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countrylifemom 12-27-2006 07:36 PM

Need advice on remodeling/renovating a prefab (mobile) home
Hi everyone! I am new to this home improvement chat forum. In fact, I am not very experienced with this whole internet thing either, but I want to learn and hope to make my way through this process without too much pain! I am even more interested in learning how to renovate/decorate/remodel a '90's model 16 foot wide mobile home. I think I hear :laughing: and I'm sure there are some out there that think I am crazy and say I shouldn't and those thoughts have actually crossed my mind too! But unless I win the lottery or the cattle prices rebound, this is what I'll be living in for many more years on our farm. This home has been very well maintained and I really do like the floor plan. It just needs some serious updating and that's what I am interested in doing. (tile and hardwood/laminate flooring; paint,wallpaper and tiles on the walls; getting rid of the "popcorn" ceilings; updating bathroom fixtures and maybe in the distant future, replacing or redoing the kitchen cabinets; replacing condensating aluminum slider windows; putting the home on a basement foundation; adding an addition) Any tips or tricks of the trade for dealing with problem areas specific to mobiles or prefab homes would be greatly appreciated. I am an avid diy'er and am not afraid of using the tools of the trades or to tackle the average diy project. I have built sheds for myself, shingled my Mom's garage and house roof, wired up my workbench for multiple plug-ins on staggered cricuits, laid laminate flooring for my daughter, built a bookcase, refinished kitchen cabinets, and have done many painting and wallpapering projects also. I read books on renovating and watch the renovating/decorating shows on HGTV when I have time. My hero is Mike Holmes :thumbup: and my favourite place to shop is Home Depot or Rona. :thumbsup: I would rather shop for tools than for shoes!!!:yes: So now I will try to send this out to the forum and eagerly await to receive some advice from the knowledgeable and experienced! Thanks, in advance......Countrylifemom

majakdragon 12-31-2006 07:58 AM

I can appreciate your wanting to upgrade but you need to realize that mobile homes are a bit of a different animal than stick built homes. The basement idea may not be possible. Most mobiles need a lot of support throughout the underside to keep it level. When I had my mobile in Florida, I also found that the electrical switches were not the same as for a stick built home. I had the rocker type switches and when one went bad, I had to purchase a new one from a mobile supplier. I found that the switches were also connected with the "push-in" (stab)connectors rather than using the connector screws. That was an easy change though. The ceilings in most older mobiles are full size panels. You MAY be able to remove them and replace with drywall. Paint, tile and wallpaper are pretty much doable. If you have current wall paper on walls, you will most likely find that the wallpaper is a permanent part of the wall, but I recovered a couple walls by just prepping and papering right over the old stuff. When mobiles are built, it is a "speed" process. Many things that would be a 2 step process on a stick built home are a one-step in mobiles. You can do many things to upgrade your home but please investigate how it was originally done before tearing up large areas. Good luck with your projects.

Darylh 12-31-2006 10:44 AM

My home is a Deregisterd 20 x 46 mobile with a 10 x 24 addition. You would not even know it was a mobile unless you went in the attic.
My home has a full crawlspace cement foundation and has cement pilars through out the crawl but a basement is also fesible but you will need beams in the proper location and in fact there is one down the road from me. In case you did not know up here in canada if you put a foundation under your mobile you can have it Derigesterd which means its now a home. Taxes and insurance are the same as a home.
As peviously mentioned you must find out and investagate your mobile before tearing anything apart.Mobiles are usally 2x3 framed and do not like drywall unless it has been put on a foundation. I know this from others complaining about cracks in the wall because of to much movement. But i will tell yah if the lower ceilings don't bother you there are a lot of things you can do to it over time and here is a example.
My home has been stuccoed,new pitch stick framed roof which sits on top of the original roof but I think you now have to have posts and beams around the piremeter but anyway the interior has had all new plugs, switches, and in most cases new boxes( consult an electrician first), drywall everywhere, new tile and click flooring, hardwood in living, dinning room. Doors, moulding, crowns all new. New Kitchen cabs and couter tops. So yes what you are thinking is very visible but take the time to ask questions and take a very good look at your own mobile before tackleing anything. I will post some pics just to give you an idea on what can be accomplished.

