Can You Add on to Your Manufactured Home?

More stuff. More and more stuff.

If you’re anything like me and my family, your collection of “stuff” just keeps on growing. Now, suddenly, that four-bedroom manufactured home you moved into a few years ago just doesn’t have enough room. What are you going to do with all of your stuff?

One option is to add on to your home, but that’s a step that requires some serious thinking for a manufactured home resident.

First of all, yes, your manufactured home can be added on to. The question is, should you? Consider these challenges:

There aren’t the simple, couple-of-spare-weekends project that TV shows can make them seem to be. You will have code requirements to be met, and park requirements if you’re not on private land. The resale of your home may be negatively affected, too. If your mobile home is under warranty, you should check the warranty to see what it says about additions. Usually, additions void the warranty, or are allowed only if “manufacturer approved”. Whatever the warranty says, don’t add on during the warranty period. Either you’ll void the warranty, or you’ll give the manufacturer an “out” on warranty claims.

Those conditions in mind, though, there are ways to gain space and generally upgrade your manufactured home.

Drive through any neighborhood where there are manufactured homes and you’ll see lots of these add-ons. We’re talking here about decks, porches and carports. Depending on the climate you live in, a screened-in porch can add a nearly year-round living space to your home. The real secret in this types of projects is not to physically connect them to the home itself. That removes any possible warranty violation problems and also means if the time ever comes when the home needs to be moved, it can be done so much, much easier. Also, consider that what might be the perfect addition to you may not seem ideal to the next owner. Having a permanent addition on to the home might lower the resale value if substantial work would need to be performed to restore the home to its original condition.

If you do decide to go with a permanent addition, be sure first to check all applicable building codes. There are a variety of safety and fire concerns that the codes address and will need to be incorporated into your project. Because of the complexities involved, ranging from electrical and heating/cooling considerations to how to tie in the roof of the addition to the existing frame, a permanent addition is a job best left to the professional.

As with any kind of project you should consider the “good neighbor” factor. A good-looking, well-built porch or addition is a credit to any neighborhood. Choosing the same, or very similar siding, roofing, skirting, and windows will insure that your addition blends in well. If you can’t match existing materials in style or finish, at least match them in quality, and paint them the same color as the mobile home. And a little landscaping works wonders. Nobody loves a “home-made” looking home.

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