Mobile Home Fall Fixes: 5 Things To Fix Before Winter

Sep 29, 2017Blog, DIY, Remodeling

So, it’s fall. Slowly but surely the leaves are changing color, the temperature keeps dropping daily, and you’re starting to sweat over whether your home can still keep your family warm. Being the diligent mobile homeowner that you are, you have already prepared for winter. However, nothing lasts forever, and it’s inevitable that you will have to maintain or repair these additions.

In this article, we will focus mostly on repairs and mobile home fall fixes to prepare your dwelling for winter. For example, when it comes to insulation we will give you step-by-step instructions to repair your existing insulation. If you do not have any insulation, we will still provide you with a quick flyby, but feel free to explore our other articles for more in-depth information.

So, with that out of the way, let’s look at the five most important mobile home fall fixes to complete before winter comes knocking.

Mobile Home Fall Fixes Feature Image

1. Service the furnace

Rhyme intended!

It’s very important that you service your home at least once a year. The best time to do this is in the fall as you will start to use it more and more. If you think the only reason is to keep you warm, you are dangerously wrong. Malfunctioning furnaces can lead to carbon monoxide filling your home, and this could have fatal consequences.

It is impossible for us to guide you through a complete furnace service and cover other areas. For a complete guide, read this article.

What do you need?

  • Furnace manual
  • Make sure you know if you have an oil or gas furnace
  • New furnace air filters
  • A flashlight
  • An air compressor
  • Screwdrivers
  • Wrenches
  • Small brush
  • Emery cloth (or any other fine material wipe)
  • Metal tape

Step by step

  • Refer to your manual – If you want to DIY maintain or repair your furnace you should become familiar with the reading material. The booklet should even have a section dedicated to repair and maintenance. This is an invaluable asset.
  • Check the furnace condition – First of all, inspect your furnace for any physical damage. This might mean you need to replace the furnace immediately, depending on the severity. Take photos and ask a professional for advice.
  • Check the furnace error codes – Most new furnaces tell you exactly what’s wrong. Usually, they communicate error codes through flashing lights in the top panel of the furnace. The manual can interpret these flashes for you.
  • Replace the filters – The manual should have the steps on how to do this. You can go for cheap fiberglass filters or more expensive and efficient options.
  • Vacuum – You should vacuum all the nooks and crannies of your furnace. Of particular importance are the blower and burners.
  • Clean the blower – Remove the blower per instructions. If it’s damaged, you will need to replace it, so work carefully and clean it with the blower and a small brush.
  • Clean the pilot – It may be hard to reach, and a compressor is overkill. The tip of the day is to use a drinking straw to blow off any dust.
  • Inspect the drive belt – Check the belt for cracks or aging. You will need to replace it if it looks worse for wear.
  • Seal small cracks in the vents, ducts, and furnace – For very small leaks, some metal tape will be adequate to patch them up.
  • Check the fuel levels – Whether you have an oil or gas furnace, it will need a sufficient amount of fuel to keep running.

2. Windows and window frames

window panes

This is a small mobile home fall fix that many owners completely overlook. However, it’s these tiny leaks that can drastically reduce the effectiveness of all your hard work insulating the home and your furnace. If your windows are damaged they should definitely be replaced before winter comes knocking, however, we trust you know how to do this by now.

For now, we will focus on the following areas that are not so straightforward: replacing window frames and resealing cracked or leaking window frames. Most of this damage springs from the fact that mobile homes tend to move and bend, damaging rigid structures like frames.

Replace window frame

What you will need

  • Screwdriver
  • Measuring tape
  • New window frame
  • Putty knife
  • Silicone caulk
  • Shims

