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Sagging wall + skirting costs

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 7:35 pm
by Windrider6
I'm finally getting my 1974 mobile home here in Alberta fixed, but have two companies saying two different things to fix the sag on one wall. Plus I don't have a clue what are reasonable costs to do the work, including new skirting.

Sagging wall: The wall has the range, fridge, and freezer in the kitchen, and the water heater in the bathroom farther away. It is possible that the whole mobile home leans that way. I don't know.

One contractor (who is supposed to be here Thursday to start the work), says that in addition to re-levelling, that a pony wall is needed to support that wall under the kitchen.

Talking to another contractor on the phone, he said that a pony wall is a bad idea because of frost heave, and that some sort of joist is needed instead. I don't understand.

Both quotes I've received on skirting is seems like a lot ($3300 and $3400 Canadian, which is $2460 to $2540 US), but I haven't been able to get anyone else to give a quote, so I don't know if that is to high or not.

Mobile home is ~1974. 14'x68'. Two I-beams. I-beams sitting on 2 x 1'x1' timbers that run the width of the home in 6 or 7 spots. Nothing under them but dirt.

The first contractor wanted to remove all the timbers and replace them with "manufactured housing approved treated flat pads and spruce made wood crates". I don't think this is necessary since the timbers there are in good shape and much more sturdy than wood crates.

Please help?

Re: Sagging wall + skirting costs

Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 2:26 pm
by waitingtohear
Based on all the floor work I just did on my 1973 mobile, I would first compare your 2 choices to support the floor:

1) a pony wall would be a concrete blocked wall that would support the outer edge of your home.

2) a joist would be another wood beam in the floor (that can be installed from underneath the home if you open up the belly board (assuming you have that in place) and it supports weight on the floor above.

However, adding a joist in no way helps to level out the floor or will stop bending of outer wall from weight coming from all your appliances on one side of an outer wall.

The pony wall actually is supporting the entire side of the home and if they do the work correctly they would need to LEVEL your home at the same time to make it all work as it should.

If you go with joist only, that may help with some of the weight in the home's FLOOR above it in the one room, but not with the entire side of the home sinking further down from all the weight.

So I would go with the pony wall.

Plus, if you have more money in future, you can keep adding the pony wall to support the rest of outer walls and also create a nice solid foundation type skirting to keep critters out for sure. Adding venting at topside of all the blocks, where it won't even be seen without needing to crouch down, is the cheese

I have done a lot of work on my home for cheap by getting guys off of Craigslist. They do the work for a third of price. But you do want to find the ones that have real carpentry and mobile home experience. I once had been quoted $1400 to have all my 5 axles removed underneath, but found a craigslist guy who did it for $400 and that included hauling it all away!

Just my opinions. Good luck!

Re: Sagging wall + skirting costs

Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 2:31 pm
by waitingtohear
I should add, I don't quite know what type of frost issues you have in your area, but you can start with this information and see if your guy who mentioned the pony wall can explain how he can make sure you won't have issues if you go with his idea: ... 341398.pdf

Re: Sagging wall + skirting costs

Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 5:14 pm
by JD
Seeings as it is probably too late for suggestions, I will say I hope the repairs work out well for you. As a 30 year, working professional in mobile home repair, I would say that the price sounds fair if they do enough work to fix the problem for you.

Re: Sagging wall + skirting costs

Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 6:21 pm
by Greg
My question is how is the rest of the home supported? If you are on below frost line piers/footers use the same to support the wall. If you are on ground blocks, no matter what you do you will have to deal with frost issues through the entire home. Parameter blocking will be the best option, just use the same method (below or above frostline) for everything.


Re: Sagging wall + skirting costs

Posted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 12:35 am
by Windrider6
Thank you for the replies!

Two I-beams are supported on huge 1'x1' timbers almost the whole width of the home, 2 piled up, in several locations under the home. The timbers are sitting on bare dirt. No footings. I know that this is a problem, especially since the low side of the home is the side that had to be built up to provide a level spot for the home. There is a hill on that side a foot away from the skirting.

A home inspector in the area (central Alberta), was kind enough to provide some free advice on the phone. He also said that a pony wall was a bad idea because of frost heave. He said that a pony wall could actually make things worse, because it could cause that side to be inches higher in the winter time. We get extremes of temperature here from season to season from -35 to +35 Celsius (-31 to 95 Fahrenheit).

