Questions on tile, homes in general

booklover63May 4, 2007

I have two questions that I would like to bring to the table here.

1. Has anyone had any experience putting down ceramic tile in living room or other area where water is not a factor. We would like to put a 4 by 8 or 4 by 6 rectangle of ceramic tile at the entrance, and then fill out the rest of the 16 by 16 floor with laminate flooring. Every tile store is telling us not to because of particle board sub-floor. My idea is to put down 1/2 exterior grade plywood and then Hardiboard and then the tile. My floor feels solid and not spongy. Any opinions?

2. More of a general question. Why in the heck aren't things in a mobile home built standard like they are in stick-built homes? We would like to do some remodeling in our 1996 Schult which would include putting new interior doors in as well as maybe replacing the kitchen sink. To go to Home Depot or Lowes for either project would require cutting a new hole in kitchen cabinet or buying solid core doors and cutting them because the opening is for a 78 inch door and not an 80 inch one. It seems to me the homes could be built as cheaply by using standard off the shelf material instead of making everything so d***ed hard to do. We need to put in a new front storm door so went to Lowes. They had to order it and their "mobile home door" was only 74 inches high. Our door is 79 inches high. Why does all this have to be so hard? I don't want to have to go to "mobile home suppliers" for my stuff!

Thanks for letting me rant.



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On the exterior doors....I have done about a dozen over the years and I simply cut the opening a little taller to fit a normal house size door. Then you can use a standard house dooer and storm door. Sometimes people have added roofs over the doorway that interfere with outswinging doors. You would have to look at your situaion if you use a storm door. The older MN's used outswinging main doors. Newer homes swing them in. You just have to do the cutting slowly and check that there are no wires that run through that space. If there are, hopefully there will be anough slack to be able to push the wires up into the space above the new door. We have only found wires there one time in doing this.
By changing to house doors, you will save yourself a lot of trouble and probably be able to buy the doors for half the price of MH doors.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 9:12AM
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A simple solution to the tiled entryway would be to glue a 1/4" hardi-backer to that area of the subfloor first. This is the material used by tile setters, and since the grout itself is pourous, any moisture would seep through to the subfloor without the backer board. Hardi-backer is a moisture barrier, which allows the moisture to remain in the grout until it evaporates.

By using the 1/4" hardi-backer, you won't have to pull up the old flooring and replace it with exterior plywood. Doing that, at this point would be remodeling something that doesn't need to be remodeled.

The transition from ceramic tile to laminated flooring will be a bit tricky, but you can get a graduated transition threshold piece that will bevel from one height to the other.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2007 at 4:39PM
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One of the reason mobile homes are built lighter is to make them light enough to transport. They must be low enough to go under bridges on the highway. Hence lower ceilings and (smaller, lightweight) doors. Adding weight might result in problems with future moves, axle, tire durability. I have not seen a mobile home floor structure that I consider suitable for ceramic tile. You might be pleased with some of the newer "Luxury" vinyl tiles.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 10:53AM
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I agree with bus_driver, in the "weight" assessment, and "height" restrictions.

The tile entryway that booklover is referring to would hardly add sufficient weight to create a problem. The floor area near the entry doors are generally supported better, since they are subject to higher, and repetetive traffic. Also, I believe the area was to be 4 X 6 or 4 X 8. I'd recommend no more than 4 X 6.

In addition, as bus_driver indicated, there are alternatives that would give the same look and "feel" of ceramic tile, would be less expensive to install, and not require as much labor. There are many laminate floor coverings that will mimic the ceramic and butt to the other vinyl flooring well (with a normal transition).

Check your local floor covering retailer. Quite often, I've been able to find 1/2 sheet "waste stock" for pennies on the dollar (to cover a closet floor, for example).

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 4:24PM
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I have a MH as well and we are considering the laminate flooring. That would be good just make sure you get the under laminate too. Most laminate flooring is not under warranty without it, plus it helps block moisture from getting to your subflooring. If you go with laminate I would suggest not going with anything less than 7mm thickness. The less you go the thinner it is and harder to put together. I personally recommend the 8mm. Its a little more expensive but will be better in the long run and easier to put together.

