U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > House
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 04-07-2015, 08:31 PM
 
Location: Washington DC
146 posts, read 360,645 times
Reputation: 69

Advertisements

I've seen a lot of "McMansions" in my life (outside only), although it's actually hard for me to tell the difference between a real mansion and a McMansion. When driving by Mc/mansions, I've always been impressed at how nice they look, how shiny the windows look, etc. The same goes for nice, affulent-looking suburbs.

So, when I read online that many McMansions are in bad shape/poorly built, it shocked me a bit. I have a few questions; sorry in advance if there's so many questions!

a) Are ALL McMansions poorly built? I find that hard to believe, especially if those cost $500k-2m.

b) How can you tell it's actually a McMansion vs. a real mansion/larger suburb house?

c) How can you tell if the inside of a McMansion was poorly made/built? My distant cousin's house was arguably a McMansion (built in the early 90s), but it was very nice inside and didn't feel "weak" or fragile at all.

d) Speaking of which, I've seen so many complaints about suburb/McMansion houses being so poorly built that they feel like "dollhouses", ready to collapse at the slightest odd movement... is it really that bad? I'm not sure I've ever been inside an actual McMansion, with the possible exception of my cousin's house, and it was fine. I didn't pay much attention, but it felt like a normal house.

It's just so weird that such nice-looking suburbs like: 1) link, 2) link are possibly poorly built. Again, is there a way to tell?

e) Are those McMansions? 1) link, 2) link, 3) link, 4) link? It's hard to believe that those really nice-looking houses won't last 20-30 years; I've always thought houses, especially expensive/nice-looking ones, were built to last 50+ years.

Sorry for the "heavy" post, but I hope you can answer all my questions!

Last edited by Andy1369; 04-07-2015 at 08:42 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 04-07-2015, 08:47 PM
 
Location: Englewood, FL
1,268 posts, read 2,489,951 times
Reputation: 1106
Most McMansions are around 3000-5000 SF which is nowhere near true mansion size, which I consider to be closer to 10,000 SF+.

My definition of a McMansion are the homes you linked in the first section: Large houses built by a production builder, in a neighborhood of similar homes, on very small lots relative to house size, with insufficient landscaping.

Link 1 & 2 in your second group shows homes that were most likely custom designed, and built by a custom home builder, usually a local builder, on a larger lot (proportionate to house size), with impressive landscaping.

There's nothing wrong with McMansions but they have a bad rep mainly because they lack the charm and character that custom or historic homes have, and they are in "cookie cutter" neighborhoods where the houses all look very similar.

This is what I consider to be a real mansion: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/photo...ction-15970661
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-07-2015, 09:15 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
29,749 posts, read 54,373,866 times
Reputation: 31035
McMansions are typically plopped into a standard size lot, and look out of place, because they are so much bigger than the other homes around them, out-of-scale. Around here all of the new developments are 3,000-4,000 sf homes on 6-10,000 sf lots, but even wth the smaller lots they fit in with the neighboring homes so do not qualify. They are simply big tract homes. McMansions are not necessarily poorly built, in fact they are often custom homes with fine finishes and details.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-07-2015, 09:31 PM
 
Location: Northampton, Mass.
701 posts, read 963,337 times
Reputation: 658
McMansions come in a wide range of quality--I have seen some that are built quite poorly and/or with cheap materials and I have also seen ones built very well and with a lot of custom, high end work. McMansions usually are built by developers (though the term might be applied to a lone, semi-custom made house) using generic, readily available designs and floor plans, perhaps with slight modifications.
I guess what separates these from a "true" mansion is they are usually in a development of similar houses of recent vintage and tend to be around 2500-5000 Sq Ft....where as a 'true' mansion is more secluded, on a lot measured in acres, not fractions of, and tends to be custom designed and built with high end materials; it will be large, above 8,000 to 10,000 square feet. It may be old or new, but the older it is, the more 'status' it has as being a true mansion.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-07-2015, 09:39 PM
 
Location: Sugarmill Woods , FL
6,235 posts, read 5,892,396 times
Reputation: 13647
With new building codes and building inspections, I don't know how a poorly built a house can be erected and pass inspections. There can be large variations as far as level of finish, but as far as not being well built I just don't buy it.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-07-2015, 10:01 PM
 
Location: Washington DC
146 posts, read 360,645 times
Reputation: 69
How about link #3 in the second group of my question with links? That's my distant cousin's former house...does it scream McMansion or not?

