What Materials Are Mobile Homes Made Of?


Mobile homes and ordinary houses have a lot in common. But mobile homes are in some regards made from other materials, and/or the same materials are used differently in the construction process. This is partly to keep costs down, but also to keep the weight down, as mobile homes are often placed on a lighter foundation.

What characterizes a mobile home even more is where it was made. While brick and stick-built houses are constructed on-site, mobile homes are built in a factory and then transported to their permanent locations.

This article will be going through frequently asked questions from mobile homeowners and those considering getting a mobile home.

What Are Mobile Homes Made Of?

While not all mobile home walls are made from the same materials, there is a good chance they are made from either drywall or vinyl-covered drywall. If you come across walls made of wood, this is an indication that the mobile home is fairly old.

To be specific, most walls are made from the type of vinyl walls called VOG (vinyl over gypsum). VOG holds a similar style/look to wallpaper and tends to be the more popular choice over just drywall. The vinyl comes in long, lightweight strips reaching from floor to ceiling.

You will find that drywalls leave a better finish. However, VOG is widely versatile for decorating if you are unsatisfied with the outlook. It performs in more or less the same way as drywall and offers low maintenance with only a clean required now and again with a damp cloth.

What Are Mobile Home Bathtubs Made Of?

Mobile home bathtubs can be made out of the same materials as bathtubs in a full-size house. The four most popular materials are ABS plastic, fiberglass, enamel-coated cast iron, and porcelain-enamel steel.

What to use depends on the size and style of tub you require, your budget, and your personal preference.

  • ABS is cheaper and very lightweight, so all types of structure can support it. There are some reports of it being prone to cracking, however. 
  • A fiberglass bathtub is also an inexpensive and lightweight option. It isn’t great at holding heat, though, so it may not be great if you enjoy a long soak.
  • Cast iron is extremely hard-wearing. It holds heat well and is quite soundproof, so you can still hear the tv while running a bath. It is very heavy, though, so reinforcement may be needed
  • Enamel steel is cheaper than cast iron and more prone to chipping. It does still hold heat well and comes in a wide range of colors

What Are Mobile Home Cabinets Made Of?

Mobile home cabinets are built with medium-density fiberboard, also known as MDF, and is an engineered wood product.

The medium-density fiberboard is a smooth and dense material that is generally more durable than plywood and is also a sturdy yet lower-priced alternative to building the cabinets with solid wood. MDF wood also won’t warp, twist, shrink, crack or buckle like solid wood does, since it expands and contracts as heat and humidity fluctuates.

Some other benefits of cabinets built with MDF wood include:

  • Going green- MDF wood is made from recycled resin, wood, and fibers.
  • Lovely smooth and shiny surface- MDF wood offers a more flawless and sleek-looking product, and the smooth surface is easier to work with  
  • More resistant to pests- MDF wood is engineered with chemicals that are poisonous to many types of pesky bugs, such as termites

What Material is Used for Ceilings in a Mobile Home

Mobile home ceilings are made from gypsum board, commonly known as drywall, which is a type of lumber made up of many different pieces of wood similar to particleboard. It is then covered in a laminated coating that holds the pieces of wood in place and makes it waterproof.

Gypsum board is super-affordable and easy to install because it’s so lightweight though Contractors will generally replace ceilings in mobile homes with half-inch-thick drywall.

Contractors normally use five-eighths inch thick drywall for ceilings, but to use that thickness, they would have to reinforce the trusses to accommodate the extra weight from the thicker drywall. To save yourself the trouble and probably a trip to the chiropractor, choose a good VOG (vinyl on gypsum) board and replace it with what it was most likely factory-made to have in your ceiling.

What Are Mobile Home Countertops Made Of?

Nowadays quite an array of countertop models available for your mobile home. Here are the five most popular materials:

Laminate 

Laminate countertops are a cost-effective option and come in any color you could want. They don’t tend to stain and are easy to clean, but they often look somewhat cheap if a low-quality laminate is used.

Tile

Tiles look great, are waterproof, and completely resistant to heat too. Tiles are also inexpensive. They can easily be broken during installation, and if you select a light-colored grout, you may have problems with dirt and staining.

