Re-leveling a mobile home is almost a routine maintenance procedure for any mobile homeowner. Because every home settles regardless of the type of the home or the land it’s sitting on — it becomes unlevel and needs fixing from time to time.
So, how often should you check if your mobile home is level? How can you re-level your mobile home? This detailed guide will answer all your questions about re-leveling mobile homes. Let’s get into it.
Why Do Mobile Homes Need Re-leveling?
Settling happens to every home. But depending on the foundation and building quality, it might not be too apparent to you. Mobile homes are significantly more susceptible to settling. Especially if the ground is loose or not sturdy enough to bear the load of the house. In the case of larger mobile homes, for instance, double or triple wides can require re-leveling more often than a single unit.
Re-leveling mobile homes is a part of routine maintenance for mobile homes. However, this maintenance is a little more urgent than others, such as painting, fixing minor damages or refurbishing.
Here are a few major consequences you might face if you do not re-level your mobile home –
- If your mobile home is unlevel for a long time, your home will start to lean. It can cause damage to furniture and walls or even end up breaking your doors and windows.
- As the home gets unlevel, you will start to hear squeaking when you step on the floor caused by the added stress. If left unaddressed, it can lead to the pillar breaking through the mobile home flooring and causing severe damage.
- Your plumbing and electrical lines can also suffer from having an unlevel home, further leading to more severe damages.
When Should You Check If Your Mobile Home is Level?
It is recommended that you check if your mobile home is level 90 days after installation. Afterwards, you should check every 12 months and re-level it whenever it shows symptoms of being unlevel. It is best to re-level your home in the summer because it makes it easier to adjust the plane.
8 Signs Your Mobile Home Needs Re-leveling
Mobile homes can be unlevel and need re-leveling for various reasons. It could be due to a big storm, the pier stacks shrinking and expanding, or crushed wedges. Here are eight significant signs you need to look out for to figure out if it’s time for re-leveling mobile home –
- The floor squeaks when you step on it.
- The doors and windows aren’t closing and opening very easily.
- Take a look around your home and look for signs of buckling in your siding or roofing, which is a common sign of an uneven home. Similarly, the skirting can also appear to be uneven.
- If you had a major storm recently or noticed a shift in the ground, you should thoroughly inspect your home as it can manipulate the level of your home.
- The cabinet doors around the house aren’t staying closed.
- This may happen in more extreme cases, but items shifting or moving when you place them on the floor or the counter in your house is a sign that your mobile home needs re-leveling.
- The tie-downs in your home have loosened up.
- If you have added a new porch or add-on to your mobile home, you might need to re-level your home.
Can You Re-level Your Own Mobile Home?
Whether you can re-level your own mobile home depends on your expertise and your home’s condition. If you are missing a few wedges or have a loose wedge, you can fix it yourself with some essential construction experience. In a more extreme case where your piers are leaning or your home is significantly out of level, you might want to hire a certified contractor.
Other than needing special tools, there are also risks of injuries or damaging the home even further while re-leveling the mobile home. Additionally, this can be a tedious process with lots of crawling around. Also, the crawl space under your home can have insects, dead animals, or other unwanted situations that you might not want to deal with.
Tools Required to Re-level Your Mobile Home
Re-leveling Mobile Home Step by Step
Step 1: Prepare your equipment and take safety measures
Before you begin, make sure you have your protective gear and all necessary equipment ready. Put on your protective eyewear and hard helmet. We recommend having someone to assist you with the project. The person assisting you with the project also needs to take protective measures.
Step 2: Remove the skirting
If your mobile home has skirting, the first step is to remove them to access the pillars. Remove the skirting safely and slowly and put them away for reattaching later.
Step 3: Prepare the area
The crawl space under the house can have dead animals, dirt and bugs. We recommend that you clear the area to have a clear view of the pillars and enough space to place your tools before starting the re-leveling process. Bring in all your necessary equipment and set up the flashlights if necessary.
Step 4: Secure the plumbing and installations
The re-leveling process can damage your plumbing and installations. This is why we recommend taking precautions beforehand to avoid any unnecessary hassle.
Check the contact points of your plumbing and the beam. These contact points are most likely to receive stress and damage as you start to raise the beams. Secure the plumbing to the base of your home to minimize the risks. Also, take a look at your electrical lines and ensure no wires are wrapped around or tangled between the beams. If they are tangled or wrapped, unwrap and detangle them and attach them to the base of the home at a safe distance from the plumbing and beams.
Step 5: Inspect the pillars and leveling issues
In this step, you need to determine which pillars are out of level and need adjustment. Use your water level or six-foot level and mark the pillars with chalk. Start from the center of your house and place your level. If the level indicates that the pillar is in level, you don’t need to place a shim under the beam, and you can move on to the next beam. Finish marking all the pillars that need leveling and move on to the next step.
Step 6: Raise the beam using the jack
You need to raise the marked beam from the previous step in order to place the shims between the vertical beams and the supporting pillar or the I-beam. Keep in mind that mobile homes sit on a cambered I-beam, which is curved to distribute the weight and make the beams level. This curvature affects the level of the home, and you will most likely not be able to get it perfectly level.
To start re-leveling the beams, stabilize your jack using a brick. Use your level to keep track of your work. Raise the beams gently and slowly and observe the level. Once the level indicates that the beam is in level, stop raising it any further and secure the jack.
Step 7: Place the shims
After raising the beam at the proper level and securing the jack, you need to place a shim between the supporting pillar and the beam. You might need to use a hammer to get it into a perfect position. Ensure the shim is secured and repeat this process for all the necessary beams.
Step 8: Inspect the level of your home
After placing the shims in all the out-of-level beams, it’s time to check your work. Use your level to check the level of your home at each beam, starting from the center of the house. If all of the beams are in level, the re-leveling was successful, and you can proceed to the next step. If you find a beam out of level at this point, you need to repeat step 7 for that beam.
Step 9: Inspect your plumbing and installation
Although this step is not essential if you have secured your plumbing and installation at the beginning of the process, we still recommend it to avoid any future problems. Check all your plumbing and electrical installations for damages. We recommend bringing in a professional if you find anything out of order because these issues are sensitive, and the repair can cost you a lot.
Step 10: Reattach the skirting
This is the last step of re-leveling your mobile home. Reattach the skirting of your home and secure it. Voila! You are done!
How Much Does It Cost to Re-level Mobile Home Professionally?
Re-leveling mobile homes is a tedious and somewhat risky procedure if you don’t have the expertise. The cost to re-level a mobile home professionally depends on the size of your home, location, and the condition it is in.
To re-level a single-wide mobile home, expect to pay between $450 to $600 while leveling a double-wide mobile home can cost up to $900 to re-level. For re-leveling a larger mobile home, expect a bill of around $1,000 or more.
Although mobile homes used to be considered a temporary place to live, the increasing quality and strict standards and regulations have turned them into pleasant and attractive permanent housing. Like any other home, these homes also need maintenance work from time to time — and re-leveling a mobile home is an essential part of it. We hope this in-depth guide will help you maintain your mobile home better.
If you have any questions, comment below and let us know!