Understanding Mobile Home Blocking Requirements | How They Affect You
Even though mobile homes typically come already constructed, they still need to have solid foundations. It is just as crucial as it is with built homes. An unsuitable base can cause severe damage to your house and can lead to significant problems in the future.
You might be surprised to find that there are several options to choose from. One popular choice is to use concrete blocks to set up your mobile home.
You need to be aware that there are certain requirements to pay attention to if you want to block your mobile home. These regulations are set out by the Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974.
Let’s look at what these mobile home blocking requirements are and how they affect you as a mobile home owner.
Types of mobile home foundations
You know that one of the best features of manufactured homes is that they can be moved around. This gives you endless opportunities. It allows you more freedom to live the way you want to.
Luckily, there are a variety of foundations for you to choose from. You should be able to find one that fits your needs.
There are two main categories of foundations available. The first are permanent ones. This means you can’t move it later if you change your mind. These are a better option for you if you feel sure that you don’t want to relocate soon.
If this isn’t for you, you can instead try temporary solutions. With non-permanent foundations, you’ll be able to move around your home and the foundation with much more ease. They still give you stability but with more flexibility. Block type foundations are one of these.
All about mobile home blocking
So what is mobile home blocking?
As we have said using blocks is a non-permanent foundation. It can be part of what is called pier or footer foundations.
The basics of this type of base are that your house is perched on top of some kind of stilted structure. These piers are placed in key positions under the house.
The piers can be made of steel frames, concrete blocks, steel jacks, or a combination of these footers. You can use the slabs on their own, or you can install a steel frame first and then fasten some of the blocks onto them. They are stacked to make up the height requirements.
Today, we’re going to focus on the use of concrete blocks as the footers of your house.
The structure is usually secured to the bottom of your mobile by steel traps to make sure that it doesn’t move.
The other key element of this foundation are the anchors. You’ll want to attach them to the footers to help secure and protect your home from strong winds or other possible causes of movement.
Why do you need to block your mobile home?
It is essential that you take care while installing your home’s foundations. This is one job that shouldn’t be rushed.
First, let’s look at the potential effects of faulty leveling on your house. Bad foundations mean that your home won’t be stable and won’t be level. Some of the possible consequences of this are:
- Your house and the walls in your house could shift.
- You could start facing difficulties in closing windows and doors.
- Cracks can appear in your walls, floor or roof.
- Visible damage to the fixtures in the interior or exterior of the house.
- Your pipes and plumbing might leak.
- It can cause damage to the skirting around your house.
Now that you know the importance of good foundations you might be wondering why blocking is such a popular option. Here are some of the pros of using concrete blocks for your home’s footer:
- They’re easy to install. If you have experience and are handy, you can even try to block your home yourself.
- They’re suitable for most locations and soil types.
- Can be moved.
- Quick to set up.
- They keep your house out of reach of floods, frosts and shifting soil.
- The piers can be adjusted if necessary.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s job is to provide equal and fair housing opportunities. As part of this, they try to ensure the development of affordable accommodation. Their responsibility is also to ensure that the housing is safe.
In 1976, the Department released standards of what they consider a manufactured home to be. On top of this, they published regulations which cover the design, construction, and installation of mobile homes.
The standards have been put in place to make sure that your house is stable and protected from environmental conditions. In short, they exist to make sure that your home and its occupants are safe and will stay that way. It is to your benefit to abide by them. As with most things in life, prevention is better than cure.
You need to make sure that you comply with all of the HUD regulations including the ones regarding your house’s foundation. If you don’t, you can face severe consequences.
The HUD released a separate document on foundations in 1996 — The Permanent Foundations Guide for Manufactured Housing (HUD Publication HUD-7584). Even though it is a different code, you need to fulfill its standards to be compliant.
If the leveling isn’t up to the HUD code, you will find it very difficult to sell the home. Besides this, it can be very difficult or even impossible to secure a loan or mortgage on your mobile home. Insurance could also be an issue.
Remember that even if you hire a contractor, the responsibility mainly lies with the owner. It’s on you to check that your house is up to code. A reliable contractor should know all of these standards by heart, but you need to do your due diligence.
Mobile home blocking requirements
The following is a list of the primary standards for your mobile home blocking.
