Choosing and Installing Skirting on Your Mobile Home
Mobile home skirting is a fun and exciting step in the process of installing your new home.
After the home has been delivered, set, and trimmed out (if it’s a doublewide), then all the utilities and air conditioning can be connected to the home. After these connections have been completed, it is time to start work on closing up the underside of the home with your choice of skirting.
The Purpose of Skirting
During the setup process of a mobile home, the steel frame is blocked and leveled about 2-4 feet from the ground. This leaves a gap from the bottom of the home to the foundation, making the underside of the home vulnerable to both weather and varmints.
A manufactured home’s plumbing and duct work is typically all on the underside of the home to allow easy access for maintenance work. While it is fully insulated, skirting is a highly recommended barrier of protection for regulating the temperature under and inside the home and for ensuring pests—from wild animals to the neighbor’s dog—don’t decide to wreak havoc on your utilities.
In addition to the practical functions, mobile home skirting is also important for curb appeal and making a new mobile home look finished. And for some neighborhoods, loan packages, and county requirements, skirting isn’t optional. But even if skirting is optional in your area, it is still an essential part of your mobile home installation!
The most common and cost-effective skirting option is vinyl skirting. For a mid-size single wide mobile home, the material cost starts at around $500.
Vinyl is a popular skirting option not only for its cost, but it’s easy installation. There are plenty of online article and videos that offer instruction on installing vinyl skirting if you can’t or prefer not to hire an installer to do it for you.
Just remember to measure the distance from your home to the ground and account for height variations to ensure you purchase the correct length of material.
While cost is an important factor, there are downsides to choosing the vinyl skirting option. Vinyl skirting becomes brittle throughout changing seasons, can be damaged fairly easily by animals and lawn care equipment.
So, while the upfront investment might be less, the long-term care and repair needs might overshadow the initial money saved.
Hardi-Panel or Hardboard Skirting
The next most popular and well-known skirting option is called hardboard or hardi-panel. This is a concrete composite material that is nearly indestructible by weather and insect damage and holds up much better against larger animals and potential damage from a weed eater.
Of course, longer durability, and some would argue, better curb appeal, comes with a higher price tag. And while hardboard skirting can potentially be installed as a DIY project, a professional installer knows the tips and tricks to avoid expensive and time intensive mistakes.
Hardboard skirting with labor can range in cost from $2,500-$4,000 depending on the size and set height of your home. The good news is, many lenders will finance the cost of skirting into your total home loan depending on the cost of other potential site work needed on your property.
Galvanized Metal Skirting
Though not as common today, metal skirting used to be a very popular material for mobile home skirting. As with fashion, this trend seems to be making its way back to the mainstream and some ambitious homeowners are taking advantage of this durable and cost efficient material.
Galvanized metal skirting, when done properly, can add a rustic, shabby chic vibe to the exterior of a mobile home, though homeowners should be prepared for the metal to age over time with weather exposure.
Another important note when choosing this skirting option is to ensure vents are installed to allow for airflow throughout the underside of the home which prevents moisture build up.
Another mobile home skirting option available is that of rock skirting. This look can be achieved in two ways. The first, is to mortar on real rock or brick material that has been cut into 1”-2” thick pieces. The other is to purchase the vinyl, prefabricated faux rock panels.
Neither option can be considered cost efficient, but both are very durable and can really add value and style to your mobile home.
The labor and material costs very widely and this would be a job better left to the pros to protect your upfront investment in materials.
Skirting Options are ALMOST Endless
Whether you choose to go for a material created specifically as mobile home skirting or decide to think out of the box, always check the rules and regulations in your HOA, neighborhood, city, county, or manufactured home community.
A good, durable skirting adds aesthetic appeal, protection, and value to your mobile home. And remember, while it’s nice to save money, mobile home skirting is crucial for the lifespan and comfort in your home.