What are the Options and What Should I Choose?
Installing skirting on your mobile home is probably one of the most satisfying steps of the buying process. Skirting really makes a mobile home’s appearance complete. But not only is it crucial for great curb appeal, skirting is also essential as a barrier between the outside world and the inner-workings of your home.
Mobile homes, once set-up, tend to sit between 2’ and 4’ off the ground depending on the set height required for the home site. Without skirting, all that exists beneath the mobile home is vulnerable to both the weather elements and varmints.
What’s underneath a mobile home? Oh, I’m glad you asked.
Aside from the pier and beam foundation, your plumbing and the 100 degree Texas summer required AC ducts are routed beneath the home where they can be easily accessed for future maintenance. Surely you agree that these are not components of your home you want to leave unprotected.
Okay, but what’s it going to cost me? Yeah, I knew you would ask that, too.
As with anything, the cost of skirting will range with the size of your home, height of the set-up, and material you choose. $500 is a good starting point with a standard single-wide if installing a standard vinyl with other options ranging well into the thousands.
Skirting requirements also vary with the type of loan used to finance your home, such as FHA or VA, the community where your home will be installed, and general zoning laws in your county.
With skirting, the possibilities seem almost endless, but we’ll go through some of the most common.
Vinyl skirting is probably the most iconic and easily recognized of any skirting option. The reason for this is because it’s the least expensive and easiest to install yourself. Many people choose the vinyl option because they want to cut costs either out of necessity or frugality.
Because of its cost effectiveness, however, vinyl skirting is not necessarily the most efficient option when it comes to durability and lifespan. Vinyl skirting is easily punctured by weed-eaters, becomes brittle in harsh sunlight, and isn’t much of a match for an animal determined to find shelter out of the heat.
Our recommendation would be for a homeowner to weigh the cost and benefits of saving on their skirting up front and the cost of maintenance and repairs in the future.
If you have chosen vinyl skirting or are planning to, remember to have it installed properly and routinely inspect the perimeter making any necessary repairs to keep it functioning in its role as a protective barrier.
Hardboard skirting is probably the second most utilized option for mobile home owners. The material costs more up front, but has a much longer lifespan and less general maintenance requirements than vinyl skirting.
In general, hardboard is seen as a more aesthetically pleasing material once installed as it can be painted to match the paint color of the home. It is a lightweight concrete material so, like vinyl, water and termite damage are a non-issue. However, unlike vinyl, it offers more insulation and sturdier protection against outside elements and pesky vermin.
Faux and Natural Rock Skirting
There are two ways to achieve the growing trend of rock skirting. One is to have a structural layer installed with thinly sliced rock mortared on. The other is a pre-fabricated vinyl material textured and colored to appear like stone. This vinyl is thicker and sturdier than the vinyl mentioned previously.
With this option, the benefits seem to be the same structurally, but really take your home to the next level cosmetically. Unfortunately, however, this means they require more investment. And depending upon your manufactured home community or HOA, might be actually be a requirement.
Be sure to take this cost into consideration when searching for where to place your home because materials and labor on rock skirting will easily be in the thousands.
Pre-fabricated materials produced specifically for the purpose of skirting a mobile home are not the only options to achieve your desired finish. Many creative DIY’ers out there have utilized non-traditional materials to protect and insulate their home. Whether they had extra material on hand, access to it at a discounted rate, or just didn’t want to play by the rules, it seems skirting options have become nearly limitless with options like tin metal, barnwood, bricks, cinderblocks, and even stucco.
However, as a reminder, lender, HOA, and zoning requirements will always need to be taken into consideration before getting too creative. Proper ventilation will also need be factored in to allow the home to “breathe” in humid conditions.
Skirting can be just another stressful decision or a creative opportunity. Consider your options and don’t let the excitement of your newly installed home cloud your thinking. Skirting is an important part of your comfort as well as your home’s longevity.