what is an approximate lifespan?

Indirectly, this is sort of about home repair.
What is a good, workable approximation of the useable lifespan of a mobile home, either single or doublewide? 5yrs? 10yrs? 20yrs? Other?
I'm looking at options for a small vacation place on a lake, and am considering all kinds of construction for cost comparisons. Replacement cost has to be factored into the picture, and that is dependent on lifespan.
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If properly built, installed and maintained, there's no particular reason why its lifespan would be any shorter than any other home.
I'm sure that actuarial tables might show a significant difference (especially since mobile homes appear to be tornado or hurricane magnets ;-), but that's the general view of cheap manufacture and installation, rather than an individual one. It's the individual POV you're really interested in.
So, if you're planning on _getting_ one, pay for quality, and good installation (ie: poured foundations or whatever) and it will last as long as any other home. If you're planning of buying a property with a mobile home already there, get an inspection.
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Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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: : > What is a good, workable approximation of the useable lifespan of a mobile : > home, either single or doublewide? 5yrs? 10yrs? 20yrs? Other? : : > I'm looking at options for a small vacation place on a lake, and am : > considering all kinds of construction for cost comparisons. Replacement : > cost has to be factored into the picture, and that is dependent on : > lifespan. : : If properly built, installed and maintained, there's no particular reason : why its lifespan would be any shorter than any other home. : : I'm sure that actuarial tables might show a significant difference : (especially since mobile homes appear to be tornado or hurricane : magnets ;-), but that's the general view of cheap manufacture and : installation, rather than an individual one. It's the individual POV : you're really interested in. : : So, if you're planning on _getting_ one, pay for quality, and good : installation (ie: poured foundations or whatever) and it will last : as long as any other home. If you're planning of buying a property : with a mobile home already there, get an inspection. : -- : Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est : It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
Yup, agree all the way. If it's a used home, which it sounds like, here are some of the telltale things I've noticed. I have one I lived in during the early eighties until we got our house, and it now sits beside the garage as a storage shed/hide-away.
Get underneath it: -- If the insulation is still there, tightly in place and not sagging more than "normal", that's good. If some places sag, that's bad as it usually will indicate moisture damage and/or running water inside someplace. -- If they're sagging badly, punch thru one with your fist; I'll bet it's good and wet inside. Bad sign. -- If the insulation is removed, which mine is because I didn't want varmints using it to nest in, die in and pee in, plus it wasn't skirted so was subject to the effects of high winds under there, you can look around a lot and look for moisture/water damage. A lot of time roof leaks, vent leaks, bad maintenance, all sorts of things will show up under there. Also check around the drains and water line entries for moisture/water damage.
IMO, water is one of the easiest and most damaging things you can find. It ruins insulation, pulls it loose, stinks, molds, can be home to nests for everything from bumble bees to squirrels and moles and what not. If a wall or piece of insulation ever buzzes like elecrticity when you touch it, beware: Done that, been there, and found a HUGE bumble bee nest! Porches/attachments of any kinds are likely places to look for water leaks too.
Lots of the older ones were wired with aluminum wire. Even after it wasn't legal. Some years passed while the industry used up its grandfathered "already built" mobile homes.
The particle board floors crumble just from humidity: doesn't require actual water on it. That's why the linoleum etc. actually goes under the walls, internal and external walls. I thought it was a building technique, but it's a way to get water (mopping, etc.) to "leak" down and under the trailer where it's not going to be noticeable.
Look at the roof: The metal in the roofs tends to form creases and those will eventually, sooner than later, crease themselves into tears in the metal which, of course leak, but you're unlikely to know it because the plastic vapor barriers are made to carry the water to the sides and on down the walls.
Tires on a roof or evidence thereof indicate an imporperly leveled/positioned trailer - they get used to stop "boinging" which is what you get when the roof loosens because of the structure "warping". Very likely on those sitting on pillars and especially cinder block piles.
Are the axles stil on it or at least nearby? If not, you'll have a hell of a time moving it when it's no longer needed/wanted/usable. I even still hve the tires up inthe garage attic, but I'd be pretty surprised if there was any air still in them. I check the wheels yearly to be sure the bearings still let it turn; they do, amazingly enough. I could put tires on it and drag it out anytime.
Mfgt date on the trailer is 1972, it was bought in '74. When I parked it beside the house bout 1985, I sealed it up to keep water out (there's that water again!) and it's as good as it ever was except the roof is full of slowly growing tears covered with tar, tarpaper and because it goes bouncing around every spring/fall temp swings <g>. Except for one area where I pulled the particle board and replaced it with ply, it's still perfect for protected storage. In fact, with a little work it could be made into a usable living space again, but I've ripped out the furnace to heat our second floor of the house and used the breaker panel for a second panel in the basement <g>. Aluminum wired so nothing was usable there; lots of copper pipe though, and used the heat vents to get hear around my garage from the wood stove, which is now gone; it rusted away <g> a few years ago - a big split in the side opened up.
Them's my coupla cents, anyways; ymmv, I'm sure! So YOU guess how much longer it'll last, and we'll both know! It ain't goin' nowhere soon.
Seriously, I've known lots of people use them for camps and they're great investments. Even with damage, if it's stopped, they can still last quite awhile longer and they're easy to get at things, unlike a built-home.
Pop
--
---
If it ain\'t broke, keep
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Pop,
This was one of your better posts and right on target. Good work.
Colbyt
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RB wrote:

