Site Prep for Your Mobile Home: Base Pad Edition
Base Pads, Foundations, and Why You Need ‘Em
A while back we shared a blog with an overview of site preparation and why it is such an important consideration when purchasing a mobile home.
I briefly mentioned base pads and some of the cost associated with them, but today, let’s look at the different base pad or foundation options you have when installing a mobile home.
No Base Pad?
Base pads go a long way in keeping your home level, water properly drained away, and your structure secure. The top consideration in building your base pad is water drainage. Water will disrupt the ground under your home and cause shifting, making the home unlevel and causing interior cosmetic defects such as cracks.
Not having a base pad is pretty much like not having the most “foundational” home insurance. The best way to solve a problem is to prevent it in the first place.
The nice thing about base pads is they usually aren’t all that expensive (more on that below) and the cost can be rolled into your home loan or financed separately with a small personal loan if you’re paying cash and aren’t able to quite cover everything.
Caliche Base Pad
The most common and bank accepted type of foundation is referred to as caliche, aka: gravel.
To install this base pad there are few things that must be determined before you dump the gravel and get rolling.
First, the height must be determined for the pad. Height can vary based on local building code, property variants, and preference of the home owner. However, a good rule of thumb is about 4 to 6 inches above natural grade.
Next, the length and width will need to be determined which will be entirely based on the mobile home you are installing there.
A good base pad will be one foot wider and longer on every side than that of the home.
A little too large is always better than not large enough, so for a 14×76 home, a 16×80 base pad would be ideal.
For this basic caliche pad the cost can vary from $2,000-$4,500, a price dependent on the size of the pad, required height, and distance from the contractor and materials.
Permanent Concrete Foundation
The “next level” for base pads is a permanent concrete foundation. With this installation method, concrete runners are poured to create permanent anchor points and piers for your mobile home.
If you are procuring a loan through the VA or FHA government programs, this foundation is one of the requirements. The cost is rolled into the loan, along with other required improvement costs, and can range from $6,500 to $10,000.
Other situations that may require the installation of a permanent concrete foundation are where city code or flood plains make them necessary.
For flood plains, an engineer will inspect and declare which type of pad will be sufficient for a mobile home.
City code varies by each city and can be quickly verified by calling the building and permit office to find all the necessary components based on your property.
Lastly, there are some situations where you might want to opt for this type of permanent foundation for the style of home you have purchased.
Homes with tape and textured walls are especially nice to have on concrete as they go a long way to help prevent stress cracks around doors and windows as the foundation shifts and settles over time.
In some instances, you will need to contract with an engineer to design and inspect various parts of the construction of your new singlewide or doublewide home. This is a requirement for loans through one of the available government agencies (FHA/VA).
It is also strongly recommended when dealing with things like high-sets (in floodplains), drop-sets and anything else that may be out of the norm for both your mobile home retailer and installer.
And finally, if you aren’t sure what base pad is right for you or have any more questions on buying or installing a mobile home, give us a call and we’ll be more than willing to get you all the information you need.
Until next time, folks!