Darylh 12-31-2006 11:17 AM

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as promised here are a few pics I shot just now. You can see how it does not look like a mobile and hopefully it will give you some ideas.

countrylifemom 12-31-2006 12:55 PM

Thanks for the encouragement!
Hi Darylh!

I just looked over the pics you sent me on the reno job you've done on your home! Wow! You're right, it sure doesn't look like a mobile home anymore! :thumbup:
Our mobile is a 1990 model and it has 2x6 wall construction, believe it or not! We only have it blocked underneath, no solid foundation of any kind. It's a 16x80 sized model. Overall it is in very good shape but it just needs some updating. The biggest question I had was about the shifting on the floors and walls because of the way it is blocked underneath - every eight feet on wooden piles which are laid on a 2x12 on the ground. The "wallpaper" is that prepapered vinyl stuff covering 1/4" drywall with the "joiner" strips that match. So none of the "drywall" has been taped or mudded, I guess for making it less damaging for the moving process. Do you think if I just wallpapered over these walls without the strips, would the wallpaper rip with movement over time? (I lived in a prefab modular house before moving here and I did the wallpaper and painting. This house was on a newer basement and it still shifted and the wallpaper ripped!) I would love to paint but I really hate those strips on the wall and paint would just show them up even more!! Do you think I could tape and mud these joints or would they just crack because of the "foundation"?
I know these are a lot of questions but you are the first person with experience in this area that I have been able to talk to. I appreciate any advice and help from you. I love what you did to your home and would love for my home to turn out as nice! The extra little touches like the moulding and trim sure make it classy. Love the colors too! You've done an awesome job! :thumbsup: Thanks for the reply to my situation and I look forward to hearing back from you again some time. One more question: Did you do most of the work yourself or did you hire contractors? I am more of a diy'er and would love to tackle this place . I want to do it right and do more research and learn from other people's mistakes first before going all out on this home. Thanks again, you've inspired me!........................countrylifemom :)

Darylh 12-31-2006 12:59 PM

I am just on my way out the door and won't be back till tommrow so I will get back to you as soon as I can and thankyou for the kind words.

AtlanticWBConst. 01-01-2007 11:21 AM


Originally Posted by Darylh (Post 28301)
I am just on my way out the door and won't be back till tommrow so I will get back to you as soon as I can and thankyou for the kind words.

I agree as well, very nice work.

Mobile home???.where??, all I see is a nice custom house....

Darylh 01-02-2007 09:09 AM

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Thanks for the words and welcome to 2007 and a way we go..
The foundation sounds like it would not be good enough for any drywall especialy 1/4" drywall. It would just crack.I would think with 2x6 walls thick vinal wallpaper should be fine but I just don't know.
This home has a 2' crawl space (concrete)with proper sized footings for 8x16 concrete blocks which are about every12 feet with 8x 16 concrete blocks see attachment.We also have cable and turnbuckles under the home which are ancored directly to the footings. Without a proper foundation theres going to be to much shifting for drywall work. As far as floors go if tiling make sure you screw the floors down before putting your new floors down, Use a good cement board and if going hardwood use plenty of nails.
The foundation work Stucco,electrical was hired out. Concrete work, stucco, new roof, some electrical, drywall was done before I bought the place but he did a terrible job on some of the things that I have since fixed and of course we have givin the place major Cosmetic Surgury. to much to mention but you do have the start of the right place to do all this with those 2x6 walls. go for it and keep in touch with us..

nomez811 12-10-2007 11:58 PM

The pics here are wonderful......we are in the process of closing on a 1999 modular , 2400 sf, on 9 acres......the land was the selling point but the square footage for the money didn't hurt, lol.... I am looking for input on how to remove those nasty batting strips and cover the old Early American printed wall paper.....I had thought I would remove the strips, drywall mudd the gaps and recover the walls smooth with a paintable wall paper.....does anyone know if I am heading for disaster? lol........the home is on a standard foundation so shifting or movement should not be a problem..... I just want to be sure that I do not go at this whole heartedly and find out that I have made a horrid mistake, lol.....

