Why You Can’t Simply Ignore an Un-Level Floor
From the term itself, you can already see how a home is different from a mobile home. The former is fixed while the latter is designed to move. While most people would require a stationary home, there are a lot of families that are investing in a mobile one.
It’s easy to see why most families invest in a stationary house. For most of us, our house is a sign of stability. You invest in a home because you feel that you’re finally ready to settle down with your family in the location of your choice.
It seems as if a lot of homes didn’t get the memo. They don’t settle in such a way that the flooring becomes unleveled. One day you’re walking in a stable home and it seems like out of nowhere, you suddenly notice that the floor is unleveled. Suddenly, you feel as if the home has moved.
On this page:
- Causes of Unleveled Floors
- Signs that Your House Needs Leveling
- Why You Need to Re-level Your Home
- How Often Should You Relevel a Mobile Home?
- How is Home Leveling Done?
- Cost of Leveling a Mobile Home
- Should You Hire a Professional Leveler?
- Getting Quotes from Competing Contractors
On the other hand, mobile homes are designed to be on the go and manufacturers have that in mind when designing them. While they have measures in place to ensure that everything will remain the same, time will come when you’ll notice changes and damages.
Unleveled flooring is one of the most common issues faced by mobile homeowners. This is especially true if they’ve been traveling a lot.
Either way, whether your home is stationary or not, unleveled floors are a cause of concern. This is why we’ve put this article together. You can treat this as your guide if your house is suffering from unleveled flooring.
First, we’ll talk about the different causes of unleveled floors. We’ll list them down for you to have a good idea why this is happening. This can help you in two ways. First, you can have a better plan of attack. You can solve the issue from the roots so that it won’t happen again. In addition, it can help prevent a repeat in the future.
We’ll also list down signs that your house needs leveling. This is just in case it’s not quite obvious yet.
You’ll have two options once you notice these signs. It’s either you ignore them or you do something about the issue at hand. We’ll tell you exactly why you need to re-level your home.
How often should you re-level a mobile home? There are obviously a lot of factors to consider, but we’ll give you a pretty good idea.
We’ll also tell you how is home leveling done. This portion of this article is important not to convince you to do it DIY but for you to appreciate how challenging it is. This will convince you to hire a professional floor leveling contractor.
Speaking of hiring a professional contractor, we’ll also tell you the cost in doing so. Don’t worry, because we’ll teach you how to get the best quotes that you can choose from.
Causes of Unleveled Floors
Here are the most common causes to watch out for:
- There’s an issue with the foundation.
This is the first thing that a home leveling company will check. You can only hope and pray that this is not the cause but it is the cause in a lot of cases. The foundation of your house basically keeps the structure upright so naturally, things will be affected if there’s an issue with it.
A sagging foundation will most definitely lead to issues like unleveled flooring. If you can see that your floor is sagging, then it’s most likely a foundation issue wherein the side that sloped downwards is the side that has a sagged foundation.
Speaking of structure, damages to girders, sill plates, cripple wall studs, and posts can also lead to sloping.
- There’s something wrong with the plywood subflooring.
Plywood is a popular choice for subflooring. It’s a good choice, but it’s not perfect. It can bulge or become loose. This is probably the case if you see uneven spots in the floor.
For this, you need to either replace the whole plywood subflooring, although a professional, after inspection, can simply secure it better.
- Your house has poor drainage.
While not the direct cause, it can lead to the most popular causes. For example, poor drainage can affect your home’s foundation. This is because of the unnecessary and intense pressure that drainage issues put on your home.
This is a common issue with mobile homes where drainage can be a real issue especially if you haven’t been maintaining your mobile home.
- Poor construction.
This is why it’s important that you always hire a professional especially during home construction. A good construction contractor would always look into the future for your home’s future needs, wants and demands. There are also building codes that have to be followed. Most DIYers and handymen don’t know these building codes that lead to sloped flooring.
Another common issue is when the supports are placed too far apart. This wouldn’t happen if you hire a professional flooring contractor.
- Crowned or sagged floor joists.
The joists are an important part of the flooring structure. They serve as supports. This is why you can expect issues with the leveling if they crown or sag.
- The age of your home.
Just like humans, homes are expected to have issues as they age. Unfortunately, sloping flooring is among these issues. Fortunately if there’s no other cause, age can only cause minor sloping.
Age comes with damages caused by rotting, excess moisture, insects and pests. These can all lead to sloping.
- The house is settling.
