If you own a mobile home, it’s essential to understand the importance of keeping it level. Not only does proper leveling help maintain the structural integrity and safety of your home, but it also increases its lifespan and prevents costly repairs down the line. In this article, we’ll take a comprehensive look at mobile home leveling and answer your questions on the subject.
What is Mobile Home Leveling?
Mobile homes are homes that are built in a factory and transported to their final location. Unlike stick-built homes, which are constructed on-site, mobile homes have a unique set of challenges when it comes to leveling. The term “mobile home leveling” refers to the process of leveling a home that has become unlevel due to settling or other factors.
Mobile home leveling is important because an unlevel home can cause serious problems, including damage to the foundation, walls, and windows. The plumbing and electrical systems also can be damaged. Additionally, an unlevel home can pose a safety risk to its inhabitants, as it may become unstable and even tip over.
Signs Your Mobile Home Needs Re-Leveling
If you’re not sure if your mobile home needs leveling, there are some signs to look out for. Here are some of the most common signs a homeowner can look for:
- Uneven floors: If you notice that the floors in your home are uneven, this is a clear sign that your home may need to be releveled. Uneven floors can be caused by settling or shifting, and they can make it difficult to walk or stand in your home.
- Cracks in the walls: Cracks in the walls of your home can occur and they can get worse over time if left unaddressed.
- Windows and doors that won’t close properly: If you’re having trouble getting doors and windows to close properly, this could be sign that your home is not level. An unlevel home can cause doors or windows to become misaligned, making it difficult to close them properly.
- Plumbing problems: If you’re experiencing plumbing problems, such as leaks or clogs, the pipes could have become misaligned.
Tools Required for Mobile Home Leveling
Mobile home leveling requires a range of specialized tools to ensure that the job is done correctly and that your home remains level and safe. Here are some of the tools that the technician will use during the leveling process:
- Leveling jacks: Leveling jacks are specially designed hydraulic jacks that are used to raise and level mobile homes. These jacks are placed under the home and adjusted until the home is level.
- Jack stands: Jack stands are used to support the home while the leveling jacks are being adjusted. They help to prevent settling or shifting while the mobile home leveling process is taking place.
- Chocks: Chocks are used to prevent the wheels from rolling during the mobile home leveling process. They ensure that the home remains in place while the jacks are being adjusted.
- Leveling blocks: Leveling blocks are used to raise the home up and level it. These blocks are placed under the home and adjusted until the home is level.
- Wedges: Wedges are placed under the home to raise the home small increments at a time. They can be adjusted more easily than leveling blocks.
- Measuring tools: Measuring tools, such as a level or a water level, are used to ensure that the home is level and that the jacks are adjusted correctly.
- Safety Equipment: Safety equipment such as sturdy gloves, protective eyewear, hard hats, and steel-toed shoes can protect against falling debris and potential hazards while performing the mobile home leveling work.
Having the right tools for the job is crucial for ensuring that your mobile home is leveled correctly and safely. By using a professional, you can be sure that the job will be done right and that your home remains level and safe for years to come.
The Mobile Home Leveling Process
If you’ve determined that mobile home leveling could be needed, it’s important to understand the process involved. Here’s an overview of the steps involved in mobile home leveling:
- Remove the Skirting: This step involves removing the paneling or trim that covers the area between the foundation and the ground. This allows for easy access to the foundation pillars for inspection and leveling. The entire section of skirting does not need to be removed, only enough for to access the frame.
- Preparation: Before the mobile home leveling process begins, it’s important to prepare the area by removing any debris or other items under the home that could obstruct your view or get in the way of the process.
- Securing Plumbing and Electrical Installations: Before leveling, it’s important to secure the plumbing and electrical systems in the house to prevent damage during the process. This can involve supporting pipes and electrical wires or wrapping them in protective materials.
- Inspecting the Pillars with a Level: The foundation pillars or piers are inspected using a level to identify any that are not level. The level is placed on top of the pillar and checked for evenness. Additionally, a water level can be used and works well for this application. Any pillar that is not level is marked for shimming.
- Jacking the Home: Jacks are placed below an i-beam and used to lift the home to the desired height. The jacks are adjusted as necessary to relevel the home. Additionally, you should secure the jacks on a level surface to prevent them from slipping off the beam.
- Placing Shims on the Pillars: Shims, which are thin pieces of wood or metal, are inserted between the pillar and the foundation to support the weight of the home and keep it level. The shims can be placed one at a time and adjusted until the home is level.
- Reinspecting the Pillars After Shimming: After the shimming is complete, the pillars are re-inspected to ensure that the home is now level. If necessary, additional shimming may be done.
- Reinspecting Plumbing and Electrical: After the mobile home leveling process is complete, the plumbing and electrical systems are reinspected to ensure that they were not damaged during the process and are still functional. Any repairs or adjustments necessary are made at this time.
