Through my career, I have inspected hundreds of manufactured home installations, but not too many as of late. That is why I jumped at the chance to travel west and look over 10 recently installed manufactured homes. I wanted to share what I learned with all of you.
Over the course of the week, I had the opportunity to meet with several installers, retailers and other industry representatives. Their knowledge and professionalism was impressive! They were proud of their installations, quick to answer questions, and eager to see if there was any information that I could share with them. These folks represent the industry well as evidenced by their work.
Next were the homeowners. While only about half were home during my visits, when given the chance to talk about their homes, they had nothing but good things to say. They love their homes and they were sure willing to talk about it!
Also impressive were many of the installation techniques I observed.
Most homes used some type of anchor and strap tie down system. I was pleasantly surprised to see that almost every home had strap protection where the straps wrapped around the main beams.
The concrete work was very well done. The concrete footings were smooth and level, providing a great surface for piers.
Multi-section homes were well finished, joints were tight, trim and drywall were first rate, in fact it was difficult to find the mate line once you were inside the homes.
Ok, but what about areas needing a little improvement?
Site grading. It was easy to see where the term “flatlander” comes from. Most sites were completely flat. And since the sites are so flat, little or no excavation is needed. I suggest that a couple loads of fill dirt be included with every job to achieve that “turtle back” effect that is needed to get the water to flow away from all four sides of the home.
Pier construction. Overall the piers were great, with a few small concerns. Several homes used ¾” thick 8” x 16” wood or 1″ concrete cap blocks or spacers on-top of the cap blocks. Most Manufacturers Installation Manuals require nominal 2” x 8” x 16” lumber or 2” or 4” concrete for cap blocks and 2” lumber or concrete spacers. Check your installation manual to make sure you are using the proper cap and spacer material.
On that same note, I noticed some undersized hardwood shims. Again, don’t trust me, check your manual, but 4” wide x 6” long is what most require.
Dryer venting. I saw a few crushed ducts, and one duct that was blocked by the first course of siding. I also ran across a few folks using the foil duct material. See my post Clothes Dryers- What Every Installer Must Know! for more information on this topic.
It was a very wet and busy week, topped off by a cancelled flight and an all-night drive to get home. But I am extremely fortunate to have had the chance to meet and work with such professional manufactured home installers, retailers and representatives. I hope to get the chance to work with all of them again soon.