Today’s manufactured homes have a life expectancy of 30 to 55 years, depending on the level of maintenance, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Although that maybe a true lifespan estimate, but there are a number of variables other than owner care that will affect how long a mobile home lasts:
- The HUD projection was based on today’s standards for mobile home construction. They established a nationwide building code for manufactured homes in 1976, and have ratcheted up the construction standards every few years since then. Newer homes are built to be more windstorm and fire resistant, along with other requirements that make the homes sturdier overall.
- While an aging mobile home may still be habitable, there are several downsides to continuing to maintain it. Lack of adequate insulation is one problem. Older mobiles are notorious for high utility bills during the winter heating or sweltering summer seasons. Many have 60 or 100-amp electric panels, which are marginally adequate for today’s higher electric usage. Also, the floor plans often feel cramped by modern standards, with narrow hallways and tiny bathrooms.
- The budget models that offered lots of square footage at an amazingly low price when they were originally purchased will not last as long the more expensive, better quality homes. Lower-priced mobile homes can start to show signs of age within 10 years if poorly maintained. To understand how to tell the difference between the several levels of quality of mobile home construction.
- The conditions at the homesite also affect the longevity of a manufactured home. If the home is installed over ground that is wet for part of the year or the site is not graded so that rainwater will flow away from the home on all sides and it’s prone to puddling water under the home, then moisture will begin to deteriorate the underside of the home prematurely, especially if the bellyboard has been torn open in places. Homes built during the 1980s with fiber-board siding are especially vulnerable to high moisture. To find out how to avoid the mold and wood rot that result from a wet site or other moisture-intrusion problems.
- Remodeling an older mobile home can be a sensible strategy for extending its life, especially if a large part of the budget goes to roofing, siding, insulation, windows, and interior upgrades that will improve both the weather-tightness and livability of the home. For more on remodeling.
In summary, selecting a better quality manufactured home and careful maintenance of both the home and its site are the keys to reaching the 50+ years of longevity for your mobile home that HUD predicts.
For more information about scheduling a home inspection please call us (714) 353-1360 or contact us online