The Grissim Guides to Manufactured Homes and Land

Book Excerpts / From Chapter 2

Today’s Manufactured Home — a Quick Look

Most homes these days (close to three-quarters) consist of two sections, each averaging 14 feet wide and a little under 60 feet in length, and which are bolted together length-to-length . Prior to transport, thick plastic sheets usually emblazoned with the company’s logo, are stapled across each section’s exposed side to protect the interior during the move. A two-section home (commonly called a double wide) provides about 1450 square feet of interior floor space. Homes with three and four sections are available in the top of the line models.

Although two-section homes are the most popular, single-section homes still make up about 25% of homes sold since they are by far the cheapest instant-house available (as low as around $28,000). Most single-wides are 14 feet wide and 70-80 feet long. Compared to their double-wide brethren, they’re humble but quality models can be fine starter homes, providing about 1200 square feet of living space. Some states allow models 16-feet, even 18-feet wide.

Typically, manufacturers locate their factories no farther than 250 miles from the markets they serve, this being close to the maximum distance the transport trucks can during a day’s drive (the law in almost all states restricts transportation of oversize loads to daylight hours). Travelers who have encountered these behemoths coming at them down a two-lane Texas road strongly recommend pulling way over, and ducking.

On arrival at the home site, the transport driver will most often position the towed section directly on a previously prepared foundation, usually a concrete slab, or slabs. Some states require only a graded land, but all require under floor support systems such as precuts concrete piers, steel piers or blocks. Many states also require tie down systems: metal straps and ground anchors that tie the home securely to the earth (or concrete foundation)... According to some HUD code regulators, all homes should be anchored to the ground to meet compliance standards, but enforcement varies widely.