Brick Skirts on Manufactured homes causing major issues.
Monday Mar 20th, 2023
Brick Skirts look nice. But, might become a problem.
A few years back a certain lender in SC required brick skirts be installed on all Manufactured homes before they would lend on them.
This has caused many issues.
PROS for a Brick Skirt:
1. Aesthetics. They look nice.
2. Adds difficulty to removing the home from the site. (More permanent)
3. Adds value. Appraisers typically give $5,000 to value for a brick skirt.
4. Wind barrier. Prevents updraft of storm and tornado winds from getting under the home and lifting.
5. Keeps animals out, protecting ductwork and floor insulation.
6. Acts as an insulator for flooring
CONS for brick skirts:
2. More difficult to access crawlspace.
3. Cost is roughly $8,000 to install today while only adding $5,000 value.
This cannot be stressed enough. Manufactured homes are designed to breath underneath. Several skirting options are available
that allow a home to breath.
When Brick skirts are added in the Low Country's humid Climate and lower elevation, Moisture problems can occur.
I have see moisture problems with nearly 50% of all Site built homes I have sold on a crawlspace.
Manufactured homes rarely have moisture problems because they typically have breathable skirts.
But, when I see brick skirting on a manufactured home, I know it may hide an issue. Brick skirts do not breath well. Even if there are adequate
venting holes, they must be left open and checked often. Over and over I see rust on the frames and the smell of mold and wood rot under
homes due to these pretty brick stacks. Since Manufactured homes have a factory Belly wrap protecting the home from moisture and the elements,
They normally fair well. UNTIL someone pops the wrap to do repairs and never reseals it. Now the insulation within that belly wrap will eventually become wet and not dry
out due to the brick skirting preventing wind and evaporation. When placed on lower elevation land, They are often trouble causing skirts. Yet, people love them.
It's not just manufactured homes. If a site built home also has brick or block surrounding a crawlspace, I can expect to have moisture problems in
50% of them. Within our Control, WATER is the single greatest threat you and I face against our real estate investments. Moisture causes more
damage and property loss than fire and theft combined. Right behind wind storms, NON-Weather related moisture damage tops the chart over all other property losses according to insurance Co numbers. Where there is moisture, mold, wood rot, and termites will follow.
What can be done if I have a brick skirt?
1. Check your moisture levels seasonally.
2. Check your vents. Leave them open.
3. When necessary, add a circulating fan to the crawlspace. Air is your friend. Water is not.
If you have problems, Encapsulate.
If your home is still not breathing well, Encapsulate.
--This means to add a moisture barrier plastic to the ground and fill/seal the vent holes. The more sealed up your crawlspace is, the cheaper the next
part will be. Now, add a Dehumidifier to the center of the crawlspace. Run the water out and away from the crawlspace. The bigger the unit the better. If you use a smaller one, add a circulating fan to get the air to the dehumidifier. This will most likely eliminate your moisture problems. This includes site built homes. Again, the more sealed the crawlspace, the more efficient the dehumidifier will be. Meaning, your electricity bill will be lower and moisture levels will be easier to control. For prevention...NOT Remediation, I do not always recommend spending the ridiculous price some companies charge to do proper total encapsulation. A Proper Total Encapsulation wraps each pier, wall, and fills every pin hole with caulk or foam. While more efficient for sure, Paying just a few extra bucks a month in electricity is better to ME than an extra $5-7k upfront.(When compared to total encapsulation by a professional remediation company) That is a personal choice only. For remediation (Where there is an obvious major moisture problem) I recommend a professional opinion.
Disclosure: I am not a crawlspace or moisture expert. I have simply been involved with and personally seen about 100 crawlspaces and dealt with dozens of crawl space issues. So take my words with a grain of salt. I am not the expert on moisture. But, I can and will say this confidently: Do not sleep on moisture problems. Prevention is always less costly than repair and remediation. You do NOT want wood rot, termites, or Illness causing Mold under your home. You need to think of these three things in the same way you think about Thieves. Keep them out.
The Real Estate Firm