The Ultimate Guide to Mobile Home Siding

There are several mobile home siding options. You will need to research to find the best option for durability, energy efficiency, water resistance, maintenance and aesthetics. There are several materials to choose like stone, wood, cedar, metal and vinyl to only name a few.

Every mobile homeowner needs to be aware of the importance of their homes siding. It protects the house against the elements and pests. It helps prevent moisture penetration and the growth of biological contaminants such as mold, dust mites and bacteria. Energy efficiency is very important these days with rising energy costs. By upgrading your old siding you can increase your homes life expectancy, reduce energy costs as well as give you a high return on investment; some claim a 92% return while others say it only provides a 68% return. Both are great compared to other home improvement ROI’s averages.

A couple notes of advice. First, if you live in a mobile home that has a flat roof you will have to extend your roof line out to prevent water from getting behind the new siding. There’s a couple of ways to do that. The cheapest complete roofing system, in most cases, is a metal roof.  If you have a regular roof with an eave you can upgrade your siding with ease. Secondly, most manufactured homes have the siding attached directly to the studs with nothing between the vinyl siding and the insulation. If this is the case, you can double of even triple your energy efficiency by boxing the home in and then installing new siding. You may need to account for added weight by blocking the foundation as well. This is the way they are made due to weight restrictions. It doesn’t mean the home is inferior in any wayand the home is absolutely sound, it simply can be improved upon once the home is permanently placed.

If you’re thinking of updating your mobile homes siding you need to first decide what material best suits your budget and needs.  Your local weather and ability to install the siding are important factors to consider. Style and beauty are just as important, though. There’s no sense in installing anything onto your home that you don’t absolutely love!

mobile home siding options

In the last few years it’s became common to have multiple siding materials or colors on homes. The affect is beautiful and eye-pleasing. It can add dimension which makes the home look larger regardless of it’s size. You can do that on your home, as well! Here’s a few choices for you to consider for your manufactured home siding:

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl is always a great choice, and fairly budget friendly depending on what type of siding you chose. There is insulated and non-insulated vinyl siding. Insulated costs more, of course. You’ll have to research to decide which is the best for your home and what kind of return on investment you want (energy savings over several years or resell value). The average recoup value for vinyl siding is 68%-70% on re-sell.

The color combinations are vast and vinyl lasts for a very long time. It’s color retention and fading issues are getting better with new technology, Georgia Pacific vinyl has a 25 year excessive fade warranty and a 50 year product warranty.

Some companies state that their products come in 350 different colors. Most state it can withstand winds of up to 110mph. There are pro’s and cons to vinyl siding as with any product. While it easy to install it isn’t water tight. Water has been known to seep into the cracks and destroy the wood and insulation underneath. To remedy that you could and should install a waterproof membrane under the siding. Also, make sure there are small holes in the siding to drain water (I’ve never seen any vinyl siding that didn’t have those, but just make sure to be safe). Distortions, melting and warping can occur, especially in high heat. There’s not much to do for that, maybe adding awnings and reduce reflective rays from pools and windows may help. Weight is always an issue for manufactured homes and vinyl siding weighs about 60 to 70 pounds per 100 feet which is fine for moving the home, if needed.

vinyl mobile home siding

Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement has some great benefits. It comes in various sized boards and thickness and is available in numerous styles. It can even mimic the look of just about any other siding on the market like vinyl and cedar shake. It’s rot and insect resistant and can even withstand ocean side conditions. Usually it has a 50 year warranty with the ‘baked on’ finish warranty having a 10-15 year warranty against fade and color reduction. One of the major cons for manufactured homeowners is the weight. Fiber cement board weighs close to 300 pounds per 100 square feet so that may be an issue if you ever need to move the home.

The two most common types of fiber cement siding are Hardiplank, made by James Hardie Corporation and Weatherboards, made by CertainTeed Corporation. Although higher in cost than vinyl, fiber cement is still an economical alternative to wood siding. It is made from silica, cement, wood fiber, water, and other ingredients giving it outstanding durability. Since it is close to 90% silica (sand) it is fire resistant and can withstand very, very high heat.

Installation is more expensive than vinyl, and you will have to paint it eventually (remember, the finish is usually only warranted for 10-15 years). You could go with horizontal or vertical installation or you could go with both to add some extra visual appeal.

fiber cement mobile home siding

Wood/Cedar Siding

Wood or natural cedar is a good choice for manufactured home siding, whether for the entire home or just as an accent. Cedar offers a timeless compliment to any architectural style from traditional to contemporary. Eastern and Western Red Cedar is used for siding, but there’s also Yellow cedar which is used for poles and posts mostly. Cedar siding is available in shake (small wedge planks), log cabin cut, lap, bevel, tongue and groove, and regular board and batten as well as a few specialty shapes. Wood siding is the same, minus the plank. Cedar is known for its natural insect repulsion as well as its decay and moisture resistance.

