Windows

Mobile home windows

Mobile home windows are generally described as horizontal sliders, vertical sliders and jalousie. Jalousie are the old style and not used anymore. If you are replacing windows you will need to know which style you want and be prepared to tell the supplier the hole size. By that they mean the size of the hole in the wall when the window is removed. They come in standard sizes and no one expects exact fits. To get a good approximation of the hole size without removing the window, measure the window from wood to wood on the inside of the home. Don’t include any trim if it is present, and especially don’t measure the flange on the outside of the home.

If you are thinking of replacing windows, increasing the size of the opening at the same time will really brighten up the interior of older homes. If you increase the distance from top to bottom you don’t have to get into the supports or worry about load bearing areas. Check with the suppliers to make sure you can get the size you want before you take anything apart.

If window replacement is not in the budget, window blinds or shades may be a solution. They come in a variety of materials and textures with prices from inexpensive to VERY pricey. Discount stores all carry vinyl mini blinds in a variety of colors and sizes. If none of the standard sizes will fit, slightly more expensive varieties are available in a “cut to fit” product. You provide the measurements and the clerk uses the store trimming machine to cut them as you want.

One issue in locating replacement windows comes during shipping. Shipping costs easily become a major portion of the total cost due to the unfortunate combination of weight, size, and breakability. The other practical reason that many parts places are reluctant to ship windows is the problem of returns. Even experienced installers occasionally mis-measure the hole size and have to exchange the window. This is more challenging if your supplier is 2000 miles and a week of transit time away. As one example of shipping costs, on a $40 window, the estimate for shipping was nearly $90. Shipping on two windows was the same as for one. Replacing multiple windows, splitting an order with a neighbor, or having concerns other than price will help you get what you want.

{ 27 comments… read them below}
Rosie Scott
It was nice to read your article about replacing windows in mobile homes. My daughter has a very old (1973) mobile home with Jalousie windows that are in terrible shape. I bought her two new ones for Christmas and hope to help her install them soon. Do you know of a website that would have detailed (preferably with pictures) instructions for doing this? The men in the shop that sold me the windows seemed to think it would be very easy and straightforward, but I’m a little nervous about it. (They said; remove the old windows by unscrewing them, scrape off the old putty or putty tape, put the new putty tape on the new window frame, screw the new window in, caulk around it and you’re done.) Is there any chance that it’s that simple? Are there problems we can expect?
Paul
Glad you enjoyed the article. It’s never quite as simple as it sounds, although it shouldn’t be hard either. A few thoughts that come to mind.
Is the wood above, below or on the sides of the window rotted? Will screws bite in and pull the window in tight?
Even if the wood is good, buy new screws, slightly larger than the old ones for a tight fit.
You measured carefully and the new windows are the right size, correct?
I’ve been thinking I need more window articles; if you tell me how it goes and any problems you have, it would help me know what to write.
Paul

Rosie Scott
I don’t suppose there’s a way to tell if the wood is rotten before you start taking things apart, is there? I did get new screws, but I am not sure they are bigger than the ones already there. I will hope.
I think I measured carefully, and if I did, the new windows are the right size.
I will certainly let you know how the project goes. I hope I will be the one to help my daughter, this sounds like a pretty rewarding project, but if things don’t go well, it could be a disaster, especially since it’s winter, and even though the old windows don’t seal very well, a gaping hole where the old window was and the new window doesn’t fit could be even worse.
I will keep you up-to-date as the project progresses.

wendy
My daughter is looking at buying a 2006 mobile at a much reduced price but thats because it has a lot of water damage. Its a triple wide and I suspect it wasn’t waterproofed well when it was moved to the mobile lot. Many of the windows are still open or ajar, and much of the lower 6 inches of drywall has bubled. Many of the doors have water damage on the bottom. The electrical box shows a LOT of rusting on the box itself and some connections. The one good thing is that the floors are plywood and not osb and seem fairly good.
When do you walk/run away from a deal. How do you find someone reliable/knowlegable to look at it? She just looks at all the space with stars in her eyes and Im petrified and on the other side of the country.
Paul
That’s a really good question with a complicated answer.
In my experience, the discount offered by a dealer is never as large as it should be. A lot of renovators, me for example, ended up working really cheap!
At the factory the manufacturer is buying materials at wholesale and using minimum wage labor to build the homes. The entire operation is optimized to use the labor and materials as efficiently as possible.
Compare that to the renovator who is buying materials at retail. Renovation requires skilled labor. It takes a LOT more skill and experience to see what needs to be fixed, source the materials, and make the repairs.
There may be circumstances where someone who has the skills to do the work themselves can make the numbers work. If the work will have to be contracted I think the money would be better spent buying a place that is in good condition.

David Brown
What a wonderfully helpful website! Thank you so much for this information, it’s exactly the kind that I’m looking for!
I’m curious about adding a window where there wasn’t one before? Is the process the same as adding a window on a regular stick built house?
Btw, I definitely have inherited a bit of a cultural bias against mobile homes; their looks really don’t appeal to me. I’m curious though if there’s a collection of retrofits or remodels that I could look at to see what’s possible with regards to customizing or building upon mobile homes?
thanks!
-David
Paul
Thanks.
The window job should be about the same; possibly easier.
There have been a lot of “creative” remodels and additions done but they tend to end up looking like mobile homes with additions
For the most part I don’t think it is worth while to spend a lot of time/money modifying them. When it is time to sell it is still a mobile home and it will be hard to recover your renovation costs. (In my experience.)

