Mobile home skirting is far more important than most homeowners realize. While it certainly adds curb appeal and can change the look of your home , it also acts as a strong barrier that protects your home and plays a vital part in your heating and cooling system.
Skirting helps retain heat under your mobile home in the winter. That blanket of warm air can prevent your water pipes from freezing.
In the summer, properly vented mobile home skirting regulates airflow under your home which can prevent mold and mildew growth.
In this complete mobile home skirting guide, we will cover skirting materials, costs, ventilation requirements, installation, and more. You’ll be ready to buy and install new mobile home skirting in no time!
How to Measure Your Mobile Home for Skirting
Before you can compare skirting prices and choose which material will fit your needs best, you’ll want to calculate how much skirting you’ll need.
Step 1: Measure your Mobile Home’s Perimeter
Measuring the perimeter of a mobile home is simple.
The perimeter of a home is found by adding all of its sides together. For example, let’s say a single wide is 16 feet wide and 72 feet long so I would add:
72 + 72 + 16 + 16 + 12 + 12 = 200 feet
Note: Do not multiply the width of your home by its length. Multiplying gives you the square footage of a home. We need the perimeter footage.
Step 2: Calculating the Average Height
After you calculate the perimeter footage of your home you’ll need to find its average height.
To calculate the average height of your mobile home, you will need to measure the distance between the ground and the bottom of your home in 6 places: all 4 corners and then at the center point of your home on both the front and the back.
After measuring all 6 places you’ll add them all together and then divide the total by 6.
Popular Mobile Home Skirting Options
There are several different kinds of materials that can be used for mobile home skirting.
Brick, stucco, tin (metal), cinder block, T1011, plywood, hardy board, faux rock, and vinyl are just a few.
You can use just about any material but the following are the most popular.
The Most Popular Option for Mobile Home Skirting
Vinyl skirting is the most popular choice for mobile home owners for a few reasons: it is easy to install, affordable, and attractive.
Plus, vinyl is very environmentally friendly and one of the most sustainable materials on earth. Vinyl is made from common salt and ethylene from natural gas.
According to Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability (BEES) software, vinyl siding outperforms brick, stucco, and wood on how it affects the environment based on a combination of environmental criteria.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Vinyl Siding
Unfortunately, the vinyl siding on many of the affordable manufactured home models is not the best quality. It’s usually a thin weak product that is made from recycling old vinyl building blocks. This vinyl isn’t as energy efficient as other vinyl, specially insulated vinyl. If you have this thinner vinyl you should consider upgrading it as soon as possible.
Vinyl skirting does not do well with weed eaters and budget brands do not age well.
Cost of Vinyl Skirting
Most vinyl skirting kits run about $600 and up for a common-sized single wide and will include all the pieces you need to completely skirt the entire home.Thicker, sturdier vinyl will cost more.
Buying a Complete Vinyl Skirting Kit
There are 4 basic pieces needed for vinyl skirting: the panels, the U-channel ground tracks, the top J-channel, and the trim.
12 Foot Panels
The panel itself is usually sold in 12-foot lengths. This is to make it easy for homes that are sitting on an incline, you simply cut the panels at the right dimension you need for the area. You can start at 2′ on one side and end up with 12″ on the other. You’ll need to use the average height method to order the correct amount of skirting.
Ground Track – U Channel
The ground track is bolted into the ground with long rods. It is a U-shaped channel and the panel will fit down into it and keep it secured.
Top Frame – J Channel
The top back is what goes on the bottom of the home before the panels are set into place. It has a top J channel that the top front piece will fit into.
The top front piece is the horizontal strip in front of the panel. It gives the entire system a more polished appearance and allows the skirting more security. It’s the last part you add. There are V-guards you can add around the bottom edge of thinner skirting to keep the weed eaters from eating it.
See the process of installing vinyl skirting on a mobile home here.
Novik and Brick Panels
Novik is a popular skirting material for mobile homes. But it can be expensive.
Novak skirting requires metal framing and some brands will require professional installation to honor their warranty.
Most faux panels are made from polyurethane and come in pieces that are 46 ¼” wide × 24″ high × 1 ¼” thick.
They look remarkably like real stone. You can frame the area to be skirted with metal 2×2 or 2×4′s and then screw the panels into the frame.
They are light but sturdy, and they can withstand temperature fluctuations very well.
They are a bit expensive but cheaper than real stone and much easier to install. MHPS has Novik panels that are48″ x 18 1/2″ for $21.98. Corner pieces run about $15 each. See installation steps for Novik here.
The second most popular skirting option is the Reil Rock panels (aka Mason’s Rock). They are made of sturdy plastic, have the look of stone and come in 3 colors.
Reil rock comes in 5-foot sections with 3 height options: 2’6″, 3′ and 4′.
The sturdier construction of Riel rock panels makes them fairly easy to install and similar to installing vinyl skirting with U-channels (or J-channels).
There is a track you can put over the top of the panel, but it’s not needed. If your panel is just shy a couple of inches you can use the top track to cover the issue.
A 5-foot section costs about $32 at MHPS. While it’s more expensive than vinyl it’s sturdier and can handle a bit more.
To calculate for Reil Rock, simply convert your linear foot to inches by dividing by 12. Then use your average height calculation to get the correct panel height to buy. There is a lip on these panels that are about 2-3″ so keep that in mind. If your mobile home sits high above ground you may want to go with a skirting that looks more cohesive – those seams are noticeable (at least they are to me)
Learn exactly how to install Reil rock skirting here.
