About the Types of Manufactured Home Foundations

Pier and beam foundation prepared for a CrossMod manufactured home, with two houses on either side and a crane in the background

We’re looking at the different features of pier and beam, runner, slab, basement or crawl space foundations to help you decide which one is the best fit for your manufactured home.

A home’s foundation is key to keeping it strong and secure for the years to come. And in addition to supporting and distributing the home’s weight to keep it stable, the foundation also helps keep out pests and the elements.

When you purchase a new manufactured home to be placed on your home site, there are several types of foundations to choose from. Each have some potential pros and cons to consider, including how much they cost. Your local home center consultant can help you evaluate which foundation is the right fit for you based on factors like the layout of your land, the size of your home, your typical climate and weather, the requirements of your local building codes, and your budget or financing.

Common types of manufactured home foundations include:

  • Pier and beam foundation
  • Runner foundation
  • Slab foundation
  • Crawl space
  • Basement

Some types of foundations are considered permanent because of how the home is attached to them, like you’d find with a traditional site-built home. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, permanent foundations for manufactured homes must be constructed of durable materials like concrete, mortared masonry or treated wood, and have attachment points that anchor and stabilize the home to the underlying soil or rock. They must also be structurally developed according to the HUD code for manufactured homes or a licensed professional engineer.

Other types of foundations are non-permanent, which can affect potential appreciation or the resale value of your home, as well as the types of financing options you may have available to you. However, if you choose a non-permanent foundation, you may be able to potentially move your home to another location in the future.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the main features of these foundation types.


Pier and Beam Foundation

The pier and beam foundation system is widely used for manufactured homes. This system uses one or more metal platforms that are placed under the foundation piers. Steel bracing then secures the platforms to the I-beams under the home.

Pier and beam foundations:

  • Are one of the most affordable types of foundations
  • Typically take less time to build than other systems
  • Can be used in areas that see seismic activity, floods or heavy frost
  • Are not typically a type of permanent foundation
  • Could potentially shift over time
  • Mean your home will be raised off the ground and have skirting, which can affect its curb appeal. You may also need to have stairs or a ramp installed

Runner Foundation

Runner foundations have runners made of concrete, gravel or stone, and steel that go along the length of the home to create beams or pads to support it.

Runner foundations:

  • Are also an affordable option
  • Are a good choice for a flat lot
  • Make it easier to access utility connections under the home
  • May be best for drier climates, as they do not always allow for a lot of ventilation
  • Are not recommended in areas that see seismic activity

Slab Foundation

There are several different types of slab foundations, but they typically sit on top of the ground with ground anchors that are embedded in concrete. A slab foundation needs to be insulated around its perimeter to help keep the ground beneath the foundation warmer and your home more comfortable.

Slab foundations:

  • Are often an affordable, time-efficient option
  • Can be used in areas that see seismic activity or floods
  • Can potentially be used in certain wind zones or areas that see heavy frost, depending on the specific requirements for your location
  • May not work for a sloping lot
  • Can make it difficult to access utility connections under the home
  • Are not always considered a permanent foundation, depending on how your home is anchored to it

Crawl Spaces

A crawl space foundation, sometimes called a pit foundation, is similar to a basement. It has an excavated floor and is usually built using poured concrete footers that go into the soil and anchor the home down. The home then rests on a perimeter wall and is supported by piers strategically placed for support points, which are customized to each home.

Crawl space foundations:

  • Generally fall into the middle price range compared to other foundation options
  • Can work well if you have a sloping lot because the size of the crawl space can be adjusted
  • Offer good frost and seismic resistance
  • May not be ideal for hurricane- or flood-prone areas
  • Are a permanent foundation
  • Don’t provide the extra living space or storage of a basement

Basement Foundation

Not only does a basement provide a strong support system for your home, but it can also add extra living or storage space and potentially increase your home’s value.

Basement foundations:

  • Are the most expensive foundation option and can typically cost tens of thousands of dollars
  • Take longer to build and install due to their materials, as well as their structural design
  • Can be used on a sloping lot
  • Can be used in areas with seismic activity or frost
  • Are not recommended in flood hazard areas
  • Are a permanent foundation

With this information, you’ll be better prepared to decide which type of foundation fits your specific needs. Your local home center consultant can work with you on the specific details for the option you choose, including helping make sure you understand the associated costs as well as the need for any permits or third-party contractors.

Now that you know more about manufactured home foundations, do you want to learn about how Clayton homes are built? From our energy-efficient features and sustainability efforts to the trusted home building brands we partner with and more, we’re breaking down the details in the Home Building section of our Studio blog. Check it out today!

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