What are the Basics of Mobile Home Construction?

Erin J. Hill

Mobile home construction typically takes place in a factory where homes are pre-assembled before they are shipped to another location to be attached to the wheels and axle. Premade homes generally have a metal exterior, wrapped around a wood frame. Electrical wires are strung where needed as in a traditional home, and sewer lines, duct work, and water drainage systems have already been put in place. Areas for the home to be attached to the axles have also been included.

Mobile homes are constructed at a factory before being transported to their final location.
Mobile homes are constructed at a factory before being transported to their final location.

Modern mobile homes are made with higher quality materials in comparison to earlier models. The entire home is generally insulated now, and higher grade metal sheeting is also used when compared to homes designed before the mid 1970’s. Some mobile homes, especially double-wides, are placed on a real foundation.

Metal sheeting is often incorporated in mobile home construction.
Metal sheeting is often incorporated in mobile home construction.

The first step in mobile home construction is to build a wood frame for the walls and roof. This is similar to the framing required for a conventional brick and mortar home, but it may be completed in a factory assembly line rather than directly on the foundation. Metal is used for the exterior walls and roof, although vinyl siding is sometimes added. The wood framing, ductwork, and wiring may be added in the same location as the metal sheeting, or these things may be done elsewhere.

Floors are added once the home has been fitted on the axle, and they are typically made from plywood which is nailed down using pre-cut holes in the frame. Flooring such as linoleum can then be added. Heavier flooring options like tile or hardwoods are not typically used, but can be added later if the home is being placed on a permanent foundation.

All components of mobile home construction, including the interior walls, exterior walls, and floors are pre-cut and ready to be nailed down to the frame in the factory. This is demanding work, but crews are typically able to move very quickly during the assembly process. One factory can make as many as a dozen or more single-wide mobile homes per day.

Once all parts are assembled, the homes are shipped to sellers. Home buyers are responsible for land on which to place the home, a sewer or septic hookup, and a foundation or mount to place the home. Additional costs are incurred by hiring movers to deliver and set up the home after purchase. Even with these costs, mobile home construction is often much cheaper than having a more conventional home built.

Mobile homes sometimes have vinyl siding.
Mobile homes sometimes have vinyl siding.

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What is making me consider buying a modular home is the fact that modular home prices are so much less than prices for houses built from the ground up. I am looking for a first house and price is a big concern for me. Another good thing about these factory built homes is that there are a lot of modular home floor plans to choose from, and I can even afford several of them.


My sister and her husband rented a house from a woman for almost 20 years, and they always paid their rent on time at the beginning of each month. Then without any warning before hand, she told them that she was going to stop renting to them because she had some family who wanted to move into the house.

Well, it goes without saying that my sister and brother-in-law were a bit put out since they didn't have any idea they were going to have to find another place to live, and they hadn't made any plans. I saw an ad in the newspaper for mobile homes for sale, so I told my sister about the place.

I know a lot of people like to complain about mobile home construction and how mobile homes aren't as good as regular houses, but the good thing about them is you can get them in a hurry. My sister and brother-in-law were able to get a used trailer with just a little money down, and their monthly payments are less than what they paid for rent.

They love their new house, and for the first time in their lives they actually own a house, well, as soon as they finish making the payments they will own it.

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