Questions about home mods/fixups - Posted by John T (WI)

Posted by Lyal on January 27, 2007 at 18:52:37:

Get a swag kit from Menard’s. It’s basically zip cord (2 conductor) woven through a fancy chain. Comes with fancy hooks that screw into the ceiling (on a joist of course). Drill a hole through the metal fan case, put in a black grommet (Menard’s again or any hardware store), thread the cord through it and connect with wire nuts. Put the fancy hooks in the ceiling about 3 feet or so apart heading towards the one outlet that in most mobile home living rooms is connected to the switch. The last hook should be against the wall directly above the outlet. Hang the cord down, plug it in and you’re done. Takes a little trial but it’ll give you overhead lighting and look a lot better than stapled wires.


Questions about home mods/fixups - Posted by John T (WI)

Posted by John T (WI) on January 26, 2007 at 15:44:01:

Looked at 4 park owned homes today that they said they don’t really have time to fix up. 2 sucked (14x60 2/1 that had been for sale 5-6 years…may have termites!, and a '86 14x72 2/2 that had a water leak…MAJOR warpage all over, still has charred, exposed floor joists outside from fire several years ago). 2 may be possible, but I have a couple of questions:

One has one of those big, multi-pane bow windows which just really sucks the heat out. Anything I can do about these? (cheaply)? It also has some soft floor that will need to be replaced, otherwise usual carpet tearout and paint, and probably replace bathroom. There is also a cieling fan that has an extension cord running along the cieling and wall, held on with wire staples to an outlet. UGH! This is a '75 freedom 14x60 2/1.

The other is a '78 14x70, 2/1. This is oviously original decor! dark wood paneling, dark kitchen cabinets (with grooves like the panelin). Holes in the bathroom floor, and possible roof leak? (ceiling stains anyway, but they were dry, and PM didn’t know how recently the roof had been sealed. What can I do about the cabinets? they are sound, but DARK and DATED. Some folks have mentioned filling the panel grooves with drywall compount and paiting, but these walls are real wood and have a rough texture. Skim coat it for a stucco look?
This one also has some dated hanging lights, and spindles and stuff in the room divider (kitchen/living room).

And a pressing question, what can you do about applying roof sealer in the winter’s snow and cold?

How do you access the ceiling in those ceiling that look like panels divided by metal strips (not drop cielings)that seems to be common in MH’s?

And finally, both have 60 amp screw-in fuse boxes. Should these be replaced as a matter of course, or left as-is?


Bay window replacement article - Posted by Scott (wa)

Posted by Scott (wa) on January 30, 2007 at 12:42:01:

I don’t know if this is OK to mention a different web site for mobile home repair stuff here.

On that note:

check out this URL:

They are replacing a “bay window” in this article.

The book this site offers — The Manual for Manufactured/Mobile Home Repair & Upgrade.

Is a great overview of mobile home fix up and remodel methods and procedures. I have a copy and I find it very worth it at $30,in time and material costs on the first rehab.

If this post is deleted, sorry in advance

Scott (Wa)

Time to put it to the test… - Posted by John T (WI)

Posted by John T (WI) on January 29, 2007 at 13:48:53:

Cause the park accepted my offers on both homes! I’m gonna be busy this week, first with paperwork then with buying some stuff that happens to be on sale this week!


Re: Questions about home mods/fixups - Posted by Steve-WA

Posted by Steve-WA on January 26, 2007 at 20:09:01:

roof: dont worry about sealing the whole thing - just catch penetrations, seams, and edges with Henry’s sealant - look at 208 here:

that one is for wet and cold application - basically, roof tar

cabinets and walls - who cares? If it REALLY is an inhibitor to a sale, then just paint with Kilz - everybody likes the bright of white. It is a sealant/primer, and many here just use it as the only paint. I prefer an interior WalMart ColorPlace brand stock bawse, like country white, or Antique White, which is really kind of a light khaki color - these are stock colors, on the shelf, about $55 for a 5 gal. BUT - if a sealer is needed because of smoke, smell, etc, then Kilz it is.

The bay (bow?) window is just a hole in the wall - measur ethe hole, and see if Lowe’s has a window in stock, and replace the whole mess. I can get a 4’ x 8’ double pane vinyl for $150, off the shelf. Putty tape and 1/4" hex head screws and you’re in business - even I can replace a window, if the hole is measured right.

Ceiling - why do you want to access the ceiling? The strips come down - they cover the seams. If it cant be done except destructively, then consider replacing with paneling, backwards, and painted white.

John, your clientele is usually not as picky as you might think. Often, they are happy to have a roof over their head. Usually not necessary to remodel, just make it clean and safe. If they dont like dark walls or cabinet doors, then they can paint them.

The power is probably the one thing that you mention that might be considered for upgrading - todays household has a lot of electrical demands, computers, microwaves, cordless phones, big screen TVs, washer/dryer, etc. A 200 amp box is about $110, and breakers are a few bucks. Probably a safety upgrade to consider.

