Manufactured Homes

Manufactured Home

Manufactured Homes

 

Manufactured and mobile homes, also called “prefabs” our becoming a popular option for affordable homeownership especially with the median prices of new homes rapidly increasing.  Usually, you can purchase and have one installed in a fraction of the time it would take to build a new house.  They offer many different floor plans and sizes from the small single wide to triple units.  The engineers at Middle Tennessee Inspections are being asked to examine more and more of these

 

Definition

Workers assemble manufactured homes completely in factories then transport them to the owner’s land.  That is why many people refer to them as “prefabs” or “prefabricated dwellings.” Manufactured homes are designed to federal standards set by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Single-wide units are the most common but often multiple units are joined to create a larger building.  These are known as a ‘double-wide’ or ‘triple-wide’ home. Because prefab homes are built in factories with the intention of being transported, they should be rather durable but damage and stress can still occur during the move. The unique design and transportation of manufactured homes demand specific modifications to various systems and regions of the home in order to make them more mobile. Some of these distinctions are discussed below.

Manufactured Home Factory

Manufactured Home Factory

Foundation

Unlike traditional homes, which are built on a concrete foundation, manufactured homes are transported on permanent metal chassis or frames. When it arrives at the job site, contractors carefully level the manufactured home on top of supporting materials like concrete blocks and wood beams. While the homes themselves may be subject to tight rules, the foundations may not be up to par. If contractors place piers incorrectly or utilize material that is insufficient for the weight, problems may occur over time. We usually check the foundations of modular h

omes first.

Another common issue with prefab foundations is anchoring. Because these small homes aren’t attached to their foundation, manufactured homes should have anchors or tie downs straps that secure them to the ground to secure them.

 

Crawlspace

The small crawlspace beneath a manufactured home is often surrounded by a simple skirt. Many of these are thin or rotted through, making it easy for the elements and pests to penetrate and inflict harm.

The majority of the space beneath a mobile home is pre-wrapped in a waterproof membrane, which allows ducts, pipes, and wire to pass through. Pest infestations and environmental deterioration are common, compromising the structural integrity of your home. A thorough vapor barrier should be installed beneath the prefab, exactly like in a residential crawlspace.  Very often is absent, does not go to the foundation walls, or is damaged.

Major Systems

Because prefabs are so compact, many of the major systems, such as the HVAC and water heater, are small and sometimes difficult to find and service. I was recently at a mobile home and discovered that the hot water heater was behind the washing machine in a concealed panel. A fast online search and the information on the Data Plate can help locate these systems.

Attic

Although most manufactured homes do have attics, they are usually small and difficult to access. Because of their tiny size, they frequently have insulation concerns, which can result in frozen pipes on cold Middle Tennessee winter days.

 

Roof

The thin tin roofs of older model homes from the 1960s to the 1980s may not be safe to walk on and can corrode through over time. The engineers at Middle Tennessee Inspections typically will use a ladder to inspect the roof at the eave. We also use our drone! Metal or asphalt shingle roofs are commonly used in newer models and are inspected mostly like any other home

 

Plumbing and Materials

Building materials in older mobile homes may be of poor quality. Plumbing issues, as well as gaps in the cooling and heating ducts, are frequently discovered. Mobile homes built through the 1970’s were mostly built with fiberboard, which is readily flammable and has no insulation.  There usually is significant wear and tear from the past 40-50 years.

 

Data Plate

Each transportable piece of all manufactured homes must include a ‘data plate’ that indicates when it was created. A label with information about the manufacturer, including the serial number, will be located near the electrical panel or closet.

Manufactured Home Data Plate

Manufactured Home Data Plate

 

 

Transportation Stress

While they design manufactured homes to be sturdy enough to survive a ‘road trip’, cracks and fractures are still common.  The house was at one time on wheels and under a lot of stress. It was transferred from a different lot or a manufacturing facility. Roof and plumbing leaks, and glass window cracks have been observed.

 

Summary

Mobile Home

Mobile Home

Manufactured homes or great alternative for the new homebuyer as well as someone who once a quick home solution.  They can be slick in design, well insulated, and offer many floor plans.  They can make that perfect home.  The engineers at Middle Tennessee Inspections can ensure that you have it for many many years

 

 

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