How to Convert a Mobile Home Into a Permanent House

Updated February 21, 2017

Moving a mobile home onto your own land can be a cost-effective way to pursue home ownership. To qualify for home loans or other financing, the mobile home must be made into a permanent structure seated upon a permanent foundation. Requirements and qualifications for a mobile home to become a permanent structure depend on local law. Certification and periodic inspection of progress may be required before you can move in.

Level the home site with a bulldozer. Create enough of a slope in the land so that water runs away from the foundation. Compact the dirt around the foundation and where the septic system will be installed to ensure support.

Move the mobile home onto the lot. Place it in its permanent location. Ensure that the trailer is in the right location as it cannot be moved after this step.

Remove the wheels and set them aside. Remove the axles and set them aside as well.

Build a support wall around the perimeter according to local regulations. Use reinforced concrete.

Dig a footing at each corner of the mobile home. Place holes along the sides of the home at the minimum intervals required by local laws. For double-wide homes you will need footings at each corner of each section. Remove the topsoil down to where the dirt is firm. This depends on the site location, frost line and local building codes.

Pour a shallow gravel layer to cover the base of the holes. This provides drainage and protection underneath the concrete during frost and thaw periods. Pour concrete into the holes. Allow the footers to cure for 24 hours.

Set the jacks or support piers on the concrete footers. Place the supports at the minimum intervals required by local law.

Set up cross supports, if needed, around the home. This will evenly disperse the weight across the footings and foundation.

Attach the building and cross supports to the jacks or piers with straps or bolts.

Assemble the exterior plumbing and septic piping. Attach the pipes to the home. Have an electrician run the wiring from the pole to the home and into the structure.

Add insulation underneath the floor. Cover the insulation, pipes and wiring with plastic sheeting to keep it intact.

Contact the local building code enforcement agent to have the structure inspected before continuing.

Lay a 1-inch layer of gravel under the perimeter of the mobile home. Make the layer as wide as the footers on all sides. Tamp down the gravel and let it settle for 12 hours.

Place mortar and water in a wheelbarrow, using the specified mixing ratio. Mix the mortar with a trowel to a near liquid consistency.

Lay a 1-inch layer of mortar over the gravel at one corner of the structure. Make the layer long enough to fit one breeze block. Place the block into the mortar with the solid side horizontal. Level the block.

Apply a 1-inch layer of mortar over the gravel next to the breeze block with the same length as before. Use the trowel to spread a layer of mortar along the same side of the block where you set the mortar layer on the gravel. Set the next block in line with the first block in the mortar. Have the ends ½-inch apart. Apply mortar to the seam as needed. Continue this process until you have built the first level of the foundation wall around the structure.

Lay a ½-inch layer of mortar over the top of the first block. Set one of the half blocks on top of the mortar so that it lines up with the end of the wall. Make the block edges flush. Level the block. Apply a layer of mortar to the side of the half block.

Set a 1-inch layer of mortar over the top of the next two blocks. Set full blocks in the row using the methods described when placing the first layer of the foundation. Continue setting blocks around the perimeter the same way you laid the first layer. You will end each side with a half block against the end of the wall. A full block will begin the next side.

Repeat the process from the first layer for the third layer. Alternate the layering, as you build the walls, to create a staggered formation of blocks.

Things You'll Need

  • Bulldozer
  • Shovel
  • Cement
  • Jacks
  • Support beams
  • Straps
  • Bolts
  • Gravel
  • Tamping tool
  • Breeze blocks
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Mortar
  • Water
  • Trowel
  • Carpenter's level
  • Masonry saw
  • Mallet
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