Re-leveling a manufactured home ?

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  #1  
Old 10-10-15, 04:17 PM
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Re-leveling a manufactured home ?

I recently had my manufactured home releveled. That's partly because a crack has appeared in the siding, and I guessed it might be the result of abnormal stress. I releveled also partly because the home's manufacturer and some people online recommend doing it periodically.

But now some of my windows and doors don't seal properly. Fixing this probably will require partly or entirely undoing the leveling (adjusting the steel piers so the main I-beams under the home are at heights similar to what they had before).

This makes me wonder whether it's a bad idea to relevel (a realtor and her civil engineer husband, who were aware of the crack, told me that). And the company which installed the home told me that homes normally should never require releveling. Maybe that's because the local (San Diego county) soil is very solid?

Should the relative heights of the I-beams be recorded when any manufactured home is first installed, and all future releveling be done with the goal of restoring those original positions? That would be good for new home buyers to know, even though it won't do me any good.

I don't know what to believe! Thanks in advance for any thoughts you have.
 
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  #2  
Old 10-10-15, 05:34 PM
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What kind of siding do you have? Did the crack stop at the siding or did it go through the wall? Is the problem with the windows, on the same side as the crack?
 
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Old 10-11-15, 03:37 AM
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Whether or not a MH needs to be re leveled depends on the ground it sets on and if it has concrete footers under the piers. A MH put in correctly generally doesn't need to be re leveled. Have you double checked to make sure the MH is level now?
 
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Old 10-11-15, 02:08 PM
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Pulpo, the siding is made of pressed wood. I guess it's cheap material, but it's not as if cracks are appearing all over due to weathering and aging.

There is just one crack, not near any problem windows. The problems appeared after releveling, with the windows near to where the leveling changes were most significant. Those windows are almost on the other side of the house from the crack.

The crack exists just with the siding. There were some cracks in the drywall in the general vicinity of the outside crack, but I'm not convinced that they are related.
 
  #5  
Old 10-11-15, 02:29 PM
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marksr, the home's steel piers rest on wood blocks. There is only a black plastic sheet separating the wood blocks from the bare earth.

I failed to check the home's level myself before hiring the relevel people. The contractor described the way in which the home wasn't level, before he adjusted anything. Now I suspect that the original installers deliberately made the home unlevel that way, in order to make all the exterior windows and doors reasonably square. Perhaps they also adjusted the level to help them join the two halves of this double-wide home; I hope the changes didn't create significant stress between the two sections.

I did perform some sample spot checks a few weeks after the relevel, using a simple homemade level (basically just a clear long plastic tube with water in it). The home is not leveled. In fact, the new differences in relative beam height seem strange, and tomorrow I'm going to ask the contractor why when he returns here.

It now seems like the relevel might have been a bad decision. We will see.
 
  #6  
Old 10-11-15, 02:31 PM
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Is this Unit sitting on gravel or a concrete pad ?

Single wide or double wide ?
 
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Old 10-11-15, 03:12 PM
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the home's steel piers rest on wood blocks. There is only a black plastic sheet separating the wood blocks from the bare earth.
You have to be kidding. Does Calipornia code allow that? The relevel wasn't the bad idea. The bad idea was the entire design.
 
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Old 10-11-15, 04:00 PM
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I'm a Broker here in Vermont and for the past 10 years or so, Banks and Mortgage Companies won't touch double wides that aren't sitting on a concrete pad . . . . just because the two sides will start moving independently of one another and destroy the Unit. They've lost too much money.

I've seen pads poured after the Unit has been positioned . . . . but it never seems to pan out right.
 
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Old 10-11-15, 07:08 PM
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Vermont, there might be some gravel under that black sheeting. It's hard to tell. But along the edge areas where I can see the ground, there is plenty of dirt and rock. Maybe a mix of dirt and gravel that they packed down? Yes, I wish it were a concrete pad.

It's double-wide.

The realtor told me there is one company that will lend to buyers of these kinds of homes around here.
 
  #10  
Old 10-11-15, 07:13 PM
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True

Pulpo, I too am surprised that California would allow this. But the realtor who looked into the crawlspace told me that she has handled transactions involving other homes with that kind of foundation. Apparently it is acceptable.
 
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Old 10-11-15, 07:27 PM
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I'd rather not have those windows and sliding doors reinstalled and made square with the new level (if that's even practical). That would involve more expense, especially where drywall would need to be redone.

