Basements Under Mobile Homes

In our last post we shared the latest update of The Whim,” a gorgeous cedar-shake sided single wide owned by Marie and Richard. It sits beside a lake in Wisconsin and is, by all measures, a perfect example of the unlimited potential that mobile homes have.

The home was situated on a slight slope and has a 9-foot tall basement. Since there isn’t a lot of information about basements under mobile homes I asked Marie to share some of her thoughts on it. The Whim has been such a great inspiration on Mobile Home Living and with Marie’s proven experience in mobile home DIY, she’s a perfect source for us to get information.

Related: Placing a Manufactured Home Over a Full Basement.

Advantages of Having a Basement Under Mobile Homes

There are advantages to having a basement. First, it provides somewhat of a shelter in case of a tornado. Although, if a storm is bad enough, the home will fly off the foundation anyway. That could happen to a conventionally built home as well. Second, it provides added storage. Third,  in this case of a mobile home,  it is much better than skirting!  Repairing those can be constant. Wind and snow can take their toll. I cannot tell you how many mobile homes in our area have busted water pipes from our cold Wisconsin winters! Not a pretty sight…  We don’t have to worry about “extra tenants” under our house, either.

basements under mobile homes-rsz_lake_end_of_basement

Ventilation Issues

The previous owner had the foresight to plan the foundation before having the home brought to the sight. It is more difficult to excavate for and build a basement after the home is set.

However, the previous owner had neglected to plan for adequate ventilation. We are trying to figure out how to accomplish this. Installing some sort of windows or vents in the walls in between the home and the concrete blocks before everything was set would have been much easier. We are considering installing house vents/fans like you would for an attic on a conventionally built house. There may be other options to explore. By not having the proper ventilation, things get musty and mold grows on everything. Anything soft like paper, cardboard or fabric can be destroyed and soak up any moisture at all. Even though we don’t have any leaking or seepage problems, there is still moisture.

Entrance Issues

The other dilemma is the entrance to a basement. Because the home is already designed and built, these types of homes do not allow for stairwells. So, the easiest way is to enter through an old fashioned cellar door! We have considered putting in a spiral staircase either in the living room or the area with the laundry. I don’t like this idea. First, because you can’t have a door that separates the main living floor from the basement (odors and bugs can roam free, yuck). Second, because you will also lose what floor space you already have! Although we could use the laundry area for a conventional stairwell, then those appliances can be moved into the basement. Also, not a good idea because I’ve become accustomed to doing the laundry without going up and down the stairs! That’s a really good concept when in retirement years.

basements under mobile homes-old_fashioned_type_of_cellar_door

The cellar door can be locked, but we don’t do that. Locks can freeze in the winter and get buried by snow. So we lock the door at the base of the stairs leading into the basement. At the opposite end of the basement, an overhead garage door provides added warmth and security to our walkout patio doors. I thought this was a very smart idea.

Added Storage Potential of Basements Under Mobile Homes

The basement holds our sump pump, water softener, and well tank on one end and our recreational things on the other. There are a few shelves built-in next to the stairwell and I set odd things there, like ice fishing tip-ups and pottery (until the shed is cleared out from table saws and other large equipment). We are currently also using the basement area to store tools and some supplies during our redo (the shingles were stored in the garden shed and any wood was stacked next to the Whim). I’ve also got a couple of sawhorses set up so I can stain and finish the new interior doors and a new exterior door.

basements under mobile homes-sump_pump_water_tank_and_water_softener

Future Plans

We’re already thinking of adding a small bathroom (just a sink and toilet) to make it easier and much cleaner than entering the house when having outdoor activities and gatherings. We are also considering dropping the furnace and the water heater into the basement. Doing this will add to the floor space on the main floor and we don’t have to worry about a possible leaking water heater ruining the floors. It will also make the heating/cooling a lot quieter. We recently installed central air to the existing furnace. I would like a stationary tub for heavy duty work outside or for cleaning fish.

It stays pretty cool in the basement and with the patio doors open, it adds another area for entertaining if it rains or just to get out of the sun!

Basements are too often thought to be something that mobile homeowners can’t do. But, it absolutely can be done and the advantages are immense.

Closing Thoughts

There are a lot of great advantages to having a basement under your mobile home. Storage, safety, and convenience are only the beginning.  There’s also a lot to consider if you are going to install a new home over a basement or if you plan on adding a basement to an existing mobile home. Ventilation and moisture control seem to be the most important aspect that is often neglected. Proper construction methods are equally important. There’s no room for any errors in the setting of the home. If you plan on installing a basement be sure to hire contractors that have plenty of experience with mobile homes and understands the way they are built.

