Take Care of Your Manufactured Home
Your factory-built home can give you years of comfortable living.
Home ownership has always been part of the American dream. One popular face of home ownership is the manufactured home, formerly called a mobile home. Manufactured homes appeal to many people because of their lower cost and ease of entry into home ownership.
According to the latest U.S. Census housing survey, there are approximately 8.5 million manufactured homes in the United States.
Mobile or manufactured?
A manufactured home is assembled in a factory on a metal frame and transported to the housing site on its own wheels. These homes have been stigmatized because of “trailer” and “mobile home” stereotypes, yet well-built manufactured housing can be attractive and more energy efficient than some site-built homes.
The difference came in 1976 when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development created standards for mobile home construction resulting in higher quality and durability. A factory-built home that follows these guidelines and was constructed after June 15, 1976, is considered a manufactured home. Those built before that date are considered a mobile home and were typically built with lower standards of quality.
Maintenance and upgrades
Any home requires maintenance to keep it in optimum condition, and manufactured homes are no different. Here are some ways you can maintain – if not increase – the comfort, energy efficiency and value of a manufactured home.
- Maintain the skirting for energy efficiency and protecting the underside of the home.
- Upgrade windows, doors and insulation to add value and reduce energy costs.
- Install higher quality plumbing fixtures such as standard faucets and sinks.
- Make sure your home is level. If doors don’t close properly, windows don’t fit right, floors squeak when walked on or you notice cracks in walls or ceilings, your home may not be level.
- Keep the exterior clean to avoid stains or other damage to the walls.
- Make sure you home has a thick plastic sheet called a "belly wrap" covering its entire underside. This prevents moisture buildup, which can damage the home and cause the insulation to fall. Check periodically to make sure there are no holes or tears where rodents and insects can enter.
- Use brick or block underpinning to hide pipes and wheels. This also helps guard against rodents, and is more durable than vinyl.
- Wrap all exposed water pipes with heat tape to prevent pipeline freeze.
When repairs are needed
Even with regular maintenance, some parts of your home will eventually need repair. When they do, remember that manufactured homes aren’t built the same as other homes. Before you start any major work – such as replacing siding or roofing or attaching a carport or porch – check with a contractor who specializes in manufactured housing to make sure you're not doing more harm than good or damaging the structural integrity of your home.