What are Manufactured Home Walls Made Of?

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How are these building costs kept low? Yet at the same time provides insulation and protection?

Drywall, also known as gypsum board, is often used in manufactured home construction. This allows for speedy construction assembly while using the boards’ inherent fire resistivity and thermal insulating properties. Drywall is also easy to attach cladding, paper or paint on for customization.

As a side note, some manufacturers still make use of wood or vinyl paneling to lower the home’s building weight.  (1)

Drywall and Vinyl Paneling

Drywall is used for the following reasons:

  • The walls make up the exterior framing as well hold the wall insulation intact.
  • Two boards sandwich wall studs in between, giving support for the drywall, doors, windows and roof.
  • Option to use half-walls or knee walls, as a partial divider between rooms e.g. separation of kitchen and dining room. (1)

Some manufactured home companies still utilize vinyl paneling to lessen the home’s weight but also require less manpower and less construction assembly.

“Vinyl walls crack less frequently during the delivery, set up and settling process, reducing the indirect cost associated with manufactured homes.” (1)

In contrast to installing drywall, it’s a lot of taping and finishing with putty of textured seams to cover up the nails or imperfections during assembly. (Note to tell your manufacturer to leave the wall smooth should you want paper onto it.)

Image from 11 Types of Interior Wall Panelling Materials for Homes (Decorative Panels) (epichomeideas.com)

Drywall is easier to paint, paper and decorate, while vinyl paneling being less absorbent is easier to clean.

Builders have more design freedom with drywall, in carving out archways, rounded corners and built-in systems. Drywall also provides a bit more insulation than thin vinyl paneling.

The biggest offset in anything vinyl is the toxic materials used. When burned or put to high temperatures,the PVC emits chlorine gas and carcinogen dioxins become present, which pose a health risk. Ask the dealer or manufacturer on the VOC content or Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) of the wall materials used. (2)

“Many manufactured homes are tightly sealed and the fumes can build over time, so opening the windows when the weather permits helps dissipate the fumes as the home ages.” (1)

Wall Treatment Options

Vinyl-Over-Gypsum

The benefits of vinyl are often combined with drywall when manufacturers use Vinyl-Over-Gypsum or VOG boards. It is drywall wrapped in vinyl and presents an alternative to being taped, textured and/or painted. These walls appear more seamless having matching batten strips to hide seam lines. (3)

Therefore you get the affordability, durability, easy clean and maintenance of vinyl versus a plain gypsum board. You can just wipe off any stains and spills without the concern of discoloration.

Image from DI-NOC interior vinyl surface finishes | Architecture & Design (architectureanddesign.com.au)

Tape-and-Textured

This is a seamless textured drywall one can readily paint. Being more present in site-built homes, manufactured homes now utilize these to give the residential and modern. However, they are more labor heavy. After drywall installation, a lot of mud filing, taping, sanding, re-mudding and re-sanding go into the process before spraying in the texture and final paint. Therefore some opt to combine VOG for some areas for less intensive work. (3)

Image from What is a Tape-and-Texture Wall Finish? | Braustin Homes (findmymobilehome.com)

Paper on Gypsum

Newer manufactured home companies provide either Paper on Gypsum (POG) wallboard or a variety of finished drywall.

All wallboards range in thickness from 5/16” to ½”. The 5/16” thickness is often used for Paper On Gypsum (POG) wallboards. One of the top U.S. manufacturers, Clayton, uses  3/8” thick wall boards. (4)

“After interior walls are in position, they are packed with quality insulation for energy efficiency…

Additionally, all structural components in a manufactured home wall system must be able to resist highway elements during transportation, which requires watertight construction and a home capable of resisting vibration forces. And as we already stated, we make sure to follow building requirements for electrical wiring safety.”

Image from 7 Types of Drywall, Applications, and Uses (thespruce.com)

To Wrap it all Up

With the growing market for manufactured homes, there’s a lot of variety for walls. My advice would be assessing the options and prices each dealer presents, then weighing it against your non-negotiables.

Is it easy to clean? Is it toxic-free? How long will it take before I need to replace it? How much is the replacement? Is it more budget friendly to mix and match the wall options?

Take your time in making these decisions, because anyway once you make them your house will be assembled, up and running for living in a jiffy!

 

References:

  1. Johnson, J. (2021, November 20). What types of walls are in manufactured homes? HomeSteady. Retrieved May 2022, from https://homesteady.com/12529066/what-types-of-walls-are-in-manufactured-homes
  2. Vinyl Siding and the Environment – Consumer Reports
  3. Santillan, A. (2020, May 28). What types of walls are in manufactured homes? Information for Manufactured, Mobile and Modular Homes for Sale in Texas and Oklahoma. Retrieved May 2022, from https://blog.titanfactorydirect.com/what-types-of-walls-are-in-manufactured-homes
  4. Y, K. (2017, November 20). How thick are manufactured home walls? l Clayton Studio. Retrieved May 2022, from https://www.claytonhomes.com/studio/manufactured-home-exterior-interior-wall-materials/