There’s a choice of kiln or oven dried, or air dried. Oven dried costs more because it removes the most moisture which in turn allows for less shrinking and shifting. You can also chose factory finished or non finished. Non-finished wood has to be protected or painted every 10-15 years. Most wouldn’t dare paint cedar, though, it’s naturally beautiful! Oil based water sealant is the preferred method of protection. Wood should be painted regularly.

Installation depends on the type of cut. Cedar planks are very labor intensive whereas plain wooden bevels aren’t as difficult. You cannot use common nails or screws. Only galvanized, stainless steel or aluminum can be used to keep rust stains from appearing on the wood. The weight of kiln dried cedar is a bit lower than fiber siding at an average of 292 pounds per 100 feet. This could cause an issue if the home needs to be relocated. Vapor barriers are necessary so factor that into your cost, too. The cellular structure of cedar is great for heat retention and cold resistance.  We’ve recently featured a single wide with cedar plank siding and it is gorgeous, you won’t want to miss it!

 

cedar and wood mobile home siding options

Stone Siding

Stone siding is a great option for mobile home siding. There’s no doubt that it’s beautiful, but it’s benefits are numerous as well.  Stone adds dimension and gives a home the look of permanency, even if it isn’t. It resists rot, insect, fire and water. It’s basically a perfect option for siding on a home. Some designers suggest that you use stone only as an accent and not for the entire home but that shouldn’t keep you from doing exactly what you want to do. It’s your home after all!  Addingstone to the foundation and accenting entryways and windows are great ways to use stone. Regardless of how you use it, there’s 5 basic types of stone siding:

  • Real Stone

Real stone are simply rocks made from mother nature herself. Little is done other than harvesting. Energy efficiency is superbbut installation is very labor intensive and to be honest, this is not a good option for manufactured homes unless the structure has been reinforced. It’s simply to heavy. It could be ok for skirting or accentsbut you would certainly need to research more and get the lightest possible stone available. Note: manufactured homes are not inferior. They simply are not made for that much weight. It’s best to go through a quarry to buy it and cut out the middle man, if possible. Weight is a huge issue so there will be no moving the manufactured home if you do side it withstone. No warranty is needed.

  • Real Stone Veneer Panel

Real Stone veneers are real stones, cut down to about 1 inch thickness and placed together on a panel of wire or board. Weight is less of an issue with veneers. Installation is just like placing regular rock but a lot easier since you’re dealing with panels that are thinner. Real stone adds great insulation value and well, doesn’t need a manufactures warranty, it’s stone!

  • Real Stone Cladding

Cladding is usually a granite or marble slab cut into 1′ (or less) thick slabs in various sizes (up to 8 feet). Usually they are smooth (if granite or marble) but can also come in other stone types. If it does have a texture to it then it’s installed in a brick pattern. If it is a granite or marble cladding then they usually keep the seams perfectly square and very tight, giving the appearance of a seamless wall. Energy efficiency depends on the type and installation can be difficult.

  • Manufactured Stone Veneers

Manufactured stone or cultured stone veneers are sometimes called architectural stone, too. They are made out of Portland cement. oxide coloring and formed within a mold in a factory. Since they are mass produced they cost less than real stone and come in various shapes, sizes, corner pieces and trim pieces.  Installation is easy due to the decreased weight and panel system used. They come in various shapes and sizes as well as trim and corner pieces. Manufactured stone has a great energy efficiency factor. They do have warranties that can be as high as 50 years.

  • Faux Stone Panels

Faux stone is made with polyurethane or a polymer and combined with chemicals like fire retardants and UV inhibitors. Higher cost faux panels even use real stone that has been smashed into very small pieces to give the appearance a more natural look. It’s very light at about 100 pounds per 100 feet. Energy efficiency is not as good as real stone but still decent compared to other siding options. They should have at least a 25 year warranty.

using rock for mobile home siding

Aluminum Siding

Aluminum siding has been used for decades on mobile and manufactured homes. It’s light weight and practically indestructible. It can’t meltbut it can dent. You can easily paint it as well. The energy efficiency and installation is comparable to vinyl siding. If this is what your home already has and you’re wanting to update it, painting it may be an option for you. We spray painted our single wides sidingand it cost $70.00 for the whole home. It gave it a completely new look and will do just fine until we can afford the new roof and siding together.

Updating a Mobile Homes Siding

New siding is the best way to give a mobile home a complete facelift. New siding can improve the insulation abilities of a home and increase the value significantly. The site Mobile Home Exteriors has some great before and after photos of mobile homes with new siding installed:

mobile home siding options before and after

mobile home siding options before and after install
There really are an unlimited amount of options and combinations for mobile home siding, but this article should get you started. Do your homework and always get prices from several places. One place can be very cheap online but you most likely have to factor in shipping. Buying local is always a good way to go, too.

