Since constructing the first modular home in 1958, they have become more popular as a viable (and cost-effective) alternative to on-site construction houses. Considering building a modular home, you’ve likely wondered about its longevity and sustainability.
Modular homes can last anywhere from 30 to 100 years, depending on the materials, foundation, and build quality. Modular homes are manufactured in weather-controlled conditions and created to withstand the elements while transported, resulting in robust homes.
Let’s explore the aspects that influence a modular home’s longevity and how you can ensure your modular home lasts longer.
What Aspects Affect the Longevity of a Modular Home?
In concept, modular homes can last an entire generation; however, the manufacturing, assembling, and maintenance directly influence their durability and longevity.
Modular homes are prefabricated buildings, transported and assembled at your property on a concrete foundation. Creating a modular home goes through different stages, influencing the home’s overall build quality.
The key aspects that affect the longevity of a modular home are:
- Materials used;
- Building structure;
- Cosmetic treatments; and
- Construction quality.
Read on for more information on how the above aspects impact the durability of modular homes.
Materials Used in The Construction of Modular Homes
Modular homes don’t need a wide range of materials. Still, they require strong and lasting materials to keep them standing and in good condition for their lifetime.
The two primary materials used in modular homes are wood and steel. The quality of each directly impacts the build quality, and therefore longevity, of the structure.
Wood can erode over time if not adequately treated during the manufacturing process. Since the 1940s, lumber has been pressure-treated with a chemical compound to delay the deterioration caused by rot/fungi and destructive insects.
Treating steel with barrier coatings such as zinc (also called galvanizing) creates durable steel, which protects the material from water and oxygen and prevents the steel from rusting.
The Foundation Required for High Build Quality Modular Homes
A house can only be as strong as its foundation, even with high-quality materials. But what is the requirement for a modular home’s foundation?
Modular homes need to be attached to a basement or crawl space foundation, allowing the modular structure to be fastened and bolted. Therefore, a simple foundation slab won’t suffice.
The foundation can either be a block or a poured wall foundation, with the latter preferred as this construction method provides additional strength.
The concrete mix used in a foundation determines its strength and durability, with the water-to-cement ratio being the most important. Be sure to consult foundation specialists for the optimal ratio.
The Building Design and Structure of a Modular Home
Naturally, you’d want your custom flair for your own home. When building our own homes (whether opting for a modular home or a stick-built home), we want the design and finishing touches to resonate with us. But how do the design and structure impact the strength of the modular home?
Modular homes last just as long as traditional stick-built homes if constructed and maintained correctly. These homes must adhere to applicable state laws and regulations, similar to any on-site or stick-built construction. Therefore the building structure has identical strength, safety, and durability requirements to on-site construction homes.
In addition, there’s no design limitation on modular homes, similar to stick-built homes. You can add the architectural desires of your own free will.
Adding Cosmetic Treatments to your Modular Home
Decorative features such as painting, lighting, and fixtures won’t cause damage to the structure or build of a modular home. An excellent cosmetic uplift can add to the value of your property.
However, low-quality cosmetic changes could reduce the comfortable living in your home. Sloppy and negligent paintwork (i.e., paintwork over-molded areas) could be a severe health threat to your home. At the same time, shady lighting fixtures could be a fire and safety hazard.
Be sure to take care of your home by applying the correct techniques whenever making cosmetic changes to your modular home. It increases the value of your property and makes your living home much more enjoyable, comfortable, and safe.
The Importance of a Modular Home’s Construction Quality
Let’s assume you have the best quality materials and a solid foundation ready for your modular home. The only aspect left is the physical construction of the modular home.
80% to 90% of a modular home is prepared and constructed in a factory. Then the factory ships the different modules and rooms (or partial rooms) to your site. The modular home builder then only assembles your new house on site.
Sub-quality construction can result in a shorter life span for your modular home. Therefore, you must choose professional and reputable modular home builders.
Tips on How to Make Your Modular Home Last Longer
We’ve discussed what aspects impact the longevity of your modular home. Here are some helpful tips that you can do to take optimal care of your modular home:
- Perform regular maintenance checks on all your plumbing and electrical appliances.
- Level your modular home every three to five years.
- Don’t ignore broken items; fix them immediately.
- Maintain a clean and tidy home to identify broken or leaking items quickly.
- Repaint frequently to ensure moisture doesn’t enter the structure.
For more than 50 years, modular homes have been a viable option for home builders, and they have become more popular as time goes by.
Modular homes are a sturdy and cost-effective alternative to stick-built homes. They must adhere to all the same laws and regulations, meaning they have the same life expectancy ranging from 30 to 100 years. Be sure to choose the right builders, materials, and foundation.
There are precautions you can take before constructing your modular home, like choosing the right builders, materials, and foundation. In addition, a regular maintenance and cleaning routine will also aid in the longevity of your home. Ultimately, the better care you take of your home, the longer it will last.
Amos Christen graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Drexel University — Philadelphia, PA. Since 2003, Amos has worked with top interior design professionals in this area, including architects and interior/graphic/lighting designers. As a skilled interior designer, Amos Christen is highly versed in fine arts and crafts and uses that to supplement his main area of expertise. He often publishes articles related to home décor on several websites, including Sprucetoilets.com, Sprucebathroom.com, and Mybesuitedhome.com. He also contributes to leading interior design magazines.