How Long Do Modular Homes Last? What to Know Before Buying

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Clever Real Estate

Updated 

May 28th, 2019

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Modular homes are beginning to catch on both with homeowners and builders. They offer various advantages in comparison to stick-built homes. Here's what you need to know before buying a modular home.

The history of modular homes goes all the way back to the early 20th century.

Richard Sears, the founder of Sears Roebuck and Company, had a career selling a variety of home products using paper catalogs. Then in 1908, he began selling kit homes, which were homes for which all the materials and elements would come pre-made. Although quite primitive compared to what we have today, kit homes were the predecessor to modern modular homes.

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What is a Modular Home?

A modular home is a home that's built part by part in a factory. Much like the way in which a car is put together, elements of these homes move through a production line where each component is added on step by step. These modules are then sent to the site of the house atop a pre-made foundation and joined together to form the final structure by a builder.

There are a number of factors that determine how long it takes to complete the construction of a modular home. An important variable is the degree to which the modules are customized. You can start construction pretty quickly if you choose to go with the standard modules provided by certain modular home companies.

It can take longer if you choose to create a highly customized modular home with the help of a designer or architect. Many companies have a Computer-Aided Design department to help customers customize their modular homes.

Differences Between Modular and Manufactured Homes

Modular homes and manufactured homes are both built in factories. The building materials used are not exposed to the elements like homes built on-site are. Although similar in that sense, modular homes and manufactured homes are not the same thing.

From a legal perspective, a manufactured home needs to conform to standards laid down by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Facets of the construction, energy efficiency, and fire safety measures all need to adhere to HUD regulations.

Modular homes, on the other hand, are not held to HUD's standards. They only need to follow the building codes in the area in which the house is going to be constructed.

Another important difference is that manufactured homes can be transported multiple times. This is made possible by a steel chassis that sits underneath the structure. Modular homes have permanent foundations so they can't be transported after construction.

How Long Modular Homes Last

It's hard to put a fixed lifespan on a modular home. There are many variables that determine how long any home will last — whether that's a modular home, manufactured home, or regular home. Here are a few factors that determine how long your modular home will last.

Quality of materials

The lifespan of a home depends heavily on the quality of materials that have been used in its construction. There are two factors that come into play in this regard.

The first is the material itself. Brick, for example, tends to last long periods of time. Wood, on the other hand, is more susceptible to damage and doesn't last as long as a result. So the kind of material used to construct your modular home will play a part in determining its age.

The second is the quality of the materials used. The higher the quality of the materials, the longer they are likely to last. For this reason, it's important to talk to your builder to find out exactly what kind of materials are being used in the construction of your home.

Ability to Withstand the Elements

There is a perception among prospective home buyers that modular homes aren't capable of withstanding challenging weather conditions. This isn't true, especially given the way in which modular homes are constructed.

Unlike regular homes, modular homes are put together within the four walls of a factory. The materials aren't exposed to the elements during the construction phase. With a regular home, on the other hand, the components are often exposed to wind, water, and heat during the construction. As a result, modular homes often tend to have better structural integrity right from the start.

Technology has made modular homes more capable of dealing with the elements. Most modular home today are insulated to keep the home protected from heat and cold. This particular builder promises a fire resistance rating of one to four hours, grade 11 wind resistance, and a live load capacity of 0.5 kN/m2 for the roof.

Maintenance

Like with any other home, investing in upkeep will prolong the life of your modular home. There are a few specific tasks that need to be done in each season to ensure that you're maintaining your modular home in the right way.

In winter, for example, owners should check the roof for ice buildup. The accumulation of ice puts physical pressure on the roof and once it melts, the water can compromise the structural integrity. Similarly, in the spring, the roof should be cleared of leaves and other debris in order to prevent damage.

If the right maintenance activities are carried out in each season, you ensure that your modular home lasts longer and you spend less on its upkeep in the long term.

Advantages of Modular Homes

There are a number of benefits to choosing a modular home instead of a site-built one.

The main advantage is that modular homes can be constructed a lot faster than a conventional home. If you're building a regular home, the elements and materials are sourced from many different vendors. Since most of the parts of a modular home are pre-fabricated by the same manufacturer, construction becomes a lot quicker.

Another advantage is that modular home manufacturers often provide financing options to their customers. This can often turn out to be a more economical option than borrowing from the other lenders in your area.

A local real estate agent will be able to provide guidance on choosing a modular home builder and the right financing for the purchase. Visit our website to find a top-rated real estate agent in your area to help with your modular home build.

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