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Repairing or Rebuilding Your Manufactured Home Ceilings
Mon 08/02/10 10:16:05 am
by Mark Bower

You can Do-It-Yourself! There are many types of ceilings in manufactured homes. Here are some proven methods from the long time experience one of the best known hands on men in the manufactured housing industry for a great week-end project


Homes that don't have sheetrock ceilings probably have tile or ceiling board. The ceiling tiles are generally 16" or 4' wide and run the width of the home. Some types of ceiling tiles are held up with screws and rosettes. Other types are screwed up at the seams and then the seams are covered with a plastic spline.

repariing ceilings REPAIRING

If the tile has become wet due to a ceiling leak and has sagged (left picture), the sag will generally not come out. Very slight sags may be corrected by wetting the tile with a spray bottle, pushing up and holding for several days. No guarantee that it will work. Below is another way to fix the sagging seam that's pictured to the left.

repair ceiling A more forceful option is to push the panels up at the seams using boards. At the seams of each panel is a truss. The boards can be pulled into place using long screws. Either the ceiling panels will pull up into place or break (depending upon how deep the sag was). Of course to make everything look symmetrical, you could add these boards to every seam in the room. Paint and stain before screwing them up. The picture to the left shows the sagging seam (pictured above) pulled and secured together with the board.

replacing ceilings REPLACING

When a ceiling tile becomes damaged, replacing it can be a real headache. The first headache is finding ceiling tile to match. Many types of tile are unavailable, and if it were available installation is a real challenge due to the length. In fact, just getting a ceiling tile into a room may be challenging. So if you can't replace the tile(s), your only option is to build a new ceiling. Three types of ceilings are commonly installed in manufactured homes ? suspended, sheetrock and paneled.

replace ceiling Suspended Ceilings

Suspended ceilings are tile set in a grid work. Tile sizes are either 2'x2' or 2'x4'. All kinds of textures are available. The suspended ceiling can be installed just below the existing ceiling. However, any of the old ceiling that is loose or hanging should be removed to prevent it from falling or pushing on the new suspended ceiling. To install, first hang your grids with wire fastened to the old ceiling then drop in the tile. There is no special instructions to installing a false ceiling. Most likely the store you buy the grid and tiles from will have details.



Sheetrock ceilings

When installing sheetrock ceilings, weight should be a consideration. In normal construction 5/8? thick sheetrock is hung on ceilings because it won?t sag. However, 5/8" thick sheetrock is heavy and generally hung on joists 16 inches apart. Using half inch sheetrock would be much lighter and less apt to cause roof problems, but would require joists or supports every 12 inches.

This is accomplished by screwing furring strips (1x4 boards) across the ceiling joists 12 inches apart (left picture). The strips can be screwed over the existing ceiling assuming you have a flat surface. Or the existing ceiling can be removed, the insulation updated if desired, then the furring strips screwed up. Any dips in the furring strips can be correct by shimming before screwing. Doublecheck the flatness of the furring by pulling strings from side to side and corner to corner. If the gap changes by more than a quarter of an inch between the string and the furring strip, adjust the furring strips to even the gap. The better job you do of leveling the furring strips, the better your ceiling will look once completed.
sheetrock ceilings

Once the furring strips are leveled and screwed in place, half inch  sheetrock can then be installed. First apply a bead of construction adhesive to the furring strips, then screw-up the sheetrock carefully setting the screws below the surface but not breaking the paper. Then tape the seams using self-stick mesh tape (other types of tape are available but the mesh tape is easiest to work with and least likely to crack.) Then apply three coats of joint compound (mud). After applying the first coat of mud, allow it to dry then lightly sand. The second coat should be applied wider than the first coat and the third coat applied wider yet. Allow each coat to dry and lightly sand. Lightweight joint compound is easiest to sand. Finally, apply a coat of sheetrock primer, paint then texture. Mix paint in with the texture (see below) to avoid a final coat of paint.

Texturing Tips

One mistake beginners make is assuming that texture will hide a bad taping job. This is NOT true. When taping and mudding, take the time so that when your done the seams are not visible. For the beginner, this will mean a lot of sanding.
ceiling texturing tips
Homes that don't have sheetrock ceilings probably have tile or ceiling board. The ceiling tiles are generally 16" or 4' wide and run the width of the home. Some types of ceiling tiles are held up with screws and rosettes. Other types are screwed up at the seams and then the seams are covered with a plastic spline.


