How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes
Why are there cracks in the wallboard in a mobile home after its moved?
Friday, September 21, 2018
To understand how the walls of a mobile home interact with the frame while its traveling down the highway, you need to start with the way the steel I-beam frame is built. The beams are constructed with a carefully calculated amount of camber. They bow upward slightly at the center between the axles and front, and have a second upward curve at the back. Once the home is built on the frame, the weight of all the construction materials flattens it back to level.
However, if the frame was built without the camber it would sag under the weight of the completed home.
Now, combine this insight with the fact that steel frame is both strong and somewhat limber. It can flex a little. In contrast, gypsum drywall is weak and stiff. It cracks instead of bending when stressed. When the mobile home hits a bump or pothole in the road, the resulting bounce is the same as if it gained weight suddenly, and the frame flexes slightly—but the wallboard above it can’t, so it may crack.
Wallboards with a small gap between them and vertical batten strips to cover the gap is a solution that has been used for many years to minimize wall cracks in transit. But homebuyers today are demanding taped and finished drywall identical to the interior of a site-built home, so there is typically a little necessary repair to be done on the walls while the home is being installed at its destination.
Also, see our blog post Can you move an older mobile home in Florida?
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Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about MOBILE/MANUFACTURED HOMES:
Illustrations - Manufactured Home Installation Training Manual,
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 1998
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