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Reader Richard wrote in with a question about home repair, and we want your help with it — though half the Toolmonger staff has lived in manufactured housing at one time or another, none of us has ever re-leveled one before.  Richard writes:

My North Texas home is of the doublewide variety. It’s a perfectly lovely little home and only about 8 years old but I think one side has sunk a little, just a little. I just noticed it in the seam of the ceiling and would like to nip it in the bud. What are the options and what is involved in fixing it? I’m guessing you can either do it yourself or have it done for you through some kind of service. Does your readership have any idea what I’m in for?

How about it, readership hive-mind — anyone have experience in this matter or know a good resource for navigating these waters?  We looked around and found a guide that might help you get your bearings to start with — we posted the link below.  If you have first or even secondhand knowledge, let us know in comments.

Releveling Kit From Aberdeen Repair [MHGN]

 

6 Responses to Reader Question: A Jacked-Up Issue

  1. Michael W says:

    Mostly it depends on what kind of soil is below you (and what kind of framing). If your soil isn’t swampy you should be able to dig a hole (or more), pour a pier and then jack up the house and put in a post to support the house.
    I do quite a bit of work on older (100-200 year old) houses and have done a bit of leveling. It’s really simple to jack up a house with screw jacks (you can probably find a place that rents them in your area if you don’t want to buy them) and install a post. A simple plumb bob will insure that you place the pier in the correct spot.

  2. jeffrey immer says:

    i have never releveled a manufactured house but i am sure it is similar to a regular house in the fact that you can use a fairly inexpensive bottle jack, make sure you disperse your contact points on the top and bottom of the jack (create larger surface area) i do not let the jack make direct contact with the object i am raising the head is too small put a 2×12 in between the beam and the jack
    raise close to the pier you wish to shore up but not to close to impede your work area
    determine the reason for the sinkage, it might behoove you to increase the surface area of contact the pier or piling makes with the ground especially if that is the culprit, try some compacted gravel (compact with tamp or heavy blunt object with a large surface area), reset the piling and shim as needed preferably with plate steel (big box sells pieces cheap), then slowly set her back down
    if you increase the surface contact area with the ground it will disperse the weight more evenly making it harder to sink, you may want to consider drainage abatement if water is wearing down the soil

  3. Robert C says:

    An an ex trailer denizen of many years and moves.

    Any jack’ll do you. A good bottle is best.

    FIRST, check the shims/wedges, any lose ones? Work that area first.

    Take it slow, you likely have wedges underneath the steel and above the blocks, take the pressure off and tap them tight.

    Use a longish level on the inside floor to guage your work.

    After 8 years, you likely don’t need to get extreme with redoing the supports, but if one is obviously on a soft spot, firm it up with gravel and spread the load via more blocks.

    Lastly, recheck the shims/wedges all around.

  4. rob says:

    ah yes i am expreincing similar issuse with my older trailer however mine is do to soft floor joists and the recomended way to solve the issuse is to replace them one at a time and build a pony wall allong the parimeter of the trailer rather than just the typical skirting put in some pier blocks or pour piers along the sides and frame it in solid

  5. bigcat39 says:

    I grew up in the mobilehome industry, and have releveled hundreds of doublewides. remember that you are dealing with two separate frame structures, joined together by threaded rods, and the floors by lagbolts and nails.
    First, level the heavy side: the half with the kitchen and bathrooms. Use a long level, 6′ or better. First level the inside, and then raise the outside to it. Don’t get too enthusiastic jacking the outside, remember you are pushing the roof too! Then raise the other side to it. DO NOT EXCEED THE RANGE OF THE WEDGES! If you do, you are raising too much.
    If you are nervous, get a mobilehome service company to do the job. Much better than pushing the unit off the blocks.
    Good luck!

  6. Jerry says:

    Been there, done that – numerous times. jeffrey immer has pretty much stated the reality of it. If you don’t mind laying under there for possibly hours, go for it! It’s not hard, just boring and time consuming. Best to have a second person inside watching the level and communicating with you by 2-way talkies or cell phones.

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