triple wide separation in floor and cieling

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Posts: 3
Joined: Thu May 03, 2012 10:15 am

triple wide separation in floor and cieling

Post by mettao » Thu May 03, 2012 10:19 am

Hi David and thank you for your site!
I'm hoping you can help answer some questions for me? I purchased a Triple Wide Manufactured home (used) and it's my first one, still learning about them but b-4 we begin
here's some stats that may help you:
Triple Wide X-T-U Model #NN427009LTWI
Madison Park Model from Liberty Homes (aka Badger Built Homes) in Wisconsin.
42 foot wide x 70 long (with the hitch installed.)
The LT means "limited," and that the home owner and the dealer have changed something's from the standard floor plan and specs.
This home came off line on 04/15/05.
Upon reading the standard features it states: Floors Consturction= 2 x 8 floor joists, 23/32nd T & G floor decking, Transverse Floor.
Problem: I've got some separation occuring between what I call section's 1 and 2 (haven't noticed anything yet between 2 & 3) but I can see thru the carpeting where one side is
just a tad higher and it's futher evident in a cieling in the back area of the house that runs along that seam. I can see it open and shut during winter/summer. I've also had a creak
develop under some new vinyl flooring I had installed and the creak came from the luan board they initially installed for the vinyl separating (they fixed it by cutting/lifting the vinyl
and putting in some screws, but I'm sure there will be more to come.
I've learned that Hud code changed in Jan 2007 just after this was built and have also learned about something called "MARRAIGE LOCK BRACKETS," and want to know if that
will fix my problem. I haven't found many people that know anything about them? and hope you can shed some light on it.
I've learned that the house is supposed to have "lag bolts," installed every 8 feet or so joining the wood between the sections at an angle and I have yet to crawl under there to see
if they were used? but weather/age is not cooperating with me to get that done just yet. I know that there are steel beams that run the whole length of the house so I couldn't see
how lag bolts could be used but I guess there is wood under there's hard to see with all that black "belly wrap," they hold the insulation in with.
Lastly, it's super hard to find someone to come fix this in the area I live (Northern Minnesota) but one guy I talked to made a comment that really blew my mind. He mentioned to
me that the decorative cement block "skirting," if you will that sits under the house and has sliding vents in it...he said that they need to be open in the "winter?" and closed in the
summer? That's totally opposite of what logic would dictate, I'd like to think we miscommunicated but he assurred me that things and thoughts have changed and what he told
me was correct? I don't know about that, it just doesn't sit right with me but if you could claify that I'd appreciate it as well.
I'll await your response and again, I really appreciate your time.

David Oxhandler
Posts: 1459
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:37 am

Re: triple wide separation in floor and cieling

Post by David Oxhandler » Thu May 03, 2012 10:48 am

The vast majority of problems that owners experience with their manufactured homes are due to the home being out of level. Regardless of the type soil below the foundation or its pre-compaction ALL STRUCTURES EXPERIENCE SETTLEMENT. The Empire State Building in Manhattan sitting on solid rock settle a measurable amount each year.

On most soil types a releveling after the home has been in place for a year to 18 months resolves this problem for all time. The soil directly under the piers gets super compressed. While there will continue to be settlement as long as there is gravity, the amount, in the majority of cases, will be negligible

Even though you may not notice or feel that the home is not level if the marriage line is opening your home is almost certainly out of level... Unless you have extensive experience in setting manufactured homes you should not attempt to relevel your home yourself.

The operations involved in jacking and raising and then lowering the home can be very dangerous and should be attempted only by experienced individuals. All states now require manufactured housing installers to be licensed. Find a licensed contractor. This is NOT a simple operation. Attempting this yourself could not only be dangerous but very costly. The best home can be damaged severely if improperly jacked, moved or re-set.

