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a mixed bag of questions

Chad Fabry

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I just inspected the first modular home of my career. I didn't know it was a modular before I got there or I'd have boned up on modular contruction beforehand. Who the heck would pay an inspector 400 bucks to inspect a modular?

The roof was surface stapled at the gable ends and then the staples were gooped up..presumably to keep the roof on during transport. Is that normal?

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The insulation below the floor was all sagging and about a foot away from the house. What bothered me more was it was all installed with the vapor toward the conventional style (wet) basement. If the modular is on a basement, shouldn't the vapor barrier be against the floor?

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Here's the water heater discharge. The homeowner has work bench directly below this. The WH intake for combustion is the funky thing next to the discharge.

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Here's the main waste line. I drew an arrow on the pvc to show direction of intended flow.

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Condensate trap:

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I showed that photo because this is where the condensate goes. So is the trap even an issue?

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Here are the furnace and WH flues.

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The basement entry stairs have kickers made of OSB, would you call this, given the environment? It hasn't rained here for weeks.

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The basement was obviously wet. One wall was bowed in the middle and had a general lean from top to bottom of 3/4 of an inch. Someone was just there a week ago and parged the bottom course w/ hydraulic cement. The center of the bow in the wall has a mortar joint that's nearly an inch thick, but I honestly couldn't tell if the wall had been built crooked or has been pushed in and the resulting crack "touched" up. The masonry work is the sloppiest I've ever seen. How would you folks describe the condition?

There is no felt or housewrap behind the vinyl siding.

The back entry has no storm door and the door that is there(glorified storm door, trailer style) opens over a deck that it clears by an inch. Getting out that door when there's snow will be nearly impossible.

The house is 9 months old. The client wants to use the report to sue the builder and with that in mind I want everything to be credible, and verifiable. This is a HUD home.

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Hi Chad,

Great photos. You are right in what you found. The construction is crap.

I don't think the condensate trap is an issue because it dumps in the sump pit.

I did not spend too much time studying the photos but a couple of other things jumped out at me.

Are the adjustable support posts under the girder set on proper footings?

The basement stair treads do not appear to have proper nosings (3/4" minimum- with solid risers)

Be well.

Steve H.

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Manufactured not modular,


Common problem, there was a air foil attached at the gable end See the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association’s Guidelines for Manufactured Housing.

ARMA Guidelines, Sec. 4.0, Special Transit Considerations Para.2.

“Special Precautions should be used to protect the roof in transit, such as full roof covering with plastic sheet, or net,airfoils, nailer strips to hold shingles down.

Any residual damage from these techniques, such as fastener penetration through exposed shingles, must repaired or replaced.…â€

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Scott, Chad,

I had one about two months ago that was a small home (twice-wide) with a list of $129,000. The buyers, nor I, had any indication of the type housing it was until I crawled this puppy. The exterior had heavy foliage that made the exterior and foundation wall simply not very visible or accessible.

After finding out this was a manufactured home, I notified the buyers and the agent that was on-hand. Everyone was peeved after that-- the buyer because he was almost decieved and the agent because she obviously wasn't getting her commission.[^]

Three days later I get an email telling me that the home had been reduced $45,000!!![:-eyebrow

Needless to say, the buyer was quite happy that he didn't forego the inspection like he was going to...


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The "bottom material"/"belly paper" actually help hold the insulation in place, what you're seeing is standard. Many manufacturers place the duct work below the the floor joist and this creat a further sag in the bottom paper. The major problem you can run into is when there are tears in the material and the manufacturer uses loose insulation.

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Hi Chad, You are a lucky guy if this is your first "manufactured home". We call them "mobiles" here because it irritates the Realtors.

Flues look wierd because they have an air space around them for relief air or combustion air.

As far as I know, the condensate trap is installed to prevent bacteria growth in the evaporator, doesn't matter where it discharges, it should have a trap (remember the Legioneres deaths several years ago).

Somebody correct me if I am wrong about this.

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Boy those were a lot of fun. You could do a slide show. The only defense I have ever heard for these vehicles is that they are built with 2x6 construction and can travel the interstate at 65 MPH so they must be rugged. Which reminds me, did you note the VIN # in your report? Well any way I always noted the "other" aspects of the home. Such as the cheap wall coverings, the cheap floor coverings, the cheap siding,trim and shingles and the cheap fixtures from water to electric. These mobilars are heavily regulated yet their still junk..all held together by a good sturdy skeleton but still junk all designed to last 10 years.

Sorry for the blow out.[:-taped]

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There are four classifications of a manufactured home. Single Wide Trailer, Double Wide Trailer, Manufactured Home, and a Modular Home. The Single Wide and Double Wide Trailer are built very cheap with 2X2 Interior Walls and Paneling, running gear and most of the time the earth anchor setup is for wind only, which qualifies them as Personal Property. The Manufacture Home is built to the same or better standards then a sticks built home (2X6 Exterior Walls, 2X4 Interior Walls, and R50 in ceilings) and are set on a permanent foundation, running gear is removed at the site and hauled back to the factory. They will become Real Property just like a stick built home. The Modular Home is hauled to a site and set with a crane, built to the same standards as a stick built home, can have two or more stories, will be tax as Real Property . I agree that the junk homes are the Single and Double wide trailers but they have there place in the housing market with there lower cost.

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  • 2 weeks later...


I was just told that manufactured homes also come with a ten year warranty on every piece that is installed or purchased through the manufacturer. You certainly won't get that from a builder, at least not around here. I stand corrected and appologize for my prejudice...for now

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  • 2 months later...

Hey Chad,

Our state regulates and monitors the maunfacturing "environment" where modular homes are made. When a "unit" comes off the line and gets "delivered" there is a certain amount of "assembly" that has to be done (big pieces crane lifted and set, then lagged together. ((sometimes squaring up is a problem and you get some funny looking sight lines)) When the pieces are together and the utilities hooked up, the installer has to put a little sticker on the inside of the electric panel (or other conspicuous location) that verifies the building has an issued production number). That gives you the comfortable knowledge that some inspection actually was carried out down at the plant.

Down here in the GA woods we call those "kickers" solid risers. Those steps look to my eye like a site-built feature. They look sort of short in tread width and lacking in nosing.

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