Step by step

  • Remove the window – Remove your old window by scraping away the caulk and unscrewing it from the wall. Make sure to remove any remaining caulk or residue.
  • Take measurements – Measure the resulting hole left by the window. When you buy a new frame, you should look for one that is a little larger than the hole, generally ¼”.
  • Inspect the hole – Also check if the hole is still perfectly square and level with the floor, this could be a big problem and will need to be taken care of first. If there is damage to the surface of the wall, this will need to be repaired with some drywall caulk or relevant material first.’
  • Check if it fits – See if the window fits perfectly in the hole. Use shims to adjust it as necessary, but only use them on the bottom of the window. The screw holes should also align. Now you are ready to proceed.
  • Apply the sealant – Most windows have a mounting flange that is a flap extending past the frame. Apply sealant to the back of this before mounting it. You will need to move quickly in order to secure it before the sealant dries. If your window does not look like this, apply the sealant to the nailing fin or the outside in the same way.
  • Fit the window – Put the window in place, making sure that the sealant seals with the wall, that the screw holes are aligned, and the window is snug.
  • Fasten the window – Just like a car rim, screw in the screws one by one until they just hold the window frame in place, not too tight. Once all of them are in, then you can tighten them down. Begin in the center and work to the corners.
  • Finish up – Apply any sealant where there are gaps (you can follow the steps below) or repaint the window frame if necessary. Check that the window closes and opens easily and smoothly.

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Reseal window frames

What you will need

  • A candle (optional)
  • Silicone caulk
  • Putty knife
  • Cloths
  • Paint
  • Ladder

Step by step

  • Find the leaks – Many leaks can be found by visually inspecting the frames. First, check the corners, where the frame meets the siding, window or wall, and the surface. Try lighting the candle, moving it around the frame and watching where the smoke gets pulled.
  • Caulking – Go to the exterior of the house and take the silicone caulk, the gun, and the ladder with you. You should first remove any old caulk or sealant with a knife or screwdriver. Caulk the border of the frame where it meets the walls. Try and do each side in one go for a consistent finish. Caulk shrinks over time so don’t be thrifty.
  • Finishing up – Use the cloth to wipe away excess caulk and smooth it out with your finger for a nice finish. If you aren’t happy with the look, or you have different colored windows, you can repaint over the caulk.

What else can you do?

If you want to take it an extra step further, there are many additions you can make to your windows (and generally doors) to make them better at insulating the home.

  • Use weather strips
  • Install a window insulation kit
  • Invest in storm doors/windows
  • Install double-glazed windows

3. Check your insulation

If you are a mobile homeowner who has not yet added insulation to his home, now is the time to do it! This mobile home fall fix will have a huge impact this winter. If you have installed insulation, then good for you, but you should still periodically check on its state. Insulation is not the most durable material on earth and is prone to all kinds of damage and loss. In the roof, it’s mainly caused by proximity to vents, water leaks, and airflow into the attic. In the home’s underbelly, it could be because of all those reasons, besides critters looking for some free, fluffy, and warm materials.

R-values is how we rate the insulating strength of the material. The R-value of insulation is heavily dependant on its coverage, thickness, and density. It’s estimated that a 5% loss in insulation material can cause a 40% reduction in its R-value. Replacing insulation in the roof and the underbelly is largely the same process, but the underbelly has more steps so we will focus on that.

What you will need

  • Moisture barrier/plastic matt
  • Insulating material (mats, foam, board), get a combination of materials to properly insulate the whole underbelly
  • Screwdriver
  • Tongs
  • Silicone caulk
  • Industrial wood stapler
  • Mesh wiring (optional)
  • Gloves
  • Flashlight
  • Fiberglass batt insulation (optional)
  • Paper-backed insulation (optional)
  • Spray foam
  • Fabric or road barrier
  • Adhesive for insulation

Step by step

  • Inspect the damage: If there is no damage, then you can skip to the next mobile home fall fix. If there is, take note of what insulation you currently have, how much of it needs replacement (you can replace section by section between batts one at a time). Measure these out, and calculate how much you will need.
  • Prepare the work area: First, find your crawlspace and enter the underbelly of your home. Lay down the moisture barrier where you want to start and come up with a plan.
  • Remove the insulation: You will often find that the insulation is secured with road or fabric barriers. Remove these by pulling out the staples with the screwdriver and tongs. The insulation should then come off fairly easily. If the road barrier is still in good condition, don’t damage it, and leave it attached on the one side, so it’s easy to put back.
  • Inspect the underbelly: Next, look over this area carefully, especially the seams and batts. Wherever it doesn’t look properly sealed, use the silicone sealant and the fiberglass batt insulation and paper backed insulation on the batts. For those last difficult places to reach, use the spray foam insulation.
  • Insulate: Go section by section and insulate the underbelly. If you are using foam boards cut them exactly into the shape of the areas between the batts and attach them with the adhesive or staples.
  • Wrap it up: Now you can put the road barriers back in place. If you want to go the other route, you can also use the mesh wire to fix it into place.

