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A Detailed Guide About The Various Types Of Manufactured Home Foundation Systems

 Manufactured homes, also called mobile homes, are types of homes that are manufactured in a factory. While they come already constructed, there must be a foundation in place at the site to provide stability and support for the structure.The foundation is basically what the home sits upon and, luckily, there are several types of them available for mobile homes on the market. You can choose the type that is the best fit for both your budget and needs and also one that complies with your local building codes as most jurisdictions have regulations regarding foundations for manufactured homes.

Types Of Foundations

Pier and ground foundation

This foundation system has long been the most common and widely accepted manufactured support & anchorage system for homes. Apart from adapting easily to the local site conditions, pier and ground does not require too much dimensional precision and also goes into place rather quickly. In the most commonly used configurations, piers are designed to be installed under the major beams of a home section, below the mating line of a multi-section home or at other points as designated by the manufacturer. Perimeter blocks may also form part of the support system of the home.

Types of piers

Concrete block piers

These are the most common piers which have open cells placed vertically & stacked on top of each other up to the desired height. Often hollow blocks, these types of piers can be single stacks or double stacks of blocks laid in an interlocking setting. Generally, concrete block piers above 36 inches in height are configured as double block piers while those over 80 inches in height may require special considerations by an engineer.

Open steel frame

The pyramid-shaped open frame (typically made of steel) has a support plate placed on top of an adjustable rod. It may come in several different heights and support rated load capacities according to manufacturer's testing.

Pier And Ground Foundation - Pros

1. Easy installation:  This foundation system is generally quick and easy to install, with the work frequently completed in just one working day.
2. Offer flood resistance:  It is also ideal for use around shores or other flood prone areas especially when you use designs that meet FEMA's performance criteria.

3. Easy access: Pier and ground foundations offer easy access to plumbing & drainage as well as access for future home additions or alterations.

Pier And Ground Foundation - Cons

1. Risk of mold & rotting: This foundation system may be susceptible to mold and premature rotting and is therefore not suitable for use in areas with high moisture content.

2. Non uniformity: Pier foundations can sometimes act independently, leading to a home that moves up on certain beams and down in others, or even laterally in others.

Basement foundation

Basements are engineered structural support systems for manufactured homes and also a welcome addition to a home’s livable space. These foundation systems have been known to give a home great support even in the deep frost locations as well as generate an inexpensive living space. This living area may be especially important for families whose outdoor activities are limited in the winter.

Most basements used for mobile homes incorporate usable space and can be accessed via stairwells from the main level. Walk-out basements typically have exit doors to the homes outside yard. Whichever the type of basement laid, it’s a requirement that a code-complying access is incorporated into the design.

Construction of basements

These manufactured home foundation systems typically demand a lot of care in their construction. For instance, the exterior wall should neither be longer nor wider than the floor of the mobile home. Additionally , the basement walls cannot protrude beyond the edges of the perimeter floor joists. If such construction errors are made, the remedy may be extremely expensive or they may result in very awkward corrections.

Basement Foundation - Pros

1. Seismic load resistance:  While the risk of earthquakes is relatively low in the majority of areas where basement is popular, the mass and depth of this foundation, added to the attachment methods, offer excellent resistance against the effect of shaking from motion.

2. Sloping lots: Basements are suited for sloping lots, particularly those that slope to the back of the home.

3. Extra space: They also offer an extra area for storage of furniture and mechanical equipment.

Basement Foundation - Cons

1. Very expensive: Probably the major disadvantage of basements is that they’re very costly (in fact more expensive than most other foundation systems for manufactured homes) .The cost of a basement can be almost equal to that of the home itself.

2. Poor flood resistance ability:  Since these foundation systems can easily fill up with water during floods, they’re not recommended for use in flood prone areas.

3. More installation time: Constructing and laying a basement requires much more time than the other foundation systems. Additionally, it’s more complicated and requires high precision.

Slab Foundations

These are often the most cost-efficient foundation systems for manufactured homes and are simply large sheets of concrete that provide a structural base for the home. They are mainly popular in areas whose soil is prone to freezing and/or expansion. Depending on condition at the home site, the slab foundation may be insulated or uninsulated.In some cases, the home is raised slightly above the slab, leaving a small crawl space under the house.

Slabs do not serve as a mobile home's floor but are used as a platform. Manufactured homes must be firmly and permanently anchored to these foundations to ensure stability, something that’s often done by first setting anchors into the concrete and then bolting or welding the home to the anchors.

Slab Foundations - Pros

1. Easy access for the disabled: Since the slab are laid on the ground, both the entries and exits to & from the home are relatively close the ground – probably only a step. This makes it easy for people with disabilities or other limitations that makes steps somehow difficult to navigate.

2. Easy installation: Another advantage of slab foundations is that they offer relatively easy installation as the home can just be driven and placed over the slab. Additionally, the connection between the two is easy to complete.

3. Relatively inexpensive: Since there’s no digging, this foundation system costs less compared to the basement. It also requires less brick laying and less concrete pouring.

Slab Foundations - Cons

1. May bring plumbing problems: Where the plumbing & gas lines run through the slab, any shifts in the foundation may result in the breakage of the gas, fresh water and sewer lines. In addition, it can be a very expensive and complicated affair to fix these problems.

2. Prone to damage due freezing: Slab foundations are not recommended for use in locations with prolonged or significant freezes. The seasonal upheaval can destroy the foundation.

3. Possibility of cracking: Concrete slabs can, overtime, crack. The cracks may range from minor annoyances to significant problems.

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