Modular Homes - A waste of wood

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I went and looked at some of these modular homes, and found they are very costly compared to stick built homes. But the sales people insisted they are better. I was allowed to go to one of the sites where they were placing a home on the foundation. What I saw was a house built of all sorts of oddly sized lumber covered with lots of particle board. The roofs are hinged and when they are lifted into place, they are extremely flimsy. The siding is plastic, and looked cheap. The amount of damage that occurred during setting the home on the foundation was hard to believe. They cracked some of the sill plates, busted off the pvc sewer drain pipes, ripped out some wiring and crushed at least half of the furnace ducting. The walls cracked noticably, and when the roof was hinged into place, several rows of shingles were torn and damaged. The guys doing the work said this was all normal and they repair everything after the house is set.
I dont know about you, but a new home should not be patched together and require a hundred or more repairs.
I also noticed that they joining walls end up being almost 10 inches thick and consist of way too much lumber. In fact, in order to keep these homes in one piece during the move, they all consist of way too much lumber. In the end, the house looks attractive, but they are not structurally sound, and are filled with flaws, patched items and other defects.
I decided that I will build a stick built home which will be superior and in the end, much less costly. I know my home will outlast all of those modulars too.
J Tamier
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I went and looked at some of these modular homes, and found they are very costly compared to stick built homes. But the sales people insisted they are better. I was allowed to go to one of the sites where they were placing a home on the foundation. What I saw was a house built of all sorts of oddly sized lumber covered with lots of particle board. The roofs are hinged and when they are lifted into place, they are extremely flimsy. The siding is plastic, and looked cheap. The amount of damage that occurred during setting the home on the foundation was hard to believe. They cracked some of the sill plates, busted off the pvc sewer drain pipes, ripped out some wiring and crushed at least half of the furnace ducting. The walls cracked noticably, and when the roof was hinged into place, several rows of shingles were torn and damaged. The guys doing the work said this was all normal and they repair everything after the house is set.
I dont know about you, but a new home should not be patched together and require a hundred or more repairs.
I also noticed that they joining walls end up being almost 10 inches thick and consist of way too much lumber. In fact, in order to keep these homes in one piece during the move, they all consist of way too much lumber. In the end, the house looks attractive, but they are not structurally sound, and are filled with flaws, patched items and other defects.
I decided that I will build a stick built home which will be superior and in the end, much less costly. I know my home will outlast all of those modulars too.
J Tamier
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On Wed, 10 Jan 2007 08:14:36 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

A friend of mine purchased a modular a few years ago; 2 story, anout 2500 square feet. The house came in 4 sections, and the assembly crew did a superb job. They did NO damage; everything fit together as it should, and worked as it should. Unless you watched the assembly, you can't tell by looking wither inside or out that it's a modular. I can't comment on lasting; it's 8 years old now, and I KNOW they've had no problems.
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like everything its a balance between money and quality. both build and assembly.
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<...snipped...>

Yeah, well, remember the 3 little pigs and the big bad wolf? I will build a BRICK home and it will outlast the stick-built!
--
No dumb questions, just dumb answers.

Larry Wasserman - Baltimore, Maryland - snipped-for-privacy@charm.net
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odd a buddy of mine watched a bunch of neighbors home be demolished for interstate construction.
he reported wood homes were harder to demolish than brick, his theory was the wood siding helps hold everything together better.
sadly the tore down most of the homes and moved a few.
my buddy came within a few feet of losing his........
then they didnt need much of the vacated land. what a waste
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I heard rumors these homes are of poor quality. They look great on the outside. Posts like this can save you so many problems if you take the time and do some research.
miker

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miker wrote:

Posts like this typically represent nothing more than the rantings of a paranoid low end site builder and are utterly worthless.
Just like with site builders, quality varies tremendously which is why you have to carefully investigate any builder you are considering, whether they are site built or modular. Whether site built or modular, outside of the few builders using SIPs, both type are "stick" built.
The modular are "stick" built inside a very large building using accurate jigs and cutting and are protected from weather. This means that despite the false claims of "waste" and excess material at section joints, they actually save material by eliminating the typical site built waste from mistakes and less than ideal cuts.
The modular do have the limitations of transportable size to contend with, but this doesn't affect quality, it only affects design options. Even here, the high end modular homes often include site built portions for design elements that are too big to transport effectively in a factory built configuration.
Since everyone builds to the same building code, all of the homes whether site built, modular or hybrid are entirely safe, structurally sound and to code. High end homes of either type typically exceed code requirements by a significant amount, giving the impression that the lower end homes are sub standard, but this is simply not the case.
For any given quality level a modular home is often superior in measurable ways, from more precise framing, to faster construction with lower labor costs, to the elimination of the risk of having your freshly framed house rained on before it is sheathed and closed in. It even eliminates most of the builders and subcontractors risk of tools stolen from the job site.
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I have heard from several other people, not just this forum post that modular homes are not the way to go. Its true that the quality can vary from different builders by having it just meet code is scary. I remember one guy telling me that you can actually break into one of these homes with an xacto knife. The hightech lightweight materials used today make it easy. How knows it these is any thruth to this but it made me laugh.
miker

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miker wrote:

Again, mostly rumor spread by site builders and bad experiences from low end modular which is no better or worse than low end site built.

