Manufactured Homes Key Terms

Understand the terms associated with manufactured housing

A manufactured home is any home that is predominately made in a factory. These homes must be suitable for year round living and meet HUD standards. Whether you are a consumer or a seller of manufactured homes, you will need to be familiar with some important key terms to evaluate the available products and make the best choice.

Mobile home

The term mobile home, though commonly applied to all manufactured homes, technically applies to any manufactured home built before June, 1976. These homes weren't subject to any standards or codes. The implementation of the Federal Manufactured Home Construction Safety Standards initiated a change from mobile homes to manufactured homes, regulating building and production standards.

Crawl space foundation

A crawl space foundation for a manufactured home is similar to the crawl space foundation found in many site built homes. The main difference is that the chassis of the mobile home must be supported within the crawl space foundation. The crawl space for a manufactured home is generally not a habitable space.

Site plans

A site plan is a detailed drawing of the plot of land on which a home will sit. In the case of a manufactured home, the access to utilities and tie down locations must be included on the site plan.


Before a manufactured home is delivered, it must be tested. During the testing process, inspectors look at the craftsmanship of the home, including the way flooring was laid, electrical work, plumbing work and framing.

Disaster-resistant pier system

A disaster resistant pier system is a permanent foundation for a manufactured home. It consists of steel piers, a chassis made of steel beams and a foundation or base pad. Disaster-resistant pier systems are most commonly found in earthquake-prone areas, as well as flood zones and the Gulf coast region. However, anyone can opt to have this system used for the foundation of a manufactured home.

Vapor barrier

A vapor barrier is a material that minimizes the amount of water and/or other liquids or vapors that can move from one area to another. Vapor barriers are most commonly used in crawl spaces, walls and roofs of manufactured homes.
US Department of Energy website provides information on vapor barriers, including the possible applications.