What You Need To Know About Living In A Mobile Home During Remodel

Home remodel

You’re delighted to be on the brink of a renovating adventure—you’re just about to begin remodeling your mobile home. It’s the culmination of a lot of hours of research, thinking, and planning. And you’re definitely feeling a surge of happy anticipation. But, there’s also a little catch in your breath because you’re sure that living in your mobile home while the work is underway might present some challenges. If home is where the heart is, what are some things to think about when home is also where the remodeling is?

Home remodel

Things will be different

Of course, you already know this. In fact, different is the whole point of remodeling—at the end you want your mobile home to be different from before. But we’re not talking about that kind of difference. Taking a home that initially looked disappointing or underwhelming (or downright dumpy) and turning it around—that’s a good kind of difference.

No, we’re talking about the kind of difference that’s born of having your house, your schedule, and your whole life a little out-of-sorts or upside down because of changes going on. And, clearly, if you’re tearing out the floor, pulling down sheetrock, tugging out sinks, stripping wallpaper, slicking walls with fresh paint, or lining the floor with new hardwood panels, things are going to be different.

Changes for a reason

Now, in the end, these changes will be good. But it could be helpful to you and your family to head into your renovation knowing that there’s going to be a lot of changes happening. And there might even be new and different people tracking in and out of your mobile home at times (if you’re hiring contractors). Recognizing ahead of time that things could feel a little crazy and a little upside down could help you make it through the experience well.

However, whether the changes bother you could depend somewhat on your personality. In other words, if you’re reading this and thinking What are they talking about? That all sounds so exciting! Why would I be stressed? then you might just be a person with a super flexible mindset.

Different strokes for different folks

If change makes you feel energized, having things out of the usual routine could seem like no big deal. In that case, just recognize that what doesn’t bug you, could be difficult for others in your family. On the other hand, those of you who can already feel the dread of having things around your house be out of sorts for a while, plan ahead and hang tight. The disruption is just a means to an end. So remind yourself how much you want that end (a beautifully renovated mobile home) and take the steps you can to minimize the pressure of having your normal routine interrupted.

There will be a mess

Yes, there will be some messy moments while you remodel your mobile home. Maybe a lot of them. Whether your floor is spread with tile dust or joint compound has “snowed” everywhere, it’s okay because it’s just a stage—it won’t be like this forever. And even when you feel like your socks are snagging sawdust everywhere you go, don’t worry. Once your home reaches its renovation destination, you can sweep it all up for the last time and just bask in the clean floors.

That said, there are still precautions you can take to help minimize the mess. For one thing, make sure that activities that generate a lot of dust (like cutting) are done outside or in the garage if possible. Plus, contain the mess by closing off doors to other areas of the mobile home. And for doorways that don’t have doors, seal them off with plastic or hang up a sheet.

Additionally, give your floor some protection. Not only from renegade droplets that fall while you’re painting but also from the dirty shoes and heavy workboots of people walking in and out. Cover floors with plastic or heavy-duty paper. Remember those hardworking remodelers are busy thinking about the job they’re doing—not necessarily about the effect it’s having on your freshly-vacuumed carpets.

Laborer old workboots

The mess might be airborne

Obviously, you would notice a thick coating of white sheetrock dust on your table or floor (at least you would if the table or floor was dark enough to provide contrast). But surfaces aren’t the only places that could be affected. There’s the air too. Ever wonder why people wear masks while sanding joint compound? Yes, in part because they don’t want to breathe it in.

Thus, keep in mind that the dust that your remodeling has created might be floating around in the air before it settles. And for people with breathing problems (like asthma, for instance), this could pose a problem. If the dust generated by your home’s remodel is going to make breathing difficult for you, it’s good to be aware ahead of time.

Maybe you can close yourself off in the room farthest away from the project and leave a window open. Obviously, though, you can’t do that forever so if the project will be kicking up dust for days on end, you may need an alternate plan—like staying in a hotel or visiting a friend.  

There may be dangers to kids

While remodeling can be inconvenient for adults (like the mess and the breathing difficulties we just mentioned, it can have an even bigger effect on children. First, nails and other hazardous items laying around (whether strays or whole boxes) could be unsafe for kids. And having access to hand tools like hammers, staple guns, and screwdrivers could be, too. Not to mention table tools like electric saws.

In the midst of a mobile home remodel, distraction could be a natural response on the part of parents. After all, your home is upside down and you could be supervising the work, doing the work, or simply very interested in what’s going on. But, given the extra hazards, you may need to actually increase the amount of supervision and attentiveness directed toward small children.

Watch out for the little people

There are a number of possibilities to keep the kids safe and get the work done. Having the children play and stay in a designated safe area is one way to go. Areas, where work is happening, should probably be off limits.

On top of this, if you’re doing the work yourself, maybe diving into certain tasks while the kids are napping could help. Then, there’s also the possibility of getting a babysitter or trusted family member to help keep an eye on the kids. Or it could be a perfect time for the kids to go to grandma’s house.

