How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes

Do all mobile homes have formaldehyde?

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Both mobile homes and site-built homes have construction materials that contain formaldehyde, and both off-gas the formaldehyde during the first few months after placement. But, because a site-built home can take six months to a year from start to move-in day, much of the off-gassing has occurred while the home is under construction. Mobile homes roll out of the factory in about a week and can be delivered to the site just a few days later, so they have less time for the formaldehyde gas to dissipate before the new homeowers begin living in the home.

    There are HUD standards for the maximum amount of formaldehyde allowed in plywood and particle board used in mobile construction. So it is limited. But we know of no HUD standard for the maximum allowed level of formaldehyde gas in the air in a new mobile home. Because so many products, including cabinets and new furniture, combine with the construction materials to off-gas formaldehyde during the first few months after a home is constructed, it can sometimes be annoying and also cause headaches and throat irritiation. 

   But reducing the formaldehyde level and eliminating formaldehyde-producing sources within your mobile home is still a sensible thing to do. Here’s a few ways to do it: 

  • If you buy pressed-wood products, confirm that they are made with composites meeting the Ultra Low Emission Formaldehyde (ULEF) or No Added Formaldehyde (NAF) requirements.
  • Open doors and windows occasionally and use an exhaust fan to air out the house. Modern houses are tightly sealed and insulated, so a regular airing-out is a good policy.
  • Buy only solid wood furniture or composite wood furniture with sealed surfaces. If you have any newer composite wood furniture that is still emitting formaldehyde gas, remove it from your home. Because the formaldehyde off-gassing diminishes over time, storing the pieces outside of your living area for a while may solve the problem.
  • Increase ventilation of your home while doing any interior painting or use low VOC paint. 

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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 MOLD, LEAD AND OTHER CONTAMINANTS: 

• Is mold contagious? Can mold spread to my home if there is a nearby house with mold?

Should I buy a house with mold?  

Why do new homes have more moisture and mold problems than older houses?

Can infrared thermal imaging find mold behind a wall?

What is the right humidity level in a mobile home?

Who can clean up mold found during a home inspection in Florida?

How do I look for and find mold in my mobile home? 

Does bleach kill mold? 

Why is there mold around the air conditioning vents? 

What can I do to prevent mold problems in my home?

Why is there a lead paint disclaimer in my real estate sales contract? 

How can I tell if there is asbestos in a house?

How can I prevent mold in my Florida winter home when I'm gone for the summer? 

Should I use bleach to clean up mold?

There's an old fuel oil tank underground in the yard. Is it a problem?

What are those powdery white areas on my brick walls?

• What should I do if mold is found during a home inspection?  

Why is vermiculite attic insulation a problem for both buyers and sellers of a home? 

Should I buy a house with asbestos siding? 

Are old vinyl tile floors dangerous?  

• A neighbor told me that the house I want to buy once had a bad mold problem. It was not in the seller's disclosure. What should I do? 

Does a home inspector check for Chinese drywall? 

• Is wood-decay fungi found during a termite (WDO) inspection the same as mold? 

Is white mold on wood in a crawl space dangerous?

Does a home inspector check for lead paint?

      Visit our MOLD, LEAD AND OTHER CONTAMINANTS and MOBILE/MANUFACTURED HOMES pages 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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