Mobile homes offer less space than most types of homes, which is why you might be interested in adding a basement beneath your home. Is that even possible according to the building code?
Basements are indeed allowed under mobile homes, including permanent basements if you think you’ll stay in your mobile home for a while. Constructing a permanent foundation for your home, while not cheap or easy, will improve your curb appeal and enhance the comforts of your home.
In today’s guide, we’ll examine all the ins and outs of adding a permanent structure like a basement to a mobile home. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll feel more confident than ever in proceeding with your decision!
Can You Add a Permanent Basement to a Mobile Home?
When deciding what you’d like to add to a mobile home, many states require that you follow the HUD Code, which is instituted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The point of the HUD Code is to ensure that any home additions meet the standards for durability, safety, thermal efficiency, wind resistance, and roof load.
Bearing that in mind, you can add a permanent basement below your mobile home and still be within HUD Code guidelines.
Here is a sample HUD Code to get an idea of what those parameters look like.
We recommend looking up the HUD Code in your state and comparing the building guidelines to those in the PDF above.
Always defer to your state’s guidelines to ensure that your permanent basement follows all guidelines.
After all, you would hate to sink thousands of dollars into the project of installing a permanent foundation like a basement, only to realize midway through the work that the basement is outside of the parameters of the HUD Code guidelines.
That would be a lot of time, money, and manpower that would have to be undone!
The Benefits of Having a Basement for Your Mobile Home
If you’re still contemplating whether a permanent basement for your mobile home is the wisest investment, this section will help you decide whether to usher in this project or hold off.
Here are the benefits of a permanent basement.
Mobile homes are built with all the structural stability of traditional homes. Still, a permanent foundation such as a basement would only add further to the structural stability of your lot.
You know that if inclement weather blows through, such as a severe rainstorm, hurricane, strong snow, or even a tornado, you’d have a secure place to retreat.
That peace of mind can go a long way towards making you and your family feel safe living in your mobile home.
As we touched on in the intro, mobile homes are simply not as spacious as traditional homes.
They don’t even offer the same amounts of space as what you’d find in a condo or townhouse. You get space that’s commensurate to some studio apartments.
You’ve since learned to downsize every element of your life to make living in a mobile home work, but you sometimes wish that you had more space in your mobile home.
You’ll finally achieve that wish by getting a permanent basement built under your mobile home.
You can store off-season clothing, sports equipment, tools, holiday decorations, items like beach chairs and snowblowers, and all other items in your basement.
If you don’t own these items because you don’t know where to store them, you could now expand your life and enjoy more creature comforts.
Improved Curb Appeal
Mobile homes are not bereft of curb appeal, despite what some might think.
You keep your mobile home well-manicured and cared for to raise its value, so why not add a permanent basement?
This is a significant stride in your efforts to enjoy a greater curb appeal.
If you decide to put your mobile home on the market, buyers will certainly be interested in your home due to the inclusion of the permanent basement, especially compared to a similarly sized mobile home without a basement!
Feels More Like Home
Mobile homes, by their very nature, can be moved anywhere.
While this is an exciting proposition to some, others want the hominess and coziness of life in the same neighborhood.
Adding a permanent structure to your mobile home, such as a basement, roots you to the spot. Your mobile home will feel a lot more like your true home.
Could Be Used as an Extra Room
If not used for storage, think of all the additional usages you can get out of your mobile home basement.
You could transition the spot into a man cave, a home gym, a recreational area, a garage (something else mobile homes lack), or even additional living space.
Choosing the Right Type of Permanent Foundation for Your Mobile Home
Have you decided to proceed with adding a permanent foundation to your mobile home? Not all permanent foundations are the same, so you must choose the most suitable one.
To help you do that, let’s go over the types of foundations you can select from.
A pier foundation is considered the most cost-effective type of foundation of the three that we’ll look at.
As the name implies, a pier foundation consists of vertical piles or pillars that are installed in a series underneath the structure.
The design and placement of the piles or pillars allow for transference of the building load into the ground below.
Each column will have a series of beams, which means that the foundation would get a lift as well.
You see pier foundations a lot around coastal towns and environments in that vein.
