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    A house, however, is more three-dimensional. The roof overhangs the wall by a couple of feet and casts a shadow below it, windows are inset in the wall, and the entry door is recessed in an alcove and/or framed under a protruding front porch with a peaked roof. Things are moving forward and backwards from the front wall surface. That’s the difference, and thinking in 3-D about the improvements to your manufactured home will get you where you want to be. No one will mistake it for site-built, but your home will definitely look less box-like and more house-like. Here’s a few suggestions to get you started:

  1. Create a layered entry to the front door - An impressive entry requires your visitor to walk up a walkway to the steps, go up the steps, and then proceed across a sheltered landing or porch to the front door. The “code steps” that the installer placed at the front door compresses all of this into a small platform, but you want to stretch it out to make approaching your home more impressive.
      Pots, foliage or posts at regular intervals on both sides of the walkway will punctuate and formalize it. Little solar-powered lights don’t count. The steps can be diagonal to the entry door or paired opposite each other, there can be an intermediate landing, and the landing at the door can be wide enough to put tall decorative shutters and a large potted palm on either side, as ways to stretch it out.
        A gable roof over the landing that ties back over the roof of your home is great, but expensive. A big porch is even better, but much more expensive. You can create the feeling of a sheltered entrance with posts supporting gable rafters and furring strips over them.

  2. Use a proven 3-color paint scheme - It’s fun picking colors at the paint store, but the relationship between the colors is more important than the colors themselves. That’s tough to get right and why we recommend that you don’t select your own individual  colors, but pick a professionally coordinated 3-color scheme (wall, trim, and accent color) from a paint company brochure instead. We like the Behr paint combos at Home Depot, but Benjamin Moore and other companies have equally good color palettes.
        Sometimes the “wrong” color is exactly what you need, and we don’t mean purple or lime green walls. Many of the paint company color schemes have very predictable, calm wall and trim colors, and then a zingy accent color for the front door. These are the combos that often look great. At the other extreme, conservative traditional colors can give your house a more stately aura, especially the ones with black or ultra-dark grey accent colors.

  3. Work your fenestration - Architects call the door and window openings in a wall “fenestration.” They give the fenestration special attention and you should too. Although you can’t recess you windows, a pair of shutters on either side will create forward depth and a shadow at the sides. Get shutters that are at least one inch thick. If you want to make the shutters match the accent color of your front door, be sure to buy the light grey ones that are marked “paintable.”
        A freestanding trellis panel on posts a little forward of the front wall and between two windows will also give more 3-D to the front of your home. Be sure to install a trim strip around the edges for a more finished appearance.

  4. Don’t try to make everything dazzling - Your entry door area is the star of the show. All the rest is the supporting cast and only there to lead you to the entry and make it more impressive.

  5. Repeat your themes - A theme can be anything—big terra-cotta pots, black coach lamps, or a signature railing detail. Whatever themes you choose, repeat them, preferably in pairs or clusters, in more than one place.

    Newer manufactured homes have a deeper overhang, higher pitch roof, and plank siding that gives those homeowners a head-start on creating a more traditional residential look for their home. But adding a little of what realtors call “curb appeal” can work wonders for any mobile home.


    Here’s links to more of our blog posts with useful information about buying and owning a mobile home:

  1. Does it make sense to buy an older mobile home and remodel it?

  2. Where do I find the vehicle identification number (VIN) on a mobile home?

  3. How do I find out how old a mobile home is and who manufactured it?

  4. What is the life expectancy of a mobile home?

  5. What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

  6. What is the right price for a used mobile home?

  7. What does the HUD tag look like and where do I find it on a mobile home?

While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
© McGarry and Madsen Inspection

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More blog posts about mobile homes:

  1. How can I tell the difference between a manufactured home and a modular home?

  2. Why are there two VIN numbers on some mobile home titles?

  3. Can I install a mobile home myself?

  4. How can I know if my mobile home meets HUD Code?

  5. What are the warning signs of a dangerous deck?

  6. How much does it cost to move a mobile home?

  7. How do I remove cigarette odor in a house?

  8. What is a Park Model mobile home?

  9. Do I need stairs at all exit doors from a mobile home?

  10. What is an air conditioner for a mobile home called?

  11. What’s the difference between a trailer, a mobile home, a manufactured home, and a modular home?

  12. What’s the difference between a manufactured and a mobile home?

  13. Does an addition to a mobile home have to comply with with HUD Code?

  14. What can I do to prevent dampness and mold in my mobile home?

  15. Where are Wind Zone 2 and Wind Zone 3 for mobile homes located?

  16. How can I tell if a mobile home is well constructed?

  17. Can you move a mobile home that is 20 years old in Florida?

  18. What is a pit set mobile home?

  19. Do you have any tips for buying a used mobile home?

  20. Why is the floor tile cracked in my mobile home?

  21. Why is it important that a mobile home stay level throughout its lifetime?

  22. How much venting is required for mobile home skirting?

  23. What do I need to know about building an addition to a mobile home?

  24. What is the average lifespan of a wood deck?

  25. What is a D-sticker mobile home?

  26. What is the life expectancy of a modular home?

  27. How do I upgrade my old (pre-1976) mobile home to meet HUD standards?

  28. When was the first double-wide mobile home manufactured?

  29. How energy efficient is a mobile home?

  30. Can I tell the year of a manufactured/mobile home from the HUD tag (red tag)?

  31. What are the HUD requirements for selling a remodeled or renovated mobile home?

  32. How many mobile/manufactured home manufacturers are licensed to sell their homes in Florida?

  33. Can a mobile/manufactured home get termites