But it may not be necessary. If power is there, provide the upgrade as an option, but it will increase their down, or monthly . . .

just random thoughts

some ideas… (long post) - Posted by Brenda (OH)

Posted by Brenda (OH) on January 26, 2007 at 17:06:43:


Guess what? i am rehabbing a 1975 2/1, and perhaps some of what I have done so far will work for you!

Do any of the windows open in the bow window?
I have almost the exact same window, that the two outside ones open, and the middle ones do not.

I had the matching detachable storm windows, and I installed and permanently caulked the windows onto the two middle, non-opening windows, with clear caulk and where needed with paintable caulk, to make my own double paned window! They do get a little condensation in them, but no breezes come through. I am going to replace the two remaining windows that open with regular MH windows. the current ones on it are the awning style and had to be permanently screwed into the frame for the window. otherwise, they stuck open about 1/2 inch!

I will be able to add interior storm windows to those two windows if I choose to before I sell it.

I just painted a bathroom vanity that is a plastic printed lainate over particle board, with two accent grooves in it that are a lot like panel grooves. I scuffed the finish a little with sandpaper, then primed and painted to match the wall color. It looks good, but I only did it two days ago, so I don’t know if it is a permanent repair yet! I did the whole bathroom in semi gloss, I am not sure I would do that again, it is such a small room for so much “shine”. The paint dept guy had suggested I tint the primer to match the finish coat color. That worked out really really well for what I was doing. I was painting a buttery yellow over white walls. I did not prime the painted wall, only where I had repaired the walls, added a closet etc. I think I will have to do a second coat where I used the “pre-primed” paneling on the wall, the finish coat did not seem to take as well on their primer as on the tinted primed areas or the previously painted walls. Oh well…

I have primed and painted paneling in my apartment building, it held up fine. I had to use a brush to get into the paneling groove, other than that, i used a roller. It was only on the lower half of the wall, and it looks like wainscoating since it has a top piece of molding on it. I would think real wood would be better to work with, no chance of the moisture in the paint swelling it up. Primer is probably the key to get a good paint finish. I just made shelfs for a mini closet I installed in a MH bathroom, and once the final coat was on, they looked like just what they were, nicely painted plywood! so it will be your choice, does painted wood match the “decor” you are going for?

Lights are easy to replace, walmart has some affordable lights and ceiling fans.

Now, on this one I am not an expert, but if blue tarps work on SFH roof leaks, why not on a MH roof, especially if you tie it down to the ground at all 4 corners, maybe to cinder blocks? You are only looking to stabilize the situation until you get a dry day over about 40 degrees or whatever temp the sealing product label suggests is needed to apply, right?

that is the end of your questions that I felt qualifed to put 2 cents in, time to let someone brain storm with you… I am looking forward to hearing the rest of the answers, I probably will need them for th e1975 before I finish…


Brenda (OH)

Congrats… now you may need… - Posted by Brenda (OH)

Posted by Brenda (OH) on January 30, 2007 at 09:18:44:

Hey John! way to go

Here are some books you might want…
the link is for a repair website that sells a repair manual that is good but a little pricey…

Amazon sells the foremost guide, as does the Mr Landlord site (probably cheaper at Mr Landlord)

Foremost Mobile Home Fix It Guide: Your Manufactured Home Repair Book (Paperback)

Blevins is a mobile home parts catalog with stores in some areas. I saw an archive that says contact a local MH movers to see where they get parts, they need lots of skirting etc and will have found the closest sources.

good luck with your new adventure…


Re: Questions about home mods/fixups - Posted by Joe-Ga

Posted by Joe-Ga on January 28, 2007 at 08:31:30:

I just redone a set of those dark cabinets with a coat of Kilz, then over laid that with a coat of rustolium gloss white.Looks very clean and neat.I also visited a local cabinet store I use and got some "replacement hinges and handles… Laid shelf paper inside… Looks better than a new set of birch ones… haha,… for about $25.00

Re: Questions about home mods/fixups - Posted by John T (WI)

Posted by John T (WI) on January 26, 2007 at 22:59:48:

Steve, One of the reasons I want access to the ceilings in this one home is that the long cord from the ceiling fan to the outlet looks DUMB. Works, but dumb looking.

One of the reasons I brought up the paneling was that the wood is very “textured” with its woodgrain. I would think just painting it white would not look good. I haven’t tried to paint something this textured.

I will measure the window on the return trip and take some measurements and see what local stores carry, although find it amazing you got a such a huge window for only $150.


Re: some ideas… (long post) - Posted by John T (WI)

Posted by John T (WI) on January 26, 2007 at 17:28:04:

Brenda, Some good ideas indeed! The bow window, IIRC, was 6 single panes wide, about 4’ high. I think the panes were about 12" wide. I may go back for a second look with the wife this weekend, and will try to note the size (or take pics).
The tarp idea isn’t bad, I just hope it doesn’t take too long to warm up! we’re in for some cold days in the forecast (below freezing) for several days.

