Below we’ve outlined the step-by-step process for how to attach a deck to a mobile home. Before you start, make sure you get whatever licensing you need to complete this project. And to avoid penalties, make sure your project aligns with the HUD code and other local building requirements. If you’re renting land or in a mobile home park, you’ll need to check with the owner to make sure you can lay the foundation for your deck.
- Measuring tape
- Spray paint
- Steel breaking bar
- Post hole digger
- Protective eyewear
- Dry cement
Step 1 – Map out your plan
The size of your deck is going to vary depending on how you want to use it. You’ll find that an 8 x 10 foot deck should be big enough to hold two or three people. Note that we won’t be giving guidelines on how to build a specific-sized deck, but rather the basic steps you need to take to get the job done.
Decide on a size for your deck before you do anything. Try going to Lowes, Home Depot or Menards and giving your dimensions to an expert there. Menards actually has a machine that will give you a detailed material list for your project if you enter in your exact dimensions. Don’t continue until you have everything you need. This will ensure you have the right size boards, nails, screws and joist hangers.
Now it’s time to physically map out the deck. You can do this by placing stakes in the ground representing the four corners. Use string to create an outline by running it around the stakes. Take a can of spray paint and run it along the string to make sure it’s a straight line. Also, make sure to spray paint an area designating where you will put in your first posts.
To ensure that your outline is square, use your measuring tape to measure the distance diagonally from each corner. Your outline is square if both measurements are the same.
Step 2 – Lay the landscape fabric
You can prevent weeds under your deck by laying down a heavy plastic tarp in the square you’ve outlined. Cover the top of the tarp with gravel after you’ve laid it down.
Step 3 – Dig your foundation holes
Dig holes for your standing posts that are 10 – 12 inches in diameter and 42 – 48 inches deep. Six holes should be enough for a solid foundation. The frost level in your area will determine how deep the holes are. Fill these holes with dry concrete once you’ve dug far enough followed by water for mixing. You can use the end of the wooden beam or any other suitable tool to create a smooth, flat concrete surface. Wait the appropriate amount of time for the concrete to dry before moving onto the next step.
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Step 4 – Place the support posts
Now that your concrete is dry, it’s time to place the posts into your holes. For the back three holes near the mobile home entrance, attach a rim joist to your posts that will face the home. Rim joists run around the outside of your deck providing further support. Nailing the rim joist into your posts will be difficult if they are already sidled up against the home with little wiggle room. Make sure the rim joist is situated three inches below the entrance to your home.
With the posts in the holes, you’ll want to fill them up with the dirt you removed in the previous step. Use a leveler to make sure your posts are standing perfectly vertical. Note that you do not have to nail the back end of your deck into the mobile home. This is a freestanding method, so technically the deck will not be attached.
Next, make a mark on each post that’s 3 inches below the threshold of your mobile home door. This mark will come in handy during the next step.
Step 5 – Nail in the rim joists
You should’ve already attached a rim joist onto the back end of your deck facing the mobile home, and now it’s time to do the same for your other posts. The top of each rim joist should line up with that 3-inch mark you made in the previous step. It’s suggested you level these before nailing them in.
Step 6 – Nail in your joists to the outer rim joists
It’s time to install your joists, which is a fancy word for a piece of timber or steel that’s arranged in a parallel series to support a floor or ceiling. In this case, they’ll support the floor of your deck. You can get a better idea of what this process looks like in this DIY video (go to the 4:50 mark). Your measurements may differ from what you see in this video.
Next, install the joist hangers. Joist hangers come in a variety of sizes and are used for holding your joists in place. For a more detailed guide to installing joist hangers, click here.
Step 7 – Lay down your floorboards
With your foundation laid and your rim joists secured, you can now start nailing in your floorboards. These should run in the opposite direction of the joists you just installed in the previous step, creating a criss-cross pattern. Add an extra inch your measurement of the boards so that they overhang on the rim joists by one inch on both sides. This is just a precautionary step. Make sure to saw off the loose ends once you’ve secured your boards in place.
Step 8 – Additional deck features
At this point, your deck is missing a few key features such as railings, stairs, skirting, and perhaps a roof. With the essential deck foundation now built, it’s up to you to decide what features you’d like to add. Some prefer their deck to be completely railed with a set of stairs, while others would rather keep it open with a wheelchair or bike accessible ramp.
Below we’ve provided tutorials that will guide you along in the rest of your project.
Railings, Baluster, Lattice and Skirting
Now you know how to attach a deck to a mobile home!
You’re one step closer to adding another great upgrade to your mobile home, and we wish you the best of luck in your project. We hope this guide for how to attach a deck to a mobile home has been helpful. Make sure to consult with an expert at your local home improvement store for even more tips and ideas.