Why doesn’t a mobile home last long? What’s not to blame:
Manufactured homes are made predominantly out of wood and metal. But traditional homes are also made out of wood and metal. So, why would the former be temporary while the latter is permanent?
Yes, it’s a given that the mobile homes are much lighter than the stick-built homes because they don’t come with bricks and other masonry features like fireplaces. Additionally, mobile homes have a reduced framing design, making them weigh less. However, the actual materials used for the two types of housing are the same.
The construction process
The design of a mobile home is not meant to be temporary. However, unlike a traditional home built on a foundation that has the possibility of cracking, mobile homes are placed on a metal chassis that is bound to last, well, forever.
The process used to make mobile homes requires a team of craftsmen, technicians, and assemblers to work in the same home until completion. They pay close attention to rigidity, especially regarding walls, roofs and floors and with the components cut to precision. With this kind of craftsmanship, the quality and durability of the home increases. The building process for mobile homes takes place in a controlled environment making them even more durable.
Mobile home standards
Mobile homes must meet highly regulated construction standards. Since 1976, the federal rules and regulations for mobile homes have pushed manufacturers to implement quality control that improves durability. The National Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards address the home construction and design. The federal rules also require that mobile homes meet the strength and durability test. Warranties are issued to homeowners to protect against certain defects.
Consequently, neither the materials nor the building process of a mobile home compromises its longevity. Yet we know that the average age of a mobile home is 30-55 years. So what exactly affects the life of a mobile home?
Factors that negatively impact a mobile home’s lifespan and value:
If your mobile home was not installed properly, the structural integrity of the entire home will be compromised. Over time, the effects of poor installation will begin to show. These include the problems we’ll mention below, but it’s important to keep in mind that those problems may stem from when the home was originally placed. Whether you’re moving into a brand-new mobile home or a used one, get an inspection to make sure it was installed properly. If not, then with the right corrective steps, you may be able to make your home last that much longer.
The foundation of your mobile home can affect its lifespan. If your foundation is shifting due to poor construction or movement in the soil, then this could weaken the framework of the house. Furthermore, if your mobile home is resting on piers, then it’s a likely candidate for un-leveling. When a mobile home is not level, the doors don’t shut properly, walls tend to crack, and leaks occur in plumbing.
One of the major culprits in mobile home damage is water. Whether it is a leaking pipe or a leaking roof, water can cause extensive damage to a mobile home. Because of its exposed underbelly, mobile homes are easily affected by the elements. Cold weather can freeze plumbing while hot weather can create humidity and mold problems. Animals will take advantage of a mobile home’s easy access to shelter, damaging insulation, electrical, etc.
How to extend the life of your mobile home
Here’s the good news. Since we know that materials and construction aren’t to blame, it is possible for you to extend the life of your mobile home. The average age may be 30-55 years, but yours could outlast that. Here are a few tips to make that happen:
- Choose your location wisely. Not only does a good location increase the likeliness that your home will be placed on a properly-laid foundation, it will also help your home maintain its value. Properties of any kind gain value by the neighborhood their location.
- Have a yearly inspection completed to check that your home is level. This is especially important after any kind of incident that may have caused your foundation to shift. For example, earthquakes, floods, etc.
- Maintain and upgrade your roof. Your roof is one of the most important features of your home, shielding you from the elements above. Reseal and re-coat your roof regularly to prevent leaks. While you are at it, inspect and clean out the gutters too.
- Install skirting to insulate your home and protect it from pests. The skirting should be ventilated to prevent mold and keep humidity from damaging the home.
- Keep up on general maintenance. Problems can quickly snowball and before you know it, your home is in need of a major overhaul. Not only does this wear on your mobile home, but it decreases its value (and consequently its lifespan) as well.
- Remodel or upgrade your home’s plumbing system, electrical, flooring, lighting, etc. to keep it up-to-date and looking like new.
When should you scrap your home?
When your mobile home needs too many repairs that surpass the value, you may need to cut your losses. For instance, if you experience a heavy infestation of mold, pests, water damage that undermines the foundation or roof damages from a storm, wind or rot, it might not be feasible to do repairs. You could try to sell, but if you’re unable to find a buyer, it might be best just to scrap it and sell it in pieces.
Some mobile home parks have a limit on the age of your mobile home. If your home is too old, you’ll find that it is probably too expensive to move it as well. If this is the case, you’ll need to sell it to someone willing to remove it or scrap it yourself.
So, how long does a mobile home last?
The simple answer is that mobile homes usually last between 30 to 55 years. But the real answer to “how long does a mobile home last” is that it depends. It depends solely on how well you take care of it. If you give it the same treatment as you would a site-built home, then it will last just as long. If you neglect repairs, because of physical or financial hardships, then the quality of your home will suffer. Take care of your home and it will take care of you.