Ever wondered who builds the best manufactured homes or what determines a good manufactured home from a bad one?

Manufactured housing experts will always tell you that it’s all about the construction specs. The size and quality of the materials used in a manufactured home is the best determination of its overall quality and they aren’t wrong. The materials and construction are the top signs of a quality home. But nowadays, there isn’t much difference in building technique and materials between each company. There are roughly 61 different manufactured home builder or brands but only 10 of those build 80% of all manufactured homes in the US.

Even with different factories, there won’t be too many differences between the brands and models. The entry-level home built by Marlette isn’t going to be much different from an entry-level model made at a Norris factory. They are both Clayton Homes and likely get their materials from the same suppliers also owned by Clayton Homes.

Therefore, we need to look beyond construction specs to find the best manufactured homes.

Factors that Determine the Quality of a Manufactured Home

In this article, we look at a few other factors that need to be considered in the hunt for the best manufactured homes. We’ll also share a few brands that seem to be doing a decent job at most of them (at least from the outside looking in).

Construction Specs

The most important factor for a great manufactured home is strong construction specs are the most important factor that determines the quality of a manufactured home but it isn’t the only factor. Read about the best upgrades to choose when buying a new manufactured home here.

The Factory’s Employees and Management

Another variable that determines the quality of the home is the people building it. There will always be a noticeable difference between homes built by people who care and people who don’t.

Every step of manufactured home construction is streamlined but the homes are still constructed by people. Still, when the crew building a manufactured home is well-trained and dedicated they will build better homes.

A lot of variables are at play in the factory. Issues such as which employees are working together, worker morale, the weather, and even what day of the week the home was built will influence its quality.

There’s a half-joking tip that has been told for decades: you never want your new manufactured home to be built on a Friday or a Monday. Fridays are bad because the employees are ready for the weekend and Mondays are bad because they had that weekend.

Still, factory constructed homes have far fewer variables that could interfere with the home quality compared to site-built home construction.

ending the blame game - who builds the best manufactured homes?
Source: iccsafe.org

After-Sale Service (Dealer/Builder Relationship)

The best manufactured homes will come from dealers that have excellent customer service after the sale.

The relationship between dealer and builder is crucial. Does the builder support the dealer and help them correct problems efficiently or is there a bunch of red-tape that both dealer and buyer need to maneuver through?

Does the dealer and builder play the blame game? The blame game is a well-known ploy in the industry. SInce manufactured homes typically only have a 1 year warranty the dealer makes an effort to run that time out by claiming that the buyer’s problem is the builder’s responsibility. The builder pushes the blame back to the dealer and this goes on until the 1 year warranty is up.

Spend time to research how a dealer and builder handle issues after the sale.

Installation and Setup

Lastly, installation and set up play a huge role in the quest for the best manufactured homes.

I once saw a claim that 80% of all manufactured home buyers complaints are caused by improper or incomplete installation. If that is indeed true, it’s a fairly easy issue to handle: just make sure the best installers are installing your home.

You can have every inch of a home customized and stand in the factory and watch the home being built and it won’t much matter if it isn’t installed properly.

A luxury manufactured home that is installed incorrectly will age quicker and have more issues than an entry-level model that has been installed correctly.

What Makes the Best Manufactured Homes?

Most builders are offering a model with at least a few of the following amenities and features. Regardless of who builds it, the best manufactured homes will have:

  • 2×6 with 16″ OC exterior wall studs
  • 2×4 with16″ OC interior studs
  • Roof pitch at least 4/12 (the higher the better) along with a minimum of R-38 Insulation
  • 9′ Sidewalls with R-19 or more insulation
  • Minimum 12″ eaves
  • Plywood exterior sheathing
  • Tyvek house wrap
  • 50 gal quick return water heater
  • PEX or copper water lines with a shut off at every water source
  • Plywood decking (sub-flooring) that has been screwed
  • 1/2″ Drywall with thicker molding and trims
  • Larger front and rear doors
  • 25″ wide countertops made from quality material
  • Real wood or Melamine Cabinets with adjustable shelving
  • Corian or Vitreous China bathroom fixtures
  • Sheet metal HVAC ducting

Are These Brands Building the Best Manufactured Home?

Skyline Homes

Skyline Homes has some gorgeous models on the market. My neighbor had a double wide with log siding and huge end windows overlooking a deck. It was gorgeous.

Skyline is on my best manufactured home list because they at least offer a 15-month warranty. Most other builders offer the federally mandated 1-year warranty.

Skyline Corporation and Champion Enterprises Holdings LLC recently merged and created Skyline Champion, the nation’s largest public factory home builder.

Clayton Homes

Clayton Homes is the largest manufactured home company in the US. Does that mean it’s the best manufactured home builder?

With the right upgrades and specs the Bordeaux by Clayton Homes could be one of the best manufactured homes on the market. Or, at least one of the nicest.

