Adding a porch or deck to your manufactured home creates a space for family time, interacting with neighbors, entertaining, grilling out and generally living the good life. But it can be tough to know where to start on a project like a mobile home deck or porch, or where you can find accurate information to guide you through the process.
In this article, we’ll examine some of the basics of building and maintaining a mobile home porch or deck, including materials, repairs and the choice of whether to DIY or hire a professional builder. Before we jump in, though, let’s clear up the key difference between a porch and a deck.
Porch vs. Deck: What’s the Difference?
Generally speaking, the distinction is that a porch is a covered or enclosed structure, while a deck generally does not have a roof or enclosure. The term “deck” is also used almost exclusively to refer to structures built on the back of a home rather than the front. Decks are also sometimes called patios. (That was easy, right?)
Why Add a Mobile Home Porch or Deck?
A mobile home porch or deck can be a great livability addition to your manufactured home. Many homeowners find that these structures have benefits such as:
- Provides a space for hosting family and friends
- Adds aesthetic value and curb appeal to your manufactured home
- Can significantly increase your mobile home value when built well
- Gives children more room to play
- Offers great opportunities to enjoy your world on a beautiful day
- Adds storage space to your manufactured home
Adding a porch or deck isn’t right for every manufactured home, but if you think it could be right for yours, you’ve got plenty of options for creating the porch or deck that you want.
Building a Porch or Deck for Your Manufactured Home
What’s involved in adding a porch or deck to your manufactured home? First, you’ll need to assemble the materials, including (but not always limited to):
- Lumber for framing, flooring and support beams
- Cinder blocks to create a foundation for the porch
- Roofing materials (for porches)
- Mobile home skirting to protect the structure’s support elements and keep animals out
Many different kinds of wood are used to build porches and decks, including:
- Pressure-Treated Pine: A common and inexpensive choice for porches, although it can be more vulnerable to rot than some other woods.
- Ipe: A South American hardwood that’s among the most popular new porch and deck materials, although it’s very heavy and somewhat expensive.
- Cedar: A great choice for uncovered porches, cedar is known for resistance to rot, but it can splinter easily.
- Redwood: An incredibly durable and attractive wood, but also one of the most expensive.
If you choose exotic woods such as ipe or redwood, look for certification from a sustainable wood standards organization such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to ensure your wood has been sustainably harvested.
Should You DIY or Use a Professional Builder?
For homeowners with some basic tools and familiarity with building methods, a porch or deck can be a great DIY project. Many free DIY mobile home porch tutorials are available online, and with a little help from some friends, most reasonably competent DIY enthusiasts can complete a basic deck in a week or two. Note that a porch is more complicated, since you’ll need to add roofing.
However, if you choose to go with a professional builder, you’ll likely have access to design options that would be difficult to execute on a DIY project. Make sure to read reviews online and meet with a contractor in person before striking a deal, as not all decking contractors are equal and you want the best for your manufactured home.
Repairing Your Porch or Deck
Much like any other home feature, mobile home porches and decks need to be regularly maintained. Some of the tasks to maintain a porch or deck include:
- Power washing to remove dirt
- Painting and staining to help maintain a finished and attractive look
- Removing and replacing rotted wood
- Cleaning the gutters on a porch’s roofing
- Sanding the deck to remove fuzz and splinters
Many landscaping and handyman companies will perform these tasks for a fee, or you can keep the DIY spirit going strong by handling them yourself. Just make sure not to overdo it with power washing, as it can gouge the wood of your deck if you’re not careful.
For more key facts about upgrading your mobile home and adding to your mobile home value, check out our Mobile Home Living section. You’ll find everything you need to turn your manufactured home into a dream home.