Mobile home crawl space (C) Daniel FriedmanMultiwide & DoubleWide Connections
Defects commonly found in the connections of doublewides

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Multiwide & doublewide structural connection inspections:

Here we describe defects found in multiwide & doublewide mobile home connections where it may be possible to find evidence of structural damage or even risk of dangerous collapse or lack of resistance to storm damage.

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MULTI-WIDE CONNECTIONS - Multi-Wide Mobile Home unit connections:

Question: center joists separating beneath a doublewide: diagnosis & repair

5/1/2014 Anonymous said:

I have a older double wide and am doing floor repair work. The center two joists are connected with a long spick at an angle. The bottom is flush but there is a gap of about one inch on the top. What do I do ? leave it as is or bolt the top together ?


Anon I'm sorry but I don't have a clear enough idea of what's going on with the structure of the doublewide to be confident of an answer. I can say in general that structural connections are very important to prevent a building collapse or to prevent dangerous movement that an open a gas line or rip an electrical wire.

I can't tell if the gap you describe has been there since original construction or if it indicates more worrisome ongoing movement.

If you are referring to the mating of the joists of the two halves of the doublewide at the center of the floor structure, it'd be normal for them to be bolted together. If they're through-bolted securely, say 18" on center (I'm not an engineer) I think they'd be quite secure.

Reader follow-up:


Thanks for your quick response. The floor joists are not bolted together, but are connected with a spike driven at an angle of about 20 degrees from horizontal. The bottom of the joists are flush but the tops are separated by about an inch. I am wondering if I should bolt them at the top to bring them together again, or whether I am better off leaving things as they are.

I don't know how long the gap between the joists has existed. It is a 1979 unit that I bought a couple of years ago and I recently discovered the issue with the joists when I tore up some damaged sub-flooring.


Opposite side angled toe-nailing, if properly done, is quite strong. But when we see the sort of separation you describe going on I'd want to understand why before prescribing the "fix".

Picture two floor structures, say wood-framed, with their perimeter rim joists bolted together at the center of the combined area.

Picture a floor support on piers set both beneath the combined rim joist center girder and the outer perimeter rim joists that run parallel to the nailed-together center.

Imagine that the outer perimeter piers or foundation settled downwards beneath one or both of the floor sections.

That sort of settlement *could* explain the center joist separation you describe. If investigation shows that that's the case (start by checking for out of level floors), the trying to pull the nailed-together center joists with bolts would be futile and risks separating the rim joist from the floor joists.

Let me know what you find. Send along some sharp photos using our CONTACT link and I can comment further.

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