Beware: Do not buy a modular home until you learn of our nightmare
We bought our new modular home from New Millenium, Warner, NH. The home
was built by ProBuilt; Miffleton, PA. The dealer refuses to fix any
problems stating we needed to contact within a year of taking possesion.
The problem is some problems (ie. mold,mildew moisture) took more than a
year to develop. further, some problems (ie. siding) required that the
building systems be dismantled. The dealer states now that more than a
year has transpiredThe following are the problems we have to file a claim
with the home warranty people. The dealer must know, a reasonable person
would expect, that the home warranty, a major selling point of theirs so
they must be familar with its provisions, does not cover water, moisture,
siding etc. The problems:
1. All exterior doors out of square.
2.All exterior doors leak lke seives when it rains.
3. Moisture infiltration somewhere near my daughter's room causing a
4. Baseboard trim nail shot through drain pipe rendering sink unusable.
They said they were willing to fix this one but the process the required
was too ardous. Also, they did such a shitty job taping the hole I did
not want to cut a hole in the drywall. The vanity needed to be removed to
spare my wall any more patch jobs.
5. Bubbling and sliced vinyl kitchen floor. Once again they said they
were willing to repair this but also stated the whole floor would need to
be replaced. They would not replace it in kind, instead they wanted to
substitute inferior flooring for it.
6. Improperly installed siding.
7. Incomplete attic insulation which allows condensation to form under
the attic deck. I found this today as I was hiding Christmas presents. I
noticed one board was saturated. I began pulling up the decking and the
problem was widespread. As I said, this was found today, approx. 2 yrs
and 3 months after taking possesion. I haven't decided what to do yet.
8. Peeling cabinet veneer. They did provide new veneer but left it to us
9. One driver delivering the house arrived four hours late, got stuck for
more than 30 minutes down at the corner, ran over the stop sign, went of
the road coming up our straight road, got stuck turning into our driveway,
crushed our culvert, got stuck again in the driveway. Our dealer's
comment was, "Boy, I don't know what is up with George. He's usually one
of our best drivers". Later she did concede that she heard the crew
laughing about how bad he was. She also offered to replace the culvert.
10. No consistant pattern or logic to the electrical wiring (ie.
different corresponding switches in different rooms activate different
This why I believe modular homes, New Millenium and ProBuilt Homes suck.
I elect to remain anonymous because once we can sell this place in good
conscience we are selling. This place will never be right.
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Do not buy a modular home until you hear of our nightmare experience. The
home we poor sods bought was built by ProBuilt Homes; Miffleton, Pa. Our
dealer was New Millenium; Warner, NH. The following are some of the
problems we encountered. Some of the problems took longer then a year to
develop or building systems (ie. siding) needed to be dismantled to find
the error. Still, they won't fix the problems. Instead we are referred
to the home warranty people, but they know full well the home warranty
does not cover our requested complaints (ie the home warranty does not
cover siding, ventilation, moisture problems).
1. All exterior doors out of square.
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Like anything, there are good companies and there are bad companies.
It isn't appropriate in this forum to condemn an entire industry. I
could just as easily say "site built homes suck" - they leave the
materials out in the rain when building it. Depending on who works on
them, the doors and windows may be totally out of square/plumb.
They're poorly air sealed and insulated. Most of the duct jobs are
incredibly bad, etc.
Many, many people have had great success with modular homes. They're
built under controlled conditions and in general are of a higher
quality and more uniformly built than site-built homes. They usually
go up practically over night.
As with anything, it's up to the purchaser to look into the builder
and determine if they do quality work and have a good reputation.
I have no connection to the modular home industry. I'm a building
On Nov 15, 8:53 am, jausten09_at_yahoo_dot firstname.lastname@example.org (jessebelle)
Having worked in the modular industry for many years, I'd like to honestly
respond to this:
Yes, I have seen some terrible modular and mobile homes, just awful
condition. But why?
When they leave the factory door, they are usually in very good condition.
They are built on jigs, everything lines up, it is true, level, square,
plumb, and all is good. Inspection for each house is much greater than a
site-built home, so everything works pretty much as it should. Now what?
Generally speaking, the homes are ready weeks before they are ready to go on
foundations. We used to demand that so that if the house was built a few
inches over or under, or built to a spec that we weren't told about, we
could accomodate that when we did the foundation. All the while this was
going on, the house was sitting in a storage lot. The sturcture was usually
not sitting on blocks the way it would sit on a foundation, so over time,
things started to sag. That sag caused things to get out of square and plumb
pretty quick. Doors might start to stick. Cracks radiating from window and
door corners start to appear. God forbids it rains a bit during this time.
Homes are built in sections. I've done homes that were six sections. All the
open parts where sections mate are covered with plastic and in a good wind,
that plastic can leak, or worse, tear open exposing a lot of good work to a
lot of water. .