Concrete, Brick, and Cinder Block
If you want absolute permanence concrete, brick, or cinder block is probably your best choice.
Adding brick or cinder block to a home is a labor-intensive ordeal, but the advantages are worth it. Being practically indestructible is the best advantage.
Concrete panels are easier to install but have similar indestructibility and longevity as brick and cinder block. There are companies that specialize in concrete skirting but you can purchase precast concrete panels, too.
These nearly indestructible skirting materials will almost certainly increase the value of your home. “Homes that have been maintained well and have smart upgrades like skirting and insulation typically sell at a higher price,” comments Ruban Selvanayagam of UK real estate company Property Solvers.
There’s a little misunderstanding surrounding cinder block and brick skirting and ‘permanent foundations’ for mobile and manufactured homes.
FHA loans require that all manufactured homes be permanently installed but a permanent installation involves more than just the skirting material.
A manufactured home can be permanently installed and have vinyl skirting.
I’ve always liked the look of a simple metal skirt under a mobile home. There’s a few different types of metal that can be used for mobile home skirting but tin is usually the most affordable.
If you go with metal skirting you may want to consider installing insulation along with it. Metal has a lot of great qualities but it lacks in insulating benefits.
Simple installation is an added advantage. Metal is sturdy on its own so a simple 2″x4″ frame will do (be sure to keep the wood off the ground).
You could just attach the top of the panel to your home and just let the bottom of the metal panel sit in a channel in the ground.
These days the designs for metal mobile home skirting are getting more attractive, too. The old cinder block or large brick stamped pattern has been the most popular design but with a little research, you can find new patterns.
Metal mobile home skirting has 2 great qualities: it can be painted any color you want and can withstand a weed eater.
The price for metal skirting is around $10-15 per 5-foot panel.
Foam Insulated Skirting
Insulated mobile home skirting has made headlines lately but it may not be the best place to spend your money. The NREL tested mobile home energy conservation techniques and found that installing new insulated skirting to a mobile home increased 7% while blowing insulation under the home increased it by 11%. Adding wall insulation increased efficiency best, at 13%.
Therefore, you may be better off spending the money on insulating the floor of the home, not the skirting.
Foam skirting can be used along with frame but some brands won’t need a frame at all.
You can get complete framing solutions to place the panels. the
The price of panels is approximately $10-15 per foot.
The installation kits depend on the linear foot needed.
You can learn about the installation process of insulated skirting here.
Plywood, OSB, and T-111 Skirting
Wood has always been a well-known construction material. Using wood for skirting isn’t the best option unless it’s treated and your property isn’t overly wet. Wood is susceptible to rot and insects and soaks water up quickly.
Hardiboard and OSB are very sturdy. OSB is cut with the tree’s grain and engineered to make a very strong product.
Wood products that are not waterproof are going to get swelling from moisture. The price depends on what you chose and installation can be simple or complicated. Some people suggest that you use a sealer and caulk the ends of the boards before putting them up just as an added precaution against moisture. You can use planks and get the look of siding, too. Lots of potential with wood!
Other Skirting Options
The sky is the limit when it comes to skirting materials for mobile homes. Of course, the materials listed above are probably your best bet you can save money by thinking out of the box. Perhaps you could reuse material or keep construction scraps out of the landfill. For example, a damaged metal roof panel could become a nice access panel for your skirting.
Old barn tin has already stood the test of time and it’s gorgeous. One of our featured homes has antique barn tin as a skirting, and it is gorgeous! Railroad ties and straw are two unique mobile home siding options we’ve seen.
Really, you could use just about anything that is weather-resistant and rigid. Keep flame retardancy in mind before you decide to use a unique material.
Regardless the Material, Venting is Vital
It doesn’t matter which mobile home skirting material you choose, they all require properly placed venting to control the airflow under your home.
Vents in mobile homes are so important that many states regulate them. Most experts agree that you need around 1 foot of venting for every 150 -250 square footage in a mobile home.
You’ll want to be careful where you place the vents in your skirting. You don’t want a vent near the plumbing pipes. However, you do want a vent within 3′ of each corner. T\air can circulate efficiently and you don’t get dead air pockets in the corners.
The ground vapor barrier is a thick plastic sheeting that lies on the ground under your mobile home. It does exactly what it says it does, creates a barrier that protects your home from ground moisture.
If you have a healthy ground barrier, you may be able to get away with less venting. John Krigger, the author of Your Mobile Home, wrote that you may only need 1 vent for every 300 square feet if you have a ground vapor barrier.
Smart Tip: Extending the vapor barrier about 6″ past the perimeter of your home is a smart move for a couple of reasons. You can use the skirting’s ground frame (or C channel if you’re installing vinyl) as a staple of sorts that can secure the vapor barrier to the ground. And, secondly, ground vapor barriers help keep weeds and grass from growing close to your home which can certainly reduce the chance of damaging your beautiful new skirting.
Mobile home skirting is vital to a healthy home. In fact, it’s mandatory in many areas of the nation. New skirting can completely change the look of your home and save on heating and cooling costs for years.
Thanks so much for reading Mobile Home Living!
Photo Sources: Faux Panels, Reil Rock