The piers under a manufactured home require attention every so often and this action is commonly referred to as a relevel. The pier system under a manufactured home must be regularly maintained to prevent and reduce the damage caused by settling doors not opening correctly, cracks in the walls, floors being uneven, bowed skirting, rusted piers, etc.
So what exactly is a relevel and why is it important?
It is the process of adjusting the piers underneath a manufactured or mobile home in order to equalize the pressure on the main beams of the home. Technically this term is a little misleading because it is considered a support process and not a leveling process.
Typically a releveling action needs to be taken because a manufactured or mobile home is decades old, the home was initially not set-up or installed properly, or the home owners have attached additional structures on their homes over the years when the home was already not level. The primary goal of a reveling project is to ensure that each component of the manufactured home has an equal weight distribution. If performed correctly, this will safeguard the components or piers from dealing with an unequal share of the supporting work and should ensure the system is in compliance with the original manufacturer’s guidelines for weight bearing.
Homes that are decades old can often be cumbersome when performing a relevel. This is because home owners have often made improvements over a period of time even when the house may not have been level to begin with. Caution must be taken so that aggressive adjustments do not cause new problems with the roof, windows, or plumbing.
Another thing about manufactured homes that are decades old, a lot of the original materials over time may have deteriorated or may not be consistent with industry standards anymore. There are a few such examples of this occurring. One is if the piers have become brittle or start crumbling. Another is if the piers and pads have begun to settle into the ground. This can cause either the tops of the piers to be over-extended or the piers to be rusted.
If damage to this extent has occurred, then the understructure may need a more comprehensive overhaul known as reconditioning. This process is used if piers and pads need to be replaced, all of the components need to be brought above grade, ensuring there is an equal spacing distance between piers and pads, and making sure all screws meet the manufacturer’s specifications. All of this is commonly called releveling but the industry term would be equalizing the pressure and reconditioning the undercarriage.
How often should I relevel?
The piers under a manufactured home should be adjusted at a maximum of 3 to 5 years. This standard rule of thumb could change however based on the pier system of the manufactured home, the ventilation under the home, irrigation systems, plumbing leaks, and climate. In moist climates particularly, moisture under the home keeps the ground soft thereby increasing the speed at which the piers and pads settle into the ground.