To those of you who are new to the mobile home life or who still don’t know what skirting is: Skirting is made up of panels that run from the bottom of your home to the ground and completely cover the ground in between.
Think of your mobile home as a beautiful woman. The skirting is the “skirt” that not only covers the bottom of your mobile home but can also be a stylish and classy item to finish its look. Skirting is such an effective solution to the above issues that the law requires in many states.
This article will cover:
- Why you should install skirting on your mobile home.
- Summaries on each skirting type.
- A simple step-by-step guide to installing vinyl skirting.
So, ready to make your home the Cinderella in its very own fairy tale? Let the makeover begin!
Mobile Home Skirting: The consequences of not having it
Just like any fairy tale, our story would not be complete without a struggle for our main character to overcome. In many places in the US, it is now law that you must have skirting installed on your mobile home! Here are some problems your home could fall victim to without skirting:
Your home’s sensitive underbelly exposed to the elements
The temperatures can change dramatically underneath your mobile home if the sides aren’t covered up. Depending on your location this can mean extremely low temperatures in winter or very high ones in summer. Or both if you are unlucky.
These temperatures can seep into your home. Not only does it make your home uncomfortable to live in, but also drives up your utility bills on heating and cooling.
If it gets too cold or snow builds up, the water pipes can freeze over. Consequently, your water supply might be interrupted, and if the pipes are damaged enough, you might need to replace them.
Good skirting can act as an extra insulation that protects the underside of your mobile home from these extreme temperatures. It’s even more efficient if you insulate your pipes/appliances before skirting.
Water collecting underneath your home can also lead to many small problems: from damaging electrical appliances (like AC units), to wearing away at the foundation, to becoming a breeding ground for all kinds of pests.
Unwelcome furry guests can infiltrate the underside of your home
If you have no skirting installed or your current skirting is damaged, you can expect to be visited by some furry friends. Incidentally, the bottom of your home will look like the promised land, especially during cold times. The choice between that and a hole in the ground is a no-brainer.
True enough, most visits from these animals will be harmless and limited to scuffling or rattling that can interrupt your sleep. If you have some wiring underneath your home for air condition/heating systems, it’s another story. For some reason, most critters, especially rodents, just love to chew on them! Dead animals underneath your home can also lead to a terrible smell.
Mobile home skirting solves this issue by completely covering the bottom of your home. The skirting only needs enough space for some ventilation but will dissuade animals because there will be no obvious entry point.
Make your home decent!
Without skirting, your home’s underside is most likely noticeable to the everyday passer-by. And that may not be an attractive sight! Even the fanciest and most well-decorated homes don’t have an attractive foundation. As a matter of fact, you’ll notice that most will camouflage their foundations with a well-planned garden.
If you leave the underside exposed, not only could your home look unattractive and cheap, but you may leave your home blushing too!
Trouble with the law
It’s written into the HUD/FHA Manufactured Home Foundation Requirements that a mobile home must have a skirting, here it is in their words:
“A permanent well-supported perimeter wall (skirting) must enclose the foundation to keep out vermin and water. This wall must be self-supporting and must rest on a concrete footing. An access opening must be constructed in this skirting wall. Most often these walls are constructed of block or brick masonry. However, treated wood walls can qualify if properly constructed.”
In other words, your home must legally have a permanent skirting to meet HUD requirements. If you don’t, it could be impossible to finance your home.
Bonus advantages of skirting on your mobile home
Compared to many other physical changes you can make to your home, skirting is quite affordable. Especially if you look at all the added benefits and different ways it can help you save money.
We will go deeper into the cost when we look at individual materials, but you should stay between $300 to $2000 in extreme conditions.
Extra structural support for your home
The structural support of skirting is not a significant benefit, but as it covers your home from the soil to the siding, the skirting does add a little support to the mobile home structure.
Handy extra storage space
Many people take the opportunity to convert the space below their home into a storage space. It’s an ideal place to store outdoor equipment like gardening tools, land mowers, etc. The average single wide is roughly 72 ft. by 15 ft. wide totaling 1,080 square ft. of storage space!
Additionally, if you have extra budget and time, you could lay down a concrete floor beneath your home before enclosing it with skirting.
Improve mobile home’s curb appeal and resale value
We have already addressed what an eyesore the underside of a mobile home can be. So covering it up will improve how your home looks dramatically. There are also many decorative skirting options like faux stone, etc. By utilizing one of our following mobile home skirting ideas, you can truly beautify your home!
At the same time, skirting makes a home more “permanent.” Moving a mobile home can cause it to lose a lot of value and make it much harder to finance or insure. Make use of our mobile home skirting ideas and really invest in the placement of your home.
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Mobile Home Skirting Ideas: Choosing the right one for you
Substance before style
At this point, let’s look at the different types of materials available for skirting a mobile home. Remember that if you live in a mobile home park, check if your park only allows certain types of skirting.
Here is a quick summary of each to help you choose:
By far this is the most popular choice amongst mobile home owners, so we will pay the most attention to it. Here are a few reasons most people go with vinyl:
- Vinyl kits are the easiest to install. The average homeowner with a little DIY experience should have little difficulty adding it to their home.
- It’s one of the most affordable skirting options. For a single-wide, you should be looking at less than $600 for all materials.
