Homeowner’s Complete Mobile Home Siding Guide
Installing new mobile home siding instantly updates the look of your home, increases its value, and can increase your home’s energy efficiency. It’s a smart improvement project for older and newer manufactured homes.
There are several mobile home siding options to choose from such as stone, wood, cedar, metal, and vinyl. Your choices are endless!
This guide will help you determine the best siding option for your home by covering the most popular mobile home siding materials, looking at the pros and cons, and comparing their prices. We will also provide installation help and advice on hiring the best siding installers.
Benefits of New Mobile Home Siding
The main benefits of installing new siding to your manufactured home are increased energy efficiency, better curb-appeal, and protection against the elements.
New siding can give you a high return on investment. Siding replacement has landed in the top 10 investments for homeowners for several years in a row.
New siding is a high return on investment improvement meaning the money you spend on it can be recouped two ways: lower energy bills and resell value.
1. New Mobile Home Siding Helps Reduce Heating and Cooling Costs
The most important benefit of new home siding is increased energy efficiency. By upgrading your old siding you can reduce energy costs. Of course, some siding materials have better insulating qualities than others and we’ll cover each in-depth.
Siding adds to the R-value of a home, meaning it helps hold the interior at a constant temperature for a longer time. This keeps your heating and cooling units from working overtime. By boxing the home in with additional insulation or foam board and then installing new siding you can substantially increase your home’s energy efficiency. You will need to account for added weight if you do this but it’s a great choice for mobile homes that are permanently installed and won’t be moved again (as is the case with 90% of manufactured homes).
Additional blocking of the foundation may be needed to account for the added weight if you go with fiber cement siding, brick, or real wood but it’s a smart choice and can save you lots of money on heating and cooling costs.
2. New Siding Creates a Barrier from Noise, Wind, and Animals
Another benefit of new siding is protection from noise. Noisy neighbors can be bothersome but new siding, when coupled with new insulation and windows, can drastically reduce noise levels in your home. This is an especially important benefit for homes in parks with close neighbors.
Better mobile home siding also provides pest control of sorts. An additional barrier from critters such as snakes, opossums, mice, and other small pests is never a bad thing!
Cracks and holes will be repaired during the installation process and the added layer of material will make your home a harder target to penetrate. Better siding may also help prevent moisture growth of mold, dust mites, and bacteria when installing with proper ventilation.
3. Increased Curb Appeal
Last but not least is the increased curb appeal that new siding gives a home. There’s no other home improvement project that will so drastically change the look of a home. You can make your home look completely different with new siding and shed years of age off in one project.
House Wraps, Vapor Barriers, Exterior Sheathing, and Backer Board
If you are replacing your mobile home’s siding it is highly recommended to take the opportunity to replace or install the vapor barrier, sheathing, backer board, and insulation.
Siding isn’t weatherproof so it needs a second line of defense to keep water from damaging your home.
When replacing a mobile home’s siding homeowners probably want to add or replace house wrap, vapor barrier, exterior sheathing, or backer board. That’s an added cost depending on your design and location. These products, when installed correctly, can increase your home’s lifespan and comfort for just a bit more money and hassle. Plus, the added costs of these replacements can be easily recouped with lower energy bills and a healthier, more studier home.
The added costs of these replacements can be easily recouped with lower energy bills and a healthier, more studier home.
Insulation is Important when Replacing Mobile Home Siding
It’s much easier to install insulation while the siding is off. The two most popular insulation choices are the fiberglass rolls or spraying foam between your studs like the two images below.
Most Popular Mobile Home Siding Choices
Deciding which siding material best suits your aesthetic, budget, and overall needs will be a hard decision because there are so many materials and colors.
Luckily, siding isn’t overly susceptible to trends or fads – what was popular 20 years ago is still popular today. A good rule of thumb is to pick a neutral siding color that can work with a variety of trims or secondary colors to give it a new look should you need a change.
We’ve gathered information on all the most popular mobile home siding materials along with important information about each: the pros and cons, price, installation tips, and weight.
