Wall strips are rectangular or square pieces of metal that are attached to the wall at the top and bottom, usually with nails.
They are used to provide strength to a mobile home’s walls in two places – where the wall is attached to its neighbour on one side, and where it meets the ground. For these purposes, they are otherwise known as “wall ties”.
Mobile homes require more lateral bracing for their structural integrity than conventional houses. Lateral bracing provides additional support when there is no vertical backing (such as in an open space) to prevent racking.
Types of Mobile Home Wall Strip
1- Top Wall Strip near Roof
A typical mobile home has anywhere from 8-12 individual wall studs along each long wall, depending on the length and width of your mobile home.
The wall studs are connected vertically to each other at the corners with metal plates, known as corner beads. Wall ties are also used at the joints where interior walls meet exterior walls or ceilings, for extra lateral bracing.
As mentioned above, wall ties are attached on either end of each wall – usually about every three feet apart. This attachment is provided by either a plastic strap that has been installed between the two studs or by metal “wall strips”.
Metal wall strips are nailed into place along the base of the outside wall. They serve one purpose: to provide additional support for your mobile home’s outer walls.
2- Metal Wall Strip/Ties
Once installed, they will house your screws and/or nails used to hang pictures, mirrors or other items on your wall.
The plastic straps are usually attached to either studs or top plates with screws. After installation, they are visible from the inside of the mobile home and may even poke through if not stuffed with insulation before drywall is installed.
These plastic straps that serve as bracing on mobile home walls are also visible after drywall has been installed – visible both on the inside and outside of your mobile home’s walls.
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3- Plastic Strap Wall Bracing
Although visible from inside mobile homes, these wall ties do provide some lateral support for mobile homes by connecting each end of two adjacent wall studs so they cannot move independently of one another.
This keeps movement down to a bare minimum which also helps to keep your home level.
How To Remove Mobile Home Wall Strips?
If you want to remove the metal wall ties from your mobile home walls, they can be removed with a reciprocating saw.
Remove nails over top of the strip using pincers and pull down. The strip should come right off. If any floor molding was nailed into place it will have to be cut away for the metal strip to be removed.
Another option is to use a propane torch and heat the perimeter of strips until they are hot enough to melt through wire insulation underneath, thus releasing it from its hold on the studs without removing drywall or insulation from inside your mobile home.
Afterwards, you can dismantle all drywall that has been carefully attached around exterior wall strips, then remove the metal strips with your reciprocating saw.
Depending on the number of wall studs in your mobile home, you can spend anywhere from an hour to well over two hours removing wall ties.
If you are just attempting to remove wall strip ties because it is damaged beyond repair to serve their purpose, then all that you need is a pry bar and hammer. Pry out nails holding a piece in place and pull down off studs using a pry bar or hammer claw.
If any flooring was nailed into place around them, it will have to be cut away before pulling down strips. Otherwise, they should be free easily enough without much effort required at all.
Once you’ve removed them, there are several options for re-using them:
Building a storage rack for your garage. Attach to studs and hang bicycles, garden equipment and other items off the bottom of the strip using a chain or rope.
As a brace to hold up an existing piece of molding on your wall or on exterior doors to keep them from bowing out.
Cut out part of molding so strip fits in between door jamb and the sheetrock on the backside of the exterior wall before hanging on top of the strip by nails or screws on either side.
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Re-purpose old metal strips that are no longer useful as wall bracing inside mobile home walls into braces for trailer axles if they are not rusty. Cut away drywall around the edge with reciprocating saw before removing old adhesive from the rail with solvent.
Use wheel hanger to re-attach axle braces by driving screws through the wheel hanger into existing holes on either side of strip, being careful not to penetrate outside exterior wall surface of a mobile home.
Re-purpose metal strips as bracing for screen doors on mobile homes instead of nailing molding around the perimeter of the door frame because it is more secure and won’t blow off in high winds.
Cut away part of molding before attaching brace using screws or tacks at top and bottom edge of the frame then re-nail new molding around perimeter of the door frame.
where to buy mobile home wall strips?
There are only a couple of places where mobile home wall strips can be purchased.
The best source for finding them is to ask the same dealer who originally installed your mobile home’s exterior wall drywall if they have any leftovers from other projects laying around their shop, or they may know of another dealer in the area who would have some leftover scraps.
Another option is to visit a local supplier that supplies building materials such as Home Depot and Lowe’s, but chances are slim that these large suppliers will have an entire package of metal wall ties available since most dealers make big orders on them and it is unlikely one would be leftover.
If you do come across some while shopping for other supplies at either of these locations, keep in mind that the price of a package of steel wall ties will be over $5, and each strip has to be cut down in size with a hacksaw to fit where you need it.
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