19 Year Old Double Wide Pit Set Problems

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19 Year Old Double Wide Pit Set Problems

Postby Gablin » Fri Oct 09, 2009 1:24 pm

I am new here and have been learning a lot by reading others' questions and replies.
I am hopeful that one or more of you can give me some good ideas for my brother and son-in-law to carry out for me.

I bought my mobile in January of 2002. At the time, I had it inspected and was told that there "might" be moisture problems at one corner of the pit. Sure enough, now, the wooden "skirting" that only shows above the pit about a foot at one end and not at all at the other end, has developed a slight lean inwards at the ground level.

I phoned a local dealer to see if they could recommend a handyman or contractor and the owner of the mobile home dealership came out himself to see what needed to be done. He produced an estimate of over $8,000 to do a long list of things, some of which are probably good ideas, but I don't have $8,000 lying around. He wants $1200 just to "relevel" the home. (It seems level to me, but I'm just using a carpenter level on the counter tops, windowsills and floors, so what do I know?) He said I needed extra ventilation in the soffits and also along the bottom, need to remove the bely board and caulk behind it and replace it, and need to pressure wash and paint the house. (It does seriously need paint - it's fading and an ugly color anyway.)

I think I should ask my brother or my son-in-law to go down into the pit and look at the corner where the problem exists. Maybe ventilation is the answer, but I suspect that some boarding needs replacing, too. (I am not physically capable of climbing down into the pit and couldn't walk stooped over even if someone could lower me down there.)

Any ideas?
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Re: 19 Year Old Double Wide Pit Set Problems

Postby Greg » Fri Oct 09, 2009 4:05 pm

Hi & welcome. it sounds like ventilation could be the major cause. The general rule is 1sq foot of ventilation per 100sq foot of floor space.

Re leveling is not a hard job to do, but it should be done with a water level. Mark, the site owner has written a book that covers this and most every other repair or upgrade you may have. Greg
"If I can't fix it, I can screw it up so bad no one else can either."
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Re: 19 Year Old Double Wide Pit Set Problems

Postby Yanita » Fri Oct 09, 2009 5:03 pm

Hi,

Welcome to the site.

I am uncertain what you mean by "pit". Typically mobile homes are set up on a flat area. Blocked and leveled accordingly. They can even be set up on uneven ground with one end being higher than the other. Yet another option is a full basement...is this what you are referring to as a pit. Is it block walls, concrete floor, please describe this area better or maybe post some pics.

If you have standing water under there then you will need to get it dried out. Open up the skirting on 2 sides and get a fan going as well. I am a huge fan of moisture barriers. This is nothing more than 6mil plastic laid on the ground under the home. It goes from end to end, side to side. Over laping each sheet at least 6 inches and taping at the seams. I also like to have it go at least 6 " up the skirting and all columns/piers. What this plastic does is as ground moisture evaporats it keeps the moisture under the plastic so it is not creating a moisture/mildew/mold issue under the home. now if you have alot/deep standing water than you will need more extreme measures. Please clarify for us what is happening.

Greg told you the minuim code for vents, one vent per 100 square feet, This is minimum. i prefer more. Also There is more to that code as far as unobstructed air flow...screening etc...hopefully someone will clarify exactly.

Now lets address your contractor estimate. I do not know where you live buut that sounds a little high for a relevel, but contractor cost vary from stte to state. Annnnd, I don't really understand the "pit" part of your home.

A carpenters level will not tell you if your home is out of level. If any contractor uses one to check your home, send him home with no pay. The only way to check with accuracy is a water level or laser.A rough guess of level is this...do your interior doors stay in the open posistion without being blocked open? Do your windows open and close smoothly. Exterior doors open and close smoothly without binding?

Have never heard of an underbelly being removed and caulked! Your home should have a belly fabric material, keep this in as good of condition as possible. In other words if it does not need to be cut into for repairs...then don't!

I don't recall what you said you have for siding, but regardless, pressure washing a mobile is generally a no no. The pressure of the water can get behind the siding and cause damage.