Vinyl is installed on over 30% of all new homes making it the most popular siding choice for both mobile homes and site-built homes. It’s a favorite siding choice because it’s longlasting, affordable, and looks great. It’s also easy to install compared to the other siding choices, even the handy do-it-yourselfer can do it.
Many manufactured homes have recycled vinyl siding which is cheaper and thinner so it warps and fades. That’s why many homeowners need to replace their siding within a few years. If the home would’ve been sided with virgin vinyl it could have lasted twice as long.
If you have a choice, it’s a good idea to pay a bit more for the thicker virgin vinyl whether you’re ordering a new home or just replacing siding on your old mobile home.
Pros and Cons of Vinyl Siding
There are pros and cons to vinyl siding as with any product. Vinyl has more pros than cons but the cons are fairly serious. A great advantage of vinyl siding how easy it is to clean.
5 Top Advantages of Vinyl Siding
- Resists dents, hail damage, scratches and fading better (depending on thickness and quality)
- Impervious to rot, fungus, mildew, and wood boring insects
- Never needs painting
- An almost endless variety of colors and embossed grain
- Longlasting with warranties up to 20 years or more
Vinyl siding can withstand winds of up to 110 mp when properly installed. For hurricane-prone areas, vinyl is a good choice because vinyl doesn’t become a lethal weapon should it become airborne.
Vinyl is lightweight, weighing in at about 60 to 70 pounds per 100 feet so it’s no problem for mobile and manufactured homes.
Disadvantages of Vinyl Siding
The major disadvantages of vinyl siding are that it can distort, melt and warp in high heat. It can also crack in extremely cold climates. There’s not much to do for that but experts suggest adding awnings and reducing reflective rays from pools and windows.
Some homeowners dislike the synthetic look of vinyl.
Many manufactured homes don’t have an exterior sheathing at all so the vinyl siding is its only protection. My father’s 1986 Redman double wide was a mid-level model for that year but the vinyl siding was nailed straight to the studs with only insulation between the interior wall and the siding. Water can seep in behind the siding and quickly destroy the wood and insulation underneath.
Colors and Styles of Vinyl
Vinyl siding manufacturers offer up to 350 different colors so you can certainly find the color you want. The most popular style for mobile homes is dutch lap or clapboard.
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.
Price of Vinyl Siding
Non-insulated vinyl siding usually comes in 12′ foot long panels that are 8-12″ high. Mobile Home Parts Store sells vinyl siding in cases with 22 pieces that are 9″ height x 12’1″ in length for $236.00. Each case covers 200 square feet. Keep in mind that buying bulky or extra long products like vinyl siding from an online source will have a steep shipping cost. Here are the specs from the listing:
To replace or install vinyl siding you will be looking at roughly $1.20 per sqft. Any price within 30 cents of this is fairly decent depending on location.
Tips for Installing Vinyl Siding
Make sure there are small holes on the bottom of each edge on the siding to drain water (I’ve never seen any vinyl siding that didn’t have those, but just make sure to be safe).
Is Insulated Vinyl Siding Worth the Added Cost?
There are two main types of vinyl siding: insulated, or foam-backed vinyl, and non-insulated. Vinyl and insulated vinyl sidings are the most popular siding materials and they see an average ROI of 72%.
There is a lot of controversy regarding insulated vinyl siding though so you’ll want to research extensively before you consider it.
Apparently, insulated vinyl isn’t all that great at insulating. It’s the same issue with insulated skirting for mobile homes. I was initially against buying insulated skirting products for mobile homes because you could install your own foam behind skirting at a lower cost and get a better R-value. However, some of the newer insulated products seem to be a worthwhile investment. The same is likely true with insulated vinyl siding (but I’m no vinyl expert).