Also, how can you tell if a McMansion is well or poorly built from the outside/inside? Shaky floors? Can anyone who has been in a McMansion/nice suburb house say they walked through and felt like the house was fragile/a dollhouse?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-07-2015, 10:11 PM
 
39,443 posts, read 40,743,367 times
Reputation: 16238
I had to live in Mcmansion for about 6 months after a fire, it was the only size house that could fit us as our house was just as big but a double block occupied on both sides. I wouldn't call it poorly built but it was certainly showing a lot issues after about 10 years.

The tile in that house for example was absolutely fantastic, no cracks etc and there was a lot of it. Someone knew what they were doing. They skimped on the doors and many of them didn't close properly. In particular they had two sliding pocket doors and they must of used the very cheapest hardware they could find. Same thing with the bathroom fixtures, cheap and showing their age. The basement had a leak and there was exterior issues like falling down retaining wall and poorly installed deck that needed some help.

Overall it wasn't bad and nothing that could not fixed of course had they not built such a large house to begin with perhaps they could have splurged on some good bathroom fixtures. I would imagine it cost at least $400k to build and in my area that's a lot, that house would easily go for 1.5 to 2 million in really good neighborhood near NYC. It was on the market at the time and they were asking $325, saw in the paper it sold for something like $225. Not a very good investment for 10 years, house prices have not really dropped here at all even after the meltdown in 2008.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-07-2015, 11:11 PM
 
Location: Northampton, Mass.
701 posts, read 963,337 times
Reputation: 658
Quote:
Originally Posted by froglipz View Post
With new building codes and building inspections, I don't know how a poorly built a house can be erected and pass inspections. There can be large variations as far as level of finish, but as far as not being well built I just don't buy it.
Enforcement of codes vary place to place in terms of how vigilant and ethical the inspectors are.
I am not talking so much of serious hazards or code violations as just a lot of "cut corners", yet are passable for the building inspector, or using cheaper, inappropriate materials (ie not suited for the climate, etc.) but are not necessarily in violation of building codes..
For example, one housing development near me, built in 1990, was done by a builder based in Florida. They were building a condo complex using the same design they had used for one in the middle of Florida a few years earlier.
Instead of reconfiguring the designs and specifications to take into consideration the New England climate (as opposed to Florida), they built it just as it specified...well, there was a problem. The balconies were not designed for snow---they were just open to the air, and they had no opening at the base of the railing to allow snow to melt and drain off, or a way to easily shovel it away. The drain was useless for snow melt, though it worked for rain. Also, the wood used for the railings was not pressure treated, was not caulked properly, so they rotted fairly quickly and all of the balconies in the entire complex had to be replaced for these reasons. The replacements have openings below the balusters and the option to install removable glass and screen panels for winter. None of this was against local codes, but it creatred much incovenience for the mostly elderly residents.

You'd be surprised how often things are overlooked by inspectors in new housing going up....many just do not have the time to look each house in detail. Sometimes the contractors or builders pay them off to give them more leeway.
This is by no means standard practice, but it goes on much more often than it should.

Last edited by Austin023; 04-07-2015 at 11:20 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-08-2015, 06:14 AM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
4,893 posts, read 7,652,237 times
Reputation: 4508
I have a different definition of McMansion. To me, a McMansion is poorly designed, and garish. Parts of the house will seem out of proportion, and/or they will mix or misuse architectural elements (often, these architectural elements are plastic/pvc) in an attempt to look overly impressive, or monumental.

I wouldn't consider any of the houses in the OP to be McMansions. I don't like most of them (the second #2 is OK, IMO) and don't like how the garage door seems to be the first thing I notice in most of them, but to each his/her own. At least they don't have: plastic gargoyles/lions, Palladian windows that don't line up between the first and second floor, 30 foot tall columns that are 6 inches in diameter, (and are "supporting" a stone veneer wall) Victorian gingerbread tacked onto an otherwise Tuscan styled house, etc.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-08-2015, 08:09 AM
 
2,060 posts, read 1,303,416 times
Reputation: 10017
None of the houses you linked to above look like McMansions to me. The first two are horrible cookie-cutter homes with no yards and focus on the garage. Around here, those aren't very big and are less desirable than older construction where people actually have yards and some personality (the homes, not the people! lol).

In your second list, 1, 2 and 4 might be McMansions, I suppose.

I think of McMansions as large homes, quickly/poorly constructed, on too-small lots with limited/new landscaping. Most that I see seem to focus on the doodads on the front facade (columns! dormers! bay window!) instead of having substance all around. It's just "hey look! I have a big house!"

I've heard from people who bought the new construction - McMansions included - that the materials and craftsmanship are worse now than years ago across the board.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > House
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top