This is a common issue especially with older homes. Even newer homes can be affected if they were built on soil that wasn’t compacted.
Settling directly affects the foundation. As the foundation sinks, it brings with it the parts of the home that are attached to it.
Signs that Your House Needs Leveling
If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance that you already know that it’s time to level your house. Just in case you’re not convinced, here are the signs to watch out for:
- The mortar joints are not level.
Also known as expansion joints, these are gaps placed vertically in between the concrete blocks or bricks used for walls. Most professionals will check these first as they show tell-tale signs that there’s a foundation issue.
These experts will check for cracks and gaps. They will also check if the joints have expanded. If they spotted these issues, then they will assume that the foundation has settled so that’s the next thing that they’ll check.
- There are cracks.
In addition to cracks and gaps in the mortar joints, you can also check if there are cracks indoors and outdoors. Do you see cracks across the walls? How about tile flooring? Make sure to also check drywall, veneer, plaster and wood paneling. Don’t forget to check the ceiling as well.
This can apply to mobile homes as well.
- There are signs of previous repairs.
This applies if you’re not the first owner of the house or mobile home. Do you see patches? How about repainted walls? Has the framework been moved? Check the latches as well if they’ve been replaced. If there are obvious signs of repairs, you may want to get in touch with the original owner and ask them about the repairs that have been made. This is because these repairs may have been made to repair issues caused by settling.
- Doors and windows are stuck.
Suddenly, you can’t open doors and windows without them getting stuck. Something has changed, obviously, and this can be a sign that your home has to be leveled.
- Sloping floors.
This sign is as clear as signs get. If you suddenly see slopes in your flooring or uneven areas, it’s time to call in the professionals. You can use a tape measure for a quick check.
- There are issues with the chimney.
Is it leaning? Are there cracks? These could be signs of issues with the chimney that could be the direct result of issues with the foundation. Check your flooring and there’s a good chance that you’ll find out that it has to be leveled.
Why You Need to Re-level Your Home
The short answer is because it’s dangerous to live with an un-level home. Sure, an uneven flooring may seem like an annoyance at first that you’ll get used to, but you have to consider its causes. You already know that it can be a foundation issue. That alone should tell you why you need to take care of the issue once and for all and as soon as possible.
This is especially true with a mobile home. Can you imagine driving for long distances knowing that its foundation is compromised?
In addition, it’s not a problem that’s going to go away on its own. A lot of homeowners neglect it thinking that it’s going away. Well, it’s not. In fact, it’s going to get worse. This means that it will lead to more expensive repairs. So might as well get it fixed now while it’s still doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to repair.
It’s also going to violate safety standards. The words violate and safety in the same sentence should be reason enough to re-level your home. Just in case you’re not convinced, there’s another disadvantage – you’ll find it hard to sell your home if it’s not leveled.
This is crucial with mobile homes. A lot of owners buy and sell them as their needs and wants change. You won’t be able to sell yours if there’s a major issue. Buyers nowadays are very smart. It’s also a negative reflection on you. They’ll rightfully assume that you haven’t been taking care of the mobile home since you’ve been neglecting a major issue.
How Often Should You Relevel a Mobile Home?
As mentioned, there are a lot of factors to be taken into consideration. As a general rule, a mobile home with average use should be re-leveled once a year. At the very least, have it checked once a year. It doesn’t matter if the issue is minor or major. Do an annual checkup with the assistance of a professional. Whatever you do, don’t wait for 2 years even if you’re not really using it.
Of course, the demand is higher if you’re basically on the road most of the year. Increase the frequency as you increase the usage.
More importantly, re-level it if you spot the signs listed above. The important thing is you don’t wait for the annual re-leveling if you already see the signs.
How is Home Leveling Done?
The first thing that you have to know is this is a complicated process. Yes, this applies to both a house and a mobile home. You need the guidance of a structural engineer because you may end up making things worse. That’s not good considering this is your home’s structure we’re talking about.
Just in case you’re not convinced that this is a challenging job, here are the steps on how to level a house:
- Find the location of the sag.
There are a lot of ways to do this, but the simplest and easiest one is to use a laser level. You can also use a water level. Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t have these tools. You can use a taut string.
The goal here is to find the measurement from that line to the floor joists bottom. This process has to be repeated in several areas.
Find the lowest portion of the floor’s center and mark that.
- Set up a temporary post.
