Mobile homes are somewhat self-contained and can be placed on the ground just about anywhere. When blocking and supports are added, the space between the ground and the bottom of the home is open to the elements. Proper mobile home skirting is a barrier to cover the space. Skirting can be made from a variety of materials. The insulating properties and aesthetics of skirting depend on what you use.
Do some preliminary planning before gathering materials for skirting. Measure the length and height of the needed skirting. It's always a good idea to add at least 2 inches to the height of the skirting -- the extra 2 inches gives you something to work with if the ground is uneven. Tuck the extra material under the aluminum fascia if needed. Take some weather precautions before installing the skirting. No matter what kind of skirting you use or how well you insulate it, pipes will freeze without proper insulation. Wrap the pipes with insulation, or if you're in an area where it freezes hard each year, use electric pipe wrap that you can plug in when needed. Plan to install access doors and vents for air flow under the home to prevent problems with moisture condensation.
Tin: Affordable and Durable
Durable and weatherproof, recycled tin is an affordable option for mobile home skirting. Many older sheds or barns used tin that was anodized, which is a form of paint bonding. When the paint begins to wear off, it reveals a patchwork that makes the tin appear textured -- picture an old brick wall to get the idea. Corrugated, galvanized roofing tin also works well for skirting. It's flat grey with a few rust spots but it's durable and will withstand the test of time. Use it for an antique appearance.
Blocks and Bricks
Cinder blocks have been in use since the early 1900s, and there are good reasons why they're still around: They're durable, easy to work with and provide a certain amount of insulation. New cinder blocks can be expensive but recycled blocks are a fraction of the cost. If some of the corners are broken, just place them facing the inside. Cinder-block skirting is a bit more labor intensive than other materials, but the benefit of longevity is worth the time and effort. Recycled bricks are another option for attractive skirting. They look fantastic, but like cinder blocks, require a bit of effort to install.
Composite materials are some of the most affordable of all mobile home skirting options. Particle board or oriented-strand-board can be purchased in sheets. It's affordable for two reasons: Most of the sheet can be used, and it's available in different thicknesses. The most affordable is 3/8 inch. For more effective insulating qualities, go with 5/8- or 3/4-inch material. This type of skirting can be high maintenance and requires paint or some type of sealant. It's also beneficial to add some type of framing behind it, which can add to the cost and labor. Other options in composites are hardboard, which is more durable than other composites, and can be used in 1/4-inch thicknesses with proper backing.
Pickets can be used as skirting. Most picket fences are made with cedar or some other weather-resistant wood. If you have a fence that's seen better days, recycle the pickets and use them as skirting. This might be an option on top of an existing particleboard skirting or as a stand-alone skirting with the proper backing or framing behind it. Pickets look great and add a homey look to the mobile home. They're durable and easy to work with.
Facts on Foam
Most contemporary homes are shielded with rigid foam because of its insulating properties. This type of foam is available in large sheets just like plywood. Use it to back up all types of skirting for its insulating properties, or as stand-alone skirting. It's not as durable as other types of skirting, but it's affordable, and if you keep the weed eater away from it, will last for years. Rigid foam typically has one side that's bright white, which also looks great. Double it up for even more stability.