How to Inspect the Exteriors of Mobile Homes, Double wides, Triple-Wides & Trailers
MOBILE HOME EXTERIOR DEFECTS - CONTENTS: Mobile home exterior siding, windows, doors, steps, railings: inspection guide - Exterior Defects. Common mobile home, double-wide or trailer exterior defects in siding, windows, doors, entrances, steps, and railings. Safety and building codes for mobile homes. Door & Window Defects on Caravans, Mobile Homes, Double-wides & Trailers. Siding Defects, Leaks, Problems on Trailes, Double-wides, Caravans, Mobile Homes. Site & Surface Drainage Problems at Doublewides & Mobile Homes. Skirting Defects at the Base of Caravans, Doublewides, Mobile Homes. Stairs, steps & railing safety hazards at Caravans, Doublewides, Mobile Homes, Trailers
Guide to Inspecting Manufactured & Mobile Homes for Exterior Defects
Door & Window Defects on Caravans, Mobile Homes, Double-wides, Triple-wides & Trailers
Damaged, drafty, or inoperative mobile home windows; windows in bedrooms may be required to open as emergency fire exits. Leaks at windows and doors are among the most common mobile home and trailer defects we observe.
Our photo above shows broken windows and just below we show windows that were taped-over, probably to stop winter drafts.
Leaks at mobile home or trailer windows and doors are common on older structures, often a source of hidden structural damage to walls and floors.
Window and door leaks are increased on mobile homes that were constructed with no roof overhang (unlike the home end windows in our photos above) - roof runoff spilling down sides of the structure readily enter at any opening in the wall.
In turn, leaks at windows and doors of mobile homes, trailers, and doublewides, also on campers, often cause still more extensive damage including collapsing of particle board subfloors, wet moldy insulation in wall and floor cavities, damaged electrical components, and on occasion, insect damage as well.
Below: collapsing leaky mobile home window:
Below: leaky cap flashing at mobile home window top.
Especially on older units, bad leaky windows and doors and missing window or door components.
Watch out: leaks into walls invite rot and insect damage. Check
the floor below windows and doors, and inspect this area carefully from the crawl space.
Question: leaky windows and roof defects on 1998 modular home
I have friends that bought a 1998 Modular Home that was set-up as a display model. They bought it in March 1999. It had single-pane aluminum frame windows...and the panes are not even sealed on all edges...and move in the frame.
Likewise the double-hung parts of the windows are not airtight and sweat profusely. When were the double-pane windows mandated to be installed in modular homes ? Also, they have a roof problem. In 2008 in August 23-25 it rained 22 to 24 inches.
Since that time I have noticed that all around the perimeter of the roof...the roof has many places where the decking is sunken in. the shingles do not overhang the required one inch or so...and are right even with the edge of the eave drip flashing.
What I suspect is that the water, curled under the shingles and wicked back under the shingles ad saturated the roof decking. I have looked into one area...and the decking has rotted though and water has been poring into the wall cavity. I saw that the top sill plate is rotted through.
All of the interior of the house has a vinyl wallpaper...and no black mold has come through that I can see. The living and dining rooms don't show any signs of black mold either.
This manufacturer has many complaints and problems from various owners around the US. The manufacturer seems to be ignoring them all. I would like some specifics from anyone to get these problems addressed. Thanks. - Aubrey 1/29/2012
Aubrey you should have a professional home inspection performed so that you have a reasonably accurate, complete list of building problems and defects that need to be addressed, and so that you know the priority of repairs. I suggest this because given what you've already seen, it could be a mistake to think that the issues you've seen are all of the problems or even the most important ones. In general the priorities of repair are
Fix unsafe conditions at the home
Fix building defects for mechanical systems that are needed that just don't work - such as reliable heat, electricity, plumbing
FIx building defects that are causing rapid costly damage - such as leaks, insect attack
Once you have a repair and maintenance plan for your home, you and your attorney can address the question of who is responsible to pay for these repairs.
Let us know the name and model and manufacturer of your home and send along any photographs of problems if you can and we'll be glad to research and comment further.
Question: what types of windows are found on mobile homes?
I have a question not a comment. Hope you can get back to me on this. We are buying a 1974 mobile home. What kind of windows are in that type of home. Are they roll outs or pull up windows? - Linda
You can see some common mobile home window types in this article:
- double hung windows
- single hung windows
- jalousie windows
Watch out: At least on older homes these windows are often leaky and may have caused hidden wall and floor damage. Check under the carpet or in the crawl area of your home, especially in floor areas below windows or doors.
Site & Surface Drainage Problems or Hazards at Doublewides & Mobile Homes or Static Caravans
SITE & SURFACE DRAINAGE defects risk undermining supporting piers below mobile homes
Location & Site Setbacks: Building officials should have checked the home location for proper setbacks from property boundaries etc. - a buyer should be sure that this information has been reviewed and that a CO is on file.
The building address needs to be visible from the road, letters 4" high and reflective on contrasting background for recognition of the property by emergency vehicles
Open or exposed septic tanks, drywells, cesspools lacking a save secure cover Watch out: these hazards pose a very high risk of fatality - anyone falling into a septic tank or cesspool is likely to die quickly.
Site debris around or beneath a mobile home, caravan, trailer, doublewide: may be unsafe, a sanitary or other Building code violation, source of rodents, or otherwise a cost to a buyer to have removed.en septics; inadequate. frost protection for supply or DWV; shared wells, shared septics, possibly not tested nor
maintained; (photo above right)
Stairs, steps & railing safety hazards at Caravans, Doublewides, Mobile Homes, Trailers
Steps and rails on mobile homes, trailers, doublewides: mobile homes and trailers need 2 exit doors/steps/rails, usual step and platform issues; doors usually at either end of one side or at opposite ends and opposite sides; 30 ft apart.