What are the reasons for needing more soffit vents? Are you having noticeable interior ceiling problems, moisture staining?

And the last thing you posted was rotten wood in the pit..again, need clarification. Any shims under your home should be hard wood.

Hopefully I have given you some insight and others will as well.

Mark, the site owner, has a great repair manual here on the site store. This is a great info to have whether you can do the repairs or not. You can educate yourself on the proper way things need to be repaired and hence contractors and handy men are less able to BS your money from you.

Yanita
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Re: 19 Year Old Double Wide Pit Set Problems

Postby Gablin » Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:06 pm

I'll try to upload some pictures I took of the wood that seems to be changing shape.

All most all of the homes in the park where I live are "pit set." They look, from the street, similar to stick built homes.
I think that the pit is like a basement, except I know that the floor of most is just dirt. Sides are a combination of concrete blocks and wood, I think, and the home is fastened to "piers" or sort of wide posts all through the pit.

I've never been under any of them, so what I "know" is from others telling me so.

Here's a link to some photos of the edge of the driveway and the bottom of the house. http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/album/575042657hvHLIg

Here's a link to another house in the park that is for sale. It shows the "pit set" look better than my photos. http://www.johnlscott.com/propertydetail.aspx?GroupID=207211689&ListingID=300328516&Sort=0
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Re: 19 Year Old Double Wide Pit Set Problems

Postby Gablin » Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:09 pm

PS: I have no signs of moisture inside, no leaks or anything. Windows and doors all work fine, too (except sliding screen door slightly bent by someone as they moved heavy furniture out for me.)
The siding is not real wood, as I understand it, yet can be painted, nailed, etc. like wood.
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Re: 19 Year Old Double Wide Pit Set Problems

Postby JD » Sat Oct 10, 2009 1:11 am

We have "pit set" homes in my area. I do charge extra to relevel or to do any repairs underneath them. They usually have a small access area at the rear of the home, which is basically a little duggout area with concrete walls. It is a PIA to have to crawl to this same spot when I need to enter or exit. With a flat ground set home, I open up skirting for easy access from several points and this brings in a lot of light. Still $1200 seems like a lot of money for a relevel. You may want to get more estimates. I do think that this is a relevel problem. With the home set on dirt and the skirting locked in hard like that to the surface and home, when the mobile home settles, the skirting has to go somewhere.

This looks like HardiePanel siding, a cementuous fiber type siding. If you are having a moisture problem, please note that the bottom edges and maybe even the backs of the skirting should be painted. Where the skirting ends and siding begins, the bottom of the siding should be painted. The panels will wick water up from those unprotected edges and damage the siding.

Also, if this is a moisture problem from ground water, Yanita's suggestions of ground vapor barrier is a good idea. You could also install powered vents in that area to force moisture out. If this moisture is caused by rain accumulating against the skirting and working its way down into the pit, you could try sealing the skirting in that area with a good polyurethane sealant, like Tremco Vulkem 116, and painting the skirting with water proofing primer and paint like is available at www.amesresearch.com. For mold and mildew problem areas, I have been using a special paint called Perma White from Zinsser. I get it at Kelly Moore stores where they can tint it for me. Lowe's here said that it couldn't be tinted because Perma White wasn't in their computer. :| Amateurs! Anyways, this is special anti-mold/mildew interior/exterior paint with great first hand reviews from my local pro painters. 5 year guarantee against mold.

JD
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All information and advice given is for entertainment and informational purposes only. The person doing the work is solely responsible to insure that their work complies with their local building code and OSHA safety regulations.
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Re: 19 Year Old Double Wide Pit Set Problems

Postby Yanita » Sat Oct 10, 2009 3:41 am

Hi Gentlemen,

Thanks for the clarification, and now I do recall this set up from a post made a few years back. I looked at your pics... in one of them there appears to be a black thing coming down the side of the home. Is this attached to a rain gutter...if so make sure that it is draining water away from the home.

IMO, you would serve yourself well if you replaced your current vents with some thing larger if you have the space to do so, and maybe add more of them. We have automatic vents in our online store, these work great, I know I have several.

Yanita
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