The walls of our homes are our shields to the elements. They are meant to keep the rain, snow, and wind out. But in the process, they can take quite a battering.
Siding and skirting are essential parts of mobile houses exteriors. Regular maintenance can help keep your house in fantastic condition. However, it’s vital that you repair problems and damage as it crops up.
Luckily, it isn’t always necessary to call in expert assistance. You could do much of it yourself. Read on for our guide on how to repair a mobile home’s skirting and siding.
Siding is the protective material that is attached to the outside of your house’s walls. It’s typically made from weather resistant materials. Siding is an integral part of mobile homes. That’s why it is one of those aspects that buyers and investors will want to inspect.
If you are looking for a house yourself, you should look for any damage or wear and tear to the siding.
It is also one of the first things people will see from the sidewalk. So it’s a critical part of creating curb appeal.
Types of siding
Before we look at repairing siding, you need to know a little bit more about the different types.
It’s not only about aesthetics. The type and materials used are going to affect how you handle it.
1 – Vinyl
Vinyl is generally a good, all-around option for siding. This is the most popular material in contemporary mobile homes. It is quite hardy and is usually able to withstand all kinds of weather conditions, including strong winds.
But it isn’t always as watertight as some of the other options. So seepage can be an issue.
2 – Wood
Wood siding is gorgeous. Sadly, it can have some significant drawbacks. You will need to maintain it regularly, and even then it can be prone to decay.
Owners need to keep an eye out for rot as well as possible insect infestations.
3 – Stone
Stone is another material that you can use to add a beautiful natural element to your home’s exterior. Overall, you will find that it is a very durable type of siding.
But unfortunately, it can be costly to fix when something does go wrong. It is a challenging material to work with. You will probably need professional help.
4 – Fiber cement
Fiber cement is also very sturdy. It won’t rot and is resistant to water and termites. So it should last you quite a long time.
But yet again, when repairs are necessary, you might find it expensive and challenging.
5 – Aluminium
Another popular option is aluminum. Generally, it is durable, and your siding won’t be damaged from exposure to the elements.
However, you will need to watch out for dents and scratches.
Your mobile home’s skirting is a barrier around the underside of the structure. Most manufactured houses sit at least 36 inches off the ground. The majority of your home’s water pipes will be situated here.
Take a look at the key benefits of keeping your skirting in good shape:
- Helps to deter pets, pests, and all kinds of critters from going underneath your home
- Keeps out dirt and debris
- Hides the underbelly of your house
- Improves the insulation of your home
- Protects the pipes and underside of your mobile home
- Helps to keep out snow and water
- Makes your home more energy efficient
- Adds to the curb appeal of the property
Types of skirting
Like siding, there’s a variety of materials that you can use for the skirting of mobile homes. Again you will need to adapt your maintenance and repairs to the type used.
You can use some materials for both siding and skirting with a few additions.
1 – Vinyl
People can also build their skirting from vinyl. It is incredibly affordable and available in a range of options. But it isn’t as durable as many of the other options for skirting.
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2 – Metal
You can use several metals for your mobile home’s skirting like tin or steel. But most often, people use aluminum.
As long as it is maintained correctly, metal skirting is fairly weather resistant. However, it can be prone to dents and scratches and even rust.
3 – Brick or concrete
Your underbelly might also be protected by bricks or concrete blocks. This is probably the sturdiest option.
4 – Wood
Manufacturers and owners can decide to make their skirting from wood as well. You will need to make sure the planks are treated and maintained regularly.
Rot, mold, and insect infestations can be your most significant issues here.
5 – Foam
Foam is brilliant at protecting and insulating the underbelly of your mobile home. Depending on the type, it can be used on its own or combined with other materials.
Overall, it is one of the most common materials used in the construction of modern homes.
But it isn’t very durable. You will probably have to fill up holes or damage to its surface.
When do I need to repair my siding or skirting?
A good rule of thumb is to inspect your home with the change of each season. This can be particularly useful if you live in a climate where harsh weather conditions are prevalent.
By doing this, you will be more likely to spot any problem areas before they become a serious concern. And you can stop the damage from becoming worse.
You should always check the home’s exterior when there has been a severe storm or other extreme conditions like frost.
Here are some signs that your siding and skirting needs some attention:
- Peeling or cracking paint
- Cracks in the material itself
- Visible holes
- Dents or scratches
- Warped panels
- Missing parts or fixtures
- Signs of termites like tunnels in the wood, loose powder or shavings, and hollow sounding planks.
- Stains or spots that can point to water damage
- Musty odors
- Loose panels
- Erosion of the stone, concrete or brick
- Mold or moss
- Even a sudden change in your electricity bill can be a sign that something has gone wrong with your skirting
Hopefully, a few repairs are all you need. But if the damage is extensive or severe enough, it’s possible that you’ll need to replace some of the skirting or siding.
