Water damage is a killer in mobile homes, especially those which were built in the 1970s or earlier. In those days, manufacturers relied on particle board flooring. It is cheap stuff that’s little more than sawdust bound together by lots of glue.
This is why any water damage, whether it be from a water heater leak, a flooded toilet, or a spilled water dish, can cause weak or soft spots in the floor. Those soft areas threaten to collapse every time you walk on them.
You can’t fix the particle board once it’s been damaged. It becomes soggy, like a cardboard box, when it gets wet. While you can’t undo this damage, you can fix it by laying a new floor that’s sturdier than the old one and certain to withstand water and other damage.
There are 2 ways to do it. The first is cutting out soft spots or holes and replacing them with plywood. You can also redo the entire floor in that room.
The piece-by-piece option is time-consuming and difficult. If you leave a gap, you’ll have a hard time laying new linoleum. If you aren’t careful when you cut out the old flooring, you’ll damage the joists and find yourself in a lot of trouble.
It’s easier to just lay plywood right over the old floor. You’ll save hours of time, and you won’t have to come back in a few months to replace another section of the particle board if more water damage occurs.
Covering With Linoleum
If you plan to cover the new floor with linoleum, you will need both wood filler and sandpaper.
Remove all of your furniture before you begin. It’ll be easier than trying to work your way around a bed, the armchair, and other obstacles. It’s easiest to just move your things into a room where you aren’t working.
Replace your current flooring if it is linoleum or tiles. Use this opportunity to update your home’s look by changing the color pattern and changing the covering. You can install new carpet as well.
You might be able to reuse existing carpet. Use caution when you remove it so that you don’t tear or rip it. Store it in a safe place while you work. Once the carpet is out, remove any floor tacks, staples, and nails. Ensure that the floor is clean. A quick pass with a broom will get the big debris out of the way.
Use a tape measure to determine the room’s dimensions and record the information so that you have it with you at the hardware store.
Use outdoor grade .75-inch thick plywood. It is usually not very expensive. It’s also easy to lay and usually fairly smooth so that you won’t have much sanding or filling to do before you install your new linoleum or tiling. Another advantage to the plywood is that if you use linoleum, the adhesive will work very well.
Use galvanized wood nails or wood screws. They should be long enough to penetrate both layers of your floor into the joists. Apply 1 screw or nail for every 16-inches of flooring. Have extras on hand in case you make a mistake or just want to add a few more in certain areas.
Bring your new flooring home and cut it into the appropriate sizes. If you can handle an uncut sheet of plywood, go for it. The less cutting you have to do, the faster the job will go.
Start at one end of the room and work your way to the opposite end. When you lay each piece, check 2 things. First, make note of knots and imperfections. Aldo notice the gaps between each piece and keep them as close as possible.
Start nailing or screwing the flooring down. Get as many nails into the joists as possible. You should put a nail every 16-inches so that the new floor is securely in place when you finish.
Carpet can be easily re-installed. You don’t have to worry about sanding or filling, but you should probably replace the old carpet pad. Pads absorb odors, moisture, and mildew.
If you want to use linoleum, you should fill any gaps, cracks, or dips in the plywood. Hardware stores carry plenty of products that will do the job nicely. Just make sure that you sand and sweep the mess before start putting down the linoleum.
To account for the raised entryway, use a threshold or riser. They’re easy to install; a few screws will do the job. You’ll save your toes and add a decorative touch to the room in one shot.
When you’re finished with that, put away your tools and walk around in your new room. You deserve a break after all the hard work.