Manufactured Homes: The Importance of Your Foundation
The foundation your home will be installed upon is one of the most important elements of your new home. There are several different types of foundations and the one you use will be determined by your preference, the home manufacturer’s recommendation, your budget, and local laws. A non-basement, or crawlspace foundation, should utilize a quality foundation enclosure, such as block skirting, to protect the area beneath the home. Your construction or mortgage lender will also have requirements for the foundation of your home if it is intended to be classified as real estate. Here is some basic information about different foundation options.
Piers are the most cost effective foundations, but are not available for all homes. Pier foundations involve placing concrete or other approved footers below the frost line. The footings hold the weight of the home. Then a pier, normally made of steel or stacked block, supports the home between the footing and the frame of the home.
A slab foundation is constructed of concrete and is designed to move as a unit without settling or cracking as the soil underneath it expands or contracts. This type of foundation is designed to protect against the effects of frost. This may require the services of an engineer who will take into consideration the climate and soil condition at the home site.
A crawl space foundation is constructed of short foundation block walls that are connected to below ground footers that support the weight of the home. A crawl space foundation gives the look of a basement foundation without the expense.
A basement foundation creates additional living and storage space for the home and is also more expensive to construct. Basements are made with poured concrete or block walls that are typically ten feet high. This is a good option for colder climate areas where footers are required below the frost line. Please note that the decision to place your home on a basement needs to be made before the home is ordered from the manufacturer due to special construction requirements for the home.
The foundation needed for your new manufactured home is quite often determined by the requirements of local building agencies and/or lender requirements and whether or not the mortgage is backed by Federal financing programs such as F.H.A., V.A., and Fannie Mae.
Geographical location also is important in determining the foundation system that may be required. For example, California has a requirement that a state approved earthquake system be employed on every manufactured home installed within the state.
Your local manufactured housing retailer will most likely be familiar with the regulations and requirements for your homesite and will refer you to a licensed contractor experienced with foundation installations in your area.