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Installing Hardwood Floors in a Mobile Home

Myra Smith

Mobile homes built a few years ago did not have hardwood floors. The floors were covered either in carpet or sheet linoleum. The manufacturers at that time did not feel that hardwood floors would stand up to the stress incurred in transport, though research has proven this theory wrong.

Mobile homes built for today’s market are stronger, and some manufacturers are offering hardwood as an option. Mobile homes purchased today rarely move after the initial delivery and set-up.

Hardwood Flooring Choices

Floating hardwood floors are a good choice for mobile homes because they are not nailed to the subfloor. The inherent movement of mobile homes due to changes in temperature does not affect this type of flooring.

The floating hardwood floors are tongue and groove, featuring either a snap-together installation or the use of glue when assembling the flooring.

Nailed-down hardwood flooring is nailed to the subfloor in the mobile home, leaving a slight gap at the walls to allow for movement. The baseboard covers this gap.

Installing Floating Flooring

Floating hardwood floors require the removal of carpeting and padding before installation. This type of floor can be installed over tile or linoleum floors, provided they have no holes or rough places. Repair any holes in the subfloor and use filler to assure that the floor is level. After the removal of carpeting and padding, go over the floor and remove any remaining staples or nails. Check the subfloor for holes and soft spots. Repair if required.

Thoroughly clean the subfloor or linoleum by sweeping or vacuuming. If underlayment is recommended by the flooring manufacturer, roll it out over the cleaned floor as directed.

Begin installation of the floating floor along the longest wall in the room. Lay out the first row of flooring with the tongue side into the room. Install the next row by snapping the groove side to the tongue side of the first row. Stagger the butt joints of the second row. Continue until all flooring is installed.

Install transition strips where the new flooring meets a different type of flooring or carpet.

Nailed Harwood Flooring

Mobile homes are generally manufactured using particleboard for the subfloor. This type of subfloor does not hold nails well. Flooring manufacturers recommend that plywood or a similar product be nailed to the subfloor. Be sure to nail into the floor joist. The thickness of this product will depend upon clearances of any doors opening into the room.

Air or electric nail guns make this installation go faster and are available at most rental centers. Follow the flooring manufacturer’s directions for the size of nails or staples required.

Lay out the first row of the flooring along one wall with the tongue side into the room. Nail this row in place and slide the next row into place with the groove side toward the tongue side of the first row. Stagger the butt joints.

Cleaning and Care of the New Flooring

Follow manufacturer’s recommendation for products and methods to care for the new flooring. A properly installed and cared for floor will give many years of service and stay beautiful.