Finally, the big shipping day. If it is a short drive, no sweat. I've seen
houses go hundreds of miles, and believe me, they can take a beating. They
aren't going two miles an hour either. I've followed houses I was working on
from the factory and those transporters are doing highway speeds. I've never
seen it myself but there are a lot of stories of roof jacks flying off and
clobbering cars behind them.
The home arrives at the building site. Now my job begins. The transporter
wants to do all he can to unhook and go home. So he generally parks the unit
somewhere off the road, hopefully somewhere near the other sections in some
organized way, and he goes. I have to get it on the foundation. I either use
a crane or a system of rails on blocks, jacks with wheels and come-a-longs.
It is slow and tedious work and very scary to be underneath one of this
things as it is moved along onto the foundation. Assuming the foundation is
level, we tie it down and hook it all up so that you can move in. Sometimes,
since most factories do not assemble them at the factory, you get slight
differences between sections. I have to fix that. One section went through a
much more violent wind and is leaning more than another section. Or the
height is slightly different because some of the trusses on section A were
built at 2.9:12 and the trusses on section B are 3:00:12. Or the crossover
electrical was done wrong and both sections have male ends.
See the problem here? Between the factory and the consumer, there are at
least three things that can work against you: the storage area and the way
it is stored, the transporters and the installation crew, not to mention the
To say that modular homes, in and of themselves, suck, is to omit many of
the things that are really responsible for the bad reputation. I saw an
article once that said that 90% of all mobile/modular home problems were the
result of poor installation. That is probably correct.
i bought three modulars for my kids 4 years ago . went with Four Season
brand, made in Middlebury ind.
one thing i can say for sure is that they are economical to live in. while
these are small ones i got (28 x 40) ranch style, they have all been able
to heat them with about 750 gal of propane for the entire winter
On 15 Dec 2007 04:01:05 GMT, modularhomessuck_at_gmail_dot email@example.com
Good conscience? bwa-ha-ha-ha!
What did the home warranty people say, when you asked them? You forgot
to add that to your rant.
As to your problems, if you really feel you were treated unfairly,
then hire an lawyer and file for relief. There is a method to resolve
these types of problems, and you are not following the methods to
You need someone who is independant of you and the builder to evaluate
the situation, do that first.
On a number of occasions, I've had modular homes salesmen give me this
BS that their product costs less than site built because they are
built in a factory under controlled conditions. Fact is, they often
cost less because they are slapped together garbage--if a decent
contractor was asked to produce a home of the same design and quality
as many of the modular homes we see, his price would be competitive.
In construction, time is money. The only way to put out a quality
product is by spending more time on the details, and that is going to
cost more. That's the way it is.
In a small town south of here, an entire subdivision was built so shabbily
the over 50% go up and walked away. (Not related to interest rates). The
truth is, there are some poor modular manufacturers and some poor general
contractors. And conversely, there are some excellent ones as well.
My former secretary and her husband put a mod on their lake property and
it's a beautiful home; better than the neighbors which was site built. Yes
they did have a few problems as I recall, but the manufacturer replaced four
rooms of carpeting an some other stuff. (Carpet didn't match as I recall).
Anyways they came away with a nice raised ranch with walk-out basement in a
channel lot and they figured they saved over $40k vs. what the site built
contractors had quoted. (Their figures, not mine).
Sorry you are having so many problems with your new home (new homes always
have problems if you didn't know.) When I built my current home, the
contractor put the concrete patio in the wrong location! I made him repour
it and part of it is now 8" deep. (Actually there was a whole list, some
they fixed, some they wimped out of fixing, such is the reality of
As your door leak it sounds to me as if the foundation isn't level (major
reason for windows no working). Doors are prehung and built square by the
door manufacture. A home not setting level with spring the doors (and
possibly windows) very quickly. (Drywall cracks as well).
In any case I wouldn't sit around whining about the problem, I would get a
tube of exterior silicone caulk and seal up around the doors to prevent the
leaks. (I would also check the windows as well). You are not just a consumer
but also a homeowner; and you must take responsibility to make repairs to
the more serious problems, no matter who's at fault.
The condensation in the attic is serious. It sounds like it's not a lack of
insulation, rather a lack of ventilation. In any case, this is serious and
will become even more of a problem. You need more ventilation in the attic.
(Could be a code issue).
As to the floor, the were willing to replace it and you said no. Now you
still have a defective floor. (Not certain as to what you meant by "inferior
The rest of your complaints are either too vague or nonsense.
You're missing my point. I have sat through sales presentations from
modular salesman whose basic premise is that through the miracles of
factory production methods, economies of scale, etc, they can supply
this fantastic home for a low, low price. I say that the low price is
often reached by slapping together garbage, cheap materials, cutting
corners, etc. Not really much different than a site built home. Time
is money, and quality takes time.
I agree with Dennis that there are some decent modulars out there.
And of course there are shoddy contractors.
