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Old 08-13-2009, 11:10 PM   #1
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Disintegrated Floor


I have a ton of water damage in my bathroom. I pulled of the exterior panel to the hot water tank today and realized that the floor it sits on is completely disintegrated-to the point where the hwt is actually leaning to one side. I thought I could replace the floor with a piece of plywood but there isn't anything to nail it to! Since it's a mobile rebuilding the whole structure is not really an option. Any ideas from people with mobile repair experience?

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Old 08-13-2009, 11:50 PM   #2
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Ruby, first of all you don't have a choice as to what you are going to do unless you intend for the problems you have now to worsen 10 fold when the tank drops through the floor especially if you are not there and the pipes break and ... I think you get the picture?

Second, it is hard to analyze your situation fully and completely however you need to get the tank out so that you can rebuild the floor. However you do that has to be determined on site and can't be done from here. Plumbing and trailers are an expensive combo as is replacing floors but I would recommend getting a hold of some professionals right away in the morning if the task of cutting loose ( you may have unions if you are lucky) copper or galvanized as well as dealing with gas or electrical is above your expertise level. You will also need to determine how the flooring situation needs to be handled. Once again this needs to be done right and it is impossible to determine the correct method from here.

When you reinstall that water heater after all is said and done make sure you get a pan installed under the water heater to prevent this from happening again.

Good luck and wish I could lend more help.

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Old 08-14-2009, 09:18 AM   #3
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Disintegrated Floor


Pretty good advice from Paragon for sure. If the floor framing isn't accessible you're in one heck of a mess. If the floor joists that comprise the trailer floor are rotten you have no choice but to replace them and the subfloor. Most of us haven't worked on mobile homes I'd say, and it might be different that working on the average site-built home.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:38 AM   #4
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no mobile experience, but I have heard a lot about boat repairs from several friends. It's a whole different ballgame from home repairs. There are a lot of special considerations in repairing something in a vehicle. Definitely talk to neighbors and try to find a person with experience dealing with mobile plumbing and carpentry....

good luck!
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:05 PM   #5
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DIYer this isn't going to be rocket science for the poster it is just going to be process that's all. If they can plumb, disconnect reconnect galvanized, disconnect reconnect electrical lines and do carpentry it won't be hard just a process. But if they wait too long things are going to get ugly fast.
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Old 08-14-2009, 01:33 PM   #6
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Thanks for the input. Mobiles are definitely a whole different ball of wax than a standard house. Guess I'll have to develop some carpentry/electrical/plumbing skills fast so I don't get fried or crushed with a hot water tank tryin to fix this thing.
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Old 08-14-2009, 02:00 PM   #7
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Ruby you are welcome just remember if there is electricity get yourself a device to ensure the electricity is off.

If soldering is above and beyond your capability level you can probably (I don't know what kind of situation exist) put things back with compression fittings and unions

And as far as floor issues you are just going to have to take that as it comes but I think you can probably figure stuff out on that end too.

Good luck BE SAFE and we are here for you the best we can be! If in doubt take the safe course, please!
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Old 08-14-2009, 07:05 PM   #8
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Ruby-been-there done-that

What you are dealing with is a 2"x6" floor joist frame built like a stud wall @ 16" on center running front to rear and laying horizontal .(short way)

They are sitting on a metal frame running the length of the trailer, on top of these floor joist sits a cheep chip board that the adhesive disintegrates with the presence of moisture. The vertical stud walls are stapled on top of chip board sub floor.

Your water heater is probably electrical, If so find the circuit breaker and disable the source of electricity.

Your plumbing will be a copper line. After draining the heater using the valve located on the bottom of the heater, You can carefully heat the couplings with a propane torch and separate the copper lines or cut the vertical lines with a metal hacksaw at a convenient place to re-attache by re-soldering. Then remove.

You will then remove the damaged sub floor, just take a hammer to remove damaged areas. It will take a hammer and chisel to remove the material under the stud walls.

What your want to do to save labor and materials is, find the center of the floor joist, mark it squarely to the wall with a straight edge, and set a skill saw with an old or not valuable blade to 3/4'' depth and cut the damage out to the center of the floor joist, and remove the adhesive and chip board with a chisel.

If your lucky you can reuse the floor studs. If not take a screw gun and toenail in 2"x6" pieces where necessary to support the new 3/4" plywood sub floor repair. Then if you have an old water heater, I would recommend a replacement while you have it apart. Plan on at least 1 day to accomplish this task, don't forget to turn off the water supply before disconnect of the heater

Its not really that hard, but then I have been a professional floor installer for 34 years.

Good luck if you choose to do this project.

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Old 08-14-2009, 09:41 PM   #9
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pts yep that is the theoretical approach but what if the water heater is plumbed in galvanized? What if he has gas to the water heater instead of electrical? I think the one day repair is going to be blown away and it will take a minimum of two or three days depending on how bad the subflooring is and if the deterioration has spread to other rooms. What if the water heater is so corroded that the sediment prevents him from draining the water heater he may need to pump it out. The water heater is probably in a small enclosed closet and I would highly doubt that he will have enough room to get the hacksaw in there and be effective with it. He will probably need to purchase a close quarters pipe cutter.

This is going to be a pain and definitly no walk in the park so just be prepared for the absolute worst. It may take you a whole day just dealing with the water heater so I would plan for having water shut down for an extended period of time but then again the stars and moons may align for you, but I wouldn't plan on it.

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