A strong foundation is a key proponent to any home. It helps your home become durable and last through the years. When preparing to build a manufactured or modular home, ensuring that you have a strong, yet affordable, foundation to place your house on should be at the top of your priorities. The ability to understand the types of foundation used within different building processes is necessary to making an educated decision about your home’s foundation.
A Guide to Foundation and Support Systems for Manufactured Homes
When it comes to creating a strong foundation or support system for your manufactured home, there are a selection of options to consider. It is important to keep in mind your budget, the time period you wish to live in your home, your personal preferences, and more when looking at different foundation options.
Manufactured Home Foundation Types
From pier and slab foundations to full walkout basements, Preferred Homes is guaranteed to have a foundation that will fit your needs and budget. Explore our options below and learn more about each.
Piers are cement cylinders that are set into the ground 42 inches deep, beneath the frost line. Each pier measures 30 inches in diameter, and they are placed 8 feet apart from one another. These piers serve as an anchor to hold your manufactured home down, protecting it against wind and frost alike. Once the piers are placed, steel straps are added to attach the piers to the steel frame of your home. Homes placed on pier foundations are normally enclosed with vinyl skirting. Both single wide and double wide manufactured homes are placed on this type of foundation.
Slab foundations for manufactured homes consist 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. 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.
Like the pier foundation, both single wide and double wide manufactured homes can be placed on this type of foundation.
Slab Foundation and Concrete Block Skirting
Similar to a basement foundation, homes skirted with concrete blocks can create extra space for storage and utilities beneath your modular or manufactured home. While they do not create extra liveable space, they do create a stick-built home appearance, which has made them more popular. Concrete block skirting leaves the home looking like it is sitting on a crawlspace supported on the perimeter blocks, but the blocks are actually not supporting the home. The home is still supported on blocking stations under the steel I-beams of the home.
Using block skirting allows the home to be placed slightly below grade with backfill going up the block skirting one to two blocks high. This gives the home even more of a residential look. Similar to the others above, this foundation is available for single wide and double wide manufactured homes.
Crawl Space Foundation
As the name suggests, crawl space foundations create a 48 inch deep crawl space within the foundation of the home. It features poured concrete walls as well as concrete footers that go into the soil. This provides support for the weight of your modular home while keeping it off of the ground, which is ideal for areas that experience high humidity or are prone to termite infestation. Sometimes a pea-stone gravel floor above a moisture/vapor barrier is used in a crawl space but most have concrete floors. Modular homes are supported around the perimeter of the home instead of on I-beams; manufactured homes are not normally placed on this type of foundation.
Basement foundations can create a reliable foundation for your modular home as well as add additional living space. These foundations tend to be the most specific, as they need to match the measurements of your home precisely. Additionally, basement foundations often have building codes that they must meet depending on the city you build them in. While basement foundations are one of the most expensive foundation options, a finished basement can significantly increase the square footage of your home – and, therefore, its value. Often, basement foundations are installed with daylight and/or walkout walls, which are framed with windows and doors.
Pros and Cons of Manufactured Home Foundation Types
- Easy to install
- Provides resistance to floods and frost
- Can move and cause your home to be unstable
- 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
- Most affordable foundation
- Very easy to install
- Provides resistance to floods, frost, seismic areas, and wind
- Provides a clean, dry area under the home
- When combined with piers, this foundation provides the most support for your home
- Not ideal for sloping lots
- More difficult to place utility connections under the home
- Floating slabs are susceptible to frost heaving due to the absence of piers
Slab Foundation with Concrete Block Skirting
- Provides aesthetic appearance of a stick-built home
- Extra space for storage and utilities
- Makes the perimeter of homes more secure from wind damage and pests
- More expensive
- More difficult to make repairs under home
- Takes longer to build and install
Crawl Space Foundation
- Provides resistance against termites, humidity, frost, and wind
- Average in terms of installation and cost
- Prone to flooding
- Does not provide extra living space
- Provides extra living space
- Can be placed on sloping lots
- Improves the home’s future value
- Provides earthquake resistance
- Most expensive option
- Takes a lengthy amount of time to construct and install
- Needs to be measured exactly
- Must meet housing codes for your area
Permanent vs. Non-Permanent Foundations
Choosing whether or not you would like a permanent or non-permanent foundation is another important element to consider when choosing the foundation for your manufactured or modular home. Permanent foundations do not have the ability to be moved somewhere else, and allow you to affix your home to them permanently. These foundations make it much easier for your modular or manufactured home to be seen as “real property” in terms of financing. Permanent foundations include basement, crawl space, and slab with block skirting foundations.
Non-permanent foundations, on the other hand, can be detached from your home. However, if you choose a non-permanent foundation, you may not be able to receive real estate loans or financing. Slab and pier foundations are examples of non-permanent foundations.
Can I Have a Manufactured Home on a Permanent Foundation?
If you are interested in permanently placing your modular or manufactured home on its foundation, you have a few options. It is important to understand that permanent foundations will qualify you for real estate loans and financing, but they will often be more costly and take longer to install.
Manufactured Homes Foundation Requirements
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) controls all requirements and guidelines for manufactured homes. If your home is not in line with these guidelines, you will likely not be able to receive any loans or financing for real estate.
However, as long as you hire professionals who are reputable and knowledgeable, you do not need to be heavily concerned with the requirements. If you are interested in looking into the guidelines yourself, you can find the majority of them within the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Permanent Foundations Guide for Manufactured Housing. The main aspects you need to meet are:
- The tongue, axles, and wheels must be removed from your modular or manufactured home.
- Utilities for your home must be permanently installed.
- To keep out vermin and water, as well as provide access, there must be a covering that covers the space between your home and the foundation.
When considering purchasing a modular or manufactured home, it is important to note that modular homes are a completely different type of home. They are regulated by the state as opposed to the federal government and are built according to local building codes. Modular homes are treated as regular site-built homes by local authorities and lenders; they can only be placed on permanent foundations.
Manufactured Home Foundation Certification
The Department of Housing and Urban Development requires all manufactured home foundations to be certified in order to receive building permit approval. At Preferred Homes, we will always guarantee that your foundation will be certified.
The Cost of Permanent Foundation for a Manufactured Home
As mentioned previously, a permanent foundation will be more costly for your manufactured home. However, the increased value and ability to apply for real estate loans makes this cost appear minuscule in comparison to the benefits you receive.
For permanent foundations, prices may range from $50,000 to $200,000, depending on the features you choose for your home. It is important to note that these costs also include management fees, driveway installation, grading, septic, and more. There may also be additional costs that are impacted by the type of soil on site, levelness of the land, and other factors. To receive an exact quote, chat with Preferred Home’s on-site contractor.
What is the Best Foundation for Manufactured or Modular Homes?
Overall, there is no singular best foundation for manufactured or modular homes, as every individual has different needs for their home. However, a basement foundation will provide you the highest return on your investment. From an increase to your property value to extra living space, basement foundations simply can’t be beat. Reach out to Preferred Homes today to schedule a tour and discover the perfect foundation for your home!