This can happen in cases where you find huge holes in the barrier or where it has decayed considerably.
Steps to repair siding
Now we can discuss the different steps you can take to fix your siding. We are going to talk about some of the most common issues that mobile homeowners could face.
First off, you will need to find out if there are any issues and what these are. To do this, you would have to inspect the siding.
Walk around your entire home and check the walls from top to bottom. Pay special attention to the areas around windows and doors.
If you’re unsure about the condition of your siding, it could help to call in a professional inspector or contractor.
Next, it is critical that you clean off the siding that you are going to work on. By doing this, you could reveal the full extent of the damage.
But it will also help the repairs to go much more smoothly.
You can use a pressure washer on some walls. However, some materials like vinyl siding can be damaged by the process. A much safer option is for you to hand wash the walls with a brush and a vinegar and water solution.
If there is cracked or peeling paint on the siding, you should smooth it down. Use a scraper to scrape away loose edges. Then sand down the area with sandpaper or a wire brush until it is smooth.
In the case of wood panels, you can also sand any rough textured parts on the plank.
#4 Fill in cracks and holes
The most common issue will probably be to fill in cracks, holes, or any uneven areas. Most types of siding can be patched up.
You can use mortar to fill in cracks in the stone siding. Nowadays you can also buy a variety of wood putty and fillers for wood siding.
Note: You might need to repeat the sanding step again to smooth down the patched areas.
With some types of siding and some types of damage, it can be better to replace it. For example, as we have said, you can’t fill up cracks in vinyl. You will need to replace it. The same is true for wood that has rotted or decayed and dented aluminum.
Don’t worry. You don’t necessarily have to replace everything. If the damage is only one small section, you can remove that panel and install new siding in its place.
You can remove vinyl sections by taking out any screws or nails that fix it in place. Then you should be able to slide out the panel. This should work for wood as well.
Measure out the piece that has to be replaced. And cut out new panels in the right dimensions.
In case the damage was caused by moisture, your waterproofing is probably not sufficient. Sometimes the problem could be as easy as filling up seams between panels with caulk.
But in other cases, you may need to install a new vapor barrier behind the siding. This can be extremely challenging. So before you beat yourself up, consider consulting a pro.
#7 Paint or treat
Once all this is done, it’s time to finish off the job. Depending on the specific repairs, you may need to repaint the siding and treat wooden panels with oil or varnish.
This will help to protect your walls in the future.
Steps to repair skirting
For skirting, the first step is essentially the same as for siding. You need to check your skirting for any potential damage.
There should be an entrance to the underbelly of your mobile home. If you’re up for it, it’s recommended to check on the inside of the skirting as well.
We don’t want to ramble on. But again it is critical to clean the skirting of your mobile home too.
This isn’t only about making the repairs more accessible. Junk and debris can cause damage to your underbelly over time, especially by trapping moisture. So clear away anything that’s not meant to be there like leaves etc.
#3 Fill in cracks and holes
Unfortunately, holes are even more common in skirting. This is because it is typically more exposed.
You need to fill any cracks and holes here as well. Most of the time, you can also use mortar, caulk, and epoxy filler to solve this problem.
One fantastic solution for vinyl skirting is to use weather resistant tape. This is a low cost, quick yet effective fix. Cut a piece out that is larger than the hole. For extra protection, you can use two layers.
Once again, the best solution is sometimes to replace parts of the damaged skirting. You probably need to do this if the damage is more than surface deep or if there is water damage, rot, or insect infestations.
Unfortunately, this can be pricey. It can cost between $300 and $3000 depending on the materials used and the size of the home.
But as this is necessary to protect your home’s vents and plumbing, it is better not to skimp.
#5 Tackling underlying causes
Prevention is always better than cure. You need to try to investigate the potential causes of any problem you found and resolve them.
General issues with skirting are:
- Damage caused by pests: Insects, vermin and other critters might have tried to make a home in your underbelly. Remove any nests you find and research ways to deter them. We recommend that you contact animal or pest control.
- Inadequate ventilation: Bad ventilation can cause moisture build-up and the growth of mold and fungus.
- Insufficient drainage: You need to stop water from flowing underneath your home or install features to drain it away.
- Water leaks: Fix or replace any pipes that might be leaking in the underbelly of your mobile home.
Running a tight ship
Repairing the siding and skirting of a mobile home is a bit of a hassle. But it is worth it, whether you are trying to sell a house or just make it more comfy for yourself.
Remember that keeping your skirting and siding in order isn’t just cosmetic. Yes, it will help you make your house look beautiful. However, it is crucial for the integrity of the structure itself. Plus it can up the value of the home.
Once you are done with all the necessary repairs, it might be time for a makeover too. Take a look at the latest trends in mobile home exteriors.