Building mobile home additions is a popular home improvement project. In fact, additions are the first choice for remodeling and improvement projects for homeowners. Adding an addition to your mobile or manufactured home is often a necessity for growing families. It’s usually much cheaper to build a room instead of buying a bigger home. However, simple additions like screened in patios are also classified as an addition, these are especially popular in the Sun Belt states.
It’s much more affordable to ‘grow as you go’ than it is to buy a whole new home. In this article, we take a look at additions. We cover the basics of building a mobile home addition, the advantages and disadvantages of adding on to your home, share several examples of homeowners that have built additions onto their mobile or manufactured homes.
The Basics of Building a Mobile Home Addition
There are a few ‘basics’ for building a mobile home addition.
Additions Cannot be Attached to a Mobile or Manufactured Home
First and foremost, additions should never be attached to a manufactured home at all. The addition must be a completely separate unit that is simply butted up to the home and ‘sealed.’ You want the addition and the home to shift independently and only have a minimal connection that doesn’t impede the separate movement.
A mobile home addition must move freely from the home.
You need your manufactured home addition to be a completely separate structure from your home. The only ‘attachment’ between the home and the addition will be sealed around the door, siding, floor, and roof.
You aren’t technically attaching the addition, you are simply sealing around it to prevent leaks.
Footings for Mobile Home Additions
An addition needs a completely separate foundation from the home. Like any structure, the footers must go below the frost line.
There are poured footers, cinder blocks, slabs, and piles. Footings for a mobile home addition should be determined by the depth of the frost line of your area, even if your home does not have the frost line footers so that shifting is minimal.
Here’s a map showing the frost line depths for the US:
Footers are installed below the frost line so that the addition doesn’t sink or shift.
Financing and Insurance Issues for Mobile Home Additions
Additions to manufactured homes are not often seen as an ‘improvement’ – meaning it probably won’t increase the value of the home in most cases. It won’t change the classification of a manufactured home from personal property to real estate unless the home is permanently installed.
A big disadvantage of building an addition on your mobile or manufactured home involves financing and insurance. It may be harder to obtain both if your home has been modified in any way. If you didn’t get the proper inspections and permits you may run into serious issues if you try to sell the home later down the road.
Permits and Inspections
Some state mandates override local and county regulations when it comes to manufactured homes. Research properly for your location before you begin planning a mobile home addition. With some locations, you could run into so much red tape that the project ends before it even begins.
With all that said, mobile home additions are perfect projects for those of us that know what we are getting into and believe the advantages far out weight the disadvantages.
If your home is paid for, and you don’t plan on refinancing or trying to obtain a home equity loan, they can be turned into a true dream home with additions and modifications – just know what you are getting into before you start.
Addition on 1985 Liberty Single Wide
Sarah and Justin Wartick built an addition onto their 1985 Liberty single wide. You can see how they created the footers right up against the home and then framed the floor of it out (they were test framing the top in the first image). The second image shows the walls and roof have been framed and the floor joists being laid.
These next two images are the interior of the addition. The image on the right showing the door with the two steps is where the mobile home and the addition are attached. Technically, this is the only place the two structures meet other than where the roof and the siding are ‘sealed’ together.
HUD Guide on Manufactured Home Foundations and Support Structures
There are some great online resources about mobile home foundations. This guide about manufactured home foundations and supports is invaluable.
For information about general construction footers, Front Porch Ideas and More (.com), has some nice illustrations that show the poured concrete and pier footings.
There are new products hitting the market to aid in DIY footings such as these square foot concrete forms.
Framing an Addition
You want the mobile home addition to having framing that is equal to or better than the framing your home has. You’ll need to follow your local code.
Below shows a mobile home addition being framed out by SM Construction.
A great blog called Dovetail Blog shares their mobile home addition process in detail. It’s a small addition but the end results are beautiful:
As you can see, they used poured concrete footings and extended the roofline down to the addition, keeping the pitch. The addition looks to be used as an entryway that houses the stove and is a few inches lower than the home, except for a platform that the stove sits on. Here’s the interior of the home:
Opening Between the Home and the Addition
You’ll have to determine the size of your opening from the home to the addition. Doorways are easier to close up should the home ever need to be moved or the addition removed.
