Mobile home steps are a part of a manufactured home that might not catch your attention often—but try going without them, or walking on a set of rickety, rotted-out mobile home steps. You’ll quickly realize how important steps are!
To prevent things from getting to that point, you can educate yourself on the key components of mobile home steps and how to choose from your options and maintain them. In this article, our experts will provide a quick guide on how to do that. First, though, let’s clear up a few definitions and terms.
The Parts of Mobile Home Steps and Railings
The key parts of a set of mobile home steps are largely similar to a set of steps you might find in any house. It’s important to recognize the terms you’ll hear used when talking about these steps because they correspond to your local building code. The most important parts of steps to know about include:
- Rise: The vertical distance between one step and the next.
- Run: The horizontal dimension between the front and back of a step’s tread.
- Riser: The vertical plate that spans the rise between one step and the next.
- Tread: The flat, horizontal platform that supports the weight of a person walking up the stairs.
- Stringer: The angled, step-shaped section that connects the treads.
- Slope: The diagonal angle of the stairs. A shallow slope is easier to walk on, while a steep slope can be more difficult and even potentially dangerous.
- Nose: The “hanging” part of the stair tread where most people put their feet when walking.
The parts of mobile home step railings are:
- Post: Vertical posts at the top and bottom of the steps to hold the railing in place.
- Top Rail/Bottom Rail: Railings that run between the posts and provide a handhold for people using the steps.
- Balusters: Small vertical slats, aligned with the posts, that run between the railings. Help protect against falls and make the steps more aesthetically pleasing.
- Railing Cap: A runner placed along the top rail to give an extra handhold and a polished look. This may or may not be required in your jurisdiction.
Nearly all of these parts and their dimensions are regulated by local building codes in the U.S., so make sure to check with your city or county building authority to ensure that your stairs are up to code.
Types of Materials for Mobile Home Steps and Railings
Many material options exist for building a great set of mobile home steps. The most popular are:
- Wood: The classic option for manufactured homes, and the most frequently used. Wood is cost-effective, particularly options like pressure-treated pine. However, it requires more frequent maintenance and cleaning than other materials to protect it from rot and insects.
- Concrete: Concrete is tough, resilient and good-looking. Its disadvantages are that it’s very heavy, not easily movable and requires some maintenance to prevent cracking and shifting as it settles.
- Plastic: Plastic materials like polyethylene and PVC make for rugged, lightweight and inexpensive mobile home steps. However, some homeowners don’t like their aesthetic, and they can be extremely slippery in wet conditions. Plastic and wood components are often paired together.
- Metal: Metal (such as steel or aluminum) is another solid choice for steps, thanks to its high durability and relative cost-effectiveness. Disadvantages of metal include vulnerability to rust, although choosing aluminum steps can mitigate this.
- Fiberglass: Fiberglass is a tough and attractive material used for all kinds of automotive and industrial building, and it’s also a great material option for manufactured home steps. Fiberglass steps will usually have a wooden frame inside, with a rugged fiberglass exterior. However, fiberglass typically costs more than other materials, along with being heavy and hard to move.
Getting Steps for Your Mobile Home
Generally, there are two ways to get a set of steps for your mobile home:
1. Buying premade mobile home steps
- Premade mobile home steps are available from any reliable mobile home parts supplier. They come in a variety of designs, can be made from any of the major materials listed in this article and are designed for easy installation.
2. Going the DIY route and building your own
- DIY mobile home steps are often easier to build than you might expect if you use materials like wood or metal. Many DIY steps tutorials are available online, and with a little time and building know-how, you can save some money and have a satisfying home improvement project. However, if you go the DIY route, it’s especially important to be familiar with your local building standards first.
Overall, steps are one of the most important mobile home upgrades and shouldn’t be overlooked. For more critical info on manufactured home siding, skirting, foundations, and more, take a look at our Mobile Home Living section.