Mobile home skirting questions

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Raindancer, Sep 12, 2004.

  1. Raindancer

    Raindancer Well-Known Member

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    Please excuse my ignorance here, as I haven't a clue! Have a few MH questions..

    a) How do you know a MH is strapped or tied down? By visual inspection, what is it that your looking for?

    b) Is brick or cement "skirting" (does that term apply here?) or a foundation of sorts mainly for aesthetics, or does it actually add stability in wind/storms etc? Is the addition something that is a DYI project? Expensive? Worth doing?

    Just curious, in case we should find that perfect property one day with a MH already on it to live in until we could later build a small house.

    Thanks for any replies:)

    Dee
     
  2. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Look underneath the mobile --- you should see at least four metal straps tied down into the ground. If you don't, it's not anchored.

    All post-Andrew (the hurricane) mobiles are built to withstand very strong winds, and the tiedowns will go into the walls and onto the roof as well. If you have any doubts, call the local mobile place --- if it's rural enough, they probably installed the mobile. :haha:

    Someplace in the mobile, there should be a specification sheet which tells to what standards to mobile is built and what standards are required in your area --- my mobile, for example, was built to withstand hurricane force winds (well --- 100/110 MPH, but I doubt 165 MPH) and I THINK, because we have so many tornados here, that's now required by law in this area.

    The mobile should be on cement piers, meaning very heavy cement blocks with rebar, etc in them. Some people lay actual foundations and put the mobiles on that --- in many places, this reclassifies the mobile as quote *real estate* unquote.

    The so-called brick skirting, etc. is sheerly for aesthetics and is different than a foundation. You probably don't want to do brick skirting anyway, as caring for the underside of a mobile is just as crucial (if not more so) than caring for the rest of it. Other kinds of skirting allow very easy access for you and are better for those reasons.
     

  3. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Some older mh have a tie down on the outer edge that goes to a stake in the ground. Pretty obvious when you see it.

    I purchased and had set up in colorado a new mh. The 'tie down' was rebar which was embedded in the concrete foundation and then welded to the frame of the mh.

    Skirting will provide wind protection and if insulated may also help protect plumbing under the mh. It will also help prevent grass/brush fires from sweeping under the mh and catching it on fire.

    Brick or concrete skirting on a mh will need a good foundation just for the skirting. The foundation for the actual mh is usually separate and supports the iron beams running the length of the mh. Brick or concrete is prob better than wood or metal, but could also be more expensive.

    edited to add;
    CG, you posted as I was typing :)

    My mh in co had the tongue and axles removed and the title was purged. So the mh was then considered an integral part of the property, just like a house.
     
  4. Raindancer

    Raindancer Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info, Countrygrrrl and Cyngbaeld:) Now I feel a bit more educated on the subject of skirting and tie downs. I've seen MH's without it, some with the usual type, and some with brick/mortar (whatever), and never knew if it served any purpose other than just what the owner felt like doing to the place. I can see where it might be good as an added security measure to reduce wind/fire, for insulation etc., and how brick might make it hard to get under the MH if need be for dealing with any problems.

    As for tie downs/strapping, now I know what to look for:) I do so worry about them being in place, even if it's just a false sense of security with all the bad storms and tornadoes that crop up in our area now and then. As for withstanding wind speeds, I do remember reading somewhere that MH should have a metal tag attached to outside with some info, and also located inside (forget location) with certain spec's...perhaps what your talking about Countrygrrrl?

    We did look at some property on our own, and one in particular was our ideal piece of land (visually anyway..fell in love!) with a DW MH on it (vacant and nice, from what we could see), but land/mobile a bit out of our price range (we can dream!). It had a lattice type skirting on it and we never thought to peek and see what was underneath it. Not having a realtor with the scoop, we didn't know anything about it (estimating 6-8 yr's and appeared well taken care of). That's a moot point anyway (sigh)! But, at least now the info y'all provided will give us a little more insight on the skirting and tie down stuff and things to ask about;)

    Thanks again for all the info!

    Dee
     
  5. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    In Alabama, at least where I'm familiar with, a solid concrete foundation is not required. Usually, there's a double stack of concrete blocks every 10 feet or so along each metal beam under the house. There used to be required metal strapping to go from the ground on one side of the house, up and over and to the ground on the other side. Now, I believe, they're made in such a way that the actual framework of the house is strong enough and the metal strapping is just secured to the beams under the house. In my area (just East of Birmingham), the Fleetwood sales center (not neccesarily an endorsement although we may consider them) in Lincoln, Talladega County, is the only place that puts the homes on a concrete slab, they then mortar the blocks together when they set the home up. Everyone else just puts the double stack.

    The brick skirting underneath is just for asthetics, mainly used in intentional mobile home communities. In my opinion, the vinyl skirting is the best option in terms of usability and econimics. My mom and step dad put up corrugated metal, cut so that the ridges run vertical, under their doublewide. He didn't, at first, put in any vents and no way to get under. It's been a nightmare to tear out pieces to repair water pipes. Countrygrrrl is right, it's very important to take care of the underside. You don't want to just leave it exposed. Cats, especially, like to tear into and sleep in the insulation. Protect that stuff as much as you can.
     