Insulated vinyl siding costs are almost double that of regular vinyl siding. However, insulated vinyl siding has an R-value of 2.7. Non-insulated vinyl siding has an R-value of 2. Is an increase of .7 worth the extra cost and installation hassles? Insulated vinyl siding manufacturers are quick to speak about thermal bridging as a reason to install their product but the so-called advantage was almost negligible in testing. One of the main advantages of insulated vinyl siding appears to be a quicker drying time and a stiffer, or stronger, barrier.
Both insulated and non-insulated vinyl has the advantages listed above. The following pros and cons refer to the differences between the insulated and non-insulated vinyl siding:
Vinyl Siding Pros and Cons
Pros: Easier to install, good drainage so it dries quicker
Cons: Easier to damage, can appear wavy or warped
Cost: Averages between $0.70 to $6.00 per square foot
Insulated Vinyl Siding Pros and Cons
Pros: Thicker and sturdier so it resists impact better, reduces thermal bridging
Cons: Harder to install, takes longer to dry so exterior sheathing may be necessary
Cost: Anywhere from $2.00 to $8.00 per square foot
Wood is beautiful but it requires a bit more attention than other siding materials for mobile homes. You can’t beat that beautiful warmth and traditional look that wood siding offers though.
Wood makes a great choice for manufactured home siding but it does have issues like rot, water damage, and high maintenance.
T1-11 is available in two grades – OSB which is the cheaper grade is made from many smaller pieces of wood glued and formed into the grooved sheets. OSB T1-11 is rough and not easily stained or painted.
Plywood is a more expensive grade wood sheeting made from larger wood pieces that are glued and formed into the grooved sheets. It is smoother and the preferred choice for mobile home siding because it is easier to sand and seal with paint or stain.
T1-11 panels are versatile and can be used vertically or horizontally but vertical installation is the smartest choice to minimize water damage.
Pros and Cons of T1-11 Siding
T1-11 is not as popular as it once was since better waterproof material can be found around the same price.
Disadvantages of T1-11 are the same as with any wood: rot, water damage, insects, and high maintenance. Fortunately, you can seal the wood with a quality paint or stain to reduce water damage and insect infestation.
Price of T1-11
T1-11 comes in 4′ × 8′ foot sheets of plywood siding. You can get it from Lowe’s or Home Depot for around $30- $40 per sheet.
Tips for Installing T1-11 on a Mobile Home
As stated above, you should install T1-11 on the vertical to allow water to slide off it.
Cedar offers a timeless complement to any architectural style from traditional to contemporary. Eastern and Western Red Cedar are used for siding, but there’s also Yellow cedar which is used for poles and posts mostly.
We’ve shared a few mobile and manufactured homes with cedar siding. It’s a great way to add texture and uniqueness to a manufactured home.
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.
Pros and Cons
Cedar is known for its natural insect repulsion as well as its decay and moisture resistance.
You can also choose a 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, because it’s naturally beautiful!
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.
Colors, Styles, and Design of Cedar Siding
There’s a choice of a 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.
Price of Cedar Siding for Mobile Homes
Installation Tips for Cedar Siding
Installation depends on the type of cut. Cedar planks are very labor intensive whereas plain wooden levels 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.
Oil-based water sealant is the preferred method of protection. Wood should be painted regularly.
We’ve featured a single wide with cedar plank siding and it is gorgeous, you won’t want to miss it!
Faux Stone Siding
Manufactured stone can also be called cultured stone veneers or architectural stone. Whatever you call it, stone used as siding adds dimension and gives a mobile home the look of permanency.
It’s mostly made the same with Portland cement and oxide coloring and formed in a mold. Since the panels are mass produced they cost less than real stone.
Faux stone is made of polyurethane or a polymer and combined with chemicals like fire retardants and UV inhibitors.
Pros and Cons of Faux Stone Siding
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.
Stone siding is beautiful and has some nice benefits such as resisting rot, insect, fire, and water (depending on brand).
Manufactured stone has a great energy efficiency factor. They do have warranties that can be as high as 50 years.
Colors and Styles of Siding
Faux stone comes in various shapes, sizes, corner pieces, and trim pieces.