It seems that this relevel wasn't done correctly anyway; my random spot checking suggests the beams might be at least a quarter inch off in places.

How do you all deal with the problems created when you relevel? How much unlevelness do you tolerate to avoid trouble?
 
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Old 10-11-15, 08:16 PM
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With California's somewhat strict seismic building codes, I'm surprised your local AHJ allowed such construction in the first place. Maybe a phone call to them would be in order, for clarification regarding the legality of your home's foundation. Don't trust the girl realtor's word on it, as she'll say whatever it takes to collect her commission check.

Perhaps I don't get out enough, but where I come from (and have worked as a P.E.), steel piers on wood blocks on dirt/gravel don't meet any kind of building code I'm familiar with. Most of the OP's southern Cal location is located in seismic design categories D2 and E, which are the highest ratings on the scale.

And where bad things can and do happen to structures.
 
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Old 10-11-15, 08:45 PM
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If it is plywood it will delaminate. If We are talking solid wood how did they get it wide enough and thick enough? Did they use 2x12's that will split along the grain and rot and are barely wide enough for the base of the piers? They use multiple boards? Are these steel piers those those cheap piers that look like K-mart jack car stands that MH movers provide? I always thought those were temporary till you could get the MH on concrete blocks.

Admittedly not an expert but I wouldn't even put a shed on wood blocks. The idea of plastic sheeting underneath is almost funny. Ever left plastic sheeting outside for a few years?
 
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Old 10-12-15, 04:27 AM
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I've never seen a MH set on steel piers much less with a wood footer. Could you post some pics?
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...your-post.html
 
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Old 10-12-15, 04:45 AM
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But the realtor who looked into the crawlspace told me that she has handled transactions involving other homes with that kind of foundation. Apparently it is acceptable.
Acceptable to a realtor & acceptable to the municipality are 2 different things. Who did the inspection before you bought the house, a rep from Leggo?
 
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Old 10-12-15, 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by marksr
". . . I've never seen a MH set on steel piers . . ."
I suspect that the OP is referring to the steel "I" Beams that form the chassis of these units.

That Real Estate Agent and her Broker probably carry E&O Insurance (Errors and Omissions) and he may have some recourse by filing suit . . . . or just threatening to file suit. This is a big error, and the Lender should also become a Party to any action, because he's been snookered too.

How old is the unit, and how long ago was it purchased ?

Were any of the reassurances made by the Agent put in writing ?

I suggest you consult a California Conveyance Attorney.
 
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Old 10-12-15, 10:10 AM
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Vermont,

The OP stated "the home's steel piers rest on wood blocks."

Equating piers to beams or girders is quite a stretch, isn't it?
 
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Old 10-12-15, 11:41 AM
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I thought at first the OP was referring to the steel I beams that make up the trailer frame [the wood floor frame is mounted to the trailer frame] but post #5 convinced me the piers are steel ..... something I don't recall having ever seen. Because the floor joists are cantilevered out from the trailer frame it's also possible that the frame was level but water damaged had caused the perimeter of the MH to droop in places.

Would like to see some pics as I've never seen a MH set up that way.
 
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Old 10-12-15, 12:02 PM
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I've never seen them either but here are some piers for mobile homes, 6k capacity.

6" - 8" Metal Pier | Mobile Home Parts Store


And I'd guess the "wood block" could be RR ties or maybe old bridge decking. Really doubt it is some 2x6s.
 
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Old 10-12-15, 12:07 PM
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I've seen similar to those used with campers but just can't get it in my mind where something like that would pass inspection for a permanent installation.
 
  #21  
Old 10-12-15, 12:41 PM
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I agree Mark but they sure would be slick if he was on a concrete slab. Then again, I've seen crazier things....





The idea of plastic sheeting underneath is almost funny. Ever left plastic sheeting outside for a few years?

I'll have to disagree there. Friend of mine was a bit of a moisture freak and put black plastic over the gravel under him mobile home many, many years ago. Every spring and fall I have to go under and do his garden hose connections and the plastic is as good as the day he laid it, albeit awfully dusty.
 
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Old 10-12-15, 01:43 PM
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Not much chance of black plastic attracting UV rays from the sun, when it's under a mobile home. Most of the ones I've looked at were quite shady underneath.
 
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Old 10-12-15, 05:07 PM
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Yes, they really set it up that way

The home's beams are supported by jacks that resemble what you would support your car with, if you were repairing underneath the car.