Thanks, Marie, for your continuing contributions to MMHL and your endless inspiration. I appreciate you taking the time to share your lovely lake home and for all the great knowledge.

As always, thank you for reading Mobile Home Living!

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Crystal Adkins
Crystal Adkins

Crystal Adkins created Mobile Home Living in 2011 after buying a 1978 single wide and searching online for mobile home remodeling ideas but finding very little. Today, it's the most popular resource in America for mobile home information and inspiration and has been visited over 40 million times.


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  1. That shouldn’t be an issue, the basic concept of mobile home additions is to keep the addition separate from the home, while still allowing a connection that is weatherproof and leak proof. So you should be able to build an addition that includes a basement. You will want to check with your local inspectors to check to see what kind of permits you may need and make sure you meet whatever coding requirements they require. We have a great article about mobile home additions that might be useful as well. Let us know how it goes!

  2. i live in a single wide. Want to add an addition . would it be feasible to ask about putting a basement under the addition ? i would love the extra storage and someplace we can feel safer when there is a tornado warning

  3. I just happened on this site, my wife and I have a 28’ X 56’ manufactured home on a 13 block high finished basement 3 bedrooms main house 2 bedrooms basement 3 full baths total! Our basement entrance is in center of home! For moisture control we have a dehumidifier downstairs, we have lived here since 1999 when the house was new and set on the basement! We are finally getting around to relocating the hot water tank and furnace to the basement after 23 years here! Going to go with a dehumidifying central air/furnace unit for the whole house and basement. Along with commercial grade hot water on demand water heaters. Though it’s only my wife and I left in the home as our children are grown and out on their own. It will be a nice large family dwelling when we are no longer here or in a retirement home later on in life! It has been great having the basement under our home!

  4. You can have an above ground basement or a partially above ground basement. I am looking at adding an above ground basement to my double wide. We live in a sandy area which may preclude below ground construction.

  5. I live the idea of having a basement! We are planning to get a mobile home in the coming months and I would love to have that extra space! But you can’t have a basement in Texas because of the limestone hmm the ground. :(

  6. Hi Kathy,

    A basement is possible with manufactured homes but from my understanding, it’s much easier to do it before the home is installed. I would imagine the home would need to be moved, the basement dug out and constructed and then the home would be rolled back into place. From there the steps and door would be installed. I don’t have anyu contacts in OH (I’m just a homeowner, I’m not affiliated with any businesses at all). You may be able to find a contractor through your mobile home supply store.

    Best of luck!

  7. we are considering have a basement added to our manufactured home. can a basement be added to a 1998 redman 16×80. it is just my husband and i and we basically want it to add storage and for hobby rooms. we live in ohio if you have any info or contacts please let me know

  8. Hi Danita,

    I’m not an expert on installation (I’ve been trying to study for the test but the math kills me!) but I think you would be able to do it fairly easily (assuming the land cooperates). I think since the chassis is installed in a way that allows the weight of the home to ‘transition’ to the footers or foundation you’ll be fine.

    Sorry, I can’t help. You can Google mobile home installer for your area and should be able to get a free consultation or estimate.

  9. What about placing a used 90’s model double wide on a basement? I am wanting a used one / found one but my lot is small 1/2 acre a basement would be perfect so I can have storage/ work area without taking up more of my lot. Can I do this with a used home?

  10. Hi Brianna,

    A foundation would be a project for a professional or at the least someone with a fairly extensive knowledge of construction. If you just want to add skirting that’s a lot easier. Basements and tall foundations are expensive but I can’t really give an accurate estimate because things are a lot less in WV than the rest of the nation (labor mainly). You’d want to get estimates from a few companies to get a good idea.

  11. Im so glad i found this page. I am 22 and would like my starter home to be a mobile home. Just enough space. Im interested about the average cost high foundation would cost. Is it something you could do yourself potentially?

  12. Hi Bob,

    It’s a complex job only because of chassis, plumbing, wiring, etc. You need to find a place for the steps that don’t alter any of the structural elements of the home. Other than that, it’s not too difficult.

  13. Hello – just purchased a double wide setting on a poured wall basement that has nine foot walls. This basement is a walkout but there is no entrance from inside the home to the basement. Is it difficult to have a staircase put in?

  14. Hi Jim,

    That’s one of those questions that an engineer would need to answer. You’d have to reinforce the containers and by the time you did that it may be cheaper to just start from scratch. Could probably work well with the right design, though.

