that is covering it. Also, the plywood cover has gotten soft. I’m wondering if we just cover the whole floor with new plywood, won’t the new stuff eventually get soft also?
Paul
Hi Sande,
Your comment brings up a lot of interesting issues.
1. Think really hard and pencil out the costs of the renovation you are planning. Its really easy to spend a lot more than you planed while increasing the value much less than you expected. Been there & done that
2. I assume the original floor is particle board. Particle board is “famous” for falling apart at the slightest touch of water. Plywood, especially outdoor grade, is very resistant to water. So I am having some trouble understanding the situation you describe. I guess if you covered that place with quarter inch plywood & walked on it a lot the particle board underneath might break down and fall away. That could make the plywood feel “springy”. I don’t understand why the soft area would be spreading though.
The spreading issue makes me wonder if there is some kind of ongoing water leak under the floor. Since it is already damaged and you have plans to repair the floor I would get a hammer and open up the area to see exactly what, if anything, is going on under it.
I would be planning to use 3/4″ outdoor grade plywood for your new floors. Its more expensive but it always seemed to me that materials costs were a small percentage of the total project cost. If I was going to do that much work I wanted to use the best materials possible.
Let me know what you find/do. I am always curious if my “long distance Wisdom” is accurate.
Paul

marjorie
We have a 2010 wildwood.we got a leak which spread through the floor before we noticed,the floor as gone soft.My question is can we put plywood over the floor or do we have to take up the old floor first
Paul
Hi Marjorie,
Assuming you are CERTAIN the leask is fixed I nver thought it was worth the work and effort of taking up the old floor. Not everyone agrees with me.
The only downside I could see is that the extra height may make a tripping hazard where new and old floors come together. I think this can be minimized by using a threshold strip.
Ripping out old flooring, cleaning up the joists and along the walls, fitting new flooring, & making sure it is properly supported is hard work & best done with power tools by people with experience. It also forces the pace of the work because the room(s) is unusable until the repair is done.
I know that when I built floors by putting 3/4″ plywood over the old particle board & filled the seams with Bondo I got a hard, smooth floor that felt wonderful to walk on.
Paul

Cleo Cat
Excellent comments and help! We have a double-wide, 85′ long, and the walking space in the middle of our narrow bathroom is sinking down.
I’ve noticed the linoleum is peeling away from under the floor jamb that connected the faux-wood linoleum to the walk-in shower seal on the floor. There are two BEAMS that run the length of the bathroom and the 12″ between them is the part that is continually sagging down farther as the linoleum continues to undo from under the seal/jamb.
I’m *hoping* that that seal and jamb and under-wood is compromised simply because we have 3 autistic children that do severe water damage to the bathroom all the time, and not due to a leak. is that possible? overflows from the shower and “water play” could seep thru bad caulking under the linoleum and destroy the wood underneath and the subsequent human weight in between the beams would cause the linoleum to separate making the problem worse?
I like the sheet metal idea. If we don’t have a leak, that might fix things, along with a resealing and maybe new flooring.
Thanks!! typing this helped me think about it too. Any comments are welcome.
-Andrew
Paul
Hi Andrew,
That all makes sense. I would point out that particle board is not wood. Particle board will fail from water damage plywood would shrug off. So, the happy splashing could be the problem.
If this is an ongoing situation, and your budget allows it, you might consider fixing it once and for all by putting down plywood. Given the work you are already contemplating, it would not add a lot of either cost or time.
Thanks for writing,
Paul

