concrete being leveled for a mobile home foundation
September 1, 2023

What is a Concrete Runner Foundation?

The foundation of a building is critical, as it ensures stability, strength, and longevity. The concrete runner foundation has gained popularity among the various foundation types available for specific construction and mobile home scenarios. But, what exactly is a concrete runner foundation, and why might it be the right choice for your new mobile home? Let’s pour the facts!

Understanding Foundations

Foundations distribute the weight of a structure evenly to the soil or bedrock beneath, ensuring the building doesn’t settle unevenly or collapse. The right foundation type depends on various factors, including soil type, moisture content, building weight, and local climate.

Defining the Concrete Runner Foundation

A concrete runner foundation, often called a grade beam foundation, consists of reinforced concrete beams that support the walls of a structure. These beams run along the ground’s surface, which explains the name “runner.”

In its basic form, a concrete runner foundation comprises two parallel concrete beams (runners) laid along the length of the building. If you imagine the building as a rectangle, like manufactured typical homes, these runners would typically be situated along the longer sides.

Components and Construction

  • Footings: Before the concrete runners are poured, footings are dug at intervals along the planned runner’s path. These footings are usually square or rectangular holes deeper than the frost line, ensuring stability during freeze-thaw cycles.
  • Reinforcement: Steel rebar is used to reinforce the concrete, giving it added strength and preventing it from cracking under pressure.
  • Pouring: Once the footings are dug, and reinforcements are in place, concrete is poured to form the runners. The depth and width of the runners can vary based on the structure’s size and weight.
  • Wall Support: Once the runners have set and cured, they act as a support base for the structure’s walls. 

Advantages of a Concrete Runner Foundation

  • Cost-Effective: Concrete runners can be more cost-effective due to reduced materials and labor compared to other foundation types, such as full slab foundations.
  • Versatility: Concrete runner foundations can be ideal for various soil types, including soils containing clay sand containing humus. Their design ensures an even distribution of weight, minimizing settlement issues.
  • Flood Resistance: Elevating a building on a concrete runner foundation can be a wise choice for areas prone to flooding, such as San Antonio. This elevation can prevent water making its way into the building or home during minor flood events.
  • Ease of Installation: With fewer complexities involved in the process, installing a concrete runner foundation can be quicker than some other foundation types.

Limitations and Considerations

  • Insulation: Since concrete runner foundations elevate a building slightly, you’ll tend to see a gap between the ground and the structure. This space must be adequately insulated to prevent heat loss.
  • Pest Control: This foundation type sometimes allows pests like rodents to take shelter underneath the structure, so periodic inspections and preventive measures are essential.
  • Not Ideal for Heavy Structures: For exceptionally heavy or multi-story structures, concrete runner foundations might not provide the required support, and a more robust foundation type might be necessary. In most cases, this won’t be a problem for mobile homes.

Concrete Runner Foundations: Final Thoughts

Concrete runner foundations offer a practical solution for many mobile homes and construction scenarios, blending cost-effectiveness with durability. However, like any construction decision, it’s crucial to consult with experts to determine if it fits your specific project needs. Whether you’re building a modest home or moving into a manufactured home, understanding the nuances of your chosen foundation can pave the way for a stable and long-lasting structure.

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