How to use a water level.

In most situations the best type of level to use is a water level.

This is often the case when the distance between the two objects being leveled is considerable or intervening obstacles prevent the efficient use of a laser level.

One particular instance where this is the case is when the supporting piers are my home are being set to the same level. Sometimes these piers can be a considerable distance apart, on an 80 foot long double wide home the long diagonal distance is over 90 feet. There is no clear path underneath the home that would allow the use of a laser level, air conditioning ducts, plumbing pipes, I beams and other piers would obstruct the beam.

Despite the fact that a water level is a manual device it remains fairly accurate over this type of distance, even using the human eye it is still possible to be accurate to 1/8 of an inch.

There are of course some things to watch out for, in particular water bubbles in the line which will effect the accuracy.

The basic setup is a container of water and a length of plastic hose. One end of the hose should be submerged in the container of water,  the hose is then filled with water by sucking on the other end keeping the tube below the level of the water in the container.

The level of the water in the container and at the other end of the hose should be equal, this can be tested by placing one against the other.

The water container is set to the desired height and remains stationary while the tube end is moved around the job site to the various positions that need to be leveled . The far end of the hose needs to be made of a material that is clear and will allow you to see the level of the water.

If you’re working underneath a mobile home attach a magnet to the end of the hose so that it will stick to the steel I-beam allowing you to keep both hands free. This will make working and moving around easier and stop water leaking from the tube. Keep the open end of the tube ABOVE the level of the water in the container at all times.

There are a few things that will affect the accuracy of your level:

  •     Excessive cold weather will freeze the water in the line.
  •     Excessive heat sometimes causes bubbles to form in the line.
  •     Kinking of the tube will stop the free movement of the water.
  •     Care must be taken not to get the tube trapped under heavy objects.

If you have any questions about this article or any of the others on the site please leave a comment or send me an e-mail via the contact page.

Is Your House Leaning?

There are many reasons to level your home, some more obvious than others. The more obvious signs would be:

  •     Visual signs of leaning.
  •     Doors that stick or swing in one direction.
  •     Windows that won’t open or close properly.
  •     Cracks in the ceiling or wall joints.
  •     Problems with awnings and attachments.

Most of these issues will be resolved once you home is level.

Leveling a home is a task best left to an expert contractor for a number of reasons. This is not a job that needs to be performed on a regular basis and so learning the necessary skills would  not be productive use of a handy mans time or resources. Secondly some of the tools required are expensive and would not get the amount of use required to justify the initial cost.

Last but not least are the safety considerations of inexperienced workers tackling strange jobs on structures that can weigh in excess of 10 tons. There are some obvious safety issues involved

A local set up company can usually re level a mobile home in one day at a reasonable cost with little disruption of family life.

In my particular area the cost to level a mobile home starts at around $300.  This usually includes materials and labor.  When you speak to a contractor make sure that you explain your concerns and that both of you agree on what you will get and how much it will cost. Be as detailed as possible and don’t make assumptions.

Most importantly write it down, so that  both parties have a point of reference to go back to if there is a disagreement..

When the job is completed ask the contractor to show you what has been done to your home.

How to Re Level Your Manufactured Home.

The purpose of this article is to explain to you how to level a mobile home. If you’re reading this it is most likely that you already know that you have an issue with your home. To some degree all homes will settle slightly over time and depending upon the condition and stability of the ground on your lot you may have a small or large leveling issue.

These instructions are relevant for mobile homes or modular homes built on pier foundations, where concrete blocks are loosely stacked on a concrete or ABS base pad with wooden shims and wedges. For the purpose of these instructions I will assume that the mobile home stands on its own and is not attached to any other structures including sun rooms, porches, garages or covered areas.

It is also assumed that sufficient sections of your mobile home skirting have been removed to allow you easy access and sufficient light to carry out the job.

Usually, the home will be sinking into the ground but it is unlikely that all areas of the home will sink at the same rate, and  when I say sinking I’m only talking about a small amount of movement. Even if your mobile home as only dipped 1 inch in a corner it could still be noticeable as you move around the house.

It goes without saying that a mobile home is a heavy structure often weighing several tons. These jobs are best left to professional crews who fully understand the dangers involved and have the necessary skill and equipment to carry out these procedures. However, if you take your time and follow the instructions there is no reason why a homeowner cannot successfully level their home. However, if possible try to work with another person who can pass you the materials and keep an eye on the home for safety reasons

Tools required:

  •        One water level.
  •        One torpedo level.
  •        Flashlight.
  •        12 ton bottle Jack.
  •        Hammer.

