Eventually, you may get that sinking feeling that your mobile home needs a floor change. Really, though, you may feel the floor sinking, a signal that there's a soft spot in need of repair. Most older mobile homes consist of subflooring made from particle board, which is extremely absorbent and susceptible to bowing, warping, rot and soft spots. Just the smallest amount of water can cause damage. Newer homes are slightly better equipped. They use stronger particle board or oriented strand board (OSB), both of which are more water resistant. Even so, they're still vulnerable to bowing, softening and warping. Regardless, a soft spot should signal that the time has come for a floor replacement.
Cut the Rug
The first step is to remove the trim and floor covering. If you're working with carpet, you'll need to remove the strips. For vinyl, cut around the perimeter of the room. Tile floors will need to be ripped up. With the covering removed, you may be able to better locate a leak. If the leak is the cause of the damage, make sure to repair it so your new floor doesn't get harmed.
Take the Floor
Next, you'll want to cut the subfloor out around the perimeter of the room. Set your circular saw to three-fourths inch or five-eighths inch, depending on the thickness of your floor. Cut the perimeter around the edge of the room, making sure not to damage the joists below. Then, carefully cut the subflooring between joists. Saw between the joists and remove each piece. Make sure there are no pipes or wires in the way. You may need a Dremel tool or knife to get the subflooring out from underneath the walls.
Joist Do It
Now that the subflooring has been removed, you can inspect the joists for any damage. If there's damage, you can either replace the joist or reinforce it with a two-by-four. Then, add insulation. Remember, the better the insulation, the more you'll save on utilities in the summer and winter seasons. Make sure the insulation is underneath the piping and wires.
Lay the subfloor in the same direction as the original, likely in the opposite direction of the joists. Cut the plywood to the proper size to fit the width of the room. You may need to nail and glue an additional two-by-four so you have a ledge to lay the new subfloor down. At each seam, where a piece of plywood ends and another begins, reinforce with a two-by-four between the joists. Make sure the floor is level.
Here's the fun part. There are a number of options and styles for covering your floor, including carpet, vinyl, tile and hardwood. Vinyl or tile is best for bathrooms to keep water damage to a minimum.
Caroline is a writer from NYC. Her writing has appeared in L.A. Weekly, Elle.com, New York Magazine, Marie Claire and The Huffington Post. She produces content on women's health/wellness, design/DIY and business for companies such as Meredith Corporation, Leaf Group and the business school, Hautes Études Commercials Paris. She's a former Production Associate and blogger at Show of Force, the production company behind Nicholas Kristof's and Sheryl WuDunn's, Half the Sky.