How long does a manufactured home last? What is the durability of a prefab house? Surely you are wondering how long a prefabricated house lasts and what are the factors that affect its durability.
Sometimes the best answers are the ones that tell you “it depends”… However, one thing can be assured: prefabricated homes have a useful life similar to traditional houses, built with similar materials.
Durability of a Manufactured Home
Durability is the ability of reinforced concrete structures to keep their physical and chemical conditions unchanged during their useful life when they are subjected to the degradation of their material by different effects of loads and stresses, which are provided for in their structural design. .
The structural design of a reinforced concrete (and precast) building must stipulate the appropriate measures so that it reaches the useful life established in the project, taking into account the environmental and climatic conditions and the type of building to be built, although in our case It is a prefabricated house.
The durability of the PREFABRICATED HOUSES is determined by different factors, among which are the construction materials , the characteristics of the climate, the quality of the project, the quality of the execution, the maintenance (preventive and corrective) throughout the years , although other aspects can be analyzed.
A concrete answer would be, if the house has been built with quality and respecting a good project, a prefabricated or modular house can last as long as a conventional house.
Examples of Durability of Concrete Buildings
It is very easy to demonstrate that a prefabricated concrete house can last more than 100 years , since concrete is, in short, a very resistant artificial stone. For example, the dome of the PANTHEON IN ROME is the largest mass concrete dome in history.
With a diameter of 43.44 meters and a weight of 4,535 tons, it was built in the year 128 AD, that is, it is almost 2,000 years old.
This shows how durable concrete can be. The dome of the Pantheon in Rome is perhaps not the most exact example that we could give, since in its construction it does not have reinforcing steel, but it certainly offers a good measure of the durability of CONCRETE.
Another clear example to know how long a prefabricated house lasts is the following. It is a more recent construction with reinforced concrete: The Latin American Tower in Mexico City, which was completed in 1956, so it is already 63 years old , which has also survived 3 large-magnitude earthquakes.
That speaks of good planning and correct construction processes. We could cite many examples that show that concrete is a very resistant and durable material.
Now, here we are talking about precast concrete reinforced with reinforcing steel bars, which brings with it a different behavior, both due to its resistance to the acting forces, as well as its durability against the action of climatic agents.
How Long Does a Manufactured Home Last: Concrete
Going into more detail, it can be said that the duration of precast concrete is variable and depends on many factors, such as the climate where the house is located, relative humidity, temperature, proximity to the coast, saltpeter, and the prevailing winds.
Other elements that directly affect the duration of a precast concrete house are the design of the structure, the location and amount of reinforcing steel, as well as drainage and protection systems.
In addition, the designs of the joints that join each panel or precast concrete part, which allow movements to be dissipated and at the same time prevent the entry of water, leaks, etc. It is without a primary factor in the durability of manufactured housing.
Therefore, it must be said that the answer is not so simple and the quantification is highly variable.
In theory, it could be said that a reinforced concrete house is built to have a useful life of at least 100 years. Some regulations (which I have consulted at some point) propose a durability of 80 to 100 years , for houses made with prefabricated elements.
Below is a table that shows how long a prefabricated concrete house lasts, among other types of buildings and constructions. It is the estimated useful life they should have, according to Spanish regulations.
Life Expectancy of a Manufactured Home
|Service Life of Different Types of Structures|
|Temporary structures.||3 to 10 years|
|Replaceable elements that are not part of the main structure (handrails, tubes, etc.).||10 to 25 years|
|Agricultural, industrial, maritime buildings or installations.||15 to 50 years|
|Residential buildings, offices, bridges, civil engineering works.||50 years|
|Monumental buildings, bridges over 10 meters, other structures with a high economic impact.||100 years|
But reality shows otherwise, and that is that they can last more than 100 years, even without the corresponding maintenance, especially preventive maintenance, before the first deterioration appears.
A very important criterion to follow is knowing how to choose a company with experience in the prefabricated construction sector . In this way, it is possible to perfectly acquire a prefabricated house to live as a first home.
How Long does a Prefabricated Wooden House Last?
There are many countries where wooden houses are common, such as the United States, Canada, Russia, Japan, northern Europe, among others. But it is not difficult to realize that these are countries with extensive forested areas, with high industrial development to process and recycle the raw material.
At the same time, we can realize that in the regions where wood has been used the most for homes, it is where it is very cold and low in relative humidity, and this is very important, since it does not happen by choice. Later we explain why. Keep reading…
In other developed countries such as Spain, Italy, France, and others in Europe, the same does not happen, since they do not have as much reserve of timber forests and therefore they must import the raw material or already processed industrial wood.