Position this directly underneath the un-leveled floor. Use uniform pieces of wood. Make sure that it’s stable. Use enough pieces of wood in such a way that you can position a hydraulic jack on the top of the pieces of wood and it can reach the beam directly above it.
Then, raise the beam until the lowest part has reached the height of the next lowest part. Then, place the temporary post to secure the beam so you can remove the hydraulic jack and it will remain at the same height.
- Replace the temporary post with a permanent one.
This would require precision and expertise. While you can use the existing support with a few modifications, there’s a chance that these supports are not at 100% so it makes sense to just install new support posts.
Repeat the process as necessary. As a word of caution, this process may cause sheetrock cracks.
Obviously, these are just general steps. However, you already have a good idea as to why you need to hire a professional.
The process to level a mobile home is a basically the same. Here are the general steps to do it:
- Use a level to find the sag.
Just like the recommendation above, using a laser level is best. Make sure that you measure and mark the high and low spots to find the sag.
- Make room for a hydraulic jack.
You may need to loosen the tie-down straps. This will also create room so you can add or remove shims as necessary.
At this point, it’s basically the same as the remaining steps on how to level a home listed above. Once done, you need to tighten the tie-down straps once again.
Cost of Leveling a Mobile Home
Obviously, mobile home levelers would charge different prices depending on different factors. These factors will determine how challenging the job is. Obviously the more challenging it is, the more expensive it’s going to be. But generally speaking, you can expect the rate to start at around $450. This is for a single-wide mobile home. This can go as high as $450.
Understandably, a double-wide leveling job is more expensive. You can expect to pay around $900 for this. On the other hand, a triple-wide leveling job can go as high as $1000.
Should You Hire a Professional Leveler?
The cost of leveling a mobile home may discourage you from hiring a professional. However, the steps that we listed, while general in nature, already tell you that this job is best left for professionals. Here are some of the reasons why it’s better to just hire a professional:
- A lot is at stake.
This is especially true with a mobile home. Again, this issue has something to do with the foundation. Are you really going to risk doing a bad job at something that can potentially cause a lot of damages? Yes, the risk also applies to you.
- This job requires precision.
The fact that it requires a level should tell you about the precision that’s needed for the job. You can’t be wrong with your measurements. If you are, you’ll be back to square one.
- It’s potentially unsafe.
Any project that requires you to work with your home’s foundation is a potentially unsafe one. On that note, there are always risks involved in home renovation and repair projects. This alone should be reason enough for you to hire a professional.
- You’ll run into several problems.
By trying to solve a problem, you can run into several problems that you’ve created. In the end, you’ll be faced with more problems than when you’ve started.
Hire a professional. They’ll do a better job than you provided that you hire the right contractor for the job. Yes, the cost is a valid concern, but we have a trick that can help you choose from great quotes.
Getting Quotes from Competing Contractors
It’s not a secret anymore that you can get better deals if you’ll ask around for quotes. Basically, you’ll have mobile home leveling companies near you compete for your business. Ask around 4 of the best ones in your area for their best quotes and subtly tell them that you’re asking around so you can find the best deal. This is basically telling them that they have to send their best quote if they want to be considered at all.
It’s best that you ask for an itemized quote. This way, you can really compare what they’re offering. You can’t base your decision on the price alone. You have to know what you’re getting. You might end up hiring a contractor with a low upfront rate but with a lot of hidden charges required to get the result that you need.
It’s also important that you only ask for quotes from contractors near you. There’s really no reason for you to contact out of town contractors because they will generally charge a higher price and rightfully so.
Of course, make sure that you only ask for quotes from licensed contractors. This ensures that they have the right expertise that you’re looking for and that they’re not going to run off with your hard earned money.
This sounds like a lot of work, right? If you do it the old-fashioned way, you will spend a lot of time, effort and money that it will defeat the purpose of getting quotes from competing contractors. This is why we’ve put together a service that will make the whole process easier.
Use Our Free Service
We are offering a free service that allows you to get in touch with the best mobile home leveling contractors and ask the for their best quotes. All you need to do is to use the form that you see on this page. It asks you of basic details and you need to complete the form with accurate details. This is because these details will be sent to the best licensed mobile home levelers nearest you.
They’ll use these details to put together their best quote because they know that their competitors will also receive your details. This is why you can expect to receive around 4 of the best itemized quotes. Make sure that you compare the itemized quotes until you find the best one for you.
Try it today! There’s no risk involved to using this free service because there’s no commitment involved. Level your home – whether mobile or stationary – today!