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That's 1.5 inch thick solid wood, not plywood, under each jack.

And here is one of the edge piers right by the skirting. You can see, at the bottom of the image, where the black plastic sheet ends. So there is only rocky dirt near the skirting. That plastic sheet is still in good condition.

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Today I asked my relevel guy about this support system. He says this kind of foundation setup is common around here, which agrees with the realtor's statement.

My mother bought this home as new in 2003 from a dealer, so I suspect there was no realtor involved. She paid all cash, so there was no lender involved, though there was some kind of escrow process.

When my mother died, I inherited this home, so I never dealt with a real estate agent either. I was talking to that realtor only to ask about the lack of tie-downs and about preparing my home for resale in the future.

The replies on this forum thread got me curious about the home inspection report my mother paid for upon purchase. The inspector had mentioned the absence of a tie-down system. She asked whether it should have one. He said that this home's setup is one of two common ones he sees (the other being the same, with the addition of tie-down rods embedded in the ground), that he did not know how effective those tie-downs are, that both setups apparently were approved in this town, and that (to his knowledge) my town had never experienced a major earthquake hitting close enough to create problems with manufactured homes. The inspector seemingly didn't consider the choice of steel piers and wood pads to be cause for concern.
 
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Old 10-12-15, 05:43 PM
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Wow they really did use 2x12s. I don't know what common practice is but I would want 6x6PT beams running from side to side and concrete blocks supporting the beam. With both halves on the same beam the two halves couldn't move independently. That whole support seems to be dependent on a " diameter threaded rod. The doesn't look good to me but what the heck do I know. I'm a belt and suspenders sort of guy.

Primary reason for tie downs are wind not earthquakes.
 

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Old 10-12-15, 05:55 PM
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Here in NY, I have very little respect for codes & code enforcement. They go way overboard, with their knit picking . However, it seems that it's totally the opposite, in Calipornia, with their drive by inspections.
 
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Old 10-12-15, 06:53 PM
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So there is only rocky dirt near the skirting.
Yeah, you must have some high and dry solid ground in your area which is good. So....I'm thinking that a few tweaks with the leveling should take care of it.

What did your guy say about the doors and windows not sealing correctly?


Wow they really did use 2x12s.
I know. Around here they would be underground after 13 years.

I think a little readjusting to the piers and you should be good to go.
 
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Old 10-12-15, 09:58 PM
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What did your guy say about the doors and windows not sealing correctly?
There are edge piers around the home. They go to a different height than the beam-supporting piers; I don't know how the correct height for them, relative to the beams, is determined. But my relevel guy says that everything is at a good level.

He is willing to have me sign a document indicating that I'm asking to put the house out of level, and then he would try undoing the leveling to make the windows better, but he dislikes the idea and so do I.

He also thinks it would be better to have the problem windows detached and then reattached in a way that makes them square. An experienced window installer would be a good person to hire for that.

Should I hire a second relevel company to check his work? My spot checking with a simple water level indicated the bottoms of beams often varied in height by 0.25 to almost 0.5 inches, along a single beam and also between beams, at distances of about 10 to 15 feet (he suggested that could be due to the beams being unlevel for so many years). Maybe I should try harder to get things right before committing to various fixes, like those windows and the drywall that cracked due to the releveling.
 
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Old 10-13-15, 03:49 AM
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I don't recall ever running across a MH where a properly supported frame bent or sagged between piers. The piers should never be more than 8' apart [running the length of the I beam] Could be less since you have such a small load point versus 16" square block pier. Locally, double wides are required to have block piers set on a concrete footer and some jurisdictions are also requiring that now for single wides. Personally, I'd be wanting to swap the jack stands out for block piers but understand that may be more work than you want to get into especially if those stands are acceptable in your locale.

Have you verified that the portion of the MH that protrudes past the frame is level? It's not uncommon for MHs to get water damage along the outside walls and that could cause that portion to sag resulting in your siding/window issues.
 
  #29  
Old 10-13-15, 07:59 PM
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I just checked the relative levels of the edge piers under the problem windows and sliding glass door. Things were pretty much level under the windows but started to go out of level a few feet further along the perimeter of the house.

It was unlevel along the span that supports the sliding glass door. But I did geometry/trigonometry calculations, and the sliding door's frame is crooked much more than would be predicted from the unlevel piers underneath it.

Basically, the frames of the windows and sliding glass door seem to have been installed crooked. I might call a window/glass company and ask them to redo the installations.
 
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