There will be noise

Another consideration when living in a “remodeling zone” is the noise. Perhaps you’ve seen the signs in buildings where construction is going on that apologize for the noise. Well, now that noisy zone will be in your own home. While it probably won’t be loud at all stages of remodeling, there are likely to be times when the sound level is quite high.

If you’re sensitive to noise and this drives you crazy, you may want to figure out what noise will be going on when, if possible. That way, you can make plans to be gone. Some projects will probably be louder than others (for instance, sawing and hammering are louder than painting). Thus, check what projects will create a chaotic environment sound-wise and when they’ll be occurring.

Orange ear plugs next to electric saw

Perhaps family members are working on the remodeling project after they get off their 9-5 job. Will they be using noisy power tools late into the night? It may help you to know this ahead of time so you can make an alternative plan if other family members need to be sleeping at that time. Your plan could include buying some high-quality earplugs or perhaps staying overnight somewhere else.  

Remodeling at the right time of year could help

Here’s something to keep in mind. If you remodel when the weather is nice, you may find yourself with some room to spread out — the great outdoors. One way to do this is to set tools up outside. Setting up a outdoor workspace not only keeps some of the mess and noise out of the house, but it also can give you a little more space to move around. For instance, outside you won’t have to worry about flinging a board into a wall or refrigerator by accident.

Workspace or living space?

Actually, the great outdoors could prove useful to you as a semi-displaced homeowner, too. If you can’t stand the noise indoors, take a breather on a lawn chair in the shade. Kicked out of your kitchen by stacks of subway tile and tubs of grout or by a slab of granite that’s about to become your new countertop? Then, it’s time for an outside lunch at the backyard picnic table!

These helpful ways to use the area outside your mobile home are reasons to consider remodeling at the “right” time of year. Of course, you can’t guarantee that you’ll always have good weather. But, in some locations, there are seasons when you can usually expect to find more good weather than at other times. For instance, if you live in the northeastern United States, spring, summer, and fall could provide you with days to comfortably use the outdoors. But, don’t count on winter to be very helpful!

Things can take longer than you expect

In addition to being prepared to adapt to the changes to your home and life, you may also want to keep in mind that remodeling projects can take longer than initially planned. And if you’re the one doing the work yourself in your spare time, this could be especially true. Of course, you’ll still have other daily responsibilities in addition to unforeseen events.

But don’t worry, just because you’re not getting things done as fast as you anticipated doesn’t mean they’ll never get done. It could be easy to jump into your project with the idea that everything will go as planned and you’ll finish on time. Instead, maybe you could take this approach—plan the amount of time you think individual projects will take. Then, whatever that reasonable time is, add a little bit to it to account for possible hang-ups. However you decide to forecast the amount of time things will take, add some extra overall so you have wiggle room.

Things can cost more than you expect

Just as projects can take more time than you expected, they can also run up higher expenses than you were anticipating. While unexpected expenses are just that—unexpected—you can create a remodeling budget, estimating how much you’ll spend and adding extra for these surprises. That way, when you do end up with a bill or a receipt that surprises you, at least you won’t have to halt work if you already have some room to budge.

Coins spilled from a glass jar

Life goes on

Yes, even as changes are swirling through your mobile home, life will keep marching on while you live there. Clearly, you still have to eat (and so does the family). Doubtless, you’ll discover that dirty socks still pile up in the laundry hamper (in fact, they could even pile up faster).

So start out with the idea that you’ll keep plugging away, adapting as the different areas of your home are “out of commission” due to the remodeling that’s being done in them. Planning ahead could help you and your family thrive during it all. Call it organized chaos, perhaps.

When you know that the laundry area will be off-limits, plan to get all the laundry done ahead of time. Or check with a friend if you might be able to drop by and use their washing machine for a day or two. Similarly, when you know the kitchen will be out of commission in a week or two, you might cook some extra food the week before and freeze it in microwave-safe containers. Then, when the kitchen remodeling starts, you can plug in the microwave in the living room and reheat. On the other hand, you could simply set aside some extra money and take the family out to dinner.

Have fun in your front row seat

Through it all, remember to enjoy the opportunity you have to watch up close as your mobile home gets its gorgeous makeover. In fact, to get you feeling excited, head to our Beautiful Mobile Homes That Will Inspire You To Renovate Yours. Plus, if you’re remodeling because you want to combat how “dated” your mobile home looks, check out The Ultimate Renovation Guide To Creating A Timeless Mobile Home.

About Dan Leighton

Dan Leighton has been working in the mobile home industry for over a decade. His focus has been on sales and customer relations - making sure each person in the transaction is comfortable and fully transparent. He has a wife and one son. Dan continues to look for innovative ways to help both sellers and parks get the most bang for their buck.

Written by Dan Leighton

Dan Leighton has been working in the mobile home industry for over a decade. His focus has been on sales and customer relations - making sure each person in the transaction is comfortable and fully transparent. He has a wife and one son. Dan continues to look for innovative ways to help both sellers and parks get the most bang for their buck.

May 3, 2019