If your having difficulty finding a competent installer contact the department in Minn that licenses them

Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry
443 Lafayette Road N.
St. Paul, MN 55155
(651) 284-5005 | (800) 342-5354
Construction Codes and Licensing Division (CCLD)
Manufactured Structures
(651) 284-5034
(651) 284-5743 (fax)

or your state Manufactured Housing Association.

Manufactured and Modular Home Association of Minnesota
1540 Humboldt Ave., Ste 205
West St. Paul, MN 55118
[email protected]

If you would like to check yourself to see if your home is out of level PLUS get some idea of the operation involved in releveling take a look at the Releveling Kit from Aberdeen Repair. This kit includes complete step-by-step instructions and a waterline level. Use these instructions and the enclosed waterline level to determine whether or not your home is out of level. You will also use this information to become a better-informed consumer and give yourself the upper hand when it comes to hiring a contractor to do the job.

Marriage Joint Adjustment Bracket for mobile homes make adjustment of marriage joints faster and easier. The hardware cost is around $50 each bracket. Lag bolts could work as well. Your installer will need to make the determination which is right for you home, based on local soil conditions, building codes and his past experience.

Different climates require different amounts of ventilation under a manufactured home to prevent mold. I live in Florida where we must have continuous ventilation year round. I added a thermostatically controlled fan under my home to stop mold propagation. Find that licensed installer that you can trust. He will have the correct info on skirting ventilation for Minn...... or perhaps one of the other regulars here has experience in your part of the country.

Please come back and let us know how your efforts are going.
David Oxhandler
[email protected]

Posts: 202
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 9:54 am

Re: triple wide separation in floor and cieling

Post by trmimo » Fri May 04, 2012 5:32 am

Your vents absolutely should be open in the winter. In Minnesota, winter is when you are likely to experience condensation. The only time you should close them is during a very cold and windy spell. They should be open in the summer as well. David is right that your home likely needs re-leveled. Also lag bolts between sections of this home should be more like every 32" rather than 8'.

Posts: 3
Joined: Thu May 03, 2012 10:15 am

Re: triple wide separation in floor and cieling

Post by mettao » Thu May 24, 2012 7:12 pm

Hi, and thanks for the responses! Just to follow up, I was finally able to get under the house and check things out. I did see the 6 inch lag bolts and they are installed every 8 inches connecting the sections all along the home. I also brought a level along and checked all along the steel beams and it was DEAD ON for leveling.

Maybe I'm just dealing with shifting due to season changes? I'm left with pulling up the carpet along the sections and then maybe I can see what's happening? When I walk over it I can feel what seems to be one side higher than the other and it's a visible difference just by looking at the carpeting.

I was originally thinking I would need the marraige brackets installed but I don't see how that will make a difference now with all the lag bolts in there?

Lastly, I talked to someone who recommended putting pink owen's corning insulation panels under the belly wrap...any thoughts on that?

I'm still searching for someone to come and peek at my issue and see what they have to say..but with all the stuff going on in North Dakota and the pipeline it's tough..they are selling so many Manufactured homes that the crews are all tied up.

Again, thanks for the advise and time on this.


David Oxhandler
Posts: 1459
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:37 am

Re: triple wide separation in floor and cieling

Post by David Oxhandler » Thu May 24, 2012 7:49 pm

Framed structures are not rigid and by nature have some flexibility. I have been in many old site built homes where settlement and/or frost heaves do create uneven floors. In those homes while most the overall level of the home is good, it may be unlevel in small areas.

The steel beams can be level with the marriage floor lines still not perfectly flush. some or all of the lags can to backed out, the floors evened, localy and the lags reset. If the difference is small you can ignore it. If the difference is very small you can feather out the difference with a sander, wood filler or rock-hard putty.

I had this problem in my doublewide. I wanted to install ceramic tile but was concerned about cracking along the marriage line. In 1995 we removed the plywood decking and re installed it bridging the marriage line, so that the decking spanned both sides. this resolved the problem for all time.
David Oxhandler
[email protected]

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