Our photo, left, shows the required two exits, though the railings at both of these exit doors look dangerously loose, even from a distance.
A sound sturdy railing is not necessary at building stairs and landings - until someone is about to fall.
At that time a loose flimsy railing can result in even greater injury.
Emergency Fire Escape from trailers and mobile homes: assure that there is a functional second egress door,
steps, rails. In many homes a bedroom window is required to function as an emergency fire exit.
Unsafe mobile home steps and rails: We have found doors that didn't open or that opened to
tall drops where deck was rotted and then removed. Our photos (above left and right) show Steve Vermilye noting unsafe exit stairs at two trailer homes: missing top platform, missing railings, open railings (right photo), and steps with uneven riser height - a trip hazard.
Missing stairs: - we found exit doors on trailers where the old steps had been removed entirely, perhaps because of decay; the result was the occupant faced at six foot drop if exiting during an emergency. There must be an exit platform and stairway at every exterior door.
Skirting Defects at the Base of Caravans, Doublewides, Mobile Homes
Mobile home or caravan skirt condition, missing, avenue for insect attack and rodent entry.
In cold climates a
missing skirt can lead to frozen burst pipes and related damage.
Siding Defects, Leaks, Problems on Trailes, Double-wides, Caravans, Mobile Homes
Mobile home / caravan siding: vinyl preferred over metal or hardboard (C. r.)
Look for loose siding, torn siding (below left) holes, punctures (below right), missing siding, mechanical damage, cuts where people have installed exterior lighting, steps and railings, or cut holes for vents
Siding is often torn or pulled away during movement or relocation, leaving exposure to leaks, weather damage, insects or even rodents
Ver.4.0 - 04/25/07, updated through 2015 by Daniel Friedman & - Steve Vermilye,
Hudson Valley ASHI Chapter Seminar, Newburgh NY, January 4, 2000, NY Metro ASHI Fall 99 Seminar, Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza, White Plains NY, October
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where to buy a nice trailer in Sophia NC
(May 21, 2012) matthew said:
can yall tell me where i can find a nice trailer in sophia north carolina at
Sorry, Matthew but no. We don't sell anything nor have connection with sellers. To do so would be a conflict of interest with providing the information you find at InspectApedia
Question: lead paint used on mobile home exteriors?
(Mar 21, 2014) DarylAnn said:
Was lead paint used on exteriors of mobile homes built in 1976?
Usually mobile home exteriors are made of aluminum or vinyl, but certainly a homeowner may have applied lead paint to porches, decks, stairs, railings, add-on trim, or to extensions to the original home.
If there is paint on the home that was applied before 1978 it may contain lead.
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 Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, web search 1/5/2012, original source: portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/public_indian_housing/ih/homeownership/184 - Quoting:
The Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program is a home mortgage specifically designed for American Indian and Alaska Native families, Alaska Villages, Tribes, or Tribally Designated Housing Entities. Section 184 loans can be used, both on and off native lands, for new construction, rehabilitation, purchase of an existing home, or refinance.
Also see Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae
 Native American Housing Loan Guarantee Program HUD Section 184 Loans At A Glance, FannieMae, web search 1/5/12, original source: efanniemae.com/sf/mortgageproducts/pdf/section184aag.pdf
 "Modular Home Construction, special defects and inspection methods" Dan Friedman, NY Metro ASHI Seminar, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, White Plains NY, October 4, 1996
 New York State: "Manufactured Homes: an installation guide for the code enforcement official," undated. [Div. of Code Enforcement & Admin. - 518-474-4073, George E. Clark, Jr., Director] - this is a guide tool, not an enforcement code or standard.
 HUD State Administrative Agency (for 36 states) (NY: 518-474-4073) - for complaints
 Manufactured Housing Institute, 2101 Wilson Blvd. Ste. 610, Arlington VA 22201 703-558-0400 www.mfghome.org
 NYMHA, 35 Commerce Ave., Albany NY 12206-2015 518-435-9859 800-721-HOME (they want the Star Program to provide for separate assessment of manufactured homes)
 Consumer Reports: www.consumerreports.org - special report 2/98
 Thanks to home inspector Peter Bennett for eagle-eye editing assistance regarding spelling at this web article series. Little Silver, NJ 07739 Office 732-758-9887 Fax 732-758-8993 Cell 732-245-9817 email@example.com
 Wikipedia provided background information about some topics discussed at this website provided this citation is also found in the same article along with a " retrieved on" date. NOTE: because Wikipedia entries are fluid and can be amended in real time, we cite the retrieval date of Wikipedia citations and we do not assert that the information found there is necessarily authoritative. - Entry on Mobile Homes, original source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_home#Regulation, retrieved 8/14/2012
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
Defects and Deterioration in Buildings: A Practical Guide to the Science and Technology of Material Failure, Barry Richardson, Spon Press; 2d Ed (2001), ISBN-10: 041925210X, ISBN-13: 978-0419252108. Quoting: A professional reference designed to assist surveyors, engineers, architects and contractors in diagnosing existing problems and avoiding them in new buildings. Fully revised and updated, this edition, in new clearer format, covers developments in building defects, and problems such as sick building syndrome. Well liked for its mixture of theory and practice the new edition will complement Hinks and Cook's student textbook on defects at the practitioner level.
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
The Horizon Software System manages business operations,scheduling, & inspection report writing using Carson Dunlop's knowledge base & color images. The Horizon system runs on always-available cloud-based software for office computers, laptops, tablets, iPad, Android, & other smartphones