How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes

Are older mobile homes unsafe?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Older mobile homes were built to meet the safety standards at the time of their construction, so it would be unfair to say they are now unsafe because HUD safety standards have been upgraded over the years. But newer manufactured homes are definitely safer than older models. They are more fire-resistant, have smoke alarms, and GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) shock protection in wet areas. 

    The structural strength of the home, along with uplift resistance and lateral stability of the tie-downs, have been improved. There’s more insulation in the walls and ceiling, and electric service size and number of wall outlets has been expanded to serve the increased electric usage of homeowners today.

    But some of the safety features that are standard in a new mobile home can be retrofitted into an older one. Here’s a short list of five:

  1.  Add smoke alarms in each hallway or access room to bedroom. Even better, put a smoke alarm in each bedroom too.
  2. Replace the bathroom, kitchen, and exterior receptacles with GFCI-protected ones that have the two small buttons in the center
  3. Have your tie-downs checked by a licensed mobile home installer, and repaired or replaced as necessary. 
  4. Upgrade the tie-downs to meet the newer standards required after 1999.
  5. Disconnect the structural attachment of any carport or screen porch roofs to the mobile home roof or walls. Make them self-supporting and able to break away from the home in a storm without pulling part of the mobile home along with it, unless the home was manufactured with a “host beam” built into a wall for a future addition. See our blog post What is a "host beam" at a mobile/manufactured home? for more on this.

    To learn more about older mobile homes, we suggest reading our blog posts How do I determine the age of a very old mobile home? and Does it make sense to buy an older mobile home and remodel it? and Can you move an older mobile home in Florida? 

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Want to learn more about inspecting
manufactured/mobile homes? 
Get our  Handbook for 
Manufactured Home Inspectors 
at for $19.95

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Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about MOBILE/MANUFACTURED HOMES:

• What is causing soft spots in my mobile/manufactured home floor?

Where can I file a complaint if I have problems with my new or used manufactured/mobile home in Florida?

 What are the most common defects in mobile/manufactured home foundation piers?

What is a "HUD label verification letter" for a mobile/manufactured home?  

When did a ground cover vapor barrier (plastic sheet) become required under a mobile/manufactured home? 

Is it safe to go under a mobile home? 

 What do I need to know about buying a foreclosed mobile home? 

Where do I find the vehicle identification number (VIN) on a mobile home? 

How do I find out how old a mobile home is and who manufactured it?

What is the right price for a used mobile home?

How energy efficient is a mobile home?

When were the first double-wide mobile homes manufactured?

How do I upgrade my old (pre-1976) mobile home to meet HUD standards?

What size air conditioner is right for my mobile home? 

Can you move an older mobile home in Florida? 

What does the HUD tag look like and where do I find it on a mobile home? 

Can you put a zone 1 mobile home in Florida?

How can I remove water under my mobile home?

What's the differences between a trailer, a mobile home, a manufactured home, and a modular home? 

What is a D-sticker mobile home? 

What can I do to prevent dampness and mold in my mobile home? 

How can I tell if a mobile home is well constructed?

How can I tell the difference between a manufactured home and a modular home?

       Visit our MOBILE/MANUFACTURED HOMES  page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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