Ever since the traditional housing market began crumbling in 2008, Americans have been more receptive to affordable housing options such as manufactured and modular houses. But these buildings are not built like traditional properties. They have certain key maintenance and repair elements that differ significantly from traditional buildings. Here are some terms that prospective buyers should familiarize themselves with before making a new purchase or hiring a contractor to fix up an older unit.
Mobile Home - This term refers specifically to units made before July 1, 1976. Many of these units are still happily inhabited in their original locations. Though many people still refer to newer units as mobiles, it is an incorrect use of the term.
Manufactured Home - Are built after July 1, 1976 and conform to the Housing Construction and Safety Standards (HUD code) and are fixed to a permanent chassis, but can be moved to its location in pieces.
Belly - the area between the floor of a unit and the ground it is placed on. This space allows access to the bathroom pipes and other areas for maintenance and remodeling.
Skirting - the vinyl or metal covering around the belly of the unit. Almost any repair or new appliance installation will involve removing the skirt. The skirting helps the unit retain heat during the winter, so replacing it is a job that should be handled by a contractor.
Pier Footings - large masonry or steel beams upon which the unit rests. Proper footing placement is a critical component of the installation process. Pier footings that are not set deep enough can make the unit dangerously unstable. The depth of the footings is set by the HUD Code, but is generally around frost depth.
Mobile and manufactured homes don't always need the same types of repairs as brick-and-mortar buildings. Instead, they need contractors that understand how to fix and install equipment specifically made for mobile homes.
Manufactured home maintenance contractors often offer a wide range of repair services. They might offer removal services for vinyl siding, windows, doors, and ceilings that have sustained damage over the years. Removing damaged areas of the floor and wall often prevents problems from spreading to other parts of the home. They might also provide bathroom remodeling services that include replacing old plumbing and electrical systems.
Installation contractors might fix old equipment, but many of them also have experience with removing old pieces so that they can add-on replacements. They might, for instance, replace ceilings and roofs that have been damaged by heavy storms. They might also have experience installing new heaters and air conditioning systems. Some even have experience adding basements to manufactured homes.
When it comes to adding, removing, or repairing a part of your mobile home, it pays to learn about the different contractors in your area. You can start by searching the internet for their websites. This will give you some information about the types of installation, repairing, and remodeling work that they have done before. Look for websites that include pictures of their work. You can also search the internet for consumer forums where people in your area have posted reviews of the contractors. This can help you learn about the companies from the prospect of the clients.