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Did your mobile home come with ugly wall board covered in flowers or thin, pale stripes? How about carpet in the bathroom, was that part of the stunning package you’ve been blessed with? We’ve never made it a secret that we’re perturbed by the crappy quality of our home’s construction and the miserable taste of those who decorated it. But, do we sit and complain about it? No, we change it! A couple of years ago we decided to stick with our mobile home rather than building a “stick-built” home. We aren’t made of money and remodeling this joint has to be an economical venture or it just isn’t going to happen. Our first serious endeavor was our master bathroom. This project was a total rebuild from the subfloor up and we did all of the work ourselves. We’ll try to be as specific about brands and products as we can in this post, so here goes!

Bathroom demolition

We tore everything out, including the sub-floor. Giant wasp nests were found in the walls.

Our bathroom was pretty hideous. We had painted it once and the paint was beginning to peel and look pretty bad. The vinyl tub had turned yellow and the floor and fixtures had seen better days. So, we tore everything out. Demolishing the floor was a real treat and a great exercise to get one’s frustrations out! There was quite a let down the moment we were finished tearing it out. It was the moment we had the realization that we could not turn back now…we had to do SOMETHING with our bathroom…we had no choice but to press on.

The flowered wall board on the ends of the tub area was replaced with Georgia Pacific fiberglass mildew and moisture resistant tile backer-board to prevent moisture buildup and water damage to the structure in the future. Although we were not using tile, this seemed the best choice for behind our shower and tub enclosure to protect the framing behind the wall board in the event of water damage. The sub-floor was done with Georgia Pacific Titanium Dryloc plywood, which has a moisture resistant coating.

Georgia Pacific Dryloc subfloor

Ahhh... our new GP Dryloc Subfloor Fiberglass wall board not shown.

Once the sub-floor and wall board were complete, we covered the walls with beadboard, a white, pre-painted wall covering that resembles wainscot. Since this was such a small room and the ceiling was separated from the larger room outside by a doorway, we covered the ceiling with beadboard as well. (There is an entire Internet community devoted to hating and removing the standard “popcorn” ceilings in mobile homes.) This task was not easy and definitely required two people, but ended up looking gorgeous! All of the beadboard was secured with tiny white finishing nails on the edges and LOCTITE heavy duty construction adhesive on the backside.

I cannot tell a lie, the plumbing was not approached easily. We felt very intimidated by the prospect of reconfiguring our water lines, adding a bath/shower fixture set that was not standard mobile home fair, and redirecting the drain line for the bathtub since the old tub had a center drain and the new one was on the end. However, my father was insistent that it could be done, we just had to have confidence! We used plastic compression fittings and installed shut-off valves (see our post on compression fittings here) which all homes should have. We took our time and thought things through and took it one step at a time.

Rope edged bathtub

Rope edged bathtub being installed. New floor in place.

With the walls covered and secured, our new laminate flooring was installed. We chose a beautiful wide plank snap and lock floor at Lowe’s that currently runs about $1.99 per square foot. It’s rated suitable for bathrooms and kitchens and looks like a stone tile. We used a radial arm saw to cut the pieces and a skill saw to cut holes for items like heating vents and toilet drain. The tub and surround we chose were the most expensive part of the remodel, running almost $500 together. The “rope” design around the edges was complemented by a baseboard molding that had a matching edge.

In mobile homes, people are frequently posed with the problem of the slats between wallboards. These have become the bane of our existence! However, in the new bathroom, we took the opportunity to use a trim treatment in these areas to enhance the “cottage” style we were trying to achieve. The moldings we chose complimented the tub design and the toilet seat.

I always wanted a dim light feature in the exhaust fan so when I take a hot bath, the light can be soft and relaxing. In upstate NY, hot baths in the Winter are a must have! The opening in the ceiling would not accommodate any of the fans we could purchase that were not from mobile home supply stores. So we got over our fears of messing with our roof and modified the opening with aluminum venting. It’s a super quiet, lovely addition to our room. We added a simple vanity, brushed nickel fixtures, and repainted a decorative mirror that we had above our bed to place over the vanity. A nice set of towel hooks on the wall finished off the accessories.

Since a small linen closet was torn out in the demolition, storage was now an issue. We purchased a simple pantry cabinet at Home Depot for $99 and found a free dresser on Craigslist that we painted to add a little color to the room. These little touches turned a once miserable bathroom into a sanctuary, a lovely place to start our mornings, and cost a little under $1500 to complete from start to finish.

This was the first in a long list of large projects we took on that Summer. We worked on it for two and a half weekends (5 days) for about 8 hours a day. Demolition took one of those days. Below is a gallery of photos. I hope this bathroom looks as great to you as it does to us. t has been nearly 3 years since we completed it and it still looks as good as new. These are products and design features that are easily obtained and achieved by visiting your local home improvement stores and simply deciding what you want and figuring out ways to make it happen. Please feel free to comment or contact us about this or any project you see on for questions or pep talks for your project! We love to inspire and to get ideas from others.

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Happy remodeling!

~The McGees