If you go with vinyl tile (peel and stick) I would suggest using additional adhesive in your high traffic areas. Otherwise it will come up and you'll find yourself replacing tiles. There's also a cheaper tile thats a plastic type. It's not real heavy, but not real pretty either. It's the type you'd see in a hospital or apartment complex. If your interested I will get the name of it when I go back to work.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2007 at 5:22PM
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For whatever reason, nothing in a MH is standard size. I retract the word 'nothing' because my 1997 MH has standard 2 x 6 outside walls. It is however possible to remodl things using some standard materials. I redid the entire kitchen ising cabinets, counter tops and sink purchased at Lowes. The only differences were a kitchen space 5" smaller and I had to mount the upper cabinets all the way up so there is no space above them. I even hung cabinets from the vaulted ceiling. I don't care about added weight as I don't plan to move the thing. Will sell in place.
In the bath I set down a hard backing and ceramic tile. No problem. The 30 gallon hot water tank was on a 220 breaker so we added another breaker, enlarged it to 50 gallons, eliminated the back door light and wired it 110. The 220 breaker I used to install an electric range instead of the propane one. All that using standard sizes with a lot of planning.
But we had constant freezes of the water pipes underneath so I ran the pipes straight up to get then into the home sooner. That way there would only be 18" of pipe under the home to freeze. The water lines were a problem because of the weird size. Only MH supplies would fit. I hated the price of those. In the end I purchased a fitting from the MH supplier which would enable me to change from the 13/16 gray plastic pipe to a standard PVC size. Plus added an inline heater in the 18" space. No more water freezes and the pipes are now in the wall inside. The door I can not change the size of. MH door only. The windows are way off size, 31 1/4 by 52 1/2. Checking those sizes at the MH supply got me $95 each. WOW!! so I'm getting windows from Lowes at $45 each and making the space 1/2 by 3/4 smaller to fit. And new carpets all around soon. Then sell.
I realize that this may add a lot of weight to the structure. But I am not moving it. If the next owner moves it the weight is their problem not mine. Of course I doubt it would be moved because the surrounding 5 counties do NOT allow a MH on its own land. PARKS only. Why? because MH come under the heading of motor vehicles and they cant be taxed as a house.
By the way....MH built after 2004 have standard sizes.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2007 at 1:20PM
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I'm wondering about a similar question. We have about a 60" x 112" bathroom and I would like to tear it down to the studs (it has vinyl on the drywall and 2x3 studs). I am planning on putting it 2x4s sideways to reinforce the walls, joint the ceiling to the drywall (there is "crown molding" to hide the fact that it's not taped/joined), and then put down a ready to tile shower pan, slate tile on the floor and tile the walls about 36" up (along with tiling the shower stall--floor and walls). I'm wondering would this be too heavy? This is on a permanent foundation, tied down on piers and considered part of the land/property as a whole--we would not be moving it. I'm thinking that since the bathroom is on an outside wall that it should be okay to do all this and it should be stable enough. It feels solid and there have been no leaks in the floor or walls. Thanks for any advice/suggestions.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 12:52PM
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I worked in marketing for one of the top end porcelain tile manufacturers in the US. Thus, I ripped up the carpet in my family room and laid porcelain tile. No problems however, keep in mind, my home while considered a double wide, also has drywall in livingroom, family room and dining room. The cabinet doors are oak and I have ceramic tile trim around the counters. You will need to either put a sub-floor down before installing tile or, and this is a trick used in trade-shows" use roofing paper _ heavy duty as an underlayment. Use regular thin set and grout, I would recommend if you are in a climate where temp varies a great deal, you go with the backerboard. It will prevent the grout from cracking which comes from the movement in the floor. You can also use epoxy grout, but this is very messy = well worth it, but might want to get a prof to do it. Hope it helps whomever is wanting to put tile their MH.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 4:59PM
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i didn't plan to post until my house was finished (still painting) and could post pictures, but this question is relevant. i just finished putting terracotta 12x12 tile in 1/2 of my home. i did it for passive solar purposes (and cause it looks nice) my son in law did the work; i had the house built with no flooring, just the subfloor. Destiny uses regular plywood not particle board. we put durock on it, then the thinset and tile. a few tiles have not stuck and the associated grout cracked, but we think it's because i bought tile on closeout at 33c each and they were bad. most of the house sticks fine. i used peel and stick wood plank vinyl for the rest of the house, sealed the plywood first and it sticks great.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 10:20PM
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