Do It Yourself: Mobile Home Floor Repair Tips

Repairing your mobile home's floor is easier than you may think. Here are some tips for getting the job done quickly and correctly.

Sad but true: mobile home manufacturers still use cheaper materials for flooring than other homebuilders. This is why even newer trailers have flooring problems - particularly holes and sags.

Fortunately, you can repair most of these problems yourself with a few tools, some hardware, and a little patience.

TOOLS:

Circular saw

Screwdriver

Safety goggles

MATERIALS:

Half-inch (or three-quarter-inch) plywood

HARDWARE:

Wood screws (at least one inch longer than the thickness of your plywood)

First, you need to get the carpet or linoleum out of the way. You don't have to rip out the entire section unless you plan on replacing that much of the actual floor.

Carpeting is fairly straightforward and easy to remove. Pick a corner, grab a small prybar, and start prying it out. Do it slowly so you don't tear or rip the carpet, and be mindful of the carpet padding beneath, but don't worry too much about it.

If you're dealing with linoleum, you don't have to be nearly as careful as you would with carpeting. Just tear that stuff out: you'll have to replace it anyway, seeing as it's been permanently adhered to the flooring.

When you get to the damaged section, look CAREFULLY for any nails or other metal. Take note of their locations, because you're going to use a circular saw to cut out that section. Don't forget the safety goggles.

Find the crossbeams (usually 2x6 boards) surrounding the section and cut back halfway into their depth, without actually cutting them. When you're done, you should have two crossbeams partially exposed for nailing or screwing in the new section of wood.

At this point, you can determine what plywood to use. Measure the thickness of the flooring wood around your new hole: that's what you'll use. This way you won't have a dip or rise in the repaired section of your floor, and it will look much better.



Now you're ready to measure your new hole and cut the plywood to fit. Be as exact as possible, but don't err on the overage side: this piece of plywood has to fit snugly into the hole you've created, but it must also have a tiny bit of room to expand and contract as temperatures and weather change.

When you've done that, drop it into the hole and put the wood screws into it. You can go about every six inches or so - the more screws you put into it, the better.

Now you have to re-do the carpeting or linoleum. Carpeting is easier to re-do at this point, because you'll simply roll it back out, tack it into place again, and vacuum up any sawdust you may have created with your project.

If it's linoleum you're doing, you'll have to tear out the rest of the old stuff, remove the adhesive (chemicals to do this can be found at home-improvement stores), and re-lay a new section. If this is the case, you may want to consider re-doing the entire floor. Tearing out the old particle board throughout that room of your house, re-laying plywood, and covering the entire thing with new linoleum may actually save you time and effort later. Besides which, the plywood is a little sturdier than the particle board that was used for the original floor, so you might as well think about putting it throughout that room while you're already working on one part of it.

Or, if you wanted to install carpeting anyway, you can do that. It may be cheaper and better-looking, too.

TIPS FOR MAKING THIS EASIER:

-Decide exactly what you're going to do before you do it. If you want to replace flooring in the whole room (or even the entire trailer), plan accordingly. Be sure you have enough materials and time to accomplish it.

-When removing the old flooring, keep a prybar on hand. It helps to remove the sections of particle board that may break off (with nails still through the crossbeams). It also makes it easier to knock chunks out of your way.

-Measure the thickness of your flooring before you buy the plywood. This way you won't come home with two or three different sizes of plywood and end up having to return part of the load.

-Make sure you buy enough linoleum. Few things in the DIY life are more frustrating than getting to the last three feet of the room, only to run out of material!

-Take it one step at a time. Don't get anxious or impatient. This project could take a couple of days or more, depending on how many people are helping and the amount of time everybody can devote to this job. Be prepared to leave all of the stuff that belongs in that room, somewhere else, at least for the time being.

-Above all, enjoy! Repairing your home on your own is one of the greatest things in the world; something in which every do-it-yourselfer can take pride.

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