  6. Raindancer

    Raindancer Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for spelling out the additional info on the strapping and skirting, DayBird. Since I have no clue about mobile home stuff, it's good to have any info to be aware of. I obviously don't know about any requirements with MH's down here in our area (Montg.), but good stuff to know just the same! As for the vertical skirting you mentioned, "vents", I assume, are to mean an area left open for access to the underbelly of the MH? That would make sense. Something to keep in mind!

    Thanks for the reply. Hope your new property and the dilemma of moving your birds is falling into place for you!

    Dee
     
  7. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    The vinyl skirting has air vents that allow gasses from building up under your house and it also helps to keep it drier which keeps fungus from growing.

    I grew up in a 1980 20X40 Cavalier doublewide. It was very small for a doublewide and was very cramped for the four of us. It was put on a steep hillside and was slid out on a welded framework of metal I-beams. It was blocked up underneath. The front of the trailer was at ground level and the back was almost 20 feet high. I now live in a 1986 Fleetwood singlwide. It's actually roomier than the doublewide because of the better floorplan.

    Apparantly the frame has cracked and noone will move it for us. That's good, I guess. If it's really cracked, I no longer want to live in it. We've done alot of shopping in the past 2 years and I really like the Clayton homes best. They use real porcelain sinks and metal tubs and have water cutoff valves under every sink and toilet. Plumbing is a real concern to shop around for. I would recommend one with a shingle roof and vinyl siding. They're so much better insulated and more engery effecient. They do cost more though.

    All that said, we'll probably go with a metal roof, metal siding repo home. I like to do work to customize the inside and I really would rather have a metal roof as I want to collect the rainwater.

    We'll somehow make it all work and move the birds, somehow. :(
     
  8. Raindancer

    Raindancer Well-Known Member

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    "The vinyl skirting has air vents that allow gasses from building up under your house and it also helps to keep it drier which keeps fungus from growing."

    Geesh, so much to learn! I once read about putting some type of vapor barrier (?) on the ground under your MH, supposedly to help prevent those problems? Does it really help with fungus/mold? As for plumbing..is that a major issue with MH? I can understand if they don't have turn off valves readily available, but is that the norm or only in older models?

    So many questions, sorry. I just don't have clue about MH or what to expect. Have been trying to read/search all the archives, but slow going. I would love to get a property all set up with septic/well/electicity (more expensive, but good to go) and if a MH as a dwelling till we could build, all the better, I guess? I know the ammendments are something we'd have to deal with head on in the future if we just bought raw land. So just trying to get the heads up on what to expect if we should go with land with MH already on it, which is so prevalant here, and almost seems like a better deal in the long run..?

    And did you say you have 60 (?) birds or 60 cages..fuzzy memory.. but either way, alot to deal with! As a professional pet sitter (in comparison, had one client with only 12 birds, 6 cages!), have you thought of hiring or boarding until you make the move? Might have to spend a few $ but the safety and well-being of your babies might make it worth it. I forget all the details of your situation, but, just a thought:)

    Dee
     
  9. breezynosacek

    breezynosacek Well-Known Member

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    Try http://www.mobilehomerepair.com/

    The other day I was reading a page about alternative housing and it lead to another page on mobile homes and hurricanes and tie downs. I wish I could remember where it was but hubby cleared my history.

    If I'm not mistaken the article stated that mobile homes can have anywhere from 19 to 24 or more tie down straps and to have them checked to make sure that they weren't rusted through at ground level.

    The anchors used on hurricane tie down straps are those spiral ibolt anchors that get twisted into the ground. They run about 3 to 5 ft long and that is what holds it down during high winds. They suggested that you have someone check them out once a year because they do rust eventually.
     
  10. Raindancer

    Raindancer Well-Known Member

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    Good info and web site, breezynosacek..thanks for sharing!;)

    Dee
     
  11. breezynosacek

    breezynosacek Well-Known Member

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    You are more than welcome!
     
  12. CraftyDiva

    CraftyDiva Is anybody here?

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    Here's another site with forums to answer owners/buyers questions.....
    http://mobilehome.com/discus/

    Plus they have listings "For Sale" homes nationwide, Most seem to be in Florida or Arizona, but there are others as well.
     
  13. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    After it was all set up with the required strapping I went beyond what they said I needed and used the post hole diggers and dug down about six feet and concreted heavy-weight, galvanized chains into the ground and bolted them to the framework at each corner of my singlewide. They didn't ask and I didn't tell, I sleep better at night.
     
  14. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    In my opinion masonary skirting is the only skirting that lasts and looks good fo long periods of time. the vinyl skirting will crack and weedeaters constantly knock holes in it. Any skirting that uses any wood is a no no in my opinion as it attracts insects. They have a plastic type skirting that looks like real brick and it is heavy, but for the expense it's worth it to spend a little more and brick or block it. I just had mine done and installed foundation vents and access doors. If you check the requirements for a gov't mortgage on a mobile home they will show you all of the best ways things should be done. Mobile home installers will usually try and do things the cheapest and easiest way. The steel beams are the support structure of a mobile home. Anything around the perimeter is just trim with no real support. Even if you see one on a basement there must be piers under the steel for support. If there is any doubts on this I can take you to a house that they installed incorrectly on a basement. The whole house collapsed into the basement, it's not a pretty sight, and I don't think they lived there long if at all. On dry ground the best way to support the house is to pour footers in line where the support beams are then stack your block under the beams. Many codes just allow stacked block on virgin soil but it's better with footers.