Owning a new mobile home can be very exciting, whether buying an already completed structure or viewing the house installed for some months.
However, the excitement might become overwhelming, especially when the house starts responding to natural activities that help it to settle firmly at the place of installation.
Being a first-time homeowner, you may wonder….
How Long Does It Take For A Mobile Home To Settle?
Precisely, a mobile home will settle within 3 to 10 years, depending on several underlying factors. These factors include soil type, structure, activities, weather conditions, and natural ground movement. The settling process may seem challenging, but you should not worry much about it because it will eventually stop once the house creates its stable base.
Knowing the signs of house settling can help you differentiate it from other risky problems that might affect your house. For instance, cracks on the walls can be a sign of settling, but wider cracks can signify the possibility of the house falling.
This article will help you understand when to act on the effects of the house settling and signs not to confuse house settling.
What is House Settling?
House settling is a gradual process of the house sinking over time.
Settling is a natural and normal process that forces the soil beneath the house foundation to shift.
However, settling can sometimes, though rarely, cause severe damage to the foundation.
Apart from mobile homes, all other construction projects are subjected to settling.
Even so, there are times when weather and other environmental factors can greatly affect the foundation and subject it to major problems.
When the mobile home settles down, some of the negative results are
- Damage to several parts of the house
- Unsightly cracks
- Reduced home value
- Tripping hazards
- Some types of equipment may malfunction
Though rare, there are times when you may hear creaks, groans, and thumps in your house and think that they originate from the house settling process, but in reality, they are results of temperature fluctuation.
Most mobile homes are made of wood and metal that respond to changes in temperature by either expanding or contracting.
When you hear such sounds, it is clear that they do not originate from house settling. Typically, house settling is a silent process.
When Should Mobile Home Settling Become A Cause Of Fear?
Certain signs may seem to result from house settling, but in reality, they signify danger.
1. Cracks Larger Than 1/16th Inch
It is normal to see a few hairline cracks since the house was installed in the first few years.
However, if the cracks get long over 6 inches and 1/16th inches wide, it is a signal of awaiting danger.
If the cracks occur 3 or 4 years after the house was built, it may also be a danger alarm because the foundation could be shifting to another level.
2. Large Cracks On The Flooring
When you notice gaps between floorboards or big cracks in the floor, it is a clear indicator of a shift in the foundation.
These cracks may also indicate the possibility of a plumbing issue underside, especially if you see warped or buckling floorboards.
It is always important to try and solve the problem before it damages the entire house.
3. Excessive Foundation Shift
When you keenly view your home from the outside, it should be parallel to the ground.
If there are any signs of excessive settling, you will need to address the issue.
The best thing to do is to invite a qualified structural engineer to help you fix the issue.
4. Cabinets And Counters Separate From The Walls
You should be greatly concerned whenever you get that the equipment like cabinets and counters are separating from the wall.
This large separation from the walls creates large gaps that may signify that the house has an uneven foundation.
5. Difficulty In Opening And Closing Doors And Windows
The door becomes too hard to push or pull within the frames while opening, indicating a shifting foundation.
In such a case, you should not open the door or window stuck within frames to avoid risk.
However, in some situations, you may find doors and windows stuck within frames because of the extreme cold weather.
This should not be scary because the windows and doors will eventually be pulled or pushed open when temperatures rise again.
Seven Additional Mobile Home Settling Issues
Here are a few problems in a mobile home that should never be confused with the effects of a house settling. They need to be addressed early before the entire house gets damaged.
1. Flooded Basement
Water in the basement after a heavy storm can signify a very big underlying house construction problem.
Always try to find out the exact point of the basement letting in a lot of water and find means to control the water leakages.
You can also hire a professional to help you handle the problems in the basement and make it waterproof.
2. Extending Wall Cracks
Even though house settling is characterized by a few wall cracks, not all cracks in the house result from settling.
Larger cracks can signify a shifting foundation and pave the way for pests and rodents to get inside your house.
3. Hard To Move Doors
When doors and windows stick within the frames, it may signify house settling.
However, it can signify a dangerous issue if the weather is relatively warm and the house has stayed for over three years since it was installed.
4. Roof Issues
When the roof gets damaged, it is often not an effect of a house settling.
These roof gaps and cracks are beyond the norm of settling.
5. Slanting Floors
Slightly slanted floors may indicate a settling home.
However, if the floor slants on a large angle, it will signify a structural issue or rotting of the support and joists.
A structural builder can greatly help solve the problem.
6. Gaps Between Walls And Windows
When settling, the walls pull away from window frames and leave large gaps. Such gaps can cause greater problems to the house if not addressed.
7. Water Pipes Bursting
Every time your water pipes burst, it is not because of settling.
Sometimes water pipes may be of poor quality or subjected to extreme soil activities that make the pipes burst.
Using high-quality water pipes that resist damage due to soil activities or settling is advisable.
House settling is a normal stage that a house goes through so that it can attach firmly to the ground.
It can take about 3 to 10 years for a mobile home to settle.
Hopefully, this article will help you understand what house settling is when to be worried about house settling activities, and some of the activities that may not be related to house settling.