What Is Braced Mobile Home Skirting?
Bracing your mobile home skirting means the installation of a fixed structural support located behind the skirting panels. This support will usually be made of wooden or light steel studs attached to the home, the ground and the existing or new skirting. Bracing is often a FHA loan requirement.
Why Do I Need To Have My Skirting Braced?
There are three main reasons why you would need your mobile home skirting braces and they are:
Some home owners just feel more comfortable knowing that their skirting is braced and will give some protection from the wind.
Insurance Company Specifications.
With the introduction of the FEMA 100 year flood plain, some insurance companies will require your skirting to be of a certain quality and or braced sufficiently to suit their requirements.
This work will need to be carried out before they will issue flood insurance.
FHA Loan Requirements.
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is part of the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) branch of the USA Government. The FHA gives subsidized mortgage loans and grants to qualified borrowers at low interest rates.
To protect tax payer money, there are stringent conditions applied to FHA mobile home loans. One of these conditions involves skirting and its bracing.
Does Bracing The Skirting Protect My Home?
Bracing your skirting will stop moderate winds from penetrating into the space under your home. This will directly protect the skirting panels themselves from blowing away in the wind.
The skirting also acts as a barrier to protect the:
- Underbelly protective wrap.
- The floor insulation.
- Air Conditioning flexible duct work.
- Under home storage.
There is also limited protection from the uplift caused by high winds passing under the home. Uplift caused by sustained winds is the main cause of foundation system failure. Braced skirting may reduce wind penetration.
What Are The FHA Regulations Regarding Skirting?
The skirting should be attached to a permanent structure fixed to the ground and the skirting.
This can be made of pressure treated lumber or prefabricated metal posts. The upright posts are required every 3 feet around the home. The metal posts are buried into the ground at the bottom and screwed to the rim joist at the top. Horizontal cross members are required at 16 inches maximum height.
So a 24 inch high structure would require one horizontal cross member and a 36 inch structure two cross members equally spaced.
When using PT, the bottom of the wood should be attached to a pressure treated rail footer which will go completely around the home. The uprights should be attached to the footer like standard framing. The joints are screwed.
Who Will Do The Work On My Home?
Usually a mobile home contractor, general contractor or skirting contractor recommended by the realtor or engineer. In any case get quotes if needed and find an experienced company that can do the work in one or two days maximum.
Try not to leave these arrangements to the last minute. If you are closing the loan in 3 days it’s a little late to get on a contractors schedule. Delays can affect the closing transaction, the buyer, the realtor and even the sale.
The FHA will not close a loan without the bracing completed under any circumstances.
Please plan accordingly!
Can I do The Bracing Myself?
Yes if the engineer does not specify:
“Work to be carried out by a licensed contractor only.”
In most states in the USA, the homeowner does have the right to work on their own property in order to carry out some repairs and improvements.
That being said, bracing is not a job for most homeowners to carry out. There are strict specifications to be adhered to and replacing old skirting onto new bracing is not a job without its problems.
Skirting looks best when installed by a professional and you are most likely trying to sell you home.
Will I Need To Have An Inspection Done?
Yes usually an engineer will be contracted to both supply the necessary specifications to the home owner and sign off on completion.
This will involve a before and after inspection by the engineer or their staff.
How Much Will It Cost To Brace My Skirting?
Price will depend on the length and width of the home, and the height between the ground and the bottom of the floor joists.
(2 x Length) + (2 x Width) x Height = Square Feet
For example a 28′ by 64′ double wide home installed 36″ above the ground would require:
(2 x 64) + (2 x 28) x 3 = 552
128 + 56 x 3 = 552 SQ FT
In our example 552 square feet @ $2.50 per square foot will cost $1380.
Will I Need New Skirting?
Sometimes you will be buying a new home with new skirting included in the price. Often skirting gets damaged on older homes and will need to be replaced.
Most companies that install skirting are able to also add the bracing when needed. When done together there may be a small discount.
Either old or new the skirting needs to be free from holes over a certain size and requires a door for easy home owner access.
Who Will Take Down My Old Skirting?
If your skirting is being replace then the installer will remove the old skirting and dispose of the sections as a part of the installation.
However, if you are reusing your old skirting then this will need to be removed and replaced in order to construct the bracing supports. Taking down and replacing old skirting will not be free unless you are prepared to do it yourself.
Clarify this issue with the contractor before the work commences.
Skirting Ventilation Required Under A Mobile Home.
If you are replacing the skirting and adding supports, do not forget about the need for adequate ventilation. Vents can be retro fitted or an integral part of the panels.
Will I Have To Pay For It Myself?
If it is for you or an insurance company then yes as you are the only person that will get the benefit of the bracing. However, if the skirting is being braced as part of a home sale the the cost may be yours or the buyers.
Who pays for the bracing is often down to negotiation.
Sometimes the payment can be delayed until the property “closing” providing that the parties and the contractor agree on the terms.