Steel

Steel is extremely durable, easy to clean, and reflects light to brighten up the kitchen. Steel is one of the more expensive options.

Granite

Granite countertops always look premium and add a luxury feel to the kitchen. It is expensive, will require professional fitting, and can chip at the corners, though.

Wood

Wood looks unique and brings a homey feel to the kitchen. It is resistant to scratching and long-lasting. However, unless it’s treated properly in advance, it is not waterproof and can warp. It also requires proper treatment to be heat resistant.

What Are Mobile Home Drain Pipes Made Of?

Unlike regular home pipes, mobile home drain pipes are often made of PVC as they’re cheaper and easier to maintain.

Commonly seen in dark grey or white, PVC pipes are lightweight and can withstand immense water pressure, making it a great pick for mobile homes. PVC pipes are also less vulnerable to corrosion and rust, making drain pipe maintenance a breeze while the owners are on the go.

In older models of mobile homes, copper pipes can still be found being used as drain pipes. This is as copper pipes are known to handle high temperatures well and resist corrosion over long term usage.

However, do bear in mind that mobile homes with copper pipes are not often seen today, so if you own a unit as such, it may be time to replace your drain pipes. Copper pipes are also expensive to source. Hence more mobile homeowners have leaned toward switching them out for PVC pipes.

What Are Mobile Home Siding or Exterior Walls Made Of?

Choosing the right material for mobile home sidings or the exterior wall is important for constructing a mobile home. Here are some popular picks and why:

Aluminum

Aluminum sidings have been a popular material for mobile home sidings since the 1960s. This is largely thanks to the material’s durability and friendly price tag, making it a good choice for many mobile homeowners.

Aluminum sidings are also known to be rust and bug resistant and can handle any types of weather conditions well.

Vinyl

Like aluminum, vinyl sidings are best known for their durability. This is as vinyl sidings are rust and weather resistant and can handle damages better than aluminum sidings. However, vinyl sidings are known to dirty easily with dirt and algae, so you’ll have to rinse it with a pressure washer to keep it clean often.

Wood panel

For greater aesthetics, wood panels have recently become the choice for mobile home sidings. While they may look great on the outside, wood panel sidings are known to be vulnerable to bugs, wood rots, and holes with constant exposure to weather.

Wood panels make mobile home maintenance a chore and should be used with care.

What Paint to Use on a Mobile Home Exterior?

Mobile homes are most often made from aluminum.  When painting metal, oil-based paint is highly recommended. Some more expensive paints are tailored to painting metal. Behr Premium Direct to Metal for mobile homes and Val-Spar Armor Enamel Spray is great if you are not working with a small budget. 

The first thing you should do is to power wash the mobile unit with Dawn dish soap. Having a clean palette for the paint is important. I recommend using Rustoleum spray paint on any areas that are beginning to show wear before you begin painting.

Choose a flat finish paint and apply it with a paint sprayer. Also, be sure to buy all your paint at the same time because tinting is very noticeable when painting the metal or aluminum on a mobile home unit. 

What AreMobile Home Interior Doors Made Of?

Doors in mobile homes tend to be made of wood or a vinyl composite material.

Wood looks the most high-end, but if it is too expensive, a good alternative is to get a solid core door instead. They have a plywood exterior with a core of wood fiber blend. It feels as heavy and solid as a wood door but is a lot more affordable.

Some mobile home owners choose wood doors with glass panels, both as a feature and to maximize the light inside. Glass paneled doors are also popular in closet doors to give a bedroom a slightly more classy look.

As opposed to a standard house, you will notice in mobile homes that there is a much larger than usual gap under each door. This gap can often be several inches. This is not the sign of a badly fitting door as the gap allows cold airflow through to the furnace.

What Are Mobile Home Exterior Doors Made of?

Manufacturers make mobile home doors with a vinyl or metal sheet on the inside and a vinyl or metal sheet on the outside. Between the two is a styrofoam center for insulation.