The elevation of a pier foundation protects the property from floods and severe winds without damaging the foundation itself.
That said, time and weathering can cause the pillars to tilt, especially if they aren’t made of the most durable material.
Soil erosion or shifting sands can also cause tilting, making the foundation’s entire structural stability less secure.
The next type of foundation is the one that’s the most viable to you, which is a basement foundation.
With a basement foundation, as we’ve explained throughout this guide, you’ll have a permanent basement built underneath your mobile home. All the advantages as presented in the last section will be apparent.
A basement foundation, which we’ll discuss more in the next section, is not exactly the lowest-cost project.
That’s not to say that erecting any home foundation is going to be cheap, per se. This is an involved job that requires digging deep into the ground, pouring the foundation, and ensuring structural stability.
It can also take time for the basement foundation to be ready, so you’ll have to be patient.
Concrete Slab Foundation
If you want a more basic type of permanent foundation for your mobile home and you want it now, then you can opt for a concrete slab foundation.
As the name implies, concrete slabs are poured and installed underneath your mobile home. The thickness of each concrete slab is approximately four to six inches.
The concrete will be placed atop sand or another material that can both work as a cushion and allow for drainage.
You will have to sacrifice a crawlspace if you opt for a concrete slab foundation, which might also mean giving up a basement.
You might decide to start with one type of permanent mobile home foundation for now and later expand your horizons, adding a second or even a third type of foundation as space, as the HUD Code and your budget allow.
How Much Does It Cost to Add a Permanent Foundation to a Mobile Home?
We’ve made it quite clear throughout this guide that your aspirations of adding a permanent basement under a mobile home would not necessarily come cheap.
However, one of the advantages of living in a mobile home in this case is that you will pay less for your permanent foundation than someone with a full-sized traditional home.
The price to build a permanent foundation underneath a mobile home is anywhere from $4,500 to $12,000.
The cost can be up to $20,000 for traditional homes, so you’re saving at least $8,000.
Keep in mind that prices do vary depending on the contractor you hire.
Some price estimates for a permanent foundation are a lot higher and are valued between $12,000 and $25,000. Yes, those are the prices for a permanent foundation for a mobile home.
You should always request a quote before you shake any hands or sign any contracts.
This way, you don’t get in over your head financially and locked into a bill that you might not be able to afford to pay.
Can You Add a Permanent Basement to a Mobile Home Yourself?
As a mobile homeowner, you don’t get quite as many DIY opportunities as the average homeowner.
That said, adding a permanent basement or any other form of permanent foundation to your mobile home is not the time for DIYing.
This project is far too complex for the homemade touch.
You need to create the area underneath the mobile home that will act as the foundation, pour the materials, and ensure the permanent structure meets HUD Code guidelines for safety and stability.
It’s a huge undertaking for anyone, especially if you don’t have any kind of home construction experience.
Even if you’ve worked with concrete before, it’s probably been on a much smaller scale than what adding a permanent foundation would require.
You’ll recall that pouring a new permanent basement as well as any other type of permanent structure under your mobile home is going to be a time-consuming endeavor as it is.
That’s assuming that you’re working with experienced professionals. If you try to take on this project yourself, you could expand the timeline so long that it could be years before your permanent basement is ready to go.
Plus, if you make any kind of mistake during the installation process–which is likely due to your inexperience–then you could threaten the structural stability of the entire basement. Using the basement could put your life at risk or even the lives of your family.
Although researching and interviewing contractors and requesting quotes can be time-consuming and a little annoying, it’s the right way to go about the process. Do not try to add a finished basement to a mobile home yourself.
The risks far outweigh any potential rewards.
Basements are indeed allowed under mobile homes but must meet the HUD Code guidelines for your state. These guidelines ensure the new basement is safe, habitable, and structurally sound.
Having a basement below your mobile home can be highly advantageous, but keep in mind that the project takes a while to complete and can be expensive as well.
We hope this article gave you enough information to decide whether to add a permanent basement to your mobile home.
If and when you decide to add a basement to your home, the next item to consider is to “finish” it. What is a finished basement, you ask? Click here to read more!