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Replace/repair sub-floor in mobile home?


Charity's Avatar
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08-09-11, 04:19 PM   #1  
Replace/repair sub-floor in mobile home?

Complete newbie looking for guidance! Please be gentle, I'm a pasty-white nerd lady with very little DIY experience but a huge will TO do it!

We were given a free mobile home (1984 Redman double wide.) The guy died many years ago, but his cats stayed in it for some time. Ew. We’ve ripped up the carpet and padding, only to find the floor is made of particle board. I'm told it is likely 5/8 as is standard in that year and model.

Thanks to a leaky roof (fixed) and leak in the kitchen (fixed) the floor swelled up like crazy and “refreshed” the cat pee smell. It’s AWFUL!

We would like to save as much of the floor as possible due to money constraints (I'm not cheap, just poor--single mom, 3 kids one of which has a life-threatening illness), but we’re also concerned that the smell might be an issue even on the particle board that isn’t swollen. I absolutely cannot accept a house that smells like old kitty ~shudder~

My question is do we replace the entire floor or do we just cut out the swollen, bad parts, replace with plywood, then Killz the whole thing to seal in any possible smells? (I've been researching like crazy, just not confident yet.) I've been told KIllz will cover any smell that might have gotten into the undamaged particle board, but I have no experience with it, so I'm not sure.

There is a lot of swollen particle board throughout the house, I’m wondering if replacing the whole floor with plywood would be easier than all that cutting and replacing each swollen piece, considering the extent of the damage. Or is it possible to bleach it, Killz it, then cover the whole thing with plywood? (Even the swollen stuff?) There are some holes in the floor that obviously need to be patched as well. HELP?

I have some pictures if we're allowed to include those.

 
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08-09-11, 05:10 PM   #2  
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...your-post.html
Yep, post 'em.
Cat urine won't go away. You can subdue it for the time being with products like OdoBan. Just spray it on. You will be better off in the long run to replace the particle board with 3/4" Advantech subflooring. Yeah, there's 1/8" difference in the nominal thickness, but your floor is more then 3/4" thick, believe me. Now, this is not an easy task. You will need a reciprocaring saw, circular saw, pry bars, hammers and a lot of help if you can scare it up. Some of the lattice underneath may come up with the flooring, so be prepared to replace it as well as needed. Cut the flooring from under any cabinets that are in the way with the recip saw, and cut it, at will, to a depth of 3/4" with the circle saw to make the removal easier in smaller pieces.

 
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08-09-11, 05:37 PM   #3  
Thanks for the quick reply!



Should we worry about under the cabinets and walls? Since there was a leak, I'm worried about the damage we can't see there.

 
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08-09-11, 06:04 PM   #4  
One trick . Once you pull all the nails/screws from the particle board and you begin lifting toward a wall or a cabinet. Give it a quick snap upwards. It will usually break clean at the edge of the wall/cabinet.
Unless you plan on replacing the cabinets, don't try to remove them. They will fall apart, I am afraid. They were put together in a factory making them probably immovable as units.

 
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08-09-11, 06:13 PM   #5  
Thanks for the tips!

The guy at Lowes (bless his patient heart!) said it shouldn't be a super tough job, just time-consuming. He said the removal part is easy and all I'll really need is a saw and some muscle. Well, at least I have a saw, LOL! I'll post pictures when I get started =D

 
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08-10-11, 04:39 AM   #6  
I've worked on quite a few MHs and what I usually do is just replace the bad flooring [including what has swelled] and then install 1/2" or 3/8" plywood over the entire floor. That way your repair pieces don't have to be as precise and you wind up with a nice clean new floor. You'll want some 2x6s also as often it's easier to add a 2x to the floor joists than it is to get the particle board off of half of the floor joist. Often the particle board is rotten under the exterior wall. Most will just cut within 1.5" of the wall [that is as close as skil saw will get] although it's best to dig out the particle board from under the wall studs and then slide the new plywood under the wall - that method can be very time consuming.

Larry is right about the cabinets! A typical MH cabinet is built fairly cheap and is only removable in pieces

IMO the best way to deal with any pee soaked particle board that isn't removed is to apply a fluid coat of pigmented shellac [like zinnser's BIN] It's extra stinky so use plenty of fresh air ventilation! 2nd best would be an oil base primer like the original Kilz. Latex primers [including kilz] would be a waste of time and money.


retired painter/contractor avid DIYer

 
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08-10-11, 09:01 AM   #7  
Thanks, Marksr! I think we'll go ahead and dig it out from under the walls. Might as well do it completely if we're going to do it at all. Great advice!

 
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