There is nothing wrong with a home that "just meets code", unless you overpay for it. Not everyone needs or can afford an overbuilt mansion.

That concept also applies to virtually all site built homes as well. People try to secure the hell out of the obvious things like doors and windows while ignoring other areas that are plenty vulnerable.

The same hightech lightweight materials use on most site built homes as well.

The truth is that there are adequate homes and there are high end homes and both classes can be found in both site and modular building techniques.
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mike snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com says...

I've seen stick-built houses the same way. Sheetrock interior, studs/insulation, foam board, then vinyl siding.
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Keith

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krw wrote:

Yep. The US government is actually promoting this in order to reduce the amount of wood used in a typical house, as well as to increase the average R-value of a given wall.
There was an article in Fine Homebuilding a while back.
Chris
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says... |krw wrote: | |> I've seen stick-built houses the same way. Sheetrock interior, |> studs/insulation, foam board, then vinyl siding. |
The first time I saw this was a new house in 1982. The technique scared the heck out of me.
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snipped-for-privacy@xxcitlink.net says...

I saw it shortly after that.

Likewise!
--
Keith

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On Thu, 11 Jan 2007 03:11:06 GMT, Steven Stone

I can't see why, as long as they're putting in appropriate diagonal bracing.
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Yeah, but if you are referring to the same Fine Homebuilding issue that I am, then you may recall that the foam was on top of the wooden sheathing (not in place of)
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Here's the reality;
Stick-built home.... $250,000
Modular home..... $65,000
We all wish we could afford stick-built.
<rj>
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wrote:

I am not in the business as a builder at all. At the same time I know how to build, and am capable of building my own home except the foundation. I did my shopping and am telling what I found. As far as doing the building inside being easier for the workers, I will agree because there is not the chance of weather issues. I also know that rain can cause problems when building a stick home. On the other hand, people have built stick homes forever and they all survived. If they are built properly, so the roof is covered before any interior work, there should not be any problems.
These modular homes had 2x3 studs on the interior walls, where the units connect together. They leave a large gap in between them. so the end result is about a 10 inch thick wall, which is ugly and the two halves are never fully attached, only the floor. I went back and looked at the place when it was completed, since they had an "open house". The roofing shingles that were patched did not match precisely in color. The patched cracks in the walls were noticable, several cabinet and room doors did nto fit right, the siding showed a noticable patch where the two halves were joined, and the siding on the two halves did not line up well, I saw the broken pipes in the basement had been patched together with fernco couplings rather than solid glue joints, and the crushed furnace duct still contained sections that were dented and had been pounded out. The basement had steel posts every 8 feet or so, which really cuts the basement up. When I asked why there are so many posts, they said that it's required on those homes, which tells me there is no real structural soundness, since must stick built homes have 2 or 3 posts at most. The carpeting which was installed at the factory was coated with mud from when it was set, there was a ton of garbage that was apparently used to protect and reinforce the pieces during shipping (and the buyer does pay for all of that). I could go on with all the defects I saw.....
When they were setting the place, the workers just let things break and really did not seem to care. Sure, there are probably other companies that are more careful, but even if that's the case, I was not at all impressed by these homes, and they cost a fortune compared to traditional construction. I know I will never buy one of them. In reality, they are nothing more than glorified large versions of trailer homes.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Hmmm.... It sounds like your beef is with the installers....
OTOH, last time I checked, on a square foot basis, these homes cost about 1/4 of a stick built home. You add HVAC, foundation, etc., and the final cost is still about 60% of a stick built home. I'm not sure where you get your figures.
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CptDondo wrote:

What figures? It's all hype and conjecture, perhaps based on looking at a single example of a low end modular home.
Look at a comparable low end site built home and you'll find all the same issues. Look at a high end home, site built or modular and you'll find none of these issues.
The cost comments are of course wild nonsense as any examples of comparable quality construction between site built and modular always show significant cost savings with modular.
If I were to build a new home today, I would build it myself, using ICF construction for much of it. I would rent a warehouse bay in a nearby industrial area and I would "modular" build a good deal in this bay myself to truck over to the site. It would be closer to "panelized" construction so I could lift the sections with a rental telehandler instead of a full fledged crane.
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