If you are buying a new manufactured home, you will need to decide which company will be building your new home. You want a home that is within your budget and built with solid construction and quality workmanship. Being an informed consumer and researching the homes, builders, and dealerships can help you make the best choices.
Construction quality varies by model and region. Manufactured home builders offer models that range drastically in price, size, and construction quality. Lower priced homes will not have the same building composition that a site built home offers. Builders would never make a profit if they offered those options at the lowest price.
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Roof pitch is determined by the raise of the roof for every foot of the run. A 4/12 pitch means the roof raises 4 inches every foot from end to center.
Site built homes have roofs from 4/12 and go all the way up to 12/12. Most professionals correlate higher pitches with better construction, meaning the roofs can withstand more weight.
If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, you want a higher roof pitch. Those in the mild winter areas, probably don't need high pitched roofs.
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Insulation is rated by the R number or R-value. A higher R-value means the insulation holds heat better or has better thermal resistance.
There are four types of insulation used in a manufactured home: roof, ceiling, walls, and flooring.
HUD code requires every home to have a minimum R-value for each type, or location, of the insulation. Roofs must have a minimum R-value of 14. Ceilings, walls, and floors must use a minimum of a 7 R-value insulation.
Upgrading the home's insulation is a smart decision, especially if you live in cold climate areas. You can easily make up the cost of upgrading with lower heating costs.
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The framing of a home is very important. Framing gives the home strength and shape.
Most professionals recommend a minimum of 2x6 inch framing on a 16-inch center (2x6" 16" OC). This allows ample insulation and provides strength.
The smaller 2x4 inch framing is mostly used in the lowest priced models, and it is often recommended that a buyer upgrades to the 2x6 inch.
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Subflooring, Carpeting, and Vinyl
There are several varieties of subflooring used in manufactured homes, and all must meet the HUD code minimum by having at least a 7 R-value. This would be a smart place to upgrade, especially if you live in cold climate areas. You can increase the R-value and the strength of the flooring in the home.
The standard 3/8 inch particle board installed with staples and water-soluble glue should be upgraded to at least 5/8 inch thickness. If possible, insist on waterproof glue and screws instead of staples.
Carpet quality is graded by its weight. They use a system of ounces, the higher the ounce weight, the better. Standard carpeting in a manufactured home usually has a weight, or rating, of 15 ounces or less. If long-lasting carpeting is important to you, you will want at least a 21-ounce carpeting.
Padding quality is determined by thickness and weight. However, instead of using weight measurement in ounces, like carpet, they use pounds. Standard manufactured home padding is less than 3/8" foam. You probably want at least a five pound 7/16 inch thick padding.
Choosing the Best Home for You
Knowing what upgrades to choose can help you buy the best-manufactured home for you and your family. Keep in mind that aesthetics rarely matter in the long run. Those stylish faucets you want will likely be outdated in a few short years. Instead, focus on higher construction quality. You want a home that will keep your family comfortable for many years and have a strong resale value. Both are possible when you take the time to research and make your decisions as an informed consumer.