Mobile homes have a reputation for shaking more than conventional homes.
Is this true?
Can you prevent your mobile home from shaking, or is it a case of putting up with shaking in a mobile home?
Should You Worry When Your Mobile Home Shakes?
Manufactured houses built to HUD code are as safe and, in some cases, safer than conventional homes.
Site-built homes experience shaking under some circumstances and have fewer remedies for reducing or eliminating the problem.
If your mobile house shakes, identify why and decide if you need action, and relax. Manufactured homes meet all the requirements for safe, comfortable living.
What Makes Your Mobile Home Shake: 5 Potential Causes
The types of vibrations that make a mobile house shake are identical to the vibrations that create shaking in a conventional house, but you may notice them more because you live in a manufactured home.
Possible causes of mobile house shake:
- Seismic activity.
- Washing machines.
- Heavy trucks.
- Stormy weather with high winds.
- Mobile house construction.
You may notice earthquakes at a lower level in your mobile home by comparison with a conventional home.
The effect is more noticeable if you live in an area with seismic activity and where the ground geology helps transmit the energy more efficiently.
The HUD code specifies appropriate seismic protection in relevant states, and your mobile home is probably on pier foundations with seismic support.
Washing machines are notorious for shaking manufactured houses, and the vibrations from trucks passing on nearby roads shake all housing types.
You may feel the impact of storms more than a conventional house if you lack cover, but the HUD code specifies the measures for your mobile home to survive your local winds.
Is Your Mobile Home Level?
Unlike a site-built home, your mobile home starts in a factory and transports to your chosen site.
The installation tethering it to your foundations means your mobile home starts level, but this can change due to processes like ground heave, earthquakes, and other damage.
As part of your annual maintenance tasks, checking that your mobile house is level and taking action to restore its level will save you stress and more expensive repair bills.
If your mobile house is not level, it will increase the impact of things that shake your mobile home.
Other than checking your floor is level with a spirit level; you may spot signs that your mobile house is not level:
- Slight buckling or distortion of the sidings or the roof shingles indicate unevenness.
- Distortions in window and door frames cause difficulties in opening and closing.
- Cabinet doors swing open without your assistance.
- Your tie-downs are loose.
- Visible signs of erosion, cracking or slipping around your foundations.
Your mobile house can lose its levelness because of:
- Water damage to the ground beneath.
- Earthquake damage.
- Ground heave.
- Poor installation process.
If your house is under warranty, the manufacturer and installer will re-level your mobile home free of charge. Otherwise, it is best to hire a professional crew to re-level your house.
You can do it yourself, but experience and plenty of assistance are essential for success.
A contractor will cost you $450 to $1,000 depending on the size of your home, and you gain a warranty.
If you think your mobile home is shaking, check that it is still level before investigating other causes.
Why Do Washing Machines Shake Mobile Homes?
Washing machines have a powerful motor to agitate your washing and spin it close to dry.
This motor can cause excess vibrations, and a mobile home can shake if the washing machine is:
- Not level – adjust the self-leveling feet.
- Unbalanced – this can occur through overloading or not distributing the load evenly around the drum.
- In need of new shock absorbers – these need a professional to replace.
- Incorrectly installed – sometimes the installer forgets to remove the shipping bolts.
If the mobile home is built cheaply with floor joists 24” apart rather than 16”, there is insufficient support underneath the heavy, vibrating washing machine.
Reinforcing the floor underneath the washing machine and using antivibration pads may reduce or eliminate the problem with washing machines shaking your mobile home.
Is There Any Defense Against Earthquake Shaking Your Mobile Home?
The HUD Code covers the quality of manufacture and installation of mobile homes in earthquake zones. It is worth checking that you have a manufactured house suitable for your state.
Also, check your foundation supports – pier foundations are better in earthquake zones. You need to check that your home still sits level on the piers and that there are enough to provide adequate support.
The best you can do to reduce damage to your mobile home during seismic activity is to ensure your foundations and tie-downs remain in excellent condition.
Earthquakes shake all houses.
What About Heavy Road Traffic?
Sadly, dealing with the vibration and noise from heavy road traffic is an issue for all homeowners.
You can keep your mobile home foundations and supports maintained, but the only effective solutions are out of your hands.
You can petition your state highways agencies to divert the heavier traffic onto alternative routes and upgrade the road surface quality to reduce the vibrations.
Some people try digging ditches to fill with sand or concrete to dampen the vibrations, but this is rarely effective. You can’t install a significant enough dampener on a typical property to absorb all the road vibrations.
Should Your Mobile Home Shake When You Walk About?
The short answer is no; if your mobile home noticeably shakes when you walk over the floor, there is an issue with the leveling of the mobile home or the quality of the flooring.
The best mobile homes have floor joists spaced no more than 16” apart to give plenty of structural support and prevent the floor covering from bending underfoot.
If the floor joists are plentiful, you may need to upgrade the quality of the floor covering – a more rigid marine ply will give you a stable floor.
Plus, check for water damage and other issues destroying your floor.
A sturdy floor vibrates less, and you experience less mobile home shaking.
How to Stabilize Your Mobile Home Against Stormy Weather?
The HUD code covers manufactured homes wind resistance in:
- Wind Zone I – low hurricane risk, and your mobile home can withstand winds up to 70 miles per hour.
- Wind Zone II – winds up to 100 miles per hour.
- Wind Zone III – winds up to 110 miles per hour.
A manufactured home has higher standards for wind resistance in Zones II and III than site-built homes.
All bets are off for a tornado, and it does not matter if you live in a manufactured or conventional home.
The best approach o ensuring your mobile home is safe during stormy weather is to:
- Tether heavy appliances and furniture to walls using brackets – this stops young children from the risk of pulling furniture over and is a sensible precaution in all homes and offices.
- Use “V” hooks to hang pictures.
- Check your tie-downs every six months – not rusty, cracked, or loose.
- Install extra tie downs – more is better at keeping you tethered.
- Routinely check sidings, awnings, and roof for damage and repair.
- Clear potential problems like dead branches, debris, and other loose material that the wind can pick up.
- Keep your fences well maintained, and consider planting trees as a windbreak.
Regular inspection and repair, when necessary, of your underpinnings, is the key to a stable mobile home life.
If your washing machine rocks your world, then you are probably overloading or unbalancing it.
Modern, well-maintained manufactured houses are no more prone to issues with shaking than conventional housing. In some cases, the standard is higher, but there will always be things that make your house occasionally shake, like severe storms and earthquakes.
But people living in mobile homes do not face a greater risk from weather than people living in a site-built home.