Manufacturers design stock trailer doors to meet but not exceed HUD requirements, so they do the basic things we expect of a door:

  • Maintain a tight seal when closed
  • Keep the elements out of the home

However, mobile home exterior doors do very little by way of security, so many people opt to upgrade and replace their mobile home door with a manufactured home door.

The replacement process has its challenges. Before you go shopping, you should know the dimensions of your door hole, if your hinges are on the right or left, what type of door you want for your mobile home (glass, hardware, design, embellishments, etc.).

Mobile homeowners should know that there is a wide variety of exterior doors to choose from. As each exterior door is often made of different materials, we’ll take you through what would work best for your specific needs:

Out-swing doors

These doors are the most common exterior doors for most mobile homes. They’re often made of polyethylene panels as it’s cheaper and easier to maintain.

These panels are then bonded with polyethylene foam insulation in the middle. Unfortunately, polyethylene exterior doors are vulnerable to weather and other accidental damages, so it must be used with care.

Combination doors

As its name suggests, combination doors are mobile home exterior doors that combine a door, a storm door, a jamb, a frame, and door installation hardware. Usually made of steel and polyurethane, combination doors are a preferred choice for mobile home exterior doors due to its durability and functionality to prevent water from entering your mobile home.

Do keep in mind that combination doors are often more expensive and may not be a good choice for mobile homeowners on a budget.

Are Mobile Home Doorknobs Different?

A standard doorknob will not fit on a mobile home door, even if the design of the doorknob appears to be similar. This is due to the different ways in which mobile home doors have been designed.

With a standard house door, there will be a metal plating on the side which is where the latch will sit. Mobile home doors will not have the same plating. In fact, it will often be just a hole where the latch comes out of. There will be nothing covering this hole.

If you purchase a standard doorknob for a mobile home, you will find that it doesn’t fit. This is because it will have that metal plate attached to the side. It simply will not go through the hole. If it did go through the hole, you wouldn’t be able to get the door closed. It would be too thick.

There are conversion kits available that can convert many conventional doorknobs to mobile home doors. However, the cost of this can often be quite prohibitive unless you really have your heart set on a specific design. Kwikset is the biggest manufacturer of these products.

What Are Mobile Home Floors Made Of?

When building a mobile home, manufacturers would often choose materials that can withstand various temperature conditions and other water resistance factors.

As such, it’s most common to see oriented strand boards (OSB), plywood, or particleboards being used as mobile home floors. But what are the differences between the three? Let’s find out:

  • Oriented strand boards: OSB is a material made of pressed wood strips and resin. While it can replicate the look and feel of particle boards, OSBs more popular due to its durability for mobile home floor use.
  • Plywood: Plywood is a material that’s made of pressed sheets of wood veneer. Many mobile homes use plywood as their material in making home floors as it’s known to withstand various temperature conditions and durable for long term use.
  • Particleboard: As its name suggests, particleboards are made of various particles in one. Very often, you’ll find materials such as woodchips, resin, and sawmill shavings in a single sheet of particleboard. Sawdust is also occasionally added to strengthen the construction of the particleboard further.

What Are Mobile Home Frames Made Of?

To ensure the stability of mobile homes, you’ll often find metal or steel is used to create the frame. These frames – occasionally referred to as the chassis, are then incorporated with materials such as removable hitches, axles, and wheels.

This helps to strengthen the mobile home base, making the frame more durable during transportation from one spot to another. Upon arrival, the hitches, axles, and wheels are often removed to make way for the home’s siding and skirting. These removable parts are later re-attached should you need to move your home.

Some mobile homes also feature a standard wood frame, although this has become a thing of the past as wood materials are more vulnerable to damage from bugs, wood rot, and holes. Once the frames have been set in stone, a vapor barrier is often placed on top before being layered by insulation fillings and finished with floors known as the decking.

What Are Mobile Home Tubs Made of?

The most common type of material you might encounter in your tub is ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) or fiberglass.

ABS is much more affordable, so it is often used in mobile homes but also turns dark yellow over time.  Rehabilitating your tub is not difficult, and there are many excellent videos out there that walk you through the process step by step. 

With a total cost of around $50.00 to revive your existing tub, it definitely beats replacing it, which can be upwards of $750.00 just for the installation. Depending on which tub you choose to replace it with, you could be looking at double or triple that.