Claytons homes Bordeaux series - best manufactured home contender?

Clayton Homes produces more factory-built homes in the US than any other company. Their experience alone should give them a lead in the race to build the best manufactuctured homes.

10 Gorgeous Manufactured Home Models on the Market Today

Palm Harbor Homes

Palm Harbor’s has an article on their blog with reviews from owners whose homes survived Hurricane Irma. One homeowner said she received very little damage even though winds were clocked at 175 mph. That’s impressive.

Palm Harbor’s La Belle model could be another great manufactured home with the right specs.

The La Belle VR41764D Master bathroom

Oakcreek Homes

I’m not too familiar with OakCreek Homes but they offer an extended 7-year home protection program (mini-warranty, I guess?). That’s not too shabby.

Silvercrest Homes

SilverCrest is part of Champion Homes. Their website states that “more than half of Silvercrest’s workforce has at least 10 years’ experience.” That makes a big difference in manufactured home construction.

Silvercrest also offers the Silvershield, a 7-Year Warranty.They are one of the only manufactured home builders in the Western U.S. that offers such a long-term warranty.

Silvercrest’s Craftsman series home has all the specs we think make for the best manufactured homes:

Is Silvercrest craftsman series one of the best manufactured homes?

Learn about 27 manufactured home builders here.

Learn More about the Best Manufactured Homes on the Market

Learn more about manufactured home builders in the book The Grissim Ratings Guide to Manufactured Homes (affiliate link).

Read our best tips on buying a new manufactured home.

Conclusion

The hunt for the best manufactured homes is complex and there’s more to it than just than looking at construction specs.

A home, regardless of what level of quality, built with better materials and constructed with screws instead of staples will likely be the better home but if a tradesperson that helped build the home was having a bad day or the home was installed incorrectly that’s going to affect its quality.

Do you have any good experiences with a certain builder or model? Add it below – you may help a potential buyer find their dream home or avoid a bad experience.

As always, thank you so much for reading Mobile Home Living®!



4 thoughts on “Which Brands Build the Best Manufactured Homes?”

  1. In your article it mentions Champion a few times over as a co-builder of mobile homes. From my experience, they are the worst builder on the market.

    Mind you I did not have an opportunity to shop ahead of time when ordering my home was done and looking at companies as you suggest. Most times homes in mobile home parks have done that, purchased a home, had it set up on a lot in their park and then sold it themselves. Which was how I acquired my home. It was almost four years old and had one previous owner.

    After I already had purchased it, I noticed construction errors a plenty. Walls that were not squared, improperly finished or so far out of alignment it wasn’t funny. These major problems were not taken up by the first owner and therefore by the time I bought it, the warranty was no longer valid.

    As far as set up companies, I later found out that they did not follow code with all they were supposed to do before, after, and during. They did not perform a soil test to see if the land underneath was compacted enough to place the home on. Apparently, the just ripped out the old home and brought the new one in assuming if it already had one home on it previously, that was good enough for them.

    Sadly in my section of the park several of us are sitting on granite or DG which has shifted over the years leaving cracks in driveways or under homes. While this probably didn’t cause any of the original building problems, it didn’t help either. And at the 5 year mark, while re-leveling my home, we found out underneath there is a large gap opening along the center line which cannot be brought together again even using marriage bolts. And because they originally brought in top soil to sit on top of the granite (approx 8-12”), every time it rains a lot I assume there is some movement. This also put tension on the electrical that runs under one section of the house and power has now gone out in 1/4 of our home. Another flaw I am stuck paying to repair.

    Another issue, after setting up the home, when putting the skirting on the house the county required that all skirting installed was to be made of fiber cement board and not MDF, which they used. This caused the siding to soak up water and destroy the MDF leaving it to rot away. And I believe the framing for the skirting is nothing more than cheap wood to, so that adds to the cost of replacing it.

    As this point, I’d love to have a new mobile home, but next time I want to be in on it from before the building and put on my own lot. And no more champion homes for me!

    1. Hi Jill,

      I’m so sorry you are dealing with all this. From the sound of it, I think all of your issues have been caused by poor installation and shifting. I once read that over 80% of all after-sale complaints were due to improper installation but I honestly think it may be more. If a home is unlevel it stresses everything out and it’s just a downhill battle from there. Unfortunately, the industry can’t seem to get itself together. Licensing is required but there are so many loopholes it’s ridiculous (just like site-built home construction).

      I have seen wood framing used a lot for skirting but it cannot touch the ground. I don’t even know why anyone would use MDF outside. Yikes. I hope it all works out for you and you feel safe in your home.

    1. Yes, I’m aware. That’s why there’s a sentence under the Skyline listing that states: “Skyline Corporation and Champion Enterprises Holdings LLC recently merged and created Skyline Champion, the nation’s largest public factory home builder.” There’s even a link to the Business Wire article from June. Not sure how you missed that?

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