  15. How about using one or more 53′ steel cargo containers underground instead of pouring a concrete basement?

  16. Great to hear from you KellySue!

    I bet you can get that dampness fixed and get the laundry back up stairs fairly easily. There’s some great new products out now that seal basement walls. It is amazing how well it works!

    Perhaps you have a new play room in your future?

  17. Another great post! I recently inherited my childhood home…a 1972 single-wide on a full foundation. I’m in my 40s and had been thinking of filling in the basement, even though I knew the work my dad put into it. After reading about this basement though, I may have to rethink that. The stairs are, and always have been, treacherous and the dampness can be a bit much. I like the idea of having a traditional sort of entryway and bringing the washer and dryer back upstairs.
    I am so glad I found Mobile Home Living. So many great ideas!

  18. Hi, My name is Robert and my wife and I have a double wide manufactured home over a full basement, we love it :) We want to finish it out. How do we attache our wall to the underside? By the way I just discovered your blog this morning..awesome !

  19. Hi Steve!

    I’m not really familiar with the structural techniques used for basements. I understand the concept but that’s about it. I did find this HUD guidebook that may be helpful though. Here’s the link:

    If you go there and click Control+F and then type in Basement it will show that the word is used 16 times throughout the book. On page 29 there are a couple of paragraphs that may help (a little, maybe).

    I bet if you called a local manufactured home dealer and asked them a few questions they would be able to help or at the very least give you contact information of a contractor they work with.

    I’m sure you have a few options with the beams (wood, steal) and the home’s weight will play a huge role but that’s about all I have…

    Thanks so much for reading MHL and sorry I couldn’t be more help!

  20. Crystal Adkins,
    I’m looking at moving my 14×70 to my new lot in SE Wisconsin . We want to put in a basement but my contractor doesn’t know what we will need for the beams. Do you know who they used to build the basement or where I can get more info on the beams and mounting the house I can give him.


  21. Hi Russ!

    Putting a manufactured home over a basement is the coolest thing ever! It’s actually a fairly simple (yet very complicated) process. Now, I’m not sure about the laws in California – especially with ya’ll having earthquakes and all but I suspect you’d just have to meet whatever codes are in place. It’s a great idea for increased living space at an affordable price.

    Here’s a video of a manufactured home being placed over a basement. It’s a really neat process! Please keep me posted if you ya’ll do it – I would love to share the process!

  22. hi seen you add about the basments ,for the mobile homes ,and really like to know more how to find out about them more. my wife and I have some property that we like to put a mobile on and having a basement would really be great. I know they do such things with their mobiles in Arizona,but never saw one in in calif. can you help us out on who we must see and talk to. it sure would be nice to have a double wide with a basement.we thank you for any help you can gige us. R SPERBER

  23. Hi Josey!

    Basements with garage doors are absolutely feasible, all you have to do is make sure it’s properly installed, and the weight of the home is distributed properly on top of the basement structure. I’m not that educated in basement construction but anyone with the required license and experience can help you with the details and there’s even software that can show you exactly what it will look like before you decide on anything.

    I’ve see one manufactured home that had the floor cutout in the kitchen and had steps going down into the basement, it was a hinged ‘door’ that you would never notice until the owners lifted it up. They had a coal stove, and that’s how they heated the home. It was really neat.

    Good luck, sorry I couldn’t be of more help.

  24. I am getting talked into a basement I think (better insulation, having furnace etc. downstairs, …). I hate basements though especially walkouts. However, I just saw your pic with the garage door and was thinking a garage as basement would be super cool!
    Any idea if that is feasible?

  25. Thank you! Admittedly, I’m not a very good writer but I figure with enough photos of pretty homes no one will ever notice the Thanks for commenting!

  26. Whenever I visit your blog I found very useful information and very interesting too. This piece of writing is superb , I think the basement is very good option for storage. If anyone has basement in their house it gives advantage for them to store various things in that.

  27. I hope you find a great one! Maybe you could call some of the manufactured home dealers in the area, they may be able to recommend a company for you. Good luck!

  28. We are looking for a contractor to do this for us. We live in far southwest Wisconsin, Grant Co. Does anyone know anyone that does this in this area?

  29. Hi Shirlee! It's good to hear from you again! Hope all is well!

    I can't wait either. With their style, it's gonna be gorgeous!!

  30. Hi Jeni! Your home is so awesome and just gets better and better :) Hope all is well! Thanks for commenting!

  31. They are fortunate to have the extra space with a basement and nice that it's a walkout. Love the cedar shake exterior and the bank of windows across the front. Hope to see more as the couple tackle the interior.