Foundations - Posted by Mike

Posted by Mike on September 07, 2003 at 07:11:44:

Doc, thanks for the suggestion about low-profile installations…I like it, but as you point out, if I’m using propane, which I am, this could be problematic. Since most of my homes will be placed on gentle slopes I quess I could level the ground and have just one side of the home low profile and thereby not cause the problem associated with trapping gas in a hole.

I appreciate your feedback and advise…thanks so much! Mike

Foundations - Posted by Mike

Posted by Mike on September 05, 2003 at 12:20:48:

I am developing a small (12 units) MH retirement park where I will own all the units…these will be 14 or 16 wide and 55-60 long…rather than traditional set-up on dirt is there a cost effective way to place on a concrete foundation and if so what would it consist of ? …any ideas or solutions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Mike

Re: Foundations - Posted by Doug

Posted by Doug on September 29, 2003 at 22:35:05:

Hi: I am new at posting here and am going to wait just a little while before posting my email. I just get so much junk mail.

I think that the aesthetic considerations are important plus the added insulation value in colder climates make setting the units into the ground the only way to fly. No railing is required for ground level porches, no stairs needed. Of course, I am an excavating contractor so I may be biased. :wink: But I really don’t think so.

I have done the excavating for a number of units for various contractors. I have done some with nice deep crawl spaces and even basements. I have seen a number of different methods employed. For supporting the mobiles, concrete piers, runners, both crossways and lengthwise all seem to work pretty well. The real problem always seems to be the perimeter wall. Concrete stemwalls are best but also the most expensive. Cinderblocks are also a bit pricey. Treated lumber can work but I am not too impressed. They seem just barely strong enough.

I am looking into a tough new vinyl system to simplify this whole perimeter earth retention process. I hope to try it out pretty soon and will make a note to post if it works.

Propane sensors are available that will shut off the gas if any leakage is detected.

Re: Foundations - Posted by Tony-VA/NC

Posted by Tony-VA/NC on September 05, 2003 at 18:20:23:


Developing this park is likely to be a cash intensive proposition (or at the very least, one in which expenses need to be controlled). For me the question often comes down to “will this improvement increase cash flow?” Second, “will this increase resale value.”

If you are going to own the homes, why would it matter to you if the land under them is dirt or concrete? The dirt is already paid for, concrete will run you labor, materials and time. Homes will not be pulling in and out on a regular basis. Once the home is in, the concrete pad will be hidden by skirting.

I am not certain that I can see what would justify such an expense. Perhaps some perceived resale value but since you are retaining ownership of the homes, I suspect you are not intending to sell the park immediately upon completion.

You can place the homes on permanent foundations. They look nice and enhance the value but are a poor decision for rental units as they make repair work miserable to get to.

Also I am curious, does the parks property limit the homes to 55-60 ft long? These shorter lots can become an issue down the road if you look to upgrade.

For example, many of the old “mom and pop” parks from yesteryear have very short lots intended to accomodate the 10x50 homes (and generation). Now that our countries affinity for accumulation has grown, those size homes are unacceptable for the large majority of our market.

The mobile home manufacturing plants have addressed the market desire/demand by building bigger and bigger homes. The current owner’s of the “mom and pop” park now have to special order “park model” homes at huge premiums in order to fill their lots.

Just a word of caution on lot size. If you can, stretch to 70 or 80 foot (or larger) and you will do yourself (and later park buyers a favor).

Best Wishes,


Re: Foundations - Posted by Mike

Posted by Mike on September 05, 2003 at 19:43:55:

Tony, thanks for the feedback…I was under the assumption that MH’s tied down to dirt were more prone to needing repeated re-leveling from the settling of the home due to expansion and contraction of the ground from winter to summer…

also, by anchoring into concrete would add strength in the face of severe high winds from tornadic weather…

finally, that it may add “value” if I were to have a concrete runner around the perimeter on which to place concrete block that would support backfilling with dirt and landscaping so as to look more like a site home, in lieu of flimsy skirting…

your follow-up thoughts to this would be appreciated…also, I didn’t understand why you said repair work would be miserable to get to if a foundation were in place ???

thanks so much, Mike

If what you are trying to acomplish is… - Posted by Dr. Craig Whisler CA NV

Posted by Dr. Craig Whisler CA NV on September 06, 2003 at 22:15:11:

…to make your mobiles look more like stick built homes then there could be one other way to accomplish this that wouldn’t fly in the face of Tony’s excellent suggestions. That would be to use cheap, conventional set-ups but put them in a hole so you get a low profile installation. They always seem so much more like conventional houses. It will only entail slightly more cost than regular above-ground installations.

I do NOT recommend low-profile installations however, if you will be using propane rather than natural gas. Propane is heavier than air and in the event of a leak it could drift down into the hole under a mobile and collect into VERY lethal time-bomb.

Regards, doc

Re: Foundations - Posted by Tony-VA/NC

Posted by Tony-VA/NC on September 06, 2003 at 09:09:20:

I am not sure where you live that the winter/summer would cause the homes to need repeated leveling, but I have to believe that your local code would require something like a depth of the footer (exceeding the frost line) to overcome this.

Most parks (if not all) that I have done business in simply have the dirt pads. I am in the moutains of NC and none of my mobiles are on level land (yes the home sits on a level spot) but the surrounding terrain is usually fairly steep. Proper drainage is important.

Again, check with the building inspectors for the guidelines for the set up of these homes. The mobile home movers will know as well (but don’t bank on it).

As for the permanent foundation vs. simple skirting on rental properties. Skirting for landlords making repairs under the home is quite a blessing. You simply need only take up one panel, right where the problem is and crawl in.

If you have permanent foundation, you typically only have one or two access doors. You may have to crawl the length or width of the home to get at the problem (and if you are like me, you will then realize you forgot something and have to crawl back out).

Skirting is far cheaper than foundations (roughly $600 vs $2,000) but it does not look as nice or last as long. If you were intending to sell off the lots (such as in a land/home package) then the permanent foundation would be something to seriously consider. We do this on our double wide land/home packages.


Re: Foundations - Posted by Randall

Posted by Randall on September 05, 2003 at 22:44:54:

I agree with Tony. There is no need to pour runners for the size homes your are wanting. Usually any settling problems can be fixed with shims. However if you want runners have them poured the width of the house not the length and put them every 7 feet or so. 12 inches wide and 12 inches deep unless building codes say otherwise.