Spraying on texture is a much easier task than mudding. If you have access to an air compressor, then all you need is to purchase a $60 texture sprayer (which looks like a big bucket). To mix texture, first decide whether you want fine, medium or course texture. Dump about a half a bag of dry texture into a 5 gallon bucket. Add 1 gallon of ceiling white paint and mix using a half inch drill with a mixing paddle. Add water until you get the desired textured. The texture should resemble soft ice cream. Let the texture mixture sit in the bucket for an hour, occasionally stirring. This ensures that the paint soaks into the texture giving it a uniform color. You may need to occasionally add water a few ounces at a time. While waiting for the texture to soak, cover the walls and floor with plastic.

Charge your air compressor and set the pressure to 80 pounds. The bigger the compressor the better. You should have at least an 11 gallon tank on your compressor. Pour some texture mixture into the hopper. Practice by spraying on a scrap piece of drywall. Get a feeling for the movement. If the texture doesn?t come out of the gun very well, dump the hopper and add some more water to the 5 gallon bucket. When you begin spraying, start out by constantly moving the sprayer. As you get the feel of it, go back and spray more texture. The beauty of spraying texture is that if you don't like what you've done, simply scrape it off and spray again. As the air pressure drops in the air tank, pause and let it catch up. A compressor running constantly may overheat, so spray with common sense, or rent an actual texture sprayer.

Don't want to hassle with spraying texture or don't have an air compressor, then check out the many roll-on options available at your home improvement center. You can roll-on texture, or apply paint with texture in it.

Mark Bower owns Aberdeen Mobile Home Repair and is the author of "The Manual for Manufactured/Mobile Home Repair and Upgrade" available on this website.


The Manual for
Manufactured Home Repair & Upgrade


"Every winter my roof leaked around the swamp cooler. We even had a couple mobile home repairmen out to seal it. Nothing worked and this went on for 5 years," said Maureen of Elko, Nevada. "Then last summer I ordered The Manual and it suggested I use neoprene to seal the leak. Since then I've had no leaks at all!"

Maureen is referring to The Manual for Manufactured/Mobile Home Repair and Upgrade by Mark Bower. Most just dub it The Manual. Bower owns and operates Aberdeen Mobile Home Repair in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Maureen isn't alone. Hundreds of others have written to Bower sharing similar stories of how The Manual has solved their problems. Esther of St. Louis, Missouri, writes, "We had squeaky floors in the living room and without The Manual, I would have had my husband tear out the floors and put in new ones. What a lifesaver!"

Bower enjoys the letters he receives regarding his manual. "I wrote this manual from experience," says Bower. "I'm not just some guy with his feet up on the desk - I'm out in the field every day doing what I write."

Tom of Lansing, Michigan, followed the simple instructions on installing a shut-off valve and saved $75 on a service call. Mary of Churdan, Iowa, writes to say she uses the manual to keep the repair guys she hires honest, "When I had my home releveled, I sent two different contractors packing because I knew they weren't doing the job right. This manual has literally saved me hundreds of dollars!"

Bower has updated his manual .   More information was added regarding additions and porches. "We added details on attaching porches so they don't leak even if they shift with the seasons." says Bower. With high energy prices now upon us, Bower says he's also included a section on building a solar heating panel. "Find an old sliding glass door and you can build one for under $100," says Bower who built two panels for his own 1800 square foot manufactured home. "You'd be surprised at how much heat they create when the sun is shining."

David of Lake McConaughy, Nebraska, says The Manual should be called, The Mobile Home Bible. Dave writes, "I wish I had your manual when we had our 1965 Star. It would have saved me WEEKS of work!"

Vicki of Ocala, Florida, bought Bower's manual because it had instructions for installing a metal roofover. "My son and husband had the roof up in 2 days from start to finish," says Vicki. "The 4 inch overhang is awesome - no more water running down the siding. Great roof, great instructions, I love it!"

The Manual also helped Pam from Duluth, Minnesota, replace her skirting and repair her underbelly. "It gave me the courage to tackle these projects," writes Pam. " I saved a lot of money by being able to do it myself."

Bower says many manufactured home owners are do-it-yourselfers, and he's glad to be able to provide them a tool, The Manual, to help them do more.

,
Get The Manual Now!

Mark Bower can be reached at [email protected]

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