Below you can see a list of the main industrial wood-producing countries, organized by continent. This is an estimate of wood production for the year 1990 (thousands of m3).
It is easy to see that these are mostly large countries or countries with industrial development. In the data found, Russia, the largest country, does not appear due to the date (1990) in which the information is collected.
|Producing countries||Total wood|
destined for industrial uses
Source: FAO 1993. (thousands of m3)
It is no less true that in these countries where there is no significant timber development, there are also strong prejudices regarding the useful life of a wooden house or its durability.
Of course, they have spent centuries building largely traditional homes, made of brick, concrete and steel, casting doubt on anything not built with these materials. But perhaps, it’s not just about tradition. Or if?
To know how long a prefabricated wooden house can be , we must know how the wood can be attacked and what resources we have available to avoid or counteract it.
What affects a Prefabricated Wooden House
The main factor that causes wood to deteriorate is humidity , even above possible domestic accidents that cause fires and other types of events that may lead to the appearance of a fire that affects a prefabricated wooden house.
When the wood reaches a moisture content of more than 20% , then it is when the appearance of fungi occurs, which is the main factor of deterioration of the wooden elements (prefabricated).
To prevent moisture from reaching the wood, two different methods can be used.
The first must be from the design or project of the house . Care must be taken that the wooden elements do not come into contact with other elements susceptible to acquiring moisture.
This is why we see how the foundations are often made of reinforced concrete and exceed the ground level. So, from there we began to place the pieces of wood, such as columns, uprights, among others.
In this way exposure to moisture is minimal. Another example to consider is that the heads of the beams in walls must be ventilated, and thus avoid moisture by capillarity.
The second method is the application of chemical substances or wood treatment , which significantly reduce the attack of microorganisms.
A part of the treatment of the wood occurs during the construction process of the prefabricated wooden house, applying paints and resins that repel insects and micro-organisms.
The other(s) occur during the periodic maintenance that the different prefabricated wooden elements of the house must have, especially those most exposed to weathering. Preventive maintenance is also important here , before the first signs of moisture or deterioration appear.
Factors Affecting Wood Behavior
Listed below are the main factors that can modify the proper behavior of precast wood:
When it exceeds 20% relative humidity.
Perhaps we realize that there is a direct relationship between humidity and temperature. The higher the humidity, the higher the temperature, (this is almost always the case) and vice versa.
In the case of wood (of any type), high humidity and high temperatures are not convenient. The best mechanical behavior of wood occurs when there are low temperatures and relative humidity. It is an intrinsic characteristic of wood.
This is one of the reasons why industrially prefabricated wood offers greater resistance than natural wood, since its component particles (industrial wood) have been compressed, leaving it with a higher density than in its natural form.
- Living organisms
Among these we find Termites, ants, beetles. These living beings do not eat wood, but make holes in them to protect themselves, leaving thin layers of 1 or 2 mm as protection.about:blank
- Chemical agents
Like water, alcohol, which swells the wood and can transform its composition.
The cleanliness of the surfaces, the ventilation, among others, are factors that will influence the non-appearance of humidity, fungi and micro-organisms in the structure of the prefabricated wooden house.
Climatic regions to build Prefabricated Wooden Houses
If the main factor that affects the behavior of industrial wood is humidity (and high temperatures), then the most convenient regions to buy a prefabricated wooden house are those where relative humidity is low.
|Countries||Winter Average |
|Czech Republic||-15 GC|
|Norway ,||-10 GC|
In most of these countries, wooden houses are built for two main reasons. Because wood is not a conductor of heat, so it allows a stable interior temperature to be maintained differently from the one outside.
At the same time, because wood in cold climates is more durable and micro-organisms and insects attack it less. They also tend to be countries with greater industrial development, including the timber industry.
However, for those who prefer prefabricated wooden houses, there is good news…
Industrial Wood: Why is it so interesting?
To know how long a prefabricated wooden house lasts, it is very important to know industrial wood, its characteristics and behavior.
The wood industry has achieved that what was once considered waste products and residues, such as sawdust, small particles or useless pieces of wood, now constitute the raw material to produce elements of greater resistance and durability, finding a path towards recycling and organic production.
With this industrial development of wood, it has also been possible to obtain considerably lower prices, the development of adhesives and the superimposition of sheets or strips that allow longer and more resistant pieces to be obtained.
