Everything You Need to Know About Choosing the Best Foundation for Your Manufactured Home

Choosing the best foundation for your manufactured home involves considering factors like budget, stability, and weather resistance. Pier and slab foundations are popular options, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.

New manufactured home with red vinyl siding and windows with white lineals

A strong foundation is crucial for any home, and this is especially true for manufactured homes. When it comes to choosing the right foundation for your manufactured home, there are a number of factors to consider, such as budget, personal preferences, and the time period you wish to live in your home.

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Pier Foundation

The pier foundation is the most popular foundation type for manufactured homes. With this type of foundation, anchors are driven into the ground to hold the home down and protect it against wind. Steel straps then connect the anchors to the main beam of the home’s steel frame.

How Pier Foundation Works

The pier foundation is relatively easy to install and is also affordable. It provides resistance to floods and frost, making it a popular choice in areas prone to these weather conditions.

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However, one potential drawback of the pier foundation is that it can move and cause your home to be unstable.

Additionally, having a dirt or stone floor under the home makes it hard to do repairs, harder to store items, and typically creates a damp environment.

Placing Single Wide and Double Wide Homes on Pier Foundation

Both single wide and double wide manufactured homes can be placed on the pier foundation. This type of foundation is versatile and can accommodate a variety of different home sizes and styles.

Enclosing Pier Foundation with Vinyl Skirting

To give your pier foundation a finished look, you may want to consider enclosing it with vinyl skirting. This will create a clean appearance and help protect the underside of your home from weather and pests.

Slab Foundation

A slab foundation for manufactured homes consists of a 4 to 6 inch deep flat, concrete foundation, with another 4 to 6 inches of gravel or sand beneath it.

Instead of the floor of the home, a slab foundation acts as support for the home. All wiring and plumbing for homes on top of a slab foundation must be contained within the walls and flooring of the actual house, which is common for both modular and manufactured homes.

How Slab Foundation Works

The slab foundation is the most affordable foundation option and is very easy to install. It provides resistance to floods, frost, seismic areas, and wind. When combined with piers, this foundation provides the most support for your home. However, it is not ideal for sloping lots.

Pros and Cons of Slab Foundation

The main advantage of the slab foundation is its affordability and ease of installation. It also provides a clean, dry area under the home. However, it is not suitable for sloping lots and may not be the best option for areas with high water tables or expansive soils.

Wiring and Plumbing Considerations for Homes on Slab Foundation

All wiring and plumbing for homes on top of a slab foundation must be contained within the walls and flooring of the actual house. This can make repairs more difficult and expensive than with other foundation types.

Pouring Slab Foundation with Piers or Without

In areas where the ground freezes during the winter, like West Michigan, slab foundations are often poured over piers to add stability through freezes and thaws.

If a slab foundation is poured without piers, it is called a floating slab. However, not all homes can be placed on a slab foundation without piers; in 2017, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) put a new code into effect that now requires an engineering study of the soil to see if a home can be safely placed without piers.

Codes and Regulations for Homes on Slab Foundation

Before choosing a slab foundation for your manufactured home, it is important to research local codes and regulations. Some areas may require additional measures, such as insulation or vapor barriers, to be installed to prevent moisture from seeping into the home.

Permanent vs. Non-Permanent Foundations

Choosing between a permanent and non-permanent foundation is an important decision when it comes to your manufactured or modular home.

Permanent foundations, such as basement, crawl space, and slab with block skirting foundations, cannot be moved and allow you to affix your home to them permanently. Non-permanent foundations, such as pier and beam systems, are designed to be movable.

Benefits of Permanent Foundations

Permanent foundations offer a number of benefits over non-permanent foundations. They make it easier for your modular or manufactured home to be seen as “real property” in terms of financing.

They also provide additional storage and living space beneath the home, and can increase your property value. In addition, permanent foundations tend to be more durable and stable, offering added protection against weather and other external factors.

Types of Permanent Foundations (Basement, Crawl Space, Slab with Block Skirting)

There are several types of permanent foundations available for manufactured homes, including basement, crawl space, and slab with block skirting foundations. Each type has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, which should be carefully considered before making a decision.

What is the best type of foundation for a manufactured home?

That depends on your goals! The pier and beam system is considered the most versatile foundation type for manufactured homes, as it uses anchors driven into the ground to hold the home down and protect it against wind, with steel straps connecting the anchors to the main beam of the home’s steel frame.

What kind of foundation do you use for a modular home?

For a modular home, the pier and beam system is the most popular foundation type, providing stability and protection against wind through the use of anchors and steel straps.

What is the cheapest permanent foundation for a mobile home?

Slab foundations are one of the most affordable permanent foundation options for mobile homes, offering quick construction and suitability for seismic areas.

How long will a manufactured home last on a permanent foundation?

A manufactured home on a permanent foundation can last for several decades, with proper maintenance and care, similar to a traditional site-built home.

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