The Journey Home: Building on Strong Manufactured Home Foundations

Learn about the different manufactured home foundations that keep your home strong and durable.

You’ve probably heard that a good foundation is the most important part of anything. You may wonder what will support your new manufactured or modular home and how it will do so. A strong foundation is the key to keeping your home both strong and durable so you can make lifelong memories in it with your family.

All of our foundations begin with solid steel I-beams.  These I-beams are part of an engineered foundation system that supports the structure of your home. This system helps reduce the effects of natural wear and tear on the foundation. In addition, it prepares the home with precisely sized support beams and posts for when the home is set on its foundation. There are many different kinds of foundations for manufactured homes and each has their own unique benefits and structure!

Manufactured home foundation types include:

  • Pier and Beam Foundation
  • Slab Foundation
  • Basement Foundation
  • Crawl Spaces

Check out these quick explanations about manufactured home foundations.

The pier and beam system is the most popular foundation system for manufactured homes. The system begins with solid steel I-beams that are specifically placed to support the structure of the home¹.

With the pier and beam foundation system, anchors are driven into the ground to hold your home down against wind forces. The anchors go into the ground first and then steel straps are attached. The straps connect the anchors to a main I-beam on your home’s steel frame. Those I-beams are connected using cross-members which add stability to the foundation. After that, outriggers are welded to the steel I-beams for additional strength and support. The base of the pier and beam system can also be made with concrete or ABS Plastic Pads. These are pads under the I-Beams of the home that bear all the weight of the house along with specific weight bearing marriage line points per home. 

The pier and beam system has several benefits:

  • Affordability – one of the most affordable foundations
  • Shorter installation time – typically, the pier and beam system takes less time compared to other systems
  • Can be used in seismic areas
  • Can be used in areas of flood hazard
  • Can be used in areas subject to heavy frost
  • Effective wind zone resistance

Crawl Spaces

Crawl space foundations have two major characteristics: they incorporate a wall that covers the entire perimeter with internal, independent support points.

Crawl spaces are typically used where a traditional site-built foundation is expected. Crawl spaces have many different designs, but only one has worked effectively for manufactured homes¹.

The crawl space foundation designed for manufactured homes is made of an excavated floor and is typically built using poured concrete footers that go into the soil and anchor the home down. The manufactured home frame rests on a perimeter wall and is supported by piers strategically placed for support points, which are customized per each home.

Sometimes, Block Crawl Space Perimeter Enclosures are also used to meet building requirements. For this foundation, a pier and beam set with concrete pads and a concrete perimeter is created for the footers. After the home is set up on the piers, blocks are installed around the outside that comes up under the lip of the vinyl siding but does not touch the sill plate. Below are some things to note about crawl space foundations:

  • Price – crawl space foundations fall into the middle price range compared to other systems
  • Installation time – this system falls in the middle range for installation time, but is typically completed by the time the home arrives to the site
  • Wind resistance – not ideal for hurricane prone areas but still effective in areas with higher winds
  • Stability - seismic resistance
  • Flood resistance - not intended for flood prone areas
  • Frost – can be used in almost any climate

The slab under a manufactured home acts as a platform for support rather than the floor of the home². The slab typically sits on top of the ground with ground anchors embedded in the concrete. It is insulated around its perimeter, which keeps the ground beneath warmer. Here are some things to keep in mind about slab foundations:

  • Cost – one of the most affordable systems
  • Time – the time needed for this foundation is minimal
  • Seismic compatibility - can be used in seismic areas
  • Flood resistance - can be used in flood hazard areas
  • Land recommendation - not ideal for sloping lots
  • Wind resistance – as long as you verify the wind zone requirements for your site, slab may be used
  • Frost – as long as it is insulated slab, it may be used in areas of a lot of frost

Basement Foundation

Not only do basements provide a structural support system, but they also add an extra living and/or storage space to your home! This foundation is not only practical, and even has various perks. Read below to see the various pros and cons of basement foundations³:

  • Cost – basements rank higher in costs due to their construction time and materials
  • Longer Installation time – basements take longer to build and install due to their materials as well as their structural design
  • Seismic compatibility - can be used in seismic areas
  • Flood resistance - cannot be used in flood hazard areas
  • Frost - can be used in areas of frost
  • Provide extra living space – have extra room to grow in your home! Turn your basement into a game room or man cave
  • Effectively resist wind loads – this foundation even gives you a place to take cover in high winds!

You can compare and contrast these different types of foundations to determine which best suits your needs for your new manufactured home. If you need help determining which foundation best suits your home or land, talk to your local home consultant. Check out more home building tips on Learn!

[1] Manufactured Housing Research Alliance. Guide to Foundation and Support Systems for Manufactured Homes. 56. (accessed 05/15/2017).

[2] Manufactured Housing Research Alliance. Guide to Foundation and Support Systems for Manufactured Homes. 56. (accessed 05/15/2017).

[3] Manufactured Housing Research Alliance. Guide to Foundation and Support Systems for Manufactured Homes. 68. (accessed 05/15/2017).

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