7 Essential Foundations for Mobile Homes: Types & Benefits

Key types of mobile home foundations include permanent options like basement and pit foundations, as well as non-permanent options like slab, runner, and pier foundations, each with distinct pros and cons.

types of manufactured home foundations

You buy a manufactured home, and it arrives already built. But, it’s not entirely that cut and dry.

Let’s look at the types of manufactured home foundations, so you can decide what best suits your mobile home needs.

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What is a manufactured home foundation?

The foundation is what provides stability and support to a manufactured home. 

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You’ll want to contact your local zoning administrator for specific regulations, requirements, and restrictions on mobile home foundations.

5 Type of Manufacture Home Foundations

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

Permanent Foundations

If you own property, you might consider a fixed foundation. A permanent foundation provides a stick-built aesthetic to a property, which makes it a huge benefit.

The two types of permanent foundations are basement foundations and pit foundations.

Basement Foundation

Basement foundations are only practical a fraction of the time. But, it’s certainly an option. 

Why it could work:

  • Integrating a slope into your plans is relatively simple.
  • A basement foundation sometimes helps people with real estate financing issues.
  • If you live in an earthquake-prone area, it adds good earthquake resistance.
  • Basement foundations open up extra living space for a family.

Why it might not:

  • Basements flood and flooding costs money.
  • A basement foundation must meet its own specific zoning and building codes.
  • You’re looking at a complex installation process that will not be quick.
  • It’s the most expensive option for manufactured home foundations.

Pit Foundation

A pit foundation is similar to the basement variety if you’re looking for a more affordable permanent foundation. But, instead of a basement, a crawlspace is dug out of the soil. 

Why it could work:

  • You get that stick-built house look with a pit foundation.
  • While it doesn’t provide extra livable space, the crawlspace 
  • A pit foundation may make it easier to get better financing options.

Why it might not:

  • A pit foundation still isn’t cheap
  • A crawlspace can still flood.
  • The construction process is challenging and not a short process.

Non-Permanent Foundations

Your most common foundations are the non-permanent kind. They make it easy to move. But, real estate financing and loans might not be available when you go with a non-permanent foundation.

You’ve got three types of non-permanent foundations.

Slab Foundation

A slab is just a single slab of poured concrete. The manufactured home sits on the slab using piers.

Why it could work:

  • When it comes to foundations, it’s the easiest to install.
  • A slab foundation is one of the more affordable foundation options.
  • You can still opt for a crawlspace.

Why it might not:

  • You’ll have to upgrade insulation depending on the frost line.
  • A slab foundation doesn’t allow for sloping lots.
  • When a slab shifts, it can damage plumbing pipelines.

Runner Foundation

A runner foundation differs in shape and material, including steel frames, concrete blocks, or a combination of the two.

Why it might work:

  • In some cases, a runner foundation is the cheapest option.
  • You can choose to have a crawlspace, but it will be exposed to the soil.
  • A runner foundation can’t damage the plumbing like a slab.

Why it might not:

  • Of all of the options, a runner foundation is most at risk of damage.
  • It’s not going to work with a sloping lot.

Pier and Beam Foundation

A pier foundation and beam, or footer foundation, also differs in size and material.

Why it might work:

  • A pier foundation is straightforward and inexpensive to install.
  • It does provide flood and frost resistance.
  • A footer foundation gives you easy access underneath the mobile home.
  • It’s super easy to find a contractor that is familiar with this type of foundation.

Why it might not:

  • A manufactured home can become non-leveled because the piers sometimes move independently.
  • You don’t have many options when it comes to adding to exterior aesthetics.

How do I convert a manufactured home to real estate?

Accessing financing and loans instantly becomes easier when you go with a perma-foundation. But there’s a little bit of red tape you’ve got to go through, too.

You’ll need an Affidavit of Affixture to certify that the manufactured home is affixed permanently to a piece of property. 

Contact your local county assessor’s or county recorder’s office.

What are the different types of mobile home foundations?

  1. basement foundation
  2. pit foundation
  3. slab foundation
  4. runner foundation
  5. pier and beam foundation

What type of foundation is best for a manufactured home?

Best is only best if it works for you. But, a pier and beam are the most common and popular choice of foundations.


How often should a mobile home be leveled?

You must maintain your manufactured home to get the best life span. Part of that is leveling the mobile home every 3 to 5 years.

When you level the structure, you’re ensuring its long-term integrity and keeping it from deterioration needlessly.

What is considered a permanent foundation under a manufactured home?

A permanent foundation is one that is made of durable material, such as concrete, that affixes the mobile home onto a piece of property.

But, permanent foundations for mobile homes are expensive, and some with their own share of risks.

What is a non-permanent foundation?

Non-permanent foundations come with their own pros and cons.

The two biggest benefits of non-perma foundations like slabs are that you aren’t stuck in the same lot, and it’s far more affordable than the permanent options.

