I live in a older double wide, '75 (tin shack in the woods)..
As these units evolved over time the method of support and anchoring has
also changed.. Also local codes have changed.
My house being 'pre HUD' is allowed to be set on cinder blocks without a
footing or 'ribbon'. I moved mine 6 years ago and because of it's age and
(pre-HUD) I was allowed to set it up by the old standards..
However, I was involved with setting up a modern double wide a couple years
What you discribe as 'sidewalk' is called 'ribbons'. These are 4 ft wide
stips of concrete, two per house section, for the entire length of the
section. The spacing of these ribbons will be dictated by the "builders
manual". This comes with the house and is what the inspector uses to verify
that the home installer has done everything correctly.
Due to the 'deep freezes' in Iowa you may still have to go deeper with these
ribbons to get below the frost line.. Better check with the local building
inspector.. Even if you are out in the country, the county will still have
some say about how you do this.
For anchoring, there are pieces of PVC pipe going through these ribbons and
a tie down stap is passed through these.
It is possible for you to grade your site and pour your own ribbons, as long
as they meet the requirements of the builder and the local code.
There is another consideration you should know about.. If you set you mobile
on a basement or a foundation you 'may' qualify for a standard home
mortgage. No matter what the mobile home builders/sales people want to call
them (sectional or double wide), the banks still call them mobiles and won't
normally give you a 30 year mortgage. The mobile dealer will argue that he
can get you a mortgage but it will not be a 'home mortgage' and you will pay
thousands more in interest over the life of the mortgage.. My point,
recently I have heard that some lending institutions will go with a home
mortgage if it is on a foundation.. Home owners insurance will also depend
on whether you are on a foundation..
For your area, due to the freezing ground/deep frost line, I would recommend
you at least have footing poured, if fact that my be your only choice,
depending on the local codes.
Your manufactured home dealer can give you some recommendations on what you
can or can't do, but 'keep them at arms length'.. They are out to sell you a
mobile home (and call it a sectional, modular,etc) and making a big profit
off you and most likely a kick back off the guy who sets up the house.. (The
deal farms out that work)
There is another consideration in doing the ribbons or foundation yourself..
The dealer or mfg may blame any problems or defects on your work.. But in my
opinion, if your ribbons meet the requirements of the manual and code then
let them due the final set up and leveling.
You can also do your own utility/plumbing hook up if allowed by local code.
Hope this helps. I'm not a big fan of mobile, manufactured, double wide or
sectional homes.. They are cheaply built because they don't have to meet
building codes. The don't retain their resale value.. Never appreciate in
value.. And seem to attract tornados and flood waters ;o)
(formerly of Bondurant IA)