So finally armed with some impartial expert advice, I asked the contractor who was supposed to be here this week what else other than a pony wall he can do. He said nothing, so he's not coming now.

A possibly extreme measure that comes to mind is to slide in another I-beams on the problem side, or both sides. The timbers on the ground extend almost all the way the full width of the mobile home.

Such I-beams would provide support for the floor joists for the whole mobile home, just like the ones already there, but nearer the sides where there is a problem. But I have no idea how much they would cost, whether I could get ones that match what's already there, and I don't know how difficult they would be to install.

Re: Sagging wall + skirting costs

Posted: Sat Oct 03, 2015 6:12 pm
by waywardson67
Just a thought but if you could locate another mobile home frame or one that is being torn down then you might be able to get the I beams that you need.
As for installing the beams that would involve jacking the trailer and releveling the mobile home.

Good Luck

Re: Sagging wall + skirting costs

Posted: Sat Oct 03, 2015 7:47 pm
by Windrider6
Thank you for any and all replies. I appreciate it, because I'm feeling lost and alone.

I realize that extra I-beams are a fantasy. The cost would be too high. Also, after looking more closely underneath, I realized that extra I-beams would be difficult because currently there are diagonal metal braces from the bottom of the existing I-beams to the side walls (not that they seem to be doing any good).

There was supposed to be a construction/reno duo that were to be here at 10 am today to look at the situation, but they never showed. They didn't answer their phones, and didn't respond to phone messages. Then several hours later they e-mailed saying that they were having trouble getting a crane! Their intention was to use a crane to lift the whole mobile home up and move it elsewhere while they bored holes and filled them with concrete and re-bar for footings. Then they would rebuild most of the floor on the sagging side.

I'm very disappointed that they never tried to contact me to tell me that they were not coming, and I'm flabbergasted at their proposed solution. I just want a re-level and a fix for the sagging wall, as well as new skirting.

Early in the week, I e-mailed 32 building contractors and phoned dozens of others. Of the replies or contacts (less than half), almost all of them say that they are too busy or they don't want to travel as far as my town.

At the moment I have only one out of the 50+ contractors saying they might come to take look next week. It is very frustrating.

Part of the problem is that I live in Hardisty, Alberta, the biggest centre for oil pipelines and crude oil storage in Canada. The infamous Trans-Canada pipeline also starts here. The "tank farm" and pipeline centre near town is at least twice as large as the town itself.

Anyone within a one hour drive is either working for the petroleum industry, or looking for a job in the industry. Very few will work in any other trade. Anyone in construction in the area seem to not want to lower themselves from industrial or commercial construction.

Maybe I have to give up on fixing the sagging wall, and be satisfied with a plain re-level and new skirting, because those are straight forward. My ethics and conscience are giving me a problem with that, though, because I want to sell.

Re: Sagging wall + skirting costs

Posted: Sun Oct 04, 2015 8:50 am
by Greg
I would say that based on what they are saying (need a crane) they have no idea what they are doing. Any installer that has a clue will use I beams and rollers to move a home sideways. All that you would need to do is move it few feet either way to have room to pour piers. At that point you could pour piers to support the WHOLE home.

Try contacting a mobile home dealer/installer for some contractors.


Re: Sagging wall + skirting costs

Posted: Sun Oct 04, 2015 4:33 pm
by Windrider6
Greg wrote: Try contacting a mobile home dealer/installer for some contractors.
That's what I did in the beginning and found only one company that is 2.5 hours away. They were originally going to do the job, until it became clear that they didn't know how to do it properly. Then I started to contact any and every building contractor within a 1.5 hour drive.

A pleasant surprise: One contractor called today, and then showed up to look. He says that while re-levelling, that the wall be lifted up to level and replace the weak supports from the I-beam to the wall with stronger supports. That should fix the sagging wall. During that, the floor might bulge, and need to be fixed.

That's the good news (that someone has a firm idea of how to fix the problem). The bad news is that they will not be able to do the job until next summer.

He will write an outline of his plan along with the quote.

Re: Sagging wall + skirting costs

Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 3:09 pm
by Windrider6

All the work is finally done.

17 floor joists were sistered under the kitchen area, and 2 under the bathroom. Floor had to be replaced in the bathroom and a couple spots in the kitchen. The sag is fixed, but it cost a lot.

+ Relevelled, new insulated skirting, new steps for the back door. Some plumbing repair.

Total: ~$14,000 Canadian dollars (~$10,000 US).

Now I'm trying to sell the place.