|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. 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.
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
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. 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Mark Bower can be reached at [email protected]
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Repairing or Rebuilding Your Manufactured Home Ceilings