All input is welcome....and appreciated !!

steve1234 12-11-2007 01:33 PM

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I am the proud owner of a Pink Flamingo Brand Trailier.........

Prior owners added on to the front, back and end (hitch side). Perimeter foundation and second story on the end piece. The original roof was extended over the front and back add-ons, so the interior ceiling was really low. Since the hitch side add-on with the second story was built up from the foundation it had standard height ceilings. The exterior roof was built over the whole house so it looked like a regular house from the outside, but you had to duck going in the front door due to the interior ceiling height. Since the exterior roof was added after the fact, there was a major "hinge" above the short wall top plate, which was a problem with the remodel, turn re-build.

The house was sold as a house and not a trailer. The inspectors I had during the buying process were going to leave after they figured out what they were inspecting, I convinced them to stay. Their report included many references to the phrase "unconventional construction techniques".

We are now remodeling (rebuilding). The steel trailer frame is being left in the center of the house. All the structural loads were moved off the trailer and supported with new footings. We now have several beams that span the length and width of the trailer.

We found many interesting things during demo. I learned that trailer "codes" differ from home codes. The stuff I found sent a chill down my spine knowing that my family was living in the "house" prior to the remodel (and during actually). Many of the chilling discoveries were based on incomplete transitions between trailer and "house". The electrical wires routed through jagged metal trailer siding is just a sample.

I believe we will have a very nice home if and when we finish, and it will be built around a trailer. There is a lot of effort involved, but anything is possible. Good luck......

nomez811 12-11-2007 01:44 PM

Wow Steve that is quite an undertaking.......but it looks like you will have a beauty when you are done.....

The house we are buying is not a trailer, it is a modular home set on a permanent foundation..a manufactured home so to speak......the terminology is something I can never quite get a grip on ,lol..... it is a house made in factory in sections and placed on a permanent foundation.... but the inside, for transport reasons, is made with those nasty batting strips so that road movement will not crack the walls...I want to change that since the house is never going to move again, lol, I want real walls....maybe not the expense of hiring a dry waller but atleast walls without strips and some conventional moldings rather than the this plastic looking moldings that exist....I just want some reassurance that the work I do will hold up ....

Thanks to everyone for sharing your experiences, gives me a lot of hope

Darylh 12-12-2007 10:49 PM

I do not have a lot of experience with this procedure but it accrues to me if you take the strips off, re nail the edges, sand smooth and then run a bead of latex caulk and smoothen with a putty knife you will have better success than using drywall mud, it will just crack and would inturn put a ripple in your new wallpaper. Just my nickels worth.

anglpie2 01-04-2008 10:23 AM

Wow Daryl,
I registered just to see how you transformed your mobile home and WOW!!! That is pretty much all I can say about that!!! It is amazing to see... I didn't even know that was possible. Good job. Oh and your wife's interior designer eye really is what brings out the work. At first I was thinking, a man doesn't normally think to put colors and accessories together like this. ( I know my husband doesn't, lol) The place looks great!

veranda 01-05-2008 08:57 AM

batting strip removal
Hi... Just as Anglpie2 did, I have just registered to this site because we are selling our "Traditional built home" and retiring to a pre-manufactured, on a foundation, located out in the country that will be ours "bought and paid for"....Wahooo! I want to first begin remodeling the interior, which includes removing those batting strips from the wall and making it look more like a stick built interior. An ealrlier post mentioned removing the strips and filling the cracks with a caulking or putty. Has anyone tried this yet? If so, what kind of success did you have? (next I will be tackling that "plastic looking" bathroom, but that's another day). I appreciate any response. Thank you and I am looking forward to future posts.

Darylh 01-06-2008 10:41 AM


Originally Posted by anglpie2 (Post 85462)
Wow Daryl,
I registered just to see how you transformed your mobile home and WOW!!! That is pretty much all I can say about that!!! It is amazing to see... I didn't even know that was possible. Good job. Oh and your wife's interior designer eye really is what brings out the work. At first I was thinking, a man doesn't normally think to put colors and accessories together like this. ( I know my husband doesn't, lol) The place looks great!

Welcome to the site. Thank you, she is really good at colors ( me to sometimes:laughing: ).

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