Tammy Sawyers
We have floor problems also, the living room floor swelled up with a huge bump so we took floors up and put down plywood. But we can not figure where the moisture came from, have no leaks . only some condensation in the floor vent. Have hump in every room (not big) so doing all while tore up and soft spots from ware. BUT the question is could the sweating of the duct cause this and do we need to wrap the duct with insulation ? And if the insulation got wet do we need it all taken out and replaced. It is all up with the black plastic but is droopy in the middle. Do not care to fix but do not want it to do it again later so trying to figure the problem first.
Paul
My guess would be a condensation issue from the A/C system. However, I live where it is VERY dry (New Mexico) and know almost nothing about air conditioners. The middle is always droopy, so it is hard to say if it is also wet.
I think having an experienced mobile home A/C guy check it would would be a good start.
Paul

morgan
What about when the floor “sticks up”? Certain spots in the floor of our 15 year old mobile home seem to stick out and create a hill kind of effect. I’m assuming it’s the joists???
Paul
I have never seen a floor where the a joist was the cause of this. I’ve seen LOTS of water damaged particle board that looks like this
Its doesn’t necessarily mean you have a water leak. Anything that drips water onto the floor can cause it. Some “events” I have seen include:
A window left open so it rained in.
An overflowing flower pot.
An overflowing refrigerator condensation pan.
Paul

Monette
What does waiting moderation mean? Only a portion of my email to you is showing. I used an emoji and then the question following does not show up, just the moderation comment. Just confused. Please advise.
Paul
I get well over 100 spam comments PER DAY so the software is set so comments don’t show until I approve them individually. Sometimes it takes me a while to look though them.

Bobby
Hi there, I’m about to purchase my first mobile home and it’s a 1979 which was originally a single wide but in 2012 the previous owner added on a new section. The new section is flawless but the old section worries me a bit. There are a few soft spots in the floor, one is in the kitchen one is in the hallway and the other in the bathroom, if I were to lay down 3/4″ ply wood over the old floor my only concern would be the floor being noticeably higher around things such as the toilet, cabinets/ counter. Would you suggest working around them or going under? Also the old section has that old ugly wood paneling for the walls, I was considering replacing it with drywall but I’m not certain about the extra wait. Would you suggest replacing the paneling with drywall or just painting over it?
Paul
Hi Bobby,
It kind of depends on your budget and carpentry skills.
Pulling a toilet is easy, so I would for sure go under it. Cabinets will come down to how much the extra height bothers you & how fragile the old ones are. If these are the originals in a 1979 I doubt they will survive removal and re-installation Of course cutting pieces to fit around the old ones won’t be easy either. You might consider putting down some temporary plywood pieces and see how they look/feel.
I had good luck using drywall compound to fill in the grooves and seams in the old paneling and then spraying texture on it. Cheap and I didn’t have to worry about weight.
Paul
Bobby
Thanks a lot for the advice, I’m not too concerned about the cabinets in the kitchen because I will be replacing them so I will definitely be taking them out when I lay my floor. That’s great advice for the paneling issue, should save me a good chunk of change. Thanks again!