- Reattach the Skirting: The skirting around your home can now be replaced to restore the original appearance.
Cost of Mobile Home Leveling
The cost of mobile home leveling can vary depending on several factors, including the size of your home, the extent of the problem, and the location of your home. On average, you can expect to pay around $500 for a single-wide mobile home to $1,000 or more for double-wide mobile homes.
While the cost of mobile home leveling may seem like a significant expense, keep in mind that the cost of repairs from an unlevel home can be much higher. By investing in proper mobile home leveling, you can save money in the long run by preventing major repairs and increasing the lifespan of your home.
Should You Re-Level Your Mobile Home Yourself?
As a mobile homeowner, you may be wondering whether you should attempt to level the home yourself or hire a professional. While leveling a mobile home may seem like a simple task, there are several factors to consider before attempting to do it yourself:
- Experience and Knowledge: Re-leveling a mobile home can range from a simple job to a complex and technical process that requires a high level of knowledge and experience. If you don’t have construction experience or a deep understanding of how homes are leveled, you may not be equipped to handle the job.
- Tools and Equipment: Leveling a mobile home requires specialized tools and equipment, such as leveling jacks, jack stands, chocks, and measuring tools. If you don’t have access to these tools, you may not be able to level your home correctly.
- Safety Concerns: Keep in mind that mobile home leveling is a physically demanding and potentially dangerous task. If you’re not physically fit or if you don’t have experience working with heavy equipment, you may cause damage and put yourself at risk by attempting to level your home yourself.
- Cost Considerations: While leveling a mobile home yourself may seem like a way to save money, the cost of equipment, materials, and potential repairs from mistakes can quickly add up. Hiring a professional to level your home may be a more cost-effective option in the long run.
I would highly recommend you find a qualified company to ensure that the job is done correctly. Attempting to level your mobile home on your own can lead to more serious problems and can be dangerous. Additionally, the professionals know the standards and regulations required by HUD; we will cover this in the next section.
HUD Guidelines and Regulations for Mobile Home Leveling
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the governing body responsible for setting standards and regulations for mobile homes in the United States. When it comes to mobile home leveling, HUD has established a number of guidelines and regulations that must be followed to ensure that homes are level and safe. These guidelines cover everything from the materials and tools used in the leveling process to the installation and maintenance of homes.
Some HUD regulations regarding mobile home leveling include:
- The use of approved leveling materials: HUD requires that only approved leveling materials, such as blocks or wedges, be used during the releveling process. This helps to ensure that homes are stable, and that they do not settle or shift over time.
- The use of approved leveling jacks: HUD requires that only approved leveling jacks be used in the leveling process. These jacks must be capable of supporting the weight of the home and must be installed correctly to ensure that the home remains level and stable.
- Proper installation of homes: HUD requires that mobile homes be installed correctly with approved anchoring systems to secure the home to the foundation and prevent it from shifting or moving.
- Proper installation and maintenance of skirting: HUD requires that mobile homes have proper skirting installed to prevent water damage and keep animals out from under the home. This skirting must be maintained in good condition to ensure that it continues to provide proper protection.
FAQ: How to Level a Mobile Home
What is the best way to level a mobile home?
The best way to level a mobile home is to hire a professional technician who can assess the home, identify any problems, and recommend the best course of action. The technician will use approved leveling materials, such as blocks or wedges, and approved leveling jacks to raise and level the home. They will also follow all the regulations set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to ensure that the home is safe and stable.
How do you jack up a mobile home to level it?
Place the jacks under the home and adjust them to secure them in place. The jacks should be placed under the beams that run the length of the home. They should be properly spaced and positioned so that they are supporting the weight of the home evenly. Operate the jacks by turning the valve or pumping the handle to raise the home. Be sure to raise the home evenly and slowly, checking the level frequently.
How many jacks do I need to level a mobile home?
The number of jacks you need to level a mobile home depends on the size and weight of the home. In general, you will need at least two jacks, but you may need more. A rule of thumb is to have one jack for every 8-10 feet of the home’s length. This will ensure that the weight of the home is distributed evenly and that it is stable while being lifted.
How often should a mobile home be leveled?
A mobile home should be leveled when it shows signs of settling or shifting, or when the floor is no longer level. This can usually be determined by checking for cracks in the walls or doors that don’t close properly. The frequency of leveling will vary depending on the specific conditions of the home and the ground it’s installed on, but it’s typically recommended to have a mobile home inspected and leveled every 3 to 5 years.
What is the average lifespan of a mobile home?
The average lifespan of a mobile home is around 30-55 years. However, this can vary based on factors such as the quality of the materials used, the level of maintenance performed, and the environment in which the home is located. With proper care and maintenance, a mobile home can last for many years beyond the average lifespan, while a poorly maintained home may need to be replaced sooner.