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Problems with Manufactured Homes

Manufactured homes have many of the same problems in their crawl spaces as do stick built homes. These include standing water problems, poor drainage, contaminated or old ineffective insulation in the floor, mold and allergens and rodent infestation. Most manufactured homes do not have a standard crawl space in that very few are built on a foundation. Most are installed above ground and are supported by concrete pier blocks and/or concrete runners and tied down from there. Typically the perimeter of the home is surrounded by a “skirt”. The skirt provides a finished look to the home as well as a deterrent to rodents and other unwanted animals.

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Some of the typical problems we see in manufactured home crawl spaces are:

  • Inadequate skirting around the home providing many access points for rodents and animals

  • Dryer venting directly in the crawl causing higher humidity levels

  • Excess construction debris – especially wood, cardboard or other organic material in contact with the ground

  • Inadequate vapor barrier

  • Torn belly wrap and contaminated insulation – This leaves the home exposed to outdoor air that robs energy in both winter and summer.

  • Inadequate drainage

  • Plumbing pipes that are not insulated

Of all the aforementioned problems, the greatest of these is that the skirting is often times not very effective in keeping rodents and other animals from nesting under their home. Rodents can burrow their way through the factory installed belly wrap (this is usually a fiberboard or 10mil. plastic) and into the insulation and once there can not only contaminate the insulation but can cause very powerful odors. This is especially true if one of them dies in the insulation. Unfortunately I know this from practical experience.

I once had to find one of these nasty critters that had died inside the insulation of the home of an 80 year old woman in Tacoma. There was no odor in the crawl space but one of the most powerful odors in her home I have ever encountered. It was impossible to tell where the rodent was and the homeowner was unable to replace all the insulation in her floor so I had to make small cuts in the belly barrie... Read More

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What can I do about crawl space problems with Manufactured Homes?

All access points for animals and rodents have to be sealed or screened. Simply spraying a foam substance in a hole is insufficient. The rats will eat their way through it no time. If the skirting is loose and offers many points of access you can either have the skirting replaced, (not cheap) or line the entire skirting inside the crawl with a wire screen and attach it to the skirting. This is the most effective way to deter rodents from reentering your crawl space.

Once the access points are blocked the crawl space can be restored to a fresh clean environment. It is important that once the insulation has been replaced that a new belly wrap is installed correctly. This is usually a 12 mil polyethylene plastic that attaches to the floor joists and must be glued to entire perimeter so that it is completely sealed. This is another deterrent for rodents.

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