Bill Steinmetz
Paul,
I have appreciated your commentary on fixing soft mobile home floors. I have an old 77, 8′x40′ mobile home blocks at one end and the front end pretty much right down on the ground due to the slope of the land when it was first put down by my great uncle back in the early 80′s.
The front end (living & kitchen(without water service to it by the way) has developed soft spots. The old thicker lineoleum in the kitchen has prevented any caving in a few spots in the kitchen but is getting borderline and the living room spots under (old carpet) is getting soft. I did replace under refrigerator and by front door by cutting out and piecing in some 1 3/8″ plywood. Did that to match heighth existing to surrounding linoleum. A relative moved a frig in and out and too much concentrated pressure as on a soft particle board to take it.
It was a lot of work cutting out to right depth and trying to sand & or remove gluing under the particle board on the joists so I LIKE the idea of using tar paper over the particle board and and going over all with 3/4″ outdoor grade plywood for that part of the trailer. I doubt I would need the tar paper over the linoleum (?) as well.
I am “assuming” the moisture causing the particle board to fail has been a gradual deterioration from humidity coming up from the soil under the trailer over the years on that end of the trailer that is closest to the ground? Do suppose that is the cause also? The underskirting is NOT ventilated at all and really at that end of the trailer I don’t think there would be room to do that as there just is not enough clearance to the ground? Do you recommend adding ventilation of some sort further back under the higher section of the trailer where I would have room to cut out and screen some areas? I never could for sure figure if humid air in West Central Missouri (down in the woods close to river) would cause more humidity to be under whole trailer even when the ground moisture was not there.
Also, lower vertical metal siding sections were bulging out years ago and I impulsively just put a 2×4 horizontal on it and braced it against a small oak tree that was very close to it there at the time. I think I might have water or carpenter ant issue that caused this lower section to bulge out and I think to fix I should remove the siding sections that have come loose at the bottom in that area and piece in what I think would be 2×2 framing behind it so the siding could be screwed back on it properly to hold. I am unsure how these vertical metal siding sections connect to each other side by side. I don’t want to damage them trying to separate so I could reconnect after patching framing. Any thoughts on that as well? Guess you would have to actually SEE it wouldn’t you. They may be crimped together in manner they couldn’t slide apart if the trailer has been painted a few times which it has.
So the questions are on the possible moisture issue form ground clearance at one end of the trailer due to sloping land and how it was set to begin with AND the removal and reinstallation of the siding sections (kind of vertical corrugated aluminum look in what think may be 4′x8′ sections. I use this as a camping trailer to visit a couple of times a year while fishing in the area with family. I would like to make it better and more functional keep from deteriorating anymore. Thanks so much for your thoughts. Sorry this is so long. Unfortunately, I talk too much. Bill
Paul
Hi Bill,
I not sure you need the tar paper at all given you are using waterproof plywood, certainly not over linoleum.
Your description makes me wonder if the vegetation and slope around the house have changed over the last 30 years. Could something like that have caused more water to drain under the home, or reduced the evaporation? I don’t know how much snow you get, but if trees/plants have grown up that make snow drift against the home that could be part of the issue. Has that oak tree grown
If the skirting panels are what I think they might be, look in your yellow pages for aluminum siding manufacturers. It took me years to find them, but there are companies that buy rolls of flat aluminum sheet and run it through machines that can bend the edges so panel sections can lock together. I don’t know if it will be affordable in your situation. I guess it will come down to time or money. Getting the old ones off while preserving them for re-use will take a LOT of time.
Thanks for the longer post. People forget I have no idea where they live unless they tell me. I don’t know what kind of roof they have unless they tell me. The more details they provide the better I can answer their question.
Paul

Felicia
Hello Paul, my parents have an older model double wide mobile home in Hilton Head, SC…I read all of the previous questions and answers….so here’s my question(s)… if the flooring is particle board with lots of soft spots… you suggest just covering over the particle board with treated 3/4 quarter plywood…and then adding the flooring…is this the least expensive and time consuming route…my money is limited
Paul
Hi Felicia,
Thanks for reading all the other material before writing. Most don’t and I answer the same questions over and over.
Removing the old flooring and cleaning the joists and other prep work takes a LOT of time. I could never see that it was worth it. You probably don’t actually need 3/4″ plywood. However, I always felt the extra cost of the best was a small percentage of the total project cost. It doesn’t take more time or effort (yes it is heavier) to install the best, so why not? You will have to decide if that works for you or if the savings from a thinner plywood are what it takes to make the project possible.
Paul

Felicia
Hello Mr. Paul, I just read my email….glad you understood exactly what I intended to say…I will take your advice and use the better size wood….ok…here’s the next question, who do you recommend to replace the kitchen cabinets? Home Depot have cabinets….the wood seems to be a bit too heavy to be supported by mobile home walls???