While you are at it…

While you are at it you should do some other general repairs around your underbelly and on your roof (see below). You might also consider repairing or patching up the underbelly once the insulation is removed, insulating the pipes and repairing leaks, and insulating the furnace or water heater as they should be located under the home or in the roof. For more information about insulation, read our complete guide.

4. Check your flooring

girls on carpet

As you trample it underfoot every day, you may not stop to consider how much work it does for you. Now is the time to give your floor the TLC it needs and deserves! If your carpet is looking threadbare, it’s a good idea to change it out before winter. Your flooring helps insulate your home, and as we discussed above, insulation keeps the warmth inside. If you have laminate flooring, now is the time to repair any scratches or gouges. Those little crevices gather dirt and also make your flooring less water resistant. As guests’ shoes bring the rain and snow inside, they may unwittingly be killing your floor. We’ll be looking at flooring repairs more in-depth in an upcoming article, so stay tuned!

5. Repair the roof

Warm air rises. If there are holes or cracks in your roof, the hot air will pass right through. It’s as simple as that. Insulation alone won’t cut it, especially since it will get damaged by air or wind coming in through the cracks. To get the most out of your roof insulation and to keep the warm air where it should be, a roof repair is the ticket.

What you need

Metal roof

  • Ladder
  • Peel and seal
  • Pieces of galvanized metal sheets
  • TPO membrane (can be used as a roof over material for a metal roof) or similar roof coating
  • Hammer
  • Gloves
  • Safety hat
  • Sheet metal screws
  • Butyl tape
  • Tin snips
  • Putty knife or screwdriver
  • Tape measure
  • Caulk

Rubber roof

  • Ladder
  • Tape measure
  • Gloves
  • Safety hat
  • Putty knife or screwdriver
  • Tape measure

Asphalt roof

  • Ladder
  • Caulk
  • Putty knife or screwdriver
  • Asphalt shingles
  • Gloves
  • Safety hat
  • Putty knife or screwdriver

Step by step asphalt roof

asphalt shingles

  • Locate problem shingles: Sometimes you can find the shingles that need to be replaced by a simple visual inspection. If there is a leak, the shingles will be slightly higher up than the actual leak, so compensate for the flow of water.
  • Remove the shingle: Use the putty knife or screwdriver, wedge it under the shingle and loosen the seal. Remove the nails. Then remove or cut off the damage tab.
  • Replace the shingle: The new shingles should simply slide into place. Use the roofing nails to secure it in place.
  • Finish up: Use some sealant or roof cement to seal the shingle under the damaged tab.

Step by step metal roof

  • Locate the problem areas: These should be very easy to spot through a visual inspection, pay special attention to seams.
  • Clean the area: It’s important that you remove all dust, dirt, and rust from the area.
  • Butyl tape: Tape the area around the hole or crack. Make sure the whole perimeter is covered.
  • Cut the galvanized metal pieces: Use the tin snips to cut the galvanized metal sheets into pieces, roughly in the same diameter.
  • Prepare for screws: Drill holes for screws in the roof and in the piece of galvanized steel. Every 1 or 2 inches should do.
  • Fasten it down: Insert the screws and fasten them. Avoid trusses.
  • Finish it up: Use the caulk or sealant to seal around the screws and the edges. You can also cover the roof with a TPO membrane or peel and seal.

For more metal roof repairs, take a look at this article.

EPDM rubber roof (seamed)

The steps for this type of roof is almost exactly the same as a metal roof. The only difference is that you will use an EPDM patch or roof application to cover the leaky seams or damaged areas. You should be able to find the instructions with the product and it is the easiest type of roof repair.

What else can you do?

Going over your roof with paint like Kool Seal or a TPO membrane is never a bad idea. If your roof is damaged but still structurally sound you can also opt for a full roof over where your old roof is literally replaced or covered by a new roof. All of these solutions will not only improve your home’s insulation but also protect it from the elements, including leaks.

Time to get your mobile home fall fixes completed!

boy playing with leaves

We hope that these mobile home fall fixes help you properly get your home back in shape for winter. For a complete guide, check out our article How to Winterize a Mobile Home . Whenever you feel like you are out of your depth, don’t hesitate to call in the professionals. Your home deserves only the best, especially during this trying time. Good luck and happy fixing!

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