Remodeling a manufactured home-what can be done/not done

3 Replies

Hello, just wondering if anyone has experience gutting and remodeling a 1976 double wide manufactured home. The whole place has the old wood paneling on the inside and metal siding on the outside. I would like to replace the inside with drywall and the outside with hardi plank. I'm wondering if the amount of weight added with these materials is going to be ok. The "home" is not on a foundation.

Thanks, Greg

A lot will depend on the construction. Do you have 2x8 floor joists? What are the exterior wall studs. A lot of older pre HUD home were using 2x3 exterior studs. What is the condition of the studs and the bottom plates? Hardieboard can add a lot of weights and also be hard on old studs that may have suffered water damage. Metal siding may look dated, but it is very long lasting. If the siding isn't in bad shape, this could be a very expensive change for little benefit. Maybe instead of Hardieboard look at vinyl siding if you are concerned about weight.

If the paneling isn't too bad I would leave it.  I just rented out an older 1982 singlewide and the new tenant LOVES the wood paneling.  She was very upset that we had to paint over some because a previous owner had put up some horrid wallpaper and when it was removed the paneling was in too bad of shape to restore.  If you are wanting a newer look of painted walls, you can fill the seams and cracks with spackling and tape and bed or texture as desired then paint it and it will look like a normal sheetrock wall. 

Over all the big question is cost benefit for the changes. This is a pretty old home and is pre-HUD so may need a lot of other improvements and upgrades. I usually try to avoid pre-HUD homes just because they are usually not standard construction and pretty often a bit too cheaply made for me. While you are looking at things to fix, the biggest one I find is lots of soft spots to downright holes in the particle board subfloors. Sometimes it is easier to just the whole subfloor up and replace it with 3/4" plywood. I have seen some they have gone over with hardboard or even thicker plywood over the old subfloor, but I don't like that option because it always seems to leave uneven places and decreases your headroom which is tight in older MHs even further.

If you are going to do much with MHs I would highly recommend the book _The Manual for Manufactured/Mobile Home Repair and Upgrade_ by Mark Bower.  This is it on Amazon:

I have seen several older MHs redone the way you are describing. A couple of them just textured right over the existing paneling and it looked great. An easy fix to not have to hang new drywall!

Agree on texture over paneling. T1-11 siding and vinyl windows will make a unit look new BUT adds a lot of cost, as well as time, to a project. If the roof has shingles, that's a plus. 

One park I worked in required shingles whenever one sold. So the seller or new buyer had to upgrade the roof. Sometimes a good size job.

Talk to some local contractors with manufactured home experience for some tips also.

Good luck and have fun.

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