7 Top Foundations for Mobile Homes: Ultimate Guide & Tips

Choosing the right foundation for a mobile home is crucial. Consider factors like stability, cost, and local building codes when deciding.

what is the best foundation for a manufactured home

You want the most sound foundation, but you need to stay within a budget.

No worries, we’ve got you.

Let’s weigh the pros and cons of foundations for mobile homes, and narrow down the best option for you.

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What are mobile home foundations?

Mobile homes come to you already built and ready. Before it gets there, you must decide on the foundation.

You want a foundation that is stable that also meets local building codes.

You’ve got two major categories of manufactured home foundations – permanent and non-permanent.

Permanent Foundations

Permanent foundations are fixed the moment they’re built. One of the major benefits is that they visually transform a mobile home into a stick-built home.

When installing a permanent foundation, you will need to contact your local zoning office to obtain the proper permits for your mobile home. 

Basement Foundation

Basement foundations are practical and offer some of the best support and stability for a manufactured home.


  • Integrating a slope into your plans is easy.
  • It turns the private property into real property, which makes financing more accessible.
  • A basement foundation provides mobile homeowners with more space.


  • The threat of flooding increases with a basement foundation.
  • You’ve got special local codes and zoning that may now allow it.
  • The installation is not a short or simple process.
  • Basement foundations are the most expensive option.

Pit Foundation

Instead of a basement, a pit foundation provides a crawlspace. It’s still extra room, and you’ve still got a permanent foundation.


  • A pit foundation gives a mobile home a stick-built aesthetic.
  • The added crawlspace provides you with more room for storage.
  • Because a pit foundation is permanent, it assists with getting approved for financing.


  • A pit foundation is still a costly project.
  • You still have an increased chance of flooding.
  • It will take a while to install a pit foundation.

Non-Permanent Foundations

A non-permanent foundation is what you’ll want to go with if you plan on moving or reselling the mobile home because it’s detached (i.e., in a mobile home park).

Slab Foundation 

Slab foundations consist of a single slab of poured concrete. The average cost to pour a concrete slab is around $9800.


  • If you’re looking for the simplest foundation, a slab is likely the right choice for you.
  • Installing and building a slab foundation is accessible at both price and installation.
  • You can opt to add a crawlspace in the middle of the slab foundation and a mobile home.


Runner Foundation

Runner foundations consist of steel frames or concrete blocks – and sometimes a combination of both.


  • Runner foundations are the cheapest type.
  • You can opt for a crawlspace, but it will be exposed to soil.
  • Runner foundations aren’t a threat to plumbing.


  • Runner foundations are more apt to take on damage than other choices.
  • It’s not going to work with a slope.

Pier Foundation

Pier foundations are made of steel frames, concrete blocks, or both, like runner foundations.


  • It’s a quick and affordable installation.
  • Runner foundations are more flood and frost-resistant than others.
  • It gives you easy access to your mobile home.
  • You’ll find that nearly all foundation professionals know how to install runner foundations.


What are the different types of mobile home foundations?

  • basement foundation
  • pit foundation
  • slab foundation
  • runner foundation
  • pier foundation

Foundation FAQs

What is considered a permanent foundation under a manufactured home?

A permanent foundation is one that’s built with durable materials onsite. The foundation must be attached to the mobile home using anchors.

Many opt for permanent foundations because they convert personal property into real property.

Is it better to put mobile home on foundation?

Mobile homes require a stable and supportive structure, so putting one on a solid foundation is always recommended.

In terms of the best foundation, it’s really up to you and your needs. 

Is a manufactured home on a permanent foundation a good investment?

Permanent foundations provide ideal aesthetics and help the mobile home retain value.

But, if you wish to move in the future, a non-permanent is the way to go.

What is the cheapest foundation for a mobile home?

A runner foundation is one of the most affordable options. You are looking at a longer design and construction time than slab foundations.

Your runner foundation also increases flooding and frost resistance. But, it can take on more wear and tear than other choices.

How do you secure a mobile home to the ground?

Anchors go into the ground before anything else. The steel straps are then attached to those anchors.

The anchor system is what keeps you on the ground during severe weather events.

Can I convert a mobile home into a house?

Choosing a permanent foundation means your mobile home will be affixed to the land, which turns it into real property.

To complete the conversion, you will need to present the manufactured home title and land ownership deed to your local assessor or recorder’s office.

Once you’ve followed all of the steps, you will receive the Affidavit of Affixture. 

How deep should a foundation be for a mobile home?

A slab foundation typically consists of 4 to 6 inches of poured concrete with another 4 to 6 inches of sand underneath. 

Do manufactured homes on foundations appreciate?

Most mobile homes begin to lose value the moment they leave the factory. But, the foundation you choose can help decrease the rate of depreciation – by a lot.

Permanent vs. Non-permanent Foundation

A permanent foundation is a foundation that remains and lasts on property. This type includes basement and pit foundations.

A non-permanent foundation is temporary and can be deconstructed anytime, including runner, slap, and pier foundations.

What is the best foundation to put a mobile home on?

The best foundation to put a mobile home on is pier foundations. They are an affordable option and can be installed quickly. Pier foundations are also resistant to wind and can be used in areas prone to floods, earthquakes, and frost.

How deep should a foundation be for a mobile home?

The depth of a foundation for a mobile home typically ranges from 4 to 6 inches, consisting of a flat concrete foundation supported by an additional 4 to 6 inches of gravel or sand underneath. This slab foundation serves as a support for the home, replacing the need for a traditional floor.