The chemical industry has also managed to influence considerably, with the insertion of some chemical treatments that improve the physical-mechanical characteristics of panels and prefabricated pieces of wood, such as greater resistance to humidity or fire, and more durability.
Among the types of industrial wood, we find laminates , cross-laminates , wood from particles ( agglomerates, OSB and MDF ) and plywood .
Each of these types of prefabricated wood have specific characteristics that make them ideal for certain elements of a prefabricated home.
Characteristics of Prefabricated Wood (Industrial)
- More Economical
Prefabricated wood elements (industrial wood) are made from wood waste and may even have other types of material as components, which allow you to reduce the use of natural wood from the forest. This has made it possible to lower the costs of industrial wood (prefabricated wood) compared to natural wood.
- More Resistant
The development of chemical adhesives and the superimposition of sheets or strips allows obtaining more resistant pieces. The chemical industry has also made it possible to improve the mechanical characteristics and resistance to humidity or fire.
- Variety in the assortment
In the same sense as the previous point, it is possible to manufacture larger pieces (and just as resistant). It has also allowed to achieve elements with a variety of shapes, such as elements for DESIGN STAIRS, among others.
Durability of Industrial Wood
In the case of the durability of wood, its resistance to the action of rotting fungi and insects (xylophages) plays a very important role . These are the ones that produce the deterioration of the wood and its putrefaction.
When the wood is well treated, the appearance of bacteria, small unicellular organisms that have a direct relationship with the infection of wood that has not been treated and has been exposed to humid environments, is avoided.
Benefits of Living in a Prefabricated Wooden House
Among the benefits of living in a prefabricated wooden house, there are the sensations that are achieved, which include greater comfort and well-being. Wood is a very noble material. For regions with cold climates, it is very pleasant since it always maintains a pleasant temperature to the touch.
Another great advantage of buying a manufactured wooden house is the ease of repairs . In these it is much easier to replace or repair a part that has deteriorated since it is an easier material to maneuver and work with than precast concrete.
How Long Does a Manufactured Home Last: Wooden
But how long does a prefabricated wooden house last? With correct maintenance, it could be said that they can reach 50 years, everyone smiles if the house is located in a region with a cold climate and low relative humidity.
Undoubtedly, prefab wooden houses may require more maintenance than a concrete prefab, but at the same time, prefab wooden houses are cheaper, so it can be a dilemma to choose between one type or the other.
What Factors Determine the Durability of Wood?
In order for the wooden structure to have a long useful life, it is necessary to pay attention to periodic inspections and maintenance of the house.
Ways to Increase the Durability of Wooden Houses
As we deal with prefabricated wooden houses, it would be highly advisable to do a thorough study of the best suppliers of prefabricated wooden houses.
At the same time, read the quality seals that they provide and the years of guarantee that they offer. Likewise, one must look (if they detail it) what type of industrial wood they provide, if they include any chemical treatment against deterioration due to humidity, among other aspects.
Maintenance to Extend the Useful Life of the Manufactured House
Maintenance in its two phases directly influences how long a prefabricated wooden house lasts. There are two kinds of maintenance.
The first, preventive maintenance , has the objective of avoiding deterioration in the structure of the house, as well as in other elements, such as installations and finishes, etc.
The second type is corrective maintenance, which is carried out once deterioration has already appeared. It is the one that is most often carried out (as it does not carry out preventive maintenance), and it is the one that entails the most expenses.
In order for preventive maintenance to take effect, it is necessary to carry out regular inspections of our home, evaluating above all those areas most susceptible to deterioration, such as the roof, kitchen floors, bathrooms and other humid areas. There are specific regulations for this.
On the other hand, preventive measures are often included in the technical report of the housing project, which are usually very effective and reduce possible subsequent expenses for corrective maintenance itself. For this, all the aggressive agents to which the house will be exposed must be identified in advance.
Periodic maintenance and renewal of finishes. As in conventional houses, it is necessary to renew the paint, primers and waterproofing of the most exposed elements and of all in general. Another important detail is to keep the structure dry.
It is not that it cannot get wet, what we must do is prevent it from staying wet for long periods and facilitate proper ventilation.
How Long does a New Manufactured Home Last?
To know how many years a prefabricated house lasts, the best answer to this question can be given by the suppliers of prefabricated wooden houses, together with the passage of time.
Compared to a prefabricated concrete house, of which there are already many examples with a durability of more than 60 years, prefabricated wooden houses are of more recent appearance, although it is true that the production technologies of prefabricated wooden houses have evolved. considerably in recent years.
Later, you could compare the offers and durability of the prefabricated concrete houses.