How to patch mobile home belly board

A mobile home with possible belly board problems

Belly board, also known as blackboard, shepherd board or a rodent barrier, is typically an asphalt-impregnated fiberboard, asphalt-impregnated fiberglass cloth, or heavy tar paper. The belly board serves to prevent moisture infiltration, insulate the subfloor and keep animals and insects from gaining access to your manufactured home.

Tears, holes or any area that sags in the belly board should be investigated and repaired promptly. Before you make repairs, assess the damage. If a moisture build-up was responsible for the problem, locate and repair the leak. You'll need to replace any damaged materials like insulation and flooring as well. If the tear was caused by pests, get rid of the animals and any nests they built.

To patch belly board, you'll need precut sections of repair material (available through manufactured home supply catalogs or stores), self-tapping coated screws, washers, some short 2 x 4 inch or 2 x 6 inch boards, hammer, screwdriver, saw, nails and utility knife.

  • Step 1: Assess damage.

    Crawl under your home to determine the extent of any damage. Do not repair belly board until you determine the cause of the damage and make those repairs.
  • Step 2: Build frame.

    Rough in a smaller frame to use as a nailing surface between the nearest joists. Attach one side of this frame to a joist.
  • Step 3: Cut patch.

    Cut the new piece of belly board larger than the damaged area. Size the patch to fit your frame.
  • Step 4: Cover hole

    Screw the patch to the frame, over the existing belly board. If the damaged area is extensive, size the patch so you can attach it directly to the joists. This will eliminate the step of building a smaller frame, but you may still need to frame in one side.

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