If you are having the product installed it is best to get a minimum of 3 estimates and make sure everything you expect is written out. Always have a written agreement, not just a verbal one. Don’t be scared to call past customers to check references. A true professional will welcome and encourage that you do. With a little know-how, though, you can install new siding yourself. Just research well and make sure you have the proper tools and a good helper. If you can use a screwdriver and a handsaw, you can install siding with no problem. Good luck!

Thanks for reading Mobile and Manufactured Home Living!

13 Responses

  1. Johnn Parker

    I agree that vinyl siding last long and budget friendly. Different designs of vinyl are coming in the market for vinyl siding designing. If anyone like the look of wooden siding then i suggest to use cedar siding…
    installing vinyl siding

    Reply
  2. CrystalMHL

    Thank you very much Mr. Parker for your comment and your link! I appreciate it very much. Mobile Homes can be updated so easily with new siding and it can change the whole look. The only downfall is cost but it's an investment well worth it.

    Reply
  3. amy tisdale

    do you have any pictures of kids room remodels in mobile homes..it would be perfect if i could find some pics of those as well as ones with storage solutions…i have a 3 bedroom single wide and i was looking for a way to make the two rooms roomier for my boys but in a cute way…thanks

    Reply
  4. CrystalMHL

    Hi Marie! I would love to see (and share) your home! It sounds like you have gotten a real gem and are living in exactly the type of home I dream of. If you ever want to have your home featured on MMHL please contact me. My email is crystaladkins@mobilehomeliving.org. Thanks so much for commenting!

    Reply
  5. Susan smith

    Could I have some info about the mobile home sidings? We are particularly interested in the logs to make it resemble a log cabin! Thanks

    Reply
    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Susan!

      A home with the log cabin look is gorgeous! There’s several options for you – you can use real wood, vinyl, and even cement shaped in the log wood – they have flat backs with the log curve on the front, adding special corner pieces adds the extra touch to resemble a true log cabin. That’s probably the cheapest option and it looks great. There’s lots of dealers online and you can also order from your local home improvement store.

      Here’s the Google search for log siding – there’s lots of online dealers but shipping would probably be expensive: Log Siding

      Another option is your local sawmill (if real wood is preferred), that would probably cut down on costs a bit because there’s no shipping. You could also contact your local contractor and ask them about their log siding resource – they’ve probably tracked down the cheapest place for your area.

      Log siding is beautiful – I hope you find exactly what you are looking for!

      Reply
  6. Michael Hayworth

    I’m not sure where you come up with the idea that fiber-cement siding is more expensive than vinyl. My home improvement company does dozens of siding jobs per year, and we install Hardie and LP Smartside for much less than the cost homeowners have been quoted for vinyl. We don’t work a lot on mobile homes, but the Hardie or Smartside Panels would seem to be a better choice than lap siding, due to lower weight and fewer seams.

    Reply
    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Michael!

      Most premium construction products have a tendency to fluctuate wildly depending on the time of year here in my neck of the woods but vinyl usually always runs only a few cents per foot. I’ve heard that vinyl is pretty expensive in some parts of the country though, I guess it all depends on where you’re at and how much you buy – my husbands company does buy vinyl and metal roofing in bulk but we can’t do that with lumber and cement products cause we simply don’t have enough dry storage so we end up paying more than we should have to.

      I’ll try to look it up through our supplier when I get a chance and see what we’re paying for them. Thanks!

      Reply
  7. Robert

    Hi,it not that simple n replacing siding on a older single wide.most have no or little overhang.to do vinyl right requires 7/16 osb,housewrap,and the vinyl siding.if u have no overhang,this pushes your exterior out,thus water runnin behind your siding .you must add overhang before adding vinyl with no overhang.

    Reply
  8. Norm

    Eastern Hemlock, might be the most under used really cool siding. Look at the barns that have stood for 100+ years, that’s likely hemlock as the siding. Hemlock will perform very well, except it cannot touch the ground. Keeping the hemlock a foot off the ground should be no problem for mobile homes. You can get it at the Local Amish sawmills.

    Reply
    • Crystal Adkins

      Thank you so much for the info Norm! I’m not very informed of the different types of wood so that’s great information to have. Appreciate you taking the time to let us know and if you have any more tips or tricks please share them! Thank you!!

      Reply
  9. Adin

    Hi Crystal, thank you so much for this article. Early this year we bought a 3-bedroom 1985 Schultz Mobile Home and we are searching for ideas on the siding. And I find your article helpful. We are considering the log cabin look as well, but we would be using a faux log, I think. And like you said, we would love to shop locally or within the state to hopefully cut the shipping cost. I even told my husband about using maybe some corrugated metal roof as siding, but I am not sure how that would go. We are definitely going to do some research before we decide on what to use for the siding. The Hardie Plank sounds good to though. Thanks again!

    Reply

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