It’s almost an inevitability in older mobile homes and even in some newer manufactured homes – that is, fixing or replacing a sagging subfloor. The subfloor is the wood under your flooring, the carpet or vinyl or parquet. In older mobile homes it was typically particle board, but in manufactured homes (the term now used for mobile homes) the subfloor is more often plywood. But in either case, the subfloor is particularly susceptible to sagging from water damage – the usual cause of the problem.
Maybe it hasn’t happened yet in your Tucson, AZ, mobile home, but it likely will at some point. So whether you just want to tackle a DIY project yourself or need to prep your mobile home for a sale, it pays to know how to fix this problem (unless, of course, you want to take the easier and faster route and sell to a Tucson mobile home buyer). Let’s see, then, how to fix a sagging subfloor in a mobile home.
Eliminate the Cause of the Mobile Home Sagging Subfloor
The first thing to do before you fix a sagging subfloor in your Tucson mobile home is to eliminate the cause of the sagging. And most of the time, that cause is water damage from leaks or repeated exposure (spills, dampness, and so on). So your first job is to find out where the water is coming from and then rectify that problem.
Typically, the bathroom is the first place to develop a sagging floor owing to all the water appliances and chances for leaks and spills. So check around sinks, tubs, and toilets to see if you can locate any leaks – and it doesn’t have to be much of a leak to result in subfloor damage over a period of months or years. When you locate the leak, fix it right away.
Washing machines and windows are also common culprits. If you have a sagging floor in the laundry area, check the washing machine supply lines and drain hose. Be aware, too, that the machine itself can leak, so be sure to check under the washing machine. Very often, single-pane mobile home windows (but not so much the more common double-pane windows in manufactured homes) can contribute to sagging subfloors through run-off condensation or leaks around them. Fixing the source of the problem may be as simple as caulking around the windows.
In addition, soft spots in the floor can develop in areas where water accumulates. It could, for example, be spills near the kitchen sink when kids wash dishes or soggy areas around pet water bowls. So, again, before fixing sagging subfloors, address these issues to ensure they don’t recur.
Process of Repairing Sagging Subfloor in Your Mobile Home
Now, after eliminating causes, it’s time for you to actually fix that sagging subfloor. The process usually entails these steps . . .
Remove Floor Covering
Your first step will be to remove the floor covering in the affected area. Typically, that means cutting out and removing a section of linoleum or vinyl flooring or pulling back the carpet. This part of the process often requires that you also remove some of the floor trim (baseboard) to make it easier to remove vinyl or pull back carpet.
Take up the Subfloor
After removing the flooring to expose the affected portion of the subfloor, you’ll need to cut out and remove that portion of the particle board or plywood. You can do this with a circular saw set at an appropriately blade depth to cut only through the subfloor. Make sure, too, that you cut in the middle of floor joist so thay you have something to nail or screw the new subfloor to. (And be careful not to cut through nails and ruin your blade!) Then, just take up and discard the old, rotten portion of subfloor.
A word of caution here: before using the saw to cut out the section, find out where all water lines, drain pipes, and wires are. If you cut through any of these, you’ll have a huge job on your hands. Any experienced help you can recruit for this step will be a big plus.
Check Condition of Joists
Next, before putting down the new subfloor, check the condition of the floor joists. The water damage may have also caused them to rot and decay. If that’s the case, you’ll also need to replace the affected joists. It won’t do any good to fix a sagging subfloor in your mobile home if the supporting joists are decaying and sagging.
Install New Subfloor
If the joists are in good shape, you’re ready to replace the subfloor in the area you’re working on. Don’t get in a hurry here! The replacement piece (or pieces) of plywood must be cut to exact size so there aren’t any big gaps where it butts up to the existing subfloor – which could result in a noticeable indention in the vinyl flooring afterward. It’s also a good idea to scab extra 2x6s or 2x8s (of appropriate length) onto the joists to provide more support and to give you more joist surface to nail or screw to.
You’ll also need to bring out your level to make sure the new portion of subfloor is as level as the rest. Do this before you nail or screw it down. Problems here can be fixed with thin strips or shims on top ot the joists where needed.
Replace Floor Covering and Trim
Finally, the last step is to replace the floor covering (or install new flooring in some cases). Then you just replace any trim you had to remove . . . and you’re done.
When You Need to Sell a Tucson Mobile Home Fast
It may very well be that you’re fixing a sagging a subfloor in your Tucson mobile home because you plan to sell it and need to get it in the best shape possible. It can be, however, quite an undertaking requiring some experience and expert skill. It can also be a lengthy process, which is, of course, a problem if you need to sell a Tucson mobile home fast.