I hope some more folks put their two cents in.


Re: Congrats… now you may need… - Posted by John T (WI)

Posted by John T (WI) on January 30, 2007 at 13:09:44:

Thanks Brenda.

I picked up the foremost book (and a couple of extra copies for eventual buyers…how convient is that?) a couple of months ago. It did help a lot.

The PM did give me the name of the place where they buy their MH stuff, I need to check it out.


Re: Questions about home mods-paneling - Posted by stevo

Posted by stevo on January 31, 2007 at 12:04:48:

I had similar textured paneling in my first home. In one bedroom, I used drywall mud, glazed everything and painted. That sucked. On the rest of the rooms, I bought a texture gun and applied several layers until the grooves in the paneling were minimal. Ended up being much easier and faster in the long run as there was no sanding. Plus it gave me an excuse to buy more toys, um, I mean tools. I also used latex paintable caulk to fill the cracks between the panels. A texture gun is $50-70, and the texture is less than $10 per bag. Just be sure to have a good 1/2 drill and mixer for the “mud”.

For those who aren’t fortunate enough to have a Menards in your area, you are really missing out. Lowes and HD can not hold a candle to one of these stores.

Re: Questions about home mods/fixups - Posted by Steve-WA

Posted by Steve-WA on January 26, 2007 at 23:58:11:

Lots of even brand new stick built homes have no ceiling fixtures in bedrooms. That is dumb too - but it is an apparent standard. Perhaps you want to snake romex thru the ceiling - I’m sure a buyer would appreciate it, but does it bring dollars through the door? Not being critical; just something to consider.

Textured paneling - I have no idea. You could replace, or just cover. Skim coat may be the way to go - but again, why? But I don’t know how it looks. If its too crappy, then it wont sell. I’d try to sell it with the walls as they are for a couple of weeks, then skim coat and paint (or replace).

Yeah, it was amazing. Next time I’m in the store, I’ll try to get a photo of the price tag on the window -
Framing in to reduce a window size is an option - you could add accent siding over OSB to make up for the reduced siding area. I just did one like this, replacing two adjacent sliders with 2x3 windows - I’ll get photos up soon.

Re: Congrats… now you may need… - Posted by Michael(KCMO)

Posted by Michael(KCMO) on January 30, 2007 at 18:36:44:

Be sure the local places know you’re a “dealer” and get you set up in their system as such. Can make as much as a 100% difference in price buying wholesale as opposed to retail.

Good luck,

Re: Questions about home mods/fixups - Posted by John T (WI)

Posted by John T (WI) on January 27, 2007 at 10:42:02:

Steve, you don’t need to take a photo of the price tag. Its just such a great price for such a large window. We don’t have a Lowes in the local area, but do have Menards and HD. I will check them.

I was just thinking last night that if I couldn’t find a window to fit, then I could get the next best size, frame it in, and put some siding around to hide the repairs.

I will be taking an (outside) look at these two homes today with the wife, and will try to remember some pics.

As for the liht fixture, I’ve thought about using that plastic snap-on covers for wiring. I may go that way if I get this home.


Do what Steve(WA) Says - Posted by Dr. B.(OH)

Posted by Dr. B.(OH) on January 27, 2007 at 14:21:54:

This home it too old to spend extra $$ and time where you won’t get your $$ back. I have sold a 1974 2/1 in very nice condition 3 times (no investment $$ left in it). That home as a ceiling fan in the living room with a cord that runs across the ceiling and down to a wall socket. No buyer or potential buyer has even looked at the cord. They are thrilled there is a ceiling fan at all. I replaced the fan before the third sale (still on the cord).

Depending on your area, most folks are fearful of old fuse boxes and in the two homes I had with fuseboxes, it was a dealkiller for many potential buyers. If you compare prices, you can get an already set-up panel box WITH breakers cheaper than empty box plus breakers. At Lowes, I paid $58 for 100 AMP box with main and 8 breakers with slots for 20 breakers. With additional breakers, it cost me $94. Cheap upgrade from a DANGEROUS Federal Pacific box.

Happy Trail(er)s,

Re: Do what Steve(WA) Says - Posted by John T (WI)

Posted by John T (WI) on January 27, 2007 at 17:17:23:

I’ve got nothing to lose by leaving the corded fan up I guess. I haven’t even given an offer to the PM (which she sends to her boss, cause she isn’t authorized to accept offers or haggle).

My memory was playing tricks on me…the bay/bow window was 4 panes wide, about 21.5" per glass pane. about 5’ high butting up agains the roof overhang, and about 7’ wide. Didn’t find any comparable size windows at local Menards, but didn’t ask around either. Sorry, no pics, the camera’s battery was too low and didn’t realize it.

I have to admit, its hard to me to stop thinking in stick built terms of fix-ups. Thats why this forum is such a great help!