Mobile homes typically decrease in value, regular home increase in value. Manufactured homes (the kind build in pieces and hauled to the site and then put together (not just double-wides) can increase or decrease in value depending on the manufacturer. I wouldn't bet on more than 10-15 years for a mobile home at a vacation spot.
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RB,

We bought a new single wide Redman mobile home in 1991, and lived in it until we sold it in 2004 (13 years). We paid $20,000 for it new, and sold it for $8000. So in our case, it depreciated almost $1000 per year.
Moving costs can be significant. The person who bought ours paid about $4000 to have it moved, in addition to taxes, travel permits, etc. The gal who worked at the permit office said she had to pay over $12000 to have a double-wide moved. So, that's a definite factor to consider.
The biggest problem I had with our mobile was nothing was standardized. Something as simple as a leaky faucet was difficult to repair because I couldn't just run to the local home center and find the part I needed. I had to special order everything, and/or go to mobile home suppliers.
Some of the most significant problems included:
1. External trim was a particle board material, and anywhere it ran horizontally (along the skirting for instance), water sat and rotted it out, taking the siding with it. I replaced the trim with hardiboard, and had to patch the siding behind the trim. Everything got caulked the way it should have been in the first place.
2. The electric water heater was installed in a closet behind a panel. So, we didn't discover until it was too late when the water heater sprung a leak. Of course, the mobile home did not have a drip pan installed, and this ruined a 4' square area of the subfloor. So, I not only had to replace the water heater, but I had to install new flooring and replace some plumbing.
3. In general, all hardware was junk. Doorknobs, cabinet hinges, drawer hardware, etc. all had to be replaced within a year or two.
4. The mobile home was basically "stapled" together, and one of the plastic water lines had been punctured with a staple. It was a very slow leak that didn't show up for a few years.
5. The "garden" bathtub was plastic and cracked after a few years. Because it was a non-standard size (about 4-1/2 feet x 3'), I had to special order from a mobile home supplier.
6. The windows had aluminum frames and sweated badly each winter. This quickly rusted out the balance springs, which had to be replaced every year or two. It also seriously discolored the trim around the inside of the window, despite our best attempts to keep it clean and dry.
7. The interior walls were made of a vinyl covered sheetrock. So there was no easy way to repair dings or dents in the wall.
8. Our mobile had copper wiring, but used these cheap push connect electrical outlets. Half of them corroded and quit working, so I ended up replacing most of the electrical outlets with new boxes, outlets, and cover plates.

Newer mobile homes are supposed to be better built than ours was, but I would be hesitant to buy another. I tried to be very diligent about maintaining our home, but it was always an ongoing project. Poor construction, cheap materials, and non-standard fixtures kept me very busy fixing things. With proper maintenance, I'm sure it could have lasted many more years, but I doubt most people would keep up with the maintenance like that.
I'd personally build a small cabin/house on the site. Use a slab or stilt foundation if you need to keep costs to a minimum.
If the site has lots of trees, this will also be easier than trying to wheel in a large mobile home.
Anthony
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