Mobile home skirting (also called mobile home underpinning) is an aspect of owning a mobile home that can be easily forgotten but is actually quite important. Skirting is a barrier made from hard material that protects the underside of your manufactured home and keeps it safe from all kinds of threats–and your manufactured home almost certainly needs it.
What exactly does skirting do to protect your manufactured home, and what kind of manufactured home skirting options are available for today’s buyer?
What Is Mobile Home Skirting, and What Does It Do?
Many manufactured homes use a pier and beam foundation, which means the homes sit a few feet off the ground. To cover the gap between the home and the ground, homeowners use mobile home skirting. Skirting fulfills important functions such as:
- Helping your home maintain a more consistent temperature and keeping moisture away
- Preventing animals from nesting under your home
- Protecting your home’s foundation and plumbing from weather conditions
- Enhancing the visual appeal of your home by, providing a finished and consistent look for your home
In addition, the federal HUD code requires skirting on any manufactured home.
Types of Mobile Home Skirting
Many types of mobile home skirting are available, but the most common are:
New vinyl skirting
- Vinyl Mobile Home Skirting: The most popular choice, thanks to its cost-effective nature and ease of installation. Vinyl mobile home skirting is a solid choice, but note that it can be vulnerable to moisture and needs to be vented well (see below).
- Brick and Cinderblock Mobile Home Skirting: These are great options for a homeowner who plans to stay put. Brick and cinderblock are pricey and labor-intensive to install, but they provide great insulation and are extremely durable.
- Wood Mobile Home Skirting: Wood skirting looks great on a manufactured home, particularly if paired with wood paneling. But it retains a lot of moisture, meaning that ventilation is especially critical. Varieties with water-resistant features like pressure-treated wood or cedar should be strongly considered.
- Metal Mobile Home Skirting: Metal skirting made from steel, tin or aluminum is a perennially popular option. It’s durable, lightweight and relatively affordable. Like metal siding, its only real disadvantage is that it can be dented easily and that some types are vulnerable to rust.
Each type of skirting has different components. Vinyl skirting, for example, requires top and bottom tracks, a front piece and screws to hold it in place. Buying your skirting from a reputable mobile home parts supplier will help ensure that you get all of the parts you need.
How Much Mobile Home Skirting Does My Home Need?
For a basic calculation of your mobile home’s skirting requirements, the information you need is:
- Total linear footage of your manufactured home. To find this, measure the length of all sides of your home and porch and add them together.
- Average distance of your home from the ground. To find this, go to each corner of your home and measure the distance from the ground to a point two inches above the bottom of the home. Add the numbers up and divide by the number of corners to find the average.
For more details, look at any of the instructions for measuring mobile home skirting available online. Pro tip: Purchase all of your skirting from the same source and at the same time so that you don’t get mixed lots that can result in mismatched colors and bad fits.
How Should I Vent My Mobile Home Skirting?
Venting is an important part of mobile home skirting installation because it prevents moisture from building up behind the skirting. Any new skirting should have vents installed in it, with a recommended ratio of 1 vent per 150 feet of manufactured home flooring. Make sure to place some vents close to the corners of your home to improve air circulation, and use screens on your vents to allow air to pass through without letting animals in.
A ground vapor barrier is another good way to control moisture under your manufactured home. GVBs are plastic barriers placed directly on the ground to prevent moisture from seeping up into the foundations of your home. They can greatly reduce the amount of moisture that needs to be vented out through your skirting.
Should My Mobile Home Skirting Be Insulated?
Some manufactured home experts maintain that skirting should always be insulated, while some say separate insulation isn’t necessary. If you live in a colder climate, it may be worth investigating foam-insulated skirting, which comes pre-made with foam insulation backing. Again, experts disagree on whether it’s cost-effective, but it can be a potential difference-maker for some manufactured homeowners.
Final Mobile Home Skirting Installation Tips
If you’re the do-it-yourself type and are interested in tackling the mobile home skirting installation on your own, here are a few tips to help you with the project:
Make sure you have the necessary equipment.
The following tools will be required to install your own skirting:
- Drill and bit
- Tape measure
- Wood stakes
- Tin snips
- Utility Knife
If you’re a homeowner with some handyman skills, replacing skirting on a single-section home could take you most of the weekend.
On the other hand, it’s worth knowing that an experienced installer can finish the job in about a day. You can typically expect to pay around $45/hour if you would prefer hiring a professional for the project.