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Old 09-18-2015, 10:10 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
17,882 posts, read 54,180,694 times
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There is a difference in names. After WWII in particular (but even before that) pre-fab homes were homes that were shipped like Ikea furniture, flat but with the main wall units already made, to be erected and joined at the site over a standard foundation and floor. Construction standards were just about identical to any development or tract home.

A mobile home from the 1980s and earlier is obviously narrow in width (10' to 12'), almost always single wide and with really thin walls and often composition board interiors.

I can't imagine the two being confused.
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Old 09-18-2015, 11:01 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
9,421 posts, read 17,398,135 times
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Modulars REALLY vary from one manufacturer to the next. I'm a home inspector and am in dozens of modular homes each month. Almost none of them here are anything I'd want to live in, and my home is pretty small -- smaller than most of the modulars I inspect.

Let me add that the big majority of modulars I inspect are on pier footings rather than on a standard concrete foundation. Floors creak and bow and simply don't feel solid to walk across. That's 90% of the modulars I see. The others are on the same foundation as any stick-built home and feel more solid to walk in, but still not as solid as my own home. Most of them also use the cheapest siding, shingles, HVAC systems, cabinetry, flooring, etc. that they can and still meet minimum codes.

My sister and her husband are farmers. They decided 20 years ago that they wanted a new home, but they wanted it built in the same spot where their old farm house sat. Money was of little concern (they own 2500 acres of Iowa's finest), but they didn't want to be living in a motel for several months while the old house was torn down and the new one built. They decided on buying a modular but spent some time finding the best builder they could. (Hubby was a home-builder before they bought their first farm, so he recognizes quality construction or lack thereof.) They bought the best quality they could find and set it on a full basement. They were only displaced for 2 weeks.

I admit that it feels like a stick-built home on the inside. It's a nice home. But it still looks like a modular, especially on the outside. For them it was a trade-off, take a lesser home and not be displaced for months.
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Old 09-19-2015, 12:06 AM
 
9,266 posts, read 11,837,381 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WyoNewk View Post
Let me add that the big majority of modulars I inspect are on pier footings rather than on a standard concrete foundation. Floors creak and bow and simply don't feel solid to walk across. That's 90% of the modulars I see. The others are on the same foundation as any stick-built home and feel more solid to walk in, but still not as solid as my own home. Most of them also use the cheapest siding, shingles, HVAC systems, cabinetry, flooring, etc. that they can and still meet minimum codes.
That is not because they are modular. What you are describing can be found in any stick built home as well. You're talking the quality of the materials and amenities the BUYER chose for their home based on their BUDGET not just because it's modular. I have seen garbage minimum code stick built homes and I have seen exceeded all codes and are solid as a rock modulars.
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Old 09-19-2015, 02:22 PM
 
323 posts, read 609,687 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WyoNewk View Post
Let me add that the big majority of modulars I inspect are on pier footings rather than on a standard concrete foundation. Floors creak and bow and simply don't feel solid to walk across. That's 90% of the modulars I see. The others are on the same foundation as any stick-built home and feel more solid to walk in, but still not as solid as my own home. Most of them also use the cheapest siding, shingles, HVAC systems, cabinetry, flooring, etc. that they can and still meet minimum codes.
If you are talking piers, I am thinking you are talking mobile/manufactured homes and not modulars. Modulars require a solid perimeter foundation (slab, crawl space, basement), the same as stick built. There are some exceptions--I know at least one company that builds coastal homes designed to go on piers--but a pier foundation is atypical for a modular. If people in your neck of the woods really are putting modulars on piers, no wonder you aren't impressed!
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Old 09-19-2015, 04:48 PM
 
Location: Texas
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Modular and manufactured by definition
Modular vs. Manufactured Homes - InterNACHI

You also have panel wall construction which also different from stick built in that the wall framing comes as a unit and is just stood up on the foundation. We do a lot of panel wall here. Saves time and materials. I can frame, deck, cornice, and punch a 3500 sq ft 2 story in two days and have it ready for frame inspection. The panels come to us with plate top and bottom and the wall sheathing. The top plates are then run and we also use a metal corner or plate where the panels come together. Any bracing is installed by us, usually Simpson T Bracing. That's a 6 man crew and a crane or skylift as we call them.
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