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I am always looking for info on how to redecorate or fix things in my 1989 three-bedroom mobile home. All the regular sites are geared towards real houses and don't hit on the particular peculiarities of these kind of homes. Does anyone know of any sites or info they may have run across? I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one out there who would be interested.
By LINDA CHAMPLIN from Southern Adirondacks in NY
Boy, oh, boy! Have I got a website for you! I also live in an old 1981 single wide & it's not always fun!
Click on "decorating" on the left hand side when you log on. They also have some very cool tips, tricks & supplies for repairing mobile homes. They also sell manuals for fixing mobiles along with "Underbelly kits" & information on re-roofing.
As far as decorating, it's not much different than decorating a regular house. With several exceptions, one being, you can't hang wallpaper without taping & filling in the wall-cracks (the wall paneling) & you can't hang shelves or anything that's even a tiny bit heavy on the wall. You have to use shelves that sit on the floor, not that hang on a wall.
Things I've learned since living in an older mobile home:
1) In 1979 they changed the laws about building mobile homes, that means any mobile build before 1979 is made much worse that a mobile made after that (Mine is just on this side of that year! - 1981) Also, there's different regulations for mobiles that go to different climates in the USA.
2) I've heard it from someone that took apart a WHOLE mobile home & sold it for scrap & he said that Bathtubs are very hard to replace because the manufactures put the tub in first, then they build the rest of the trailer around the bathroom... The bathtub may look normal on the outside, but he said he found massive amounts of staples holding it to the floor & wall & it was very difficult to remove!
3) In older mobiles, the only thing on the shower wall is thin paneling then contact paper, That's all! (My shower is made like this!)
4) Don't ever put a water bed in a mobile or anything very heavy as the floor can warp or even break!
5) Be sure your mobile is tied down well if you live where tornadoes & hurricanes are.
6) Watch out for electric outlets under windows! My aluminum framed windows leak & the water goes right down (inside) the wall all winter! So never use an outlet directly under a sweating window! Use a piece of plastic for a windowsill & caulk. I used plastic garden edging to replace the windowsill so the water wouldn't drip inside my wall.
7) If you hang a large rug on the wall between rooms or on an outside wall it will help insulate sound & save energy costs.
8) Cover windows with blinds AND curtains on the inside & clear Plastic on the outside for energy savings.
9) Plant a large shade tree on the South side of your mobile, it greatly helps with summer heat.
10) The carpeting, cupboards, sinks & tubs are the cheapest you can buy! Replace them if you can afford to.
11) Be sure your dryer is vented to the OUTSIDE of your trailer, not under it!
12) Don't hang stuff from the ceiling or walls.
13) Be sure you have skirting ALL around the mobile that animals can't get into!
15) A BIG rug over your wall-to-wall carpet helps insulate even more.
16) It's about $2000 - $2500 (in Seattle-Tacoma area) to have a mobile home torn down & carted off (more if it has asbestos)
17) Free mobile homes are fairly easy to come by, cheap or sometimes free. You pay to haul them to your property (because mobile home parks are being sold to build condos, etc & the owners have no where to move them).
18) Replace your old water heater BEFORE it leaks everywhere. Mine is in my bedroom closet.
Any other tips from mobile home owners? We all appreciate your info, especially from those with older mobiles.
I live in a 1985 doublewide. We have slowly taken the cheap paneling out and replaced with sheetrock.
Now my room looks like a house! We also put new siding on the outside with some new windows, now I have windowsills! We opened up the wall between the living room and kitchen, and got more open space and also it helps with heating and cooling.
Here's a site for installing dry wall:
Wow! vguy sure did a WHOLE lot of very cool stuff to their mobile home! But use care when you do anything that extensive! Unless you really know what you're doing, think twice about taking out walls (maybe they are needed for structure) or putting in sheet rock (because of the extra weight) Of course, if you know what you're doing, then by all means, go for it! If not, you might want to hire a structural engineer or ask at a mobile home manufacturer before you go to crazy. I know my floor couldn't take the weight of sheet rock because it's already BADLY warped (it seems I'm always walking up or down hill!). I don't know if it's because a small earthquake was centered under the place some 10 years back, or because of the heavy trains that go right through my backyard & shake the place like it's jello.
Either way, the previous owners had to cut several inches off the bottom of the doors so they would shut... LOL! This place is a mess, but at least it's paid for, the roof doesn't leak & it still looks fairly good & it's home. (Never mind the bright pink kitchen cupboards the previous owner painted!) SHEESH! & you other old mobile owners thought YOU had it bad. *grin* (I have my work cut out for me) Oh well. It's not all bad, I love the large metal building with the shop & pottery studio out back, & like I said, it & the small lot it sits on is totally paid for & in this day & age (of so many evictions) as long as I pay the taxes, at least I'll always have a place to live!
I would say the best place to get new ideas for decorating your mobile home would be the way I look for new ideas for my house. When I look for new ideas I go to open houses in new subdivisions (houses that are much more expensive then mine I might add) then use the ideas I like in my home. I would suggest touring a mobile home dealer and looking at the newest models they have. They pay a ton of money to have the display models staged for potential buyers. You may even be able to buy some of the supplies at the plant at a cheaper price then somewhere else. Good luck to you and let me know if you find something you like.