- They usually look clean, neat and attractive.
Of course, one slight disadvantage of vinyl is that not all products are as strong as their metal, concrete or brick counterparts. This means that rocks flung from weed eaters, extreme storms or winds can damage it. You can counter this by installing skirting guards.
Vinyl skirting comes in many different designs and dimensions. The most common are the clean, white variety. Any vinyl kit usually comes with four different parts:
- Vinyl panels
- A top back “J” panel that fits into the home and the skirting.
- A horizontal strip that fits onto the front of the skirting.
- “U” shaped ground track that is used to attach the panels.
Unless you are very lucky, you will probably need to cut some of your vinyl panels to fit. Luckily, vinyl skirting can be cut quite easily with a utility knife or circular saw.
This is the second most popular choice among mobile home owners. They have a lot in common with vinyl panels but are more resistant.
These panels consist of a sturdy plastic and often come in stone patterns and three different colors. Usually, they are purchased in 5 ft. sections in length with a few different height options. Reil rock panels are also configured a lot like vinyl panels with a “J” frame connecting them to the home and running in a “U” track.
All things considered, if reil rock is like vinyl but more attractive and stronger, then why aren’t they as popular? Well, at $30 a panel they are a bit pricey.
Metal is also a popular choice. The biggest reason for this is durability. It will take some force to damage this skirting. They are also pretty affordable and easy to install.
They come in aluminum (much like aluminum siding), galvanized steel or tin varieties. All these types perform the same, and they all cost around $10-15 per 5ft. Panels also come in beautiful “rock imprint” designs so if you are picturing a boring metal plate, push the thought away!
On the other hand, a slight downside of metal skirting is that you need to do some digging and moving soil to install, so it requires a bit more elbow grease.
- Foam: This skirting is said to reduce temperature loss underneath your home by up to 22%! It sometimes goes by the name “insulated vinyl.” But at $10-15 per ft, it’s costly.
- Concrete, brick or cinder block: Obviously very durable, it is also expensive. It also requires a lot of effort and is a permanent solution.
- Faux rock/brick panels: The authentic look is very attractive and also durable. It is also the most expensive option at around $100 per panel.
How to install skirting on your mobile home
How you install mobile home skirting varies wildly between different kinds of materials and kits. We recommend you buy a kit as they come with instructions plus all the parts you need to fit the skirting securely.
In a moment, we will take you through the simple process of installing vinyl skirting. Here are some other handy guides:
- Helpful illustrations+steps: http://mobilehomepartsstore.com/vinyl_skirting_installation.html
What you will need
- Measuring tape
- Tin snips
- Chalk line
- Utility knife
- Snaplock punch tool
- Vinyl skirting kit. Here are some good examples: https://www.mobilehomepartsdepot.com/Mobile-Home-Skirting-Kits-s/1903.htm
How much skirting do you need?
Determining how much skirting you should buy is easier than you might think. All you will need is a tape measure and a calculator!
First, measure the perimeter of your home from corner to corner. If you have a protruding porch/area, measure their perimeters as well or exclude them if you don’t want to skirt them.
Next, simply add all the lengths together for the total length.You also need to measure the average height of your home. Measure each corner from the ground to the home. Write all these measurements down so that you buy panels that fit!
Afterward, you’ll need to measure the average height of your home. Measure each corner from the ground to the home.
Don’t forget to write all these measurements down so that you buy panels that fit!
You can find many calculators like this to help.
For a full list of steps with handy illustrations, follow the link above. Before you start, use the level or anything straight and take it plumb down to the ground from the mobile home. Next drive in stakes at regular intervals, tie a rope between them and make a chalk line on the ground.
Finally, consider adding insulation to your pipes before installing the skirting.
Here is a breakdown of the process:
Step 1: Attach back rail to the mobile home.
The back rail fits the underside of the mobile home. It is a crucial part of the skirting to help it withstand rain, snow, ice, wind. Make sure that:
- The back rail is straight and level
- Place a screw or nail in every second slot and allow a little looseness for movement.
- Also, leave a ½” space between back rail sections for the same reason.
Step 2: Install the U-track
First, clean the ground all around the home where there will be skirting. For added safety, you can mount the U-track on timber or spread gravel. Next, fasten the U-track by driving ground nails through the holes in the channel and back leg.
If you install it on concrete, you will need masonry nails or spikes with plastic sleeves.
Step 3: Make sure your panels will fit
The next part is tricky. Use the utility knife and tape measure to cut the panels to size. It’s especially difficult if you have sloping ground. In that case, you will need to ensure the panels run at the correct angle.
Step 4: Fit your panels
Slot your panels into the bottom U-track and “snap” them into place against the top rail. If your kit does not snap in, this is where your snap lock tool comes in.
Step 5: Finish it up!
Lastly, snap the front top rail into place, making sure it completely covers the back rail and the top of your panels. At the corners make a small 1-inch incision on the cover at the top of the rail and bend the cover down to around the corner.
So there you have it! A mobile home skirting idea that became a reality! It is a pretty straightforward process if you follow our advice and buy a kit. The installation instructions for other types of kits are mostly the same and only differ in slight details. Your makeover is complete. Enjoy your taking your home to the ball!