Piers need to be positioned under the main beam of each section of the home. So the layout and number depend on the structure of your house. For extra support, they can also line the perimeter of the mobile home.
The piers need to be attached to concrete footings that are placed below the frost line in the ground. Ice and its thawing can cause the soil to shift, so you need to make sure that this won’t affect the foundation.
The crawlspace needs to be well ventilated. You need to install screened vents around the skirting.
The blocks for the piers need to be made of “solid materials.” The list includes materials such as reinforced concrete, masonry, steel or treated wood. The blocks need to be resistant to damage and deterioration.
Its strength is one reason why people often choose to use concrete. Note that wood wedges or dry block piers need to be coated with something like fiber-reinforced bonding cement.
If the home is parked for a year or more, you need to install permanent concrete footers which are anchored to tie downs. These are necessary to prevent overturning, transverse and longitudinal loads.
The code specifically prohibits the use of screw-in, tie-down anchors.
The crawl space between the piers needs to be closed off with a permanent skirting. This perimeter is typically made of concrete blocks, brick masonry, or treated wood and anchored in the concrete footing. It should be well supported and be able to keep out water and pests. There needs to be an access point somewhere in the skirting.
Additional regulations for the foundation:
Tongue, axles, and wheels
To be up to code you need to remove the tongue, axle, and wheels of the manufactured house. This, unfortunately, means that your home will be less mobile. But it will help to make you feel more settled.
Another of the requirements is that utilities like electricity and water need to be permanently installed.
The dirt of the crawl space needs to be covered to protect the undercarriage from moisture. A low cost, quick method is to cover it with a 6-mil polyethylene plastic vapor barrier. This will also help prevent rot. If you want something more permanent, you can pour a concrete slab or something similar.
When you are choosing where to park your home, you need to pay attention to the slope of the ground. The gradient should descend away from the house for proper drainage.
If you want a full list of the requirements, take a look at the entire guide.
Now you know that there are standards set out by the HUD that all mobile homeowners need to follow. But remember that the manufacturers of your home will also probably give guidelines for your specific build.
If you built your home as a prefab, the designers will be able to help you to understand your mobile home blocking requirements. They should give a recommended blocking plan with the house. If they don’t, you can always request one from them.
Owners should keep in mind that to remain compliant, the blocking might need to be adapted if you make any changes to the house like adding a porch. Additional supports and piers will probably be necessary.
Working with mobile home blocking requirements
Many homeowners worry about how these standards will affect them. It usually looks more intimidating than it actually is.
Here are some short steps to get started on working with the codes:
1) Research the code
To start, you should do some research on the HUD regulations for mobile homes. Learn what your house needs to be compliant. While you’re at it, take a look at the guidelines that were set out by the manufacturers of the home.
2) Check for compliance
Make a list of all the requirements and check them step by step. This way you will be done in no time.
If you are unsure whether your house is compliant, consider asking professionals’ advice. If they find any issues, they can help you bring it up to code.
Experts can make the process much quicker, and a consultation with one will give you the peace of mind that you need.
3) Make modifications
With all this information you’ll be ready to tackle any changes that you need to make. Plan out the process before you start to make sure that the modifications don’t cancel each other out.
4) Keep up to date
Many homeowners forget that compliance isn’t necessarily permanent. The codes and standards can change, so you need to keep an eye out for any changes to the regulations.
Extreme weather and regular wear and tear can cause damage to the footer. Changes in the ground can cause the framework to move and shift.
Make a habit of annually inspecting your foundations to see that everything is fine. It’s also a great idea to check up after a storm or frost.
Once your home is up to code, you should get it certified. Every mobile home should have a data plate and label which lists all its specifications. They will also give information about the house’s compliance.
A licensed inspector will be able to update all the documentation for you.
You’ll need to show this as proof that everything is up to code if you plan to sell the house or if you want to apply for a loan.
It’s worth it in the long run!
Whether you are a new homeowner or not, it can help to brush up on the HUD standard to make sure that your house is up to code. The effort will be worth the trouble that it can save you in the long run.
Hopefully, this guide will help you to work with the mobile home blocking requirements. For more information on the complete list of regulations for your manufactured home look at HUD Laws And Mobile Homes. And if you are still struggling to decide on a foundation type, your first step should be to read up on the different Mobile Home Foundation Types.