How are manufactured homes built?

How Are Manufactured Homes Built?


Manufactured housing is a quick and cost-effective real estate option for those looking into building a home. This route even allows homeowners to have the unique freedom to move their homes if they choose impermanent foundations. The production of manufactured housing achieves such a quick turnaround and greater cost-effectiveness through a construction process that looks a bit different from those of modular or site-built homes.


Preparing to Build

There are certain factors to keep in mind in manufactured home construction—namely, manufactured homes are not built in the same way as site-built or modular homes. However, they’re just as safe and secure. The outdated, unstable mobile homes people picture from old-school trailer parks were built before the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) set strict building regulations in 1976. 


In terms of affordable housing options and construction speed, it’s easy to identify the advantages of factory-built homes, starting with the unique building process of manufactured housing and complete with highly regulated building codes as well as a controlled factory environment. 


Not All Homes Are Built the Same

Manufactured houses, site-built houses, and modular houses can often look similar, but they differ in their construction processes. The main distinctions are in building codes and assembly. Site-built homes and modular homes are only built in accordance with state and local regulations, whereas manufactured homes adhere to additional regulations set on a federal level. Manufactured and modular homes are both built in factories, but modular homes are assembled on-site from several pre-built sections, while manufactured homes are typically built entirely in the factory before transportation.


The Construction Process

Manufactured homes also use many of the same construction materials as site-built homes. However, factories order these materials in bulk, which makes buying materials significantly more cost-effective for manufactured home owners than for site-built home owners. Additionally, construction on a manufactured home can begin promptly, as these homes are built and assembled in a climate-controlled factory, eliminating the construction obstacles of inclement weather and the delay of waiting for building materials to be delivered. 


Once a manufactured home has been commissioned, the building process begins with the chassis—the skeletal frame to which axles and wheels are attached. This chassis is what allows the home to be easily transported to the delivery site as well as moved to a different site later on by owners, if desired. 


The process continues with building the floor frame, which is put together in sections then securely attached to the chassis. Following this, the frames of the walls are constructed—strictly in accordance with HUD standards dictating that the frame must remain within an 8-foot width. Manufactured homes with one section, such as these, are known as single wides. Two sections may be combined to create double wides, which are manufactured homes with two sections and more square footage.


After the completion of the frame and interior walls, the roof and ceilings are built and energy efficient doors and windows are installed. Exterior walls are added next, just before the installation of plumbing, electrical, and HVAC fixtures and systems. At this point, interior finishes—either standard options or options customized by the homeowner—are made to finish up the new manufactured home. 


Finally, the home is prepared to be delivered. Upon reaching its destination, the home must be installed at its final site by being seated on either a permanent or impermanent foundation, which can give homeowners the flexibility to move later on without having to sell their home. From start to finish, manufactured home owners can expect to move into their new homes within just a few months—a fraction of the time and cost of building a site-built home. 


In Summary

Though able to be constructed quickly, manufactured homes are built to maximize quality, durability, and energy efficiency. The strict federal building codes that guide manufactured housing construction ensure that a manufactured home is equally as sound as a site-built home, which is regulated only by local building codes and is subject to longer construction timelines and steeper costs of materials.


Manufactured homes also typically come with a variety of customizable options during construction, so you have the freedom to bring the vision of your perfect home to life. Installation isn’t necessarily the end of modifications for your home. There are many improvement projects you can take on yourself to add more customization and value to your home. For ideas, check out Improvement Projects that Increase Manufactured Home Value.


More Questions?

Check out our blog. In addition to a monthly newsletter, we talk about everything from the process of buying a manufactured home to how they stack up against other types of housing, like apartments.