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Question DetailsAsked on 3/24/2017

How long do mobile homes generally last?

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With old- flat-roof mobile homes with aluminum shell and the prototypical panelled interior, around 20-25 years was the accepted lifespan - though a lot are in use after 50+ years, especially i they have been roofed-over with a peaked roof. And you still see 50-70 year old airstreams (true "mobile" homes) in use today, and a lot of 50 year old trailers in trailer parks. I have lived in 40-50 year old mobile homes while on field assignments and aside from commonly a spongy flooring (commonly were built with 1/2" or thinner subflooring) and not very thermally efficient, were perfectly livable as long as they were routinely maintained and repaired when there was damage.

Modern "manufactured homes" with true roofing and drywalled interiors are little different than stick-built homes and in some cases even better construction due to the factory-controlled conditions and attention to proper insulation, so as long a roofing is maintained and the unit is properly supported and tied down on its foundation should last as long as any other home normal construction - certainly in the 40-50 or more year range. Though if metal-sheathed, generally you can count on needing a professional auto-body type paint job every 10-15 years or so.

Actually, a major reason mobile homes got their bad reputation (aside from a few really cheap construction brands) was they initially, before the advent of retirement mobile home parks, tended to be shorter-term lower-rent rentals in lower-income trailer parks or were bought by income-strained people as a cheaper alternative to a stick-built home, so for those reasons tended to not be maintained and many times deteriorated pretty significantly over 20-25 years. Most commonly roofing problems, usually due to never having debris cleaned off them, contributed to or caused their deterioration. Failure to maintain caulking on doors and windows, which with many brands not using flexible elastomeric gaskets needs attention every year or two on metal-clad ones because of the thermal movement of the metal sheathing, also is a common cause of water infiltration damage.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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