Price of Faux Stone
Unfortunately, faux stone can be a bit expensive so most homeowners only use it as an accent. Adding stone around the entryway or as mobile home skirting are popular treatments.
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.
Installation of Faux Stone Siding
Installation is easy due to the decreased weight and paneling system used. They come in various shapes and sizes as well as trim and corner pieces.
Fiber Cement Siding
Fiber cement siding 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.
Pros and Cons of Fiber Cement
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.
Usually, fiber cement siding has a 50-year warranty with the ‘baked on’ finish warranty having a 10-15 year warranty against fade and color reduction.
Colors, Styles, and Designs of Fiber Cement Siding
The two most common types of fiber cement siding are Hardiplank, made by James Hardie Corporation and Weatherboards, made by CertainTeed Corporation.
Price of Fiber Cement
Although higher in cost than vinyl, fiber cement is still an economical alternative to wood siding. It is made of 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 of Fiber Cement Siding
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.
Metal Siding for Mobile Homes
Metal siding has been used for decades in mobile and manufactured homes. In fact, it was the most common siding material for mobile homes for decades, until vinyl siding
It’s lightweight and practically indestructible because it’s fire-proof and insect-proof. It can’t melt but it can dent and scratch.
The energy efficiency and installation are 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.
Price of Aluminum Siding
The cheapest aluminum siding is 44-gauge and around 0.4”thick but you can go thicker for a more durable siding at 53-gauge or with 0.53” thick. naturally, thicker aluminum is more expensive but it has better insulating factors and noise reduction.
3×8 sheet of aluminum siding from Home Depot will cost about $80.
Updating Your Mobile Home’s Siding
New siding is the best way to give a mobile home a complete facelift. It can improve the insulation abilities of a home and increase the value significantly.
Mobile Home Siding Tips for Flat Roofs
Installing new mobile home siding can be a bit more complicated if you live in a mobile home that has a flat roof. If that is the case, you will probably have to extend your roof line or devise a way to prevent water from getting behind the new siding.
There are a few different options you can consider to get your new siding to play well with a flat roof. The first is a gutter system that would wrap around your home and divert the water away from your home.
The second option is to build out a soffit and flashing that maneuvers the water away from the siding. Both could be used to keep water away from the new siding but you have to be careful that you do not compromise the roof’s integrity. Read more about installing soffits here.
Hiring Mobile Home Siding Installers
If you are hiring contractors to install your mobile home siding it is best to get a minimum of 3 estimates and make sure everything is written out.
Always have a written agreement, not just a verbal one. Material lists should be detailed and accurate.
Don’t be scared to call past customers to check references! A true professional will actually encourage it. Request their license number and insurance information – if you’re going to pay for a professional you should get a professional.
Why Consider the Weight of New Siding
Weight is an important consideration for manufactured homes simply due to the way they are built. It doesn’t mean your home is inferior or poorly constructed – it simply means that it was designed so precisely that it can travel down a highway at 55 mph and still be as structurally sound as any site-built home.
If there is a chance that your home will be moved after the new siding has been installed the weight of the material will need to be considered carefully and additional reinforcement may be needed. Even if your home will never be moved again it is still important to understand that the home was built in such a way that additional weight could cause structural issues down the road so keeping the weight of the materials in mind is smart.
Summary for Mobile Home Siding Guide
Replacing your mobile home’s siding is a great home improvement project. New siding instantly updates the look of the home and can increase your home’s energy efficiency.
Mobile homes have just as many choices for new siding as a site-built home, perhaps even more because mobile home owners are known to be inventive and creative. I’ve seen some gorgeous mobile homes with unique siding combinations.
Cost is a huge factor in deciding which siding material is right for you but you also need to consider lifespan and installation methods. While one material may cost less it may take longer to install or need a special installation method thus costing more in the long run.
If you have any questions about mobile home siding please feel free to ask them in the comments below. We’ll do our best to get you pointed in the right direction.
Thanks for reading Mobile Home Living!