A non-permanent foundation doesn’t offer you much additional space, and they do make it harder to get the right financing and loans.

How thick should a concrete slab be for a mobile home?

Slab foundations are typically 4 to 6 inches deep. The flat concrete foundation sits on top of gravel or sand.

Can you pour concrete on top of old concrete?

You can pour a new concrete layer over an old one, but you will need to check the slab for any damage, such as cracks or frost heaves.

You’ll want to pour the new layer at least 2 inches thick.

What makes a permanent foundation for a manufactured home?

A permanent foundation for a manufactured home is characterized by its construction using durable materials such as concrete, mortared masonry, or treated wood, and being site-built. It should have attachment points to anchor and stabilize the manufactured home, ensuring that all loads are transferred to the underlying soil or rock.

What is the most expensive home foundation type?

The most expensive home foundation type is a basement foundation. A full basement foundation for an average home typically costs between $13,000 and $30,000 or higher, depending on the house’s size.

Is a manufactured home on a foundation a good investment?

A manufactured home on a foundation can be a good investment depending on several factors. While these homes typically have lower initial costs than traditional site-built homes, making them more accessible for certain buyers, it’s important to note that their value often depreciates over time, similar to most vehicles.

What type of foundations could be used for the modular construction?

The foundations that can be used for modular construction include concrete or screw piles.

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 also incorporate a basement or crawl space to facilitate different connections.

What is the cheapest permanent foundation for a mobile home?

The cheapest permanent foundation for a mobile home is a slab foundation, which is known for being one of the most affordable options available. Constructing a slab foundation is typically a quick process, making it a convenient choice. Additionally, slab foundations can be used in seismic areas as well as flood hazard areas.

What is the least expensive foundation?

The least expensive foundation option is a concrete slab, which can cost between $4,500 and $21,000. Concrete slabs are resistant to termites and other insects. However, it is important to note that they can make plumbing and electrical systems less accessible and more costly to repair.

What are the most cost effective foundation types?

The most cost-effective foundation types are concrete slab foundations. These foundations are made of a single, thick slab of concrete that is poured and finished to create a smooth and level surface. They are affordable because they require minimal excavation and backfilling.

Are piers considered a permanent foundation?

Foundation piers are considered a permanent foundation when well maintained. They can last well beyond the life of your home, unless they are affected by severe events like mudslides or extreme earthquakes.

What is pier and beam foundation?

The pier and beam foundation is a construction concept that involves 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 then directly supported by these beams.

What is a pier foundation?

A pier foundation is a system of vertical pillars or piles designed to transfer the weight of a building onto the soil. These columns support beams that elevate the structure above the ground, making it particularly suitable for coastal areas facing challenges such as rising tides.

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, non-permanent foundations may limit access to real estate financing and loans.

How long will a manufactured home last on a foundation?

Manufactured homes on a foundation can last as long as traditional homes, typically between 30 and 50 years, 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 several decades of use.

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 happens if a house doesn’t have a good foundation?

If a house lacks a solid foundation, it can experience various significant issues such as drywall cracks, doors and windows that stick or function poorly, floors that slope, water seepage, and damage from moisture like wood decay and mold growth.

What is a tie down foundation?

A tie-down foundation is a system of sturdy straps and anchors that are specifically designed to stabilize manufactured homes (also referred to as mobile homes) when faced with strong winds. If tie-downs are not installed and maintained correctly, their ability to resist sliding and overturning is significantly diminished.

What is the most commonly used foundation type?

The most commonly used foundation type is the concrete slab foundation, which is preferred due to its minimal lot preparation requirements for building.

Is it better to have a raised foundation or slab?

The question of whether it is better to have a raised foundation or a slab depends on the location where you live, as this determines the type of foundation that is most suitable. In extremely wet areas, slabs are preferred, but it is important to elevate the block with approximately one foot of fill. Additionally, a slab foundation offers increased stability for the house.

What is the cheapest type of foundation?

The cheapest type of foundation is the concrete slab foundation, which can range in cost from $4,500 to $21,000. Concrete slabs are resistant to termites and other insects. However, it is important to note that repairing plumbing and electrical systems on concrete slabs can be more difficult and costly due to limited accessibility.

What is the most expensive type of foundation?

The most expensive type of foundation is a full basement foundation for an average home, which typically costs between $13,000 and $30,000 or even more, depending on the house’s size. On average, the cost of a full basement foundation is around $18,500, considering both the high and low ends of the price range.

What is the longest lasting foundation for a house?

The longest lasting foundation for a house is poured concrete block bases and slab foundations. These foundations can last for a lifetime, typically 80 to 100 years or more, as long as they are constructed accurately. The termite proofing of the base can last for 12 years, assuming the chemical barriers remain intact. Additionally, properly installed waterproofing with bituminous coating should have a lifespan of approximately 10 years.

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