If you choose to replace rather than restore, just be careful and do your research because you cannot just throw any tub into your mobile unit.  Weight is an issue, and floor joists won’t hold as much weight as they do in a standard home. 

What Are Mobile Home Interior Walls Made Of?

Unlike ordinary drywalls that are used in many houses, mobile homes often feature interior walls made of wall panels known as vinyl-on-gypsum, which is drywall finished with a vinyl coating.

VOG panels are mostly preferred for mobile home construction due to their lightweight and easy installation processes. Instead of tape, VOG joints are usually covered with batten strips when they are put together. A design layer is then painted over the VOG panels to give it the shiny outlook that you’ll often see in most mobile homes today.

Although VOG panels that make the interior walls can be left as-is, many mobile homeowners prefer to paint over these panels to give it a personalized touch.

If this is your preferred choice, it’s recommended that you remove the batten strip and fill in the seams of the VOG panels for a more uniformed and sleek paint job. Of course, you may also opt to leave these strips up, giving your home a more industrial finish.

What Are Mobile Home Roofs Made Of?

Like regular homes, choosing the right roof for mobile homes is an important task as you want to ensure that the roof can withstand various weather and temperature changes.

When a roof is not set up properly, you’ll run the risk of water leaks and other damages to your mobile home. Here are some of the preferred materials to use when setting up mobile home roofs:

Steel

Steel roofs are popular due to its durability to withstand all types of harsh weather and temperature changes across the year. Steel roofing, however, does not sit well for homes made of lumber work unless they are constructed with 2 x 6-foot lumbers.

To help make the mobile home warmer, a layer of insulation can also be added when using steel materials for the roof.

Traditional shingles

To replicate the look of regular homes, some mobile homeowners will also choose to use traditional shingles for their roofing. Using shingles made of fiberglass or asphalt are both great choices as they are water-resistant and last longer.

However, it’s important to note that a mobile home’s support structure may not always be able to hold up shingle roofing, so only a single layer of traditional shingles should be used.

What Are Mobile Home Showers Made Of?

Shower units are an integral part of mobile homes as it’s what completes the space. There are a variety of materials to choose from when creating mobile home showers, with these selections being the most popular these days:

Fiberglass

Mobile home showers made of fiberglass has become increasingly popular due to its durability over years of use. Although they may occasionally come with a high price tag, fiberglass showers are a great pick if you wish to customize your shower as they often come in a variety of shapes and styles.

ABS plastic

ABS plastic or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene is a great choice for anyone building a mobile home under budget. Not only is ABS plastic known to be durable, but it’s also easier to clean, affordable, and simple to install.

However, the downside to ABS plastic is that they’re known to turn into a mustard yellow color over time. If this does not serve as a problem for you, then ABS plastic will make the ideal material for your home shower.

What Is Mobile Home Skirting Made Of?

The good news about mobile home skirting is that there is a wide variety to choose from. Here are some of the most popular materials for mobile home skirting today:

Vinyl

Vinyl skirting is the most popular material for most home skirtings due to its affordability.

While it’s sturdy for regular use, vinyl skirtings are not ideal for long term use as it may not withstand harsh weather or temperature changes.

Metal or tin

Many mobile home owners use metal or tin for their skirting. This is as these materials are easy to source, cheap to buy, simple to install, and most importantly can withstand every kind of environmental change.

Metal skirting is also easily personalized as you can apply layers of paint on it over time.

Faux brick

For a more stylish look, faux brick skirtings are a great choice. While they don’t come cheap, faux brick skirtings are known to be very durable to harsh weather conditions and temperature changes.

Some faux brick skirtings may require plywood backing during the installation process, making the skirting sturdier.

Rasmus

Hi, my name is Rasmus. I'm a huge fan of alternative living arrangements and the many ways people are escaping the 9 to 5 grind. Whether it's van dwelling or homesteading, if it allows for more freedom in your life then I'm all ears! I've been exploring different aspects of this lifestyle for over three years now and have learned so much. From solar power to worm farming, if there's something out there that helps us live differently - I want to know about it!

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