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Replacing particle board flooring in mobile home (and insulation question)


Batchman's Avatar
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10-12-17, 09:18 AM   #1  
Replacing particle board flooring in mobile home (and insulation question)

So hopefully this isn't 'wrong.' I've no skills to be doing this myself, but a DIY forum seems like a good place to get the information I need to choose the right people to do the job.

We just bought a mobile home, to have our chance at actual home ownership. It's a nice place, and was quite reasonably priced, but there are several soft spots in the floor. Turns out the floors are particle board, so the least bit of dampness, and they start to weaken.

Had a line on one person who might be able to help with replacing the floor, but he never returned calls, so went to the park office and asked for any suggestions. They recommended someone who does a fair amount of work for the park, and we spoke to him.

He seemed to care about doing a good job, and taking the time to do the job right, and we felt that he really was interested in making sure we would be satisfied with the work. But after having done some research, I asked about verifying the amount and condition of insulation under the floor, and he said there is no insulation under the floors in mobile homes, and doesn't need to be.

This worries me, as I have been reading about such insulation and it's aid in helping to keep heating/cooling costs down. (Mostly cooling, since this is Florida.) I'm wondering if I should be worried that this guy may not actually know what he is talking about, or if perhaps I just didn't understand what I thought I did from my reading, and maybe Florida mobile homes neither have nor need insulation.

Just trying to figure out if I need to look elsewhere for somebody to do this, or educate the guy on insulation, or if it really isn't needed/desired here.

Need to figure something out quickly, because my foot just went through the floor last night.

 
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marksr's Avatar
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10-12-17, 09:39 AM   #2  
Welcome to the forums!

I've never known of a MH that didn't start out with insulation in the floors! For the most part the insulation is held in place by the belly wrap which often gets damaged due to plumbing leaks/repairs and rodents. It isn't uncommon for an older MH to have a lot of missing floor insulation. Insulation in the floor is probably less important in fla than it is in colder states.

Most MH particle board floors are 5/8" thickness. They can appear thicker because the PB swells when it gets wet. I'd recommend using 5/8" plywood or OSB for replacement. Often the damage is limited to the perimeter and where the plumbing is. I leave the sound PB in the middle and replace the damaged. Ideally you'd then laminate over all the repairs and old PB with 3/8" or 1/2" plywood.

This is a job you can diy if you have the time and aren't afraid of hard work. Tools needed are minimal, skil saw, hammer and tape measure.


retired painter/contractor avid DIYer

 
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10-12-17, 09:48 AM   #3  
Thank you for the reply.

I have no skills for this kind of thing, and am in tremendously bad shape, physically. Doing it myself is not an option.

The two bedrooms at either end of the home are where the worst flooring issues are. The middle of the living room/kitchen seem to be fine. Soft spots also in the hallways outside the two bedrooms. I was considering having the entire floor replaced, just because ... particle board. But after reading your reply, might consider just doing the two bedrooms and the two hallways where I can actually feel problems.

So there should be insulation, and after 45 years, it is likely either not enough, or going to be damaged and need replacing? Any suggestions on likely the best kind of insulation to consider for ease of placement in a mobile home?

We've been figuring on 3/4" plywood. Though since we have some large people here, even wondering if it might be wise to go even a little thicker. Probably not needed, but figured I might as well ask.

 
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10-12-17, 09:56 AM   #4  
It's difficult to find [and expensive] to get plywood thicker than 3/4" I've patched MH floors for myself, family and friends using the above method and don't recall there ever being an issue with leaving the PB in the middle. You do want to make sure all the damaged/suspect PB is replaced. You can get in trouble later if you cheap out and just put new plywood over some of the bad particle board.

I'd suggest patching with 5/8" as needed, then you can laminate over it with 1/2",5/8" or 3/4" That way the extra thickness can stop at the walls. To replace all the PB with 3/4" means you have to lift or otherwise get under all the interior walls to accommodate the extra thickness. A case can be made for chiseling out some of the rot under the exterior walls so the new 5/8" can help support the studs - but that is a lot of time consuming work.

Every MH with PB floors I've worked on has been 5/8" but it pays to double check. Best place to check would be at a floor register that isn't near any plumbing. Just remove the vent and measure the PB thickness.


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10-13-17, 07:04 AM   #5  
If it was my job no way would I just do patches!
To many issues with flexing and may end up with high or low spots.
There is no need to remove the subflooring under the walls!
I used a Toe Kick Saw to cut cut along the walls, a saws all with a short course toothed wide blade to cut out the inside corners.
Then make passes with a cirular saw between the floor joist, once that's done you can just stomp next to the cut and remove it in sections
Once the subflooring out most likely you will have to clean off the tops of the joist to get the glue off and cut off any nails or screws left behind.
A bimetal blade in a saws all works best.
I only use Advantech T & G for subflooring, it's stronger and far more moisture resistant than plywood.
Make sure to use const. adhesive on top of the joist, follow the nailing pattern printed right on the sheets, use 8D ring shank nails.

 
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10-14-17, 10:03 AM   #6  
So I've been trying to read up, and if I go for plywood, more layers is better, but the easiest available stuff is only going to be four layers?

Never realized how much was involved with all this stuff.

Again, thanks for the advice!

 
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10-14-17, 12:50 PM   #7  
I wouldn't get hung up on how many plys the plywood has, it's a sub floor that will be covered with something - not furniture or cabinets.


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10-15-17, 07:01 AM   #8  
Why use plywood for the subfloor?
Advantech is a far better choice.
Your right there's a big difference in types of plywood.
It needs to be subfloor rated, which means it will have exterier glue, more plys, no voids in the core or surface.
Sheathing grade (CDX) is fine for roofs or walls but not for floors.

 
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10-15-17, 09:11 PM   #9  
Can I even delve into this topic without causing problems? I have no idea ... let's try it. Here, hold my beer!

Why am I not specifically talking about using Advantech, instead of plywood?

A) Because I do not wish to get into a religious war.

B) Because it is a form of particle board (albeit a hopefully much better version of it than regular particle board), which is what got me into this situation in the first place.

C) Because of possible (but only possible) price issues.

D) Mostly because I am not sure I can even get it around here. None of the Lowes or Home Depots in this area seem to carry it. If I do find it available in my local area, things become more difficult for me, because I have to eventually make a decision between the two.

 
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