Materials:

  • Wooden wedges.
  • 2 x 8 x 16 pressure treated wood.
  • 1 x 8 x 16 pressure treated wood.
  • 8 x 8 x 16 concrete blocks. (To replace cracked or broken blocks)

Procedure:

Set up your water level to the approximate height of your mobile home piers, then take one end of the water level underneath the home.  Check the height of each pier and mark on it how far above or below the line on the water level it stands. Using this method you will be able to determine which pier or group of piers is the highest. Take note of this pier, mark it and set the water level to its height. The idea here is to bring all of the other piers up to the height of the highest one. The only time I wouldn’t use this procedure would be if for some reason the height of this one pier is abnormally high in comparison to all of the others.

Next set your water level to match the height of the highest pier which was identified in the previous paragraph.

You’re now going adjust the wedges on top of each pile of block until each pier matches the highest point.

  •         Using the 12 ton bottle jack raise the I beam to the correct height.
  •         Adjust the wedges accordingly.
  •         Work your way down one beam at a time.
  •         Do not lift the I beam any higher than necessary to adjust the height.
  •         Replace any broken or cracked blocks as you go through the procedure.
  •         Level the base pads as required.

Take your time and finish off each section before moving to the next.

I hope that this article helps you to level your home. For more detailed detailed information on leveling your mobile home please check out the related posts.

Annual Repairs – Is Your Home Hurricane Ready?

Is your Home Hurricane Ready?

Hurricane season began on June 1st which is significant to those of us who live in the south east states of the USA in particular Florida, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana.

Here in Florida we haven’t had a direct hit from a hurricane since Hurricane Charley came ashore in Punta Gorda. After destroying the city it moved inland and traveled north through the center of Florida causing massive destruction.

If you need to be reminded of its power, please watch the short video below….

Extensive Hurricane Damage.

The damage was not confined to any particular structure, conventional housing, mobile homes, commercial buildings and government buildings were all affected. However, many older mobile homes which were not directly in the hurricanes path were destroyed or badly damaged due to tie down failure.

On the other hand mobile homes / manufactured housing, which were not in the direct path of the hurricane, but were installed to the new Florida regulations suffered far less structural damage.

Whole communities of older mobile home where destroyed as their anchor systems failed.

In certain areas correctly installed manufactured housing fared better than the traditional homes.

So what can you do to prepare?

Firstly, let’s take a look at when and how your mobile home was installed and try to take care of any issues that need attention.

Click here to arrange a free no obligation report on your tie down system

Your home should fall into one of the following categories:

  • Your home is new, installed recently using up-to-date codes and materials.
  • Your home was installed in the last 12 years using up-to-date codes and materials.
  • Your home was installed prior to the 15-c regulations but it’s tie down system has been upgraded.
  • Your home was installed prior to the 15-c regulations but it has not been upgraded.
  • Your home was installed in the 1980s and has some hurricane/tie-down straps and piers in place.
  • Your own is 1960/1970s and most of the anchors and straps are rusty and missing. Some support piers.

Florida Mobile Home Tie Down Regulations.

The new regulations and codes particular Florida were brought into legislation to prevent tie-down failure during storm conditions. This was done both to protect the home and to protect other structures from the dangers of flying debris. The new regulations are designed to keep the home is securely on the support piers and the roof secured via straps to the anchoring system.

So What Can You Do To Prepare For Hurricane Season?

Check the condition of your straps and anchors.mobile home tie-down hurricane readiness
The straps should be tight and free from rust and cracks.
Anchors heads should be level with the ground and not covered with dirt.
Some of the tie down straps should be vertical and attached to the side wall of the home.
Support piers should be in contact with the I-beam and vertical.
Support piers should have no missing or cracked blocks.

Should I Bring Up To Code or Enhance?

Depending on the age of your mobile home it is possible to either upgrade your home to the 15-C code or to make enhancements which will bring your home as close to code as it’s construction will allow. These enhancements whilst not the exact code will improve the chances of your homes survival and are recommended for older existing structures.

Whatever You Decide – Take action!

Do not think that hurricane damage can not happen to you!

This time of the year even the newer homes should undergo a quick inspection to make sure that your straps are still tight and the piers are in place. There is some settling that often takes place after the installation of a new home which can cause looseness in the tie-down straps.

OR

If you reside in Central Florida and feel that you would like a professional company to check out the condition of your tie-down system :

Click here to arrange your free no obligation report.

Posted in Hurricane safety, mobile home set up | 2 Comments
How To Level My Mobile Home.