Tifanie
I came upon your website and found what a great website, i just bought an older mobile home for my little girl and I and there is work to be done, but I not only to save money but also becuase i love to learn how to do things on my own, i will be using this site often, but my question is do you have a book out there that i can bye, and if you don’t i believe you really should
Paul
I’ve thought about it. Some of the new Print On Demand technology makes makes publishing easier than it used to be. It still takes time though.
Thanks for the compliments.
Paul

Nina
I have a question about reducing the effects of the hot summer sun… seems my little 1997 trailer is a tuna can baking in the sun!
I live in Virginia and we have hot summers, cold winters… it’s been suggested to me that I tint my windows. Will that really help reduce the heat in the house? I have storm windows with about 3 or 4 inches of space between them and the inside window. Additionally, because the windows are flush with the walls any mini blinds or window shades I put up are slightly (about a half inch to an inch away from the walls). This creates a gap that allows sunlight in… any ideas on how to remedy this? Also, why don’t they or do they make awnings for trailer windows? Are awnings possible? Would the outside of the trailer and the vinyl siding support an awning?
I have so many questions… glad I found you!
Thanks!
Paul
I think window tinting might work, but have no personal experience with it. I believe you can buy materials which you can install yourself. The installation is a little tricky and requires very clean glass and care to get all the air bubbles out.
Awnings should work without any problem. They will get fastened to the wall studs.

Nina
Next question, would awnings made for stick-built homes work on a mobile home or do they have to be specially made?
Paul
They should work.

dennis
can u install home windows in a mobile home or do u have to buy mobile windows
Paul
Mobile home windows will probably be easier to install, but house windows work so long as you can do the carpentry to trim them out properly.

Carolyn
Do you happen to know if it is possible to use solar windows in a mobile home?
Paul
I think you can use whatever windows you want; as long as you are prepared to do whatever it takes to support them properly and trim them out completely. In other words, don’t make an opening by cutting a couple of wall studs and sticking the new window in without building some support.

Carolyn
By the way….I have two large windows that get the hottest sun of the day. I mirror tinted these and the temperature in my house dropped immediate which also means my electric bill went down by about $60. a month. I am in Texas.
Paul
That’s a good suggestion.

jan
We have a modular home that has double pane windows. The outer pane of one window was just broken and we don’t know whether it will be possible to replace just that pane or do we need to replace the entire window?
Paul
Is it the kind of window where the two panes are actually one sealed unit? If so, you will need to replace the whole thing. If not, you should be able to replace it.
I do know that while replacing window glass seems like it should be cheaper it often times isn’t. Accurate measurements or lack thereof are the problem. It is surprisingly hard to measure accurately. It is very hard to get the glass cut to your accurate measurements. It is common to have to buy two or three pieces of glass before you get one that fits.

Amanda
Hi Paul,
I was just looking through your website and the helpful advice you have given to others.
I live with my mother in a (I believe) 1996 Dutch Mobile home?? After my father suddenly passed away a few years back, I/we are doing our best to get this place in tip, top shape for her and myself to make this a home and possibly sell one day:)
I have a question if you would be willing to help, which I really pray you do and/or can.
All of our windows will not stay up anymore. We have to use pieces of wood to hold them up which, is somewhat, actually, rather embarrassing.
Is there possibly a way I can repair these myself??? Please answer Yes….! Any help/advice you could provide would be beyond grateful!!!
Look forward to hearing from you in the very near future!
Amanda
p.s. Do you know if we wanted to replace some leaky faucets, shower heads, sinks, etc… would we need to go through a mobile home type store to purchase these, or can we buy them at Wal-Mart or Home Depot?? Very much looking forward to your reply and Thank You So Much in advance!
Paul
I don’t know the answer to your window question; maybe some reader can help me out.
Your PS doesn’t have a simple answer. Many times you can use house type replacements, but not always. That’s part of the reason it can be so hard to find plumbers who are willing to work on mobile homes. It results from a combination of space & cost constraints. So mobile home sinks are frequently smaller than house type sinks and may be made of cheaper materials (plastic sinks for example.) For example, I could replace a 19″ (front to back) mobile home sink with a 22″ house type because I was usually replacing the counter at the same time. You will have more choice if you can use house type products.
There is a lot of variation depending on the quality of the original home plus whatever changes may have been made by previous owners. It’s worth trying the house type first. Measure carefully and look carefully at the shape of item (How many faucet holes are there, etc. If you have a phone that takes pictures you might want to photograph the sink/faucets before you go shopping so you can easily compare the old with the possible replacements.

Denise
I have had several companies come out to sell me replacement windows; as a consumer it can become overwhelming. My question, how can you tell a well constructed window? Some say the insulating foam inside the frame work is best for eliminating airflow; others say that the foam will crack and lead to problems later down the road; still others say that the way the inside side is constructed eliminates the need for the water drainage holes on the exterior of the window [which in time will clog and cause more problems down the road]. My main concern is not the cost of the window, but the construction of the window. I would rather pay for a well constructed window, than an inferior window – all companies are somewhat comparable in pricing; however, I want quality over cost. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Denise looking to replace 10 windows and a doorwall, and possible to exterior storm doors.
Paul
In John T Krigger’s book Your Mobile Home I find this:
1. The most important factor when replacing windows in northern climates is to lower the U value, which is a measure of heat conduction.
2. In southern climate it is most important to reduce the solar transmittance.
3. Wood windows have good thermal performance & lifespan, but need maintenance.
4. Aluminum windows have a good lifespan & need little maintenance but poor thermal performance.
5. Vinyl windows have good thermal performance & low maintenance but are to new to be certain of lifespan.

Wanda Justus
I have a 95 dutch doublewide I bought 3 windows to be put in 1 in back bedroom solid wall. 2 for master bedroom solid wall My Brother is going to put them in for me He has done this type of work before just not in mobilhomes he sak me to find ouy about the studs how far are they or are they like a house?Is there anything he should know before tackling the job thanks
.
Paul
I doubt he will have any special problems. As far as stud spacing he will have to open things up and measure.

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