Well, you need to get out more.
Factory built frames and trusses are FAR better than site built.
Just like any manufactured items, some are better than others.
Using good material, factory built can be up in about 1/3 the time of
conventional, and you don;t have to worry about weather, pillferage, etc.
Time is money and labor is time consuming.
So don't lump them all together and generalize based on very limited
Matt, that simply isn't true. I have looked at a number of panelized
houses (high end custom houses), and as for fit, finish, straightness
etc. of the framing, they just don't compare to a good custom frame
job done on site. They go up fast, they get dried in fast, but don't
try to tell me that they are better. They're just not.
Last winter I built a custom house right next door to a $800,000 panel
house, and by the end the owner of the panel house would come over and
look at the one we were working on and I could tell he realized he
made a mistake. All you had to do is stand at a corner and sight down
a wall and look at the whoops. He had a good contractor, but if the
panel is put together with crooked studs and plates in them, you're
screwed. Factory or no, the lumber comes from trees. That's not the
only story I've heard like that.
Of course you must realize that most roofs are put together with
factory built trusses. It's been that way for quite a while.
See you later.
I'd like to end my posting on this thread by pointing out that modular
homes and panelized homes are another step in a long succession of
changes that started back when carpenters quit fitting studs with
mortise and tenon joints and started using nails. Less craftsmanship
required and a lower quality end product. Yes there are exceptions to
that last sentence (roof trusses come to mind). These changes have
been brought about by economic forces. I'm not saying we should go
back to the old days, but it is sad when you think of it. We have a
100+ year old mansion in our town open for tours. All full of hand
carved trim, which was all done by local craftsman. That level of
craftsmanship doesn't exist anymore for any price. The people who
could do that just aren't there.
Matt, get the last word if you want. I really think flame wars are
pretty silly. I'm a carpenter who has been observing the industry for
some years now. I'll stand by what I post.
I think this thread is an interesting commentary on general building
construction in a time when quality home builders must compete with
low-cost builders of varying stripes.
When building my home in 2004, I took great pains to gather "best
practice" information from books and this very newsgroup. I was amazed
to see, hear and read the varying "opinons" about how to do things.
While installing our Tyvek, windows and window flashing, I had a
friend (full-time school teacher who worked for a low-cost builder
framing houses in the summer) to help. He commented that we were
going above and beyond what his company was doing when installing
house wrap and windows, namely the window flashing and insulation. He
said that his company stapled up the housewrap and nailed in the
windows, and installed the vinyl siding. They didn't take the time to
lap the top piece of housewrap over the lip of the window frame. In a
few years, I'm sure most of the framing around the windows,
particularly the sills, would be rotten.
The point is this.. he said that on his construction crew, there were
a couple quality carpenters, a few guys like him (part-time summer
help, college students, etc.), and a bunch of yahoos who could swing a
hammer and needed a job between jail stints. You get what you pay
Understand, too, "boom and bust" cycles and how they affect building cost as
well as how much trouble the builder is going to go through.
As well, if a "good contractor" is using shitty material, or worse, does not
recognize shitty material, he's no long a "good contractor".
Finally, as an analogy, if 10 of the 60 some odd car manufacturers are using
low grade material and processes, it sonly speaks for those 10, not the
industry as a whole.
"marson" misses these points at every turn.
Just one more example of good old American disposable housing.
Doesn't matter if it's modular or site built, there are a lot of bad
builders and some bad materials that do not have any room for error
when installed. And since the installers are often unskilled and
uncaring, they makes lots of errors. Then the errors are covered up,
to rear their ugly heads just after the warranty runs out.
Not that it'll help THIS guy, but just FYI for anyone else, put
notification of defects in writing and send it Certified Return
Receipt Mail so you can prove they were notified within the warranty
period. A good paper trail has saved many people's cases, but it's an
uphill battle in any case.
One reason it's so hard is that there is surprisingly little
accountability for bad builders, something that often comes as a
surprise to the homeowner with a problem.
Also, the homeowner often can't sue due to mandatory binding
arbitration clauses common in construction and warranty contracts.
When their right to sue is gone, the builder knows disputes will be
forced into private arbitration where the company usually wins, and
the incident is hidden from public view in all but one state. "Wins"
in arbitration typically only pay a fraction of actual damages, too.
This is why the clause is in so many builder contracts and home
Last but not least, a home buyer needs to either BE an expert or HIRE
an expert, to oversee construction. You can't count on codes being
enforced, nor can you count on builders being ethical and competent.
Sadly, the industry has a lot of bad apples. All the crap you have to
do, to ensure you don't get ripped off, adds to the cost of a house,
as does unexpected repairs on a new house. That's what makes the
building industry's hollow argument that being held accountable would
"raise the cost of housing" so, well, so hollow.
On Dec 14, 10:01 pm, modularhomessuck_at_gmail_dot firstname.lastname@example.org
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