Can You Put Tile In A Mobile Home? (Find Out Now!)

Dennis Howard
by Dennis Howard

Mobile, or manufactured, homes are becoming more and more prevalent across the US. As homeowners begin to upgrade and remodel their mobile homes, many questions are asked about what materials are best to use in mobile home remodels. One of the most asked is about tile. Homeowners wonder if you can put tile in a mobile home.

It is quite possible to install tile flooring in a mobile home. Considering the quality of finishes in many mobile homes, tile flooring is a natural alternative. There are some special considerations to take to ensure the best installation. The mobile home should be level, with the subflooring sound and a proper substrate put down before the tile is installed.

A mobile home is a huge investment for many homeowners and adding to the value of their home is always a goal. Upgrading flooring is one of the best ways to make your home more loveable and create value. However, mobile homes present special challenges when laying tile floors. Understanding these challenges will help you avoid problems later with your new tile floors.

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What You Should Understand About your Mobile Home

Before you start any remodel project in your mobile home, there are some things you should understand. These things make doing any construction work a bit different in a mobile home. If you go into a remodeling project, such as laying new flooring, with this knowledge, the job can go much easier.

Make Sure Everything is Level

Before you start any remodeling project in your mobile home, make sure that the mobile home is level. The nature of manufactured housing lends them to slowly shifting as time passes. Most manufactured housing builders recommend periodic releveling of the home. Keeping your mobile home level is important for several reasons.

  • Trailer frames are flexible, and as different parts of the supports shift or subside, the frame may warp or twist. This can lead to doors that don’t open properly, cracks in wall finishes, or gaps on exterior walls.
  • A trailer frame that is not level creates stresses in the metal trailer frame that can eventually cause structural damage to the trailer.
  • The entire structure of the trailer may twist and warp with the trailer frame. This twisting and warping can damage the structural members of the home’s walls and roof.

In any case, trying to lay tile on an uneven floor surface is next to impossible. Have your home inspected, including all the subfloor supports, and releveled if necessary.

Don’t Expect Your Mobile Home to Be Square

The flexibility that must be built into most mobile homes often leaves some places where corners don’t meet at a perfect ninety-degree angle. Rooms may be out of square, which can make installing tile a challenge.

A bit of preplanning can make the job go easier. Consider where furniture is normally placed in the room and deal with any out-of-square issues where the furniture will hide the problem. If a grout line falls close to a wall and doesn’t lay perpendicular, having a couch of the line will disguise the problem.

Inspect the Subflooring in your Mobile Home Carefully

Subflooring in mobile homes is the source of many issues for most homeowners. Unfortunately, the subflooring material used by most mobile home manufacturers is Particleboard or MDF. Both products don’t stand up to moisture well and begin to deteriorate after a few years, leaving floors spongey or sagging.

If necessary, you should replace the subflooring of your mobile home with something more substantial such as marine grade plywood that resists moisture. Laying tile on a spongey or sagging sub-floor will never work out well. Cracks and chipped tile are the most common results.

Bathrooms and kitchens are the places where the most sub-flooring problems occur in mobile homes. These areas are the most prone to water infiltration that causes the sub-flooring to fail. In most cases, if you intend to install expensive tile flooring in your mobile home, it is worth the investment to upgrade the subflooring at the same time

Choose Your Tile Carefully

The type of tile you choose is as important as the structural condition of your mobile home. Certain tile and stone flooring types are heavy and may require additional structural work to make your mobile home ready. In general, the trailer frame and the sub-flooring or your mobile home will handle the weight of most flooring tiles on the market.

Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles are made from feldspar and clay, covered with a glaze, and then fired at high temperatures. The glaze adds color or pattern to the surface of the tile and is a form of glass. Ceramic tiles are lighter than many other kinds of tile and stone and are especially suitable for installing in a mobile home.

Porcelain Tiles

Porcelain tile is a bit different from ceramic tile. Porcelain tile contains kaolin. Kaolin adds strength to the tile. This makes porcelain tile excellent for high-traffic areas.

Stone Tile

Stone tile is a popular choice with many people. One downside of stone tile is the weight and the tendency to crack. Many stone tiles are much less resistant to flexing and make cracks in a mobile home installation as it moves and settle on their supports.

Laminate Alternatives

An alternative to tile is some of the new laminate flooring materials. Laminates over strength, durability, and resistance to cracking. The finishes on some of the higher-quality laminate flooring look just like tile. You can find patterns that closely match porcelain, ceramic and even stone. One advantage is cost. Laminate flooring is often cheaper to purchase and install than tile.

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Upgrading the Flooring in Your Mobile Home

Adding new flooring to your mobile home is a great way to add a new flair to your living space. It is possible to lay tile in a mobile home. The preparation done before the tile installation is the key to a long-lasting tile installation. Find a tile installer who understands the challenges of a mobile home installation and work with them to get the best results.

Dennis Howard
Dennis Howard

Dennis is a retired firefighter with an extensive background in construction, home improvement, and remodeling. He worked in the trades part-time while serving as an active firefighter. On his retirement, he started a remodeling and home repair business, which he ran for several years.

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