Manufactured and Modular Home Glossary

Understanding the steps to buying a manufactured home starts by knowing the right terminology, and that can seem like a daunting task.

Whether you’re just starting your journey or you’re a housing expert, it’s important to know different terms about the industry. 

We want you to be up on all the current lingo so that you can understand every step throughout your home buying journey.

Check out this super simple guide with loads of modular and manufactured home information broken down into one easy place!

The Terms

Back Fill – Moving soil back into the foundation once excavation has been completed and the home is placed on the foundation.

Block Sealer – A black tar-like substance used to prevent water from penetrating the foundation blocks beneath your home and is applied prior to the backfill.

Chattel Loan – A type of loan for a movable piece of personal property. This includes but not limited to machinery, a vehicle, or manufactured homes.

Data Plate – A standard size piece of paper installed in your home, typically in a kitchen cabinet, bedroom closet, or electrical panel. It contains information like the serial number, address of the manufacturer, home model, date built, verification the home meets HUD standards, and more.

Double Wide – Manufactured homes are built in various sizes, and a double wide is referring to the width of the home and the number of pieces the home arrived in. For example, a double wide would have arrived at its location being towed by two individual semi trucks. These homes can range from 20 feet to 90 feet in width with the halves combined.

Escrow – Once you’ve decided on a home to purchase, your funds are transferred to a third party and held there until specific conditions are met by the purchaser, this is when you are “in escrow.” More times than not, those “conditions” are referring to the fulfillment of a purchase agreement.

Floor Joists – A wooden beam that runs from one side of the home to the other that supports the floor.

Footers/Piers – Footers are concrete foundational support, while piers are cinder blocks stacked and fastened with mortar.

Grade – The grade refers to how much slope is needed around a foundation to prevent drainage problems and possible foundation erosion from runoff.

HUD – Department of Housing and Urban Development

HUD Code – The building standard manufactured home builders must meet. This code includes requirements for framework, plumbing, electrical, and more. 

HUD Label – A metal plate location on the exterior of a manufactured home with a serial number providing a unique HUD identification for both single and multi-section homes.


Manufactured – Once referred to as “mobile home” in the 1970s, this somewhat mobile home is factory built and can be placed on a solid foundation. 

Marriage Line (or Joint) – The point where manufactured or modular sections are joined together to complete the designated floor plan.

Modular – While similar to manufactured homes, modular homes are built to the same standards as site-built homes, but typically have the same types of options as manufactured homes. Modular homes are also moved into place by a crane versus a semi pulling a manufactured home into place. 

Offline Date – This is the day the factory expects your home to be completed at the factory. This date does not constitute delivery or move-in dates.

Perimeter Drain – A system of gravel and pipe that will divert water away from the foundation of the home.

Perimeter Wall – Block wall surrounding the outside edge of the home. It can or cannot be load-bearing.

Pier and Beam – Most common foundation securing system used for manufactured homes. This system uses steel straps and anchors that are driven into the ground to secure the home to the foundation. 

Single Wide – Refers to the number pieces the home arrives in. A single wide will arrive at its home site being towed by one semi truck and can range from 11 feet to 18 feet in width.

Skirting – Can also be referred to as underpinning, this goes around the exterior of the home, enclosing the crawl space, finishing the look. Materials can vary and can be selected based on the buyer’s preference.

Sump Pump Pit – Basin placed within crawl space that allows drainage pipes to disperse any water that may have remained in pipes.

Trim Out – This term refers to when a crew comes to the home site after it has been set. This crew finishes assembly, adjusts doors, and takes note of anything that could not be completed while on site.

 Undercarriage – Protects the home’s insulation underneath the home as well as working to keep moisture and pests out of the home. Oftentimes the undercarriage can be referred to as the vapor barrier, underbelly, bottom board, and many other names. 

Utilities – This refers to all utilities used to properly function a household: electric, water, and septic. We recommend these be done by a trained professional.

The housing industry is in a constant state of change, and that’s why it’s important to stay up to date with the terminology. 

Interested in learning more? Check out the rest of our blogs to get a full education on all things manufactured! 

Do you have more terms you’d like to know the definition of?

Drop it below and be on the lookout! Even if you have a different question or a comment, we’d love to hear from you!

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