: > What is a good, workable approximation of the useable
lifespan of a mobile
: > home, either single or doublewide? 5yrs? 10yrs? 20yrs?
: > I'm looking at options for a small vacation place on a lake,
: > considering all kinds of construction for cost comparisons.
: > cost has to be factored into the picture, and that is
: > lifespan.
: If properly built, installed and maintained, there's no
: why its lifespan would be any shorter than any other home.
: I'm sure that actuarial tables might show a significant
: (especially since mobile homes appear to be tornado or
: magnets ;-), but that's the general view of cheap manufacture
: installation, rather than an individual one. It's the
: you're really interested in.
: So, if you're planning on _getting_
one, pay for quality, and
: installation (ie: poured foundations or whatever) and it will
: as long as any other home. If you're planning of buying a
: 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
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
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
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'
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.
If it ain\'t broke, keep
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