If you do opt for a wider opening between the home and the addition you will need to consider support issues for the opening. Wider openings, where studs would need to be removed, will likely require support beams. That’s not the smartest move for mobile home perimeter walls because those are your load-bearing walls.
Sealing Around the Mobile Home and the Addition
As stated previously, basic mobile home additions are not completely attached to the home. They are simply butted up to the home and then sealed all around to prevent leaks.
There are a variety of ways to seal the connection between the home and the addition. To seal the gaps between the home and the addition you can use weatherstripping, flashing, backer rod, caulking, and lumber. Backer rod is just a fancy name for round foaming that can be used as a membrane between the 2 structures.
There is a popular way to attach the siding of the home to the addition. Attach a 1×6 board to the home vertically so the addition will butt up against the middle of that board. You’ll attach another board with a lip to the side of the addition. Then, add weatherstripping and screw the lip of the addition to the board on the house – this brings the addition toward the home and helps seal it without overly damaging the home.
Flashing and vinyl siding will cover it all up.
Sealing the Addition Roof to the Mobile Home Roof
To connect the addition’s roof to the home if the addition is lower than the roof on your home, you will need to use flashing to seal the gap between the home and the addition.
For a metal roof, you would tuck a single length of 18″ flashing, that has been bent to the needed angle, place the flashing under the homes roof edge and over the addition roof. Attach to both with screws. Using 2″ neoprene flashing tape is always a good idea, and always seal the screws with weatherproof caulking (neoprene based). One note about the flashing, you want as long a piece as possible, but you don’t want it too long. If the flashing is too long it can cause cracks.
If the 2 roofs are at the same height, you just use flashing. Screw and seal.
There’s a rubber roofing that would work well. There is also a rubber membrane that’s 24″ wide that professionals recommend for this situation.
If the addition’s roof is higher than the roof on your home, you add the flashing under the lip of the roof of the addition and over the roof of the home (the opposite of above). This creates what roofing professionals call valleys and are problematic areas on any home. Special care should be made to keep water from sitting in the valley that is created.
Below is a graphic I found on Mobile Home Repair that shows a concept for sealing a mobile home addition. The top drawing shows a cap built on the home (labeled Alum Cap) and a piece of wide weatherstripping folded over to make a bulb shape and screwed into a board on the top edge of the addition.
The bottom drawing in the image above is showing the home and addition from the top, looking down. A flexible vinyl with fiberglass insulation is used to seal the sides of the addition to the home. It allows the needed movement required if your home is not set on a permanent foundation that is set below the frost line – the best method to prevent shifting of a manufactured home.
This concept is smart but there’s no way to seal the corners of the addition. I think some good ole American ingenuity could be used and as long as the material you use to seal is fire retardant and safe, you could come up with a way to do it. Think about chinking a log cabin and you should be able to figure out a way that works and passes inspections.
Examples of Mobile Home Additions
Look at the home below, without judging its appearance (because it could look just fine with some new siding). You are seeing a mobile home addition that did pass inspection and can be found on The Inspector Blues blog.
It is independently supported, has wired smoke detectors, an exit, sits on a 18″ grade, and is built with pressure treated wood. It may not be great looking but it had what it needed to pass its inspections and current codes are not lax at all.
Here’s a park model manufactured home getting an addition built onto it. Notice how they’ve done the roof:
Another park model manufactured home addition and carport built by HorseFly Construction:
The next photo shows a huge addition built onto a double wide manufactured home by Addon Rooms:
We’ve featured a few homes with additions:
- Gorgeous Single Wide Mobile Home with Unique Addition
- Like A-Frames? You Have to See this Unique Mobile Home Addition!
- Debt-Free And Dreamy 1985 Liberty Single Wide Mobile Home Remodel
- Building A Two-Story Addition Onto A Manufactured Home
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.
Inspectors and building consultants are available at your local and state agencies, use them to your advantage. You want a safe, long-lasting addition that will make your home work better for you and your family.
If you have any questions, please comment below and I’ll try my best to find you an answer. As always, thank you for reading Mobile Home Living!