Choosing Your New Mobile Home Foundation

You’ve sacrificed and saved to buy your beautiful dream home,  visited showrooms and open houses and made design decisions and selected upgrades. Each step along the way has been filled with excitement and anticipation. You’re almost there! Soon, you’ll be in your beautiful new dream home! But have you given any thought to the mobile home foundation?

American songwriter and country music singer David Allen Coe is purported to have said, “It is not the beauty of a building you should look at; it’s the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time.”

It doesn’t matter what kind of home you’re purchasing – whether traditional, stick-built, modular, manufactured, or mobile home, a firm foundation is crucial to its stability. Understanding the different types of bases used in the building process will help any home buyer make a better, more educated decision.

The four most common mobile home foundation systems used are slabs, piers, crawlspaces, and basements. Each of these has its unique benefits that appeal to both home builders and buyers alike.


A flat, concrete surface, 4 to 6 inches deep, slab foundations usually have another 4 to 6-inch layer of gravel beneath them. Homes with slab foundations require that all plumbing and wiring for utilities be contained within the walls and flooring of the actual house. This is common in mobile and manufactured homes. In areas like West Michigan, where the ground freezes, slabs are often poured over piers to add stability when the ground freezes and thaws. A slab foundation without piers is called a floating slab.


A pier is a cement cylinder set into the ground well below the frost line. They go 42 inches deep and are 18 inches in diameter. Piers are typically spaced every 8 feet and can be combined with beams (no slab) for a less expensive prefab-home foundation.


An area that can be a finished living space, basements are partially or entirely below the ground floor of the home and contain concrete walls and floors. The walls of the basement are of sufficient thickness to ultimately support the weight of the house above it. While more expensive than a slab foundation, a finished basement can double the square footage of the home thus increasing its value. Daylight or egress windows are required for bedrooms to be located in a basement.


A popular option in areas of high humidity and regions prone to termite infestation, crawlspaces are similar in construction to basements with a poured floor and walls. Typically excavated to 48 inches deep, they provide support for the weight of the house while keeping it off the ground. Sometimes a pea-stone gravel floor above a moisture/vapor barrier is used in a crawlspace.

When purchasing older models of modular, manufactured, and mobile homes, you may encounter older mobile home foundation styles such as a Cookie or a Ribbon/Runner foundation. Less stable than the other techniques listed here, most townships and municipalities no longer allow these foundation types.

Remember, mobile home foundation decisions for a new home or placing a used mobile or manufactured home on your property, it is essential to consult local area zoning laws and building codes and to apply for proper building permits.

For more information on the types of foundations available along with affordable dream-home options, contact Preferred Homes, West Michigan’s quality, affordable homes expert since 1977.

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