Metal Piers or Otherwise Known As “Steel Jack Stands” A Big Mistake
In the Manufactured Home Industry Metal Piers or Steel Jack Stands are becoming notorious as a costly mistake to mobile home owners across the United States. Homes placed with these installed from the 1970’s through 2015 are ticking time bombs poised for collapse. It is a wonder we haven’t had much press coverage over these lately. Try crawling under a manufactured home fitted with metal piers that is less than ten years old and you will see the beginnings of rust and corrosion. Go forward another ten years and some will already be disintegrating.
Are “Metal Piers” A Standard That Needs To Go Away?
What was once a standard support component is now under scrutiny in our industry as dealerships, contractors and municipalities are distancing themselves from admitting they ever thought they were a good idea. Contractors and Installers retrofitting homes with new manufactured home skirting, Earthquake Resistant Bracing Systems (E.R.B.S.) are crawling under existing homes and finding a life safety issue to the occupants of these homes. Talk about an accident waiting to take place even a small earth tremor has the potential to have hundreds if not thousands of homes collapsing.
How To Know If Your Home Has Steel Jack Stands
Every home is required to have a crawl space opening for the purpose to have access to the underside of your home. When you find the access opening on your home take a flashlight and carefully look under the home without placing your body under the home. This is an important safety precaution as you can see from the photos these kinds of homes can collapse at any moment. Now have a look. What do you see? Many homes were blocked with 8″ x 8″ x 16″ concrete blocks and wood wedges which is good. If all you see is metal piers then you will need to replace them at some point, although if steel piers appear to have any scaling rust then they will need replacing as their engineered ability to support is already below the original specifications.
How Do You Go About Replacing Steel Jack Stands?
Carefully, very carefully. For us at Creative Concrete Products, LLC, makers of Duraskirt™, we begin at the crawl space shoring up the beams on either side. Then we work both ways along the first and second beams. With one person on the outside at all times, we begin loading one of our low profile Duraskirt™ Retrofit Carts with blocks to pull under the home. This process can take up to two days depending upon the conditions of the stands and crawl area accessibility. Because of the danger factor and hard conditions it is difficult to find qualified companies like ours that can be trusted and will do this work both correctly and cost effectively.
How Much Can I Expect To Pay To Replace The Metal Piers for Manufactured Homes Under My Home?
You can expect to pay anywhere from $3500.00 to $7500.00 depending on the conditions and size of home. But this is money is well spent when considering the considerably higher costs of life an limb. Supposing you decide to add Earthquake Resistant Bracing System (E.R.B.S.) for additional peace of mind, you can expect to pay an extra $3000.00 to $5500.00. We do recommend these systems as they proved their worth in 1989 when California’s magnitude 6.9 earthquake known as the San Francisco World Series, and Loma Prieta Earthquake happened. As a result all the homes with E.R.B.S. were left in tact while 67% of the homes with metal piers for manufactured homes collapsed. The homes with concrete blocks without E.R.B.S. fared better than homes with metal piers having a 40% collapse rate. All of the homeowners having earthquake insurance had to pay deductibles that were considerable much higher than adding Earthquake Resistant Bracing Systems and replacing jack stands with concrete blocks. All of this is on record at the California Housing And Community Development – The Factory-Built Housing Program.
Is An Earthquake Resistant Bracing System A Good Idea and Why?
As we alluded to above yes E.R.B.S. are an excellent idea. And because they are such a good idea many consumers are retrofitting their existing homes as well as adding them to the new home setups. Because of their popularity at this time it is difficult to find qualified contractors that are schooled in all the systems. Knowledge and understanding of these systems takes years to compile and that is why you need to hire a company like ours for peace of mind. But if we cannot serve you look for a qualified manufactured home installer/contractor who understands the importance of re-leveling manufactured homes and knows what to look for in these systems and their benefits for your home. Then install an E.R.B.S. and be safe.
(State of California Sent This Notice Out To Property Owners After The Earthquake)
Mobile homes can easily slide off their foundations if not properly secured to resist side to side motion. Look under your home – if you see a metal or wood “skirt” on the outside with concrete blocks or steel tripods/jacks supporting your home, you need to have an “earthquake-resistant bracing system” (ERBS) installed.