A home on a sloped site should never be installed without site preparation. It is not uncommon for us to find shallow washout channels grooved into the soil under homes on a sloped site with inadequate site prep.

   The diagram above shows the way rain water should drain around a home on sloped ground. And the simplest way to achieve drainage away from the home is to create a raised pad for it, as shown in the diagram below.

But when you have an existing home on level or mildly sloped ground without a raised pad, an alternative solution is to add gutters and drainage swales to carry rainwater away from the home, like the diagram below.

   Ideally, a home on sloped ground should have both a dirt pad and drainage swale, as in the following diagram.

   In some areas, wet ground under the home is impossible to avoid during the rainy season. The installation of a moisture barrier on the ground under the home can help reduce the wetness and the resulting moisture rising up to the bottom of the home at the bellyboard (sheet plastic material that seals the bottom of the home). Repairing any openings in the bellyboard will also help to reduce the moisture.

   The plastic sheeting, typically 6-mil Visqueen, does not have to be sealed at adjoining pieces. A 12-inch overlap is sufficient.

   Once in blue moon, we come across a home that is so poorly sited that is it just about impossible to fix. We inspected a foreclosure mobile home in Old Town several years ago that was pit-set (installed so that the floor is close to ground level, to look more like a site-built home, with a pit dug under it for access) in a low-lying area where the water table rises up to just below grade in the rainy season.  The bank had posted warnings on both entry doors that the home had a mold infestation, and when we opened the skirting it was clear why: the pit under the home had become a 12-inch deep pond. Mold had ravaged the interior of the home to the point where repair would not be cost-effective compared to replacing it.

   But, unless your moisture problem is as severe as that foreclosure mobile, there is a moisture-management solution that will eliminate the wet ground or, at a minimum, create a barrier to keep the moisture from rising up into your home. We suggest calling a reputable, Florida-licensed mobile home installer for further evaluation and repair of the problem.


  Here’s links to more of our blog posts with useful information about buying and owning a mobile home:

  1. Does it make sense to buy an older mobile home and remodel it?

  2. Where do I find the vehicle identification number (VIN) on a mobile home?

  3. How do I find out how old a mobile home is and who manufactured it?

  4. What is the life expectancy of a mobile home?

  5. What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

  6. What is the right price for a used mobile home?

  7. What does the HUD tag look like and where do I find it on a mobile home?

While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
© McGarry and Madsen Inspection

All diagrams are from the “Installation Course for Manufactured Housing” manual for installer licensing, Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

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More blog posts about mobile homes:

  1. How can I make my mobile home look more like a house?

  2. How can I tell the difference between a manufactured home and a modular home?

  3. Why are there two VIN numbers on some mobile home titles?

  4. Can I install a mobile home myself?

  5. How can I know if my mobile home meets HUD Code?

  6. What are the warning signs of a dangerous deck?

  7. How much does it cost to move a mobile home?

  8. How do I remove cigarette odor in a house?

  9. What is a Park Model mobile home?

  10. Do I need stairs at all exit doors from a mobile home?

  11. What is an air conditioner for a mobile home called?

  12. What’s the difference between a trailer, a mobile home, a manufactured home, and a modular home?

  13. What’s the difference between a manufactured and a mobile home?

  14. Does an addition to a mobile home have to comply with with HUD Code?

  15. What can I do to prevent dampness and mold in my mobile home?

  16. Where are Wind Zone 2 and Wind Zone 3 for mobile homes located?

  17. How can I tell if a mobile home is well constructed?

  18. Can you move a mobile home that is 20 years old in Florida?

  19. What is a pit set mobile home?

  20. Do you have any tips for buying a used mobile home?

  21. Why is the floor tile cracked in my mobile home?

  22. Why is it important that a mobile home stay level throughout its lifetime?

  23. How much venting is required for mobile home skirting?

  24. What do I need to know about building an addition to a mobile home?

  25. What is the average lifespan of a wood deck?

  26. What is a D-sticker mobile home?

  27. What is the life expectancy of a modular home?

  28. How do I upgrade my old (pre-1976) mobile home to meet HUD standards?

  29. When was the first double-wide mobile home manufactured?

  30. How energy efficient is a mobile home?

  31. Can I tell the year of a manufactured/mobile home from the HUD tag (red tag)?

  32. What are the HUD requirements for selling a remodeled or renovated mobile home?

  33. How many mobile/manufactured home manufacturers are licensed to sell their homes in Florida?

  34. Can a mobile/manufactured home get termites?

  35. What are the limitations on homesites where a mobile/manufactured home can be located?

  36. What does a home inspector look for when examining a mobile home crawl space?

  37. How do I look for mold in my mobile home?

  38. What is the difference between the electric service to a mobile home and a site built home?

  39. How can I make my mobile home more energy efficient?

  40. What are the ventilation requirements for bathrooms and kitchens in mobile homes?

  41. How much is a used mobile home worth?

  42. What would cause half of a double-wide mobile home to lose electric power?

  43. What are the common problems to look for when buying a mobile home that is older than 40 years?

  44. How many manufactured/mobile homes are there in the United States?

  45. Can I convert a shipping container into a HUD-Code manufactured/mobile home?

  46. Where do I find the water heater in a mobile home?

  47. How do HUD-code mobile/manufactured home standards compare to the IRC building code for site-built homes?

  48. What are the right words for the parts of a mobile/manufactured home?

  49. What is the right humidity level in a mobile home?

  50. Can you do a mobile home inspection with no electric power or water?

  51. What is the difference between a manufactured/mobile home water heater and a regular water heater?

  52. What is the building code for mobile/manufactured homes in Florida?

  53. Where do I find the VIN/serial number on a very old (pre-1976) mobile home?