What kind of pad do you need for a mobile home?

You need a solid concrete block as a pad for a mobile home, which offers a cost-effective option for establishing a sturdy foundation. It is advisable to consult your local zoning regulations, but the block can be placed on compacted soil or an existing concrete slab.

What kind of plastic goes under a mobile home?

The kind of plastic that goes under a mobile home is 6-mil polyethylene sheeting, which should be used to cover the entire ground area beneath the home. It is not required to seal the joints, as a 12-inch overlap is enough.

What adds the most value to a mobile home?

The most valuable addition to a mobile home is upgrading the appliances. To increase the value of your home, start by replacing old appliances with newer models. Additionally, consider making energy-efficient upgrades, applying fresh paint, enhancing curb appeal, and making small improvements. If possible, moving the home to a more desirable location can also add value. Finally, it’s important to research comparable properties and create a budget for the upgrades.

How do you secure a manufactured home to a foundation?

To secure a manufactured home to a foundation, one can utilize engineer-approved nailing strips, nailing plates, screws, and bolts to fasten it securely to the sill plate. The foundation typically consists of cement, wood, and stone, and may incorporate a basement or crawl space to facilitate different connections.

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

Manufactured homes on a permanent foundation can last anywhere between 30 and 50 years, similar to traditional homes, if they are regularly maintained and repaired as necessary. The implementation of strict manufacturing regulations has played a significant role in ensuring that mobile homes are now designed and manufactured to withstand the test of time.

Can you put a permanent foundation under an existing mobile home?

It is possible to put a permanent foundation under an existing mobile home, although it is a challenging task. Whether you choose to do it yourself or hire a contractor, creating a permanent foundation offers numerous advantages. By placing your mobile home on a permanent foundation, you can enhance its value and achieve the appearance and ambiance of a traditional stick-built home.

What is the economic life of a mobile home?

The economic life of a mobile home is typically around 45 years, which is considerably shorter compared to other forms of real estate. The effective age of a mobile home is determined by its current condition and overall maintenance.

What is the life expectancy of a modular home?

The life expectancy of a modular home can vary depending on factors such as materials used and maintenance. Typically, modular homes are designed to last between 30 to 100 years. It is important to note that modular homes are constructed to meet the same building codes as site-built homes, but manufacturers often adhere to even higher standards due to the transportation challenges they face during delivery.

Is a manufactured home on a foundation a good investment?

A manufactured home on a foundation may or may not be a good investment, depending on several factors. While these homes typically have lower initial costs compared to traditional site-built homes, making them more accessible to certain buyers, their value tends to depreciate over time, much like most vehicles.

What does it mean when a mobile home is not on a permanent foundation?

When a mobile home is not on a permanent foundation, it means that the foundation can be detached from the home, making it easier to transport. However, it is important to note that non-permanent foundations may limit access to real estate financing and loans.

Are cinder blocks a permanent foundation?

Cinder blocks are not considered a permanent foundation.

What is the cheapest foundation for a house?

The cheapest type of foundation for a house is typically a slab-on-grade concrete foundation, followed by a crawl space foundation and a concrete block foundation.

What is the difference between permanent and non permanent foundation?

The difference between permanent and non-permanent foundations lies in their long-term stability and mobility. Permanent foundations, typically found in traditional site-built homes, offer a higher level of stability and are not designed to be moved. On the other hand, non-permanent foundations may affect the potential appreciation or resale value of a home but provide the advantage of being able to relocate the structure in the future.

How is a manufactured home attached to the foundation?

A manufactured home is attached to the foundation by utilizing engineer-approved nailing strips, nailing plates, screws, and bolts to securely fasten it to the sill plate. The foundation typically consists of a combination of cement, wood, and stone, and may incorporate a basement or crawl space to facilitate different connections.

What is a permanent chassis on a manufactured home?

A permanent chassis on a manufactured home is a steel undercarriage/frame that remains in place to provide structural support once the home is installed on site.

What holds a double wide together?

The double wide is held together by lag screws that are inserted from underneath the home, connecting one half to the other through the marriage beam joist. These lag screws play a crucial role in keeping the bottom of the home securely intact. Additionally, the water level is utilized during this process.

What is a tie down foundation?

A tie-down foundation is a system of robust straps and anchors that are specifically designed to secure manufactured homes (commonly referred to as mobile homes) in order to prevent them from being destabilized during strong winds. If tie-downs are not installed and maintained correctly, their ability to resist sliding and overturning is significantly diminished.

What is the cheapest form of foundation for a structure?

The cheapest form of foundation for a structure is generally slab foundations, making them an excellent choice for those on a budget. Additionally, slabs require the least amount of maintenance compared to other foundation types, further enhancing their value in terms of pricing.

What is pier and beam foundation?

The pier and beam foundation is a construction concept that involves the use of deep concrete footings connected to piers or piles drilled into the ground. Beams are then attached to the top of the piers, elevating them above the ground. The floor joists are positioned directly on these beams.

What is a pier foundation?

A pier foundation is a type of foundation that utilizes vertical pillars or piles to transfer the weight of a building to the soil. These columns support beams, which elevate the structure above the ground. Pier foundations are particularly favored in coastal areas where the concern of rising tides exists.

What is a concrete runner foundation?

A concrete runner foundation is a series of concrete pads, or runners, that are poured along the length of a home, providing a stable base and evenly distributing the weight across the foundation.

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