Remember that “talk’ we had about finding the right contractor and building out your team? When it comes to determining whether or not a time-worn manufactured home is well made, extra input from trusted resources can be invaluable.

However, if you would like to arm yourself with a mini-arsenal of information on how to differentiate between poorly constructed and well-built homes, there are certain things to take into consideration and to observe.

Most subject matter experts will promise you it is 100 percent about the specifications and the quality of the material used during the initial construction. They may not wrong in their conviction that the quality and size of the material used is the best input in determining construction quality overall. However, in newer models, we don’t see that the material varies much regardless of the builder.

There are around 61 DIFFERENT manufactured home brands or builders in the United States and of those, only 10 make up the majority of the manufactured US models (about 80 percent). Despite the difference in factory name attached to a home, it is often buying its material from the same suppliers and they are probably both under the same umbrella of manufacturing brand.

This is why we need to diverge beyond construction specs when determining the best builds on manufactured homes.

The Manufacturing House Basics

If the home was built under the umbrella of a reputable manufacturer, it isn’t likely there will be a drastic variation in the quality of the construction and thus, the manufacturing process.

There are specific things to look for, such as:

  • 2×6 with 16″ OC exterior and interior wall studs
  • 9′ Sidewalls with R-19 or more insulation
  • Minimum 12″ eaves; Roof pitch at least 4/12 (the higher the better) along with a minimum of R-38 Insulation
  • Plywood exterior sheathing
  • Tyvek house wrap
  • 50 gallon standard quick-return water heater
  • PEX or copper water lines with a shut off at every water source
  • Plywood decking (sub-flooring) that has been screwed
  • 1/2″ Drywall with thicker molding and trims
  • 25″ wide countertops made from quality material
  • Melamine Cabinets or real wood cabinets with adjustable shelving
  • Corian or Vitreous China bathroom fixtures
  • Sheet metal HVAC ducting
  • Larger front and rear doors

The Installation Process

How a mobile home is installed can make or break the efficacy of the home and its ability to sustain value, as well as the rate by which it depreciates.

When purchasing a used mobile home, unless it is being relocated, you will have no insight into its installation. A good retailer at the initial sale, will have likely worked with the manufacturer to address the issues.

If the retailer was not worth their salt, it likely became a blame game of retailer pointing to manufacturer and manufacturer blaming the installer. The installer will typically direct complaints back to the retailer.

As you can see, having resources to assist in the determination of the quality of a mobile home is important. There are many factors at play and if you do proper research, you’re more likely to buy into stronger overall investments.

MobileHomeLiving.org, “Which Brands Build the Best Manfactured Homes?”, Crystal Adkins, April 22, 2019

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