B.H.
We have a 2000 16×80 & the water heater exploded in the kids room. The particle board is lumpy now & we wanted to put floating laminate flooring throughout. We were told our only option was vinyl sheets & i hate that & will not hold up to my kids. The lumps arent too bad, but enough to be a concern. Would 1/2 inch plywood be sufficient to hold 2 bunkbeds?
Thanks
Paul
Half in would certainly hold the beds.
My thought is that 3/4″ wouldn’t cost much more and if you used a lot of deck screws to fasten it down you could be sure those bumps would get flattened out. Half inch might do the job, I just never wanted to be in a position where I was thinking “I wish I had…”
Paul

Sophie
I am disabled and was given a 1980 singlewide. The people said the daughter went out of town but left the tub running, The ENTIRE floor from the front room to the bathroom in drooped down and very soft. Would the old water damage mess up the new wood. Would there be anyway of just laying a new floor on top of such damage? And, what about under the tub and such? I really can not afford to purchase a home on what I get monthly so this is what I have to repair. What do you suggest I am so scared to take it and then be stuck with something that I can never live in. Please I really need some advice. Thank you!
Paul
That is a really hard question to answer because the “right” answer depends on so many things which are unique to you and your situation.
In general I advise against fixing up a home this old with this much damage. It is terribly easy to spend a lot of money and end up with nothing to show for it. Unlike renovating a site built house, a renovated 1980 mobile home will always be an “old trailer”. In other words, don’t plan to ever get the money you spend back. Of course if you plan to live there a long time and can do the work yourself it may be the best cheap housing decision you ever make. (see why the “right” answer is hard to find
Leaving the water running suggests there was a LOT of anger. It makes me wonder what other hidden damage you might find. Angry & desperate people sometimes do amazing things. Even though it will be painful to spend the money, I think you need to have the power, water, heat/A/C turned on and checked before you put money into repairs.
I could never see that removing old flooring was worth the cost/effort. Assuming the water damage to the floor is the only problem and the floor is now completely dried out, I would plan to put new outside rated 3/4″ plywood over it. I would check to make sure the old flooring didn’t just crumble. If it does removing it would make sense. If is reasonably solid I would just make sure the screws I was using to fasten down the plywood were going into the floor joists. I would NOT try to save a few dollars buying short screws
I hope this helps you make a decision that is right for you.
Paul

Kristin
I purchased an older manufactured home in December of 2015. It passed necessary insurance inspections but unfortunately, I did not purchase it. So…. just since December I’ve had to replace the entire AC unit and now my floors are getting very, very soft.
When I was considering this house, I went through it several times; there were only two soft spots, which the inspector pointed out in his report and walk-through. There hasn’t been any water damage that I can see/notice, nor was any disclosed by the previous owners. However, we have very high humidity inside the home, often over 75% humidity indoors. (I’m definitely going to get a dehumidifier)
Would laying 3/4″ plywood over the existing flooring be the most economical way to address this? I have about 450 sq ft of flooring with soft spots, so I may as well get it all done at once. Is this the best choice for the long run or should I have the existing flooring repaired instead? I was quoted approx $6,000 for repair & replace, but that seems incredibly expensive for such a relatively small area of flooring.
Thanks for your help, Paul!
Paul
Hi Kristin,
I am going to assume the existing flooring is particle board. Before doing anything else I think it would be wise to get to the root of the problem causing the soft spots. A dehumidifier can’t hurt, but I would be concerned the problem is the result of moisture under the home. The floor problem coming so soon after the A/C replacement seems really suspicious. Putting new flooring down over wet particle board with ongoing issues looks like a recipe for disaster.
Once you have the floor dry and are confident it will stay that way I can’t see any reason not to put new, exterior grade, plywood over the old floor. I would expect it to reduce labor costs significantly because of the reduced prep time.
There is an old saying that goes “He hasn’t been in business 30 years, he has been in business one year 30 times.” It may take some effort to find a contractor who will be willing to do things your way.
Good luck with the project.
Paul

Joan
I own a 1991 double wide fleetwood mobile home. We live in Florida. We have been living here for 13 years. In the past year or so our floor has been having several places where it is soft and caving in. It is about an 8 Ft by 10 ft area just outside the bathroom. The flooring is laminate. It was laid at the time we moved in. I know we have a leak because my water meter doesn’t stop. I guess we will have to get under the house to find it. One other question—when they put down our laminate flooring–they did not cover the original wood with plywood before they laid the laminate. Is this the usual practice? Thank you Joan
Paul
Hi Joan,
Before you tear into the belly I would suggest you check carefully around the toilet and shower faucets to see if water could be leaking there. Is the water heater close to the problem area? Water heaters usually start leaking when they fail and no one notices until it gets really bad.
Some put down a plastic vapor barrier under the laminate. I know guys who lay out roofing felt (they are masters of cheap). As long as the old subfloor is in good condition I don’t see any need to put down plywood.
Paul

Sheryl
will the peel and stick tile stick to the plywood?
Paul
It never worked for me.
Perhaps the adhesives have gotten better since I last tried it some years ago.
What I found was that if there was the slightest amount of dirt, sawdust, dust from sandpapering wood or drywall, left on the surface the tiles would not stick.
You might try buying the smallest number of tiles possible and see if they work for you.
Good Luck,
Paul

Denise
I bought a 2000 14X80 3 yrs ago. I have 53 boxes of new 12mm w/padding laminate to put down. I won it from Bob Villa through DIY channel. My plan is to use the laminate in all rooms except baths. I’m going to do tile there. Currently laminate everywhere(sure it’s cheap). Now, over the last couple of weeks I had a hump in my kitchen , currently vinyl. It’s now really soft. I know that I need to find the source of the moisture and have laid a 1/4″ plywood over the spot (learned from reading the comments here) . I never plan to move, unless I win a lot more than flooring. I’m thinking it might be a good idea to put all new 3/4″ plywood throughout my home as I lay the new laminate., of course thoroughly making sure there are no leaks whatsoever. What do you think?
Paul
Hi Denise,
If cost is not an issue, the extra strength of the plywood makes a REALLY solid floor. It gets rid of any bouncy/springy feel.
Paul

dustie
our wall and floor by our one kitchen window got badly damaged from water!!!! My husband tore up some of the floor and had to take off siding to get to the water damage in the walls and the joist on the floor are rotten too we are having a hard time trying to figure out how to re place it all!!!!! WE HAVE A TRAILERPLEASE ANY SUGGESTIONS !!!!!!
Paul
Hi Dustie,
I think you are going to have to expose several feet of good wood in the floor joists and fasten new wood really well (glue + screws) to get wall support out as far as it needs to be. I think you could also plan to support that area of the wall by adding at least one pier under it.
Good luck with it.
Paul

mary
interesting article and discussion. I have a 1970 doublewide. Along the edge of a bathtub the floor is mushy and just in the doorway of the bedroom near it. The waterlines will all be replaced throughout the entire home so I’m not too worried about further water damage. The area that has been wet was from where we used to bath my later husband sitting on a shower chair. It slid him in and out of the tub and the floor got wet every time. The floor there is soft but not broken and is dry. Would covering the area with plywood be sufficient or should I cut out and replace that area? I will be setting a new toilet when I work on the floor. At 70 it is getting harder to work on those things so I guess I’m asking for the easiest but safe repair, I have lovely vinyl flooring to put down when I’m done. The bedroom repair I’ll figure out when I get to check out the area of damage. I have thick, rubber padded wood laminate to put down in that room after the area is repaired.
Paul
Hi Mary,
This is a situation where I think putting plywood (3/4″ exterior grade( makes sense. The damaged areas are a small percentage of the total floor area and there will not be any large unsupported areas. Near tub and other places where the old flooring breaks away you can fasten wood strips to the floor joists the being them level with the rest of the floor.
I think it will work well for you.
You will want to keep the plywood you cut to put down on the floor as large as possible. That keeps seams to a minimum and makes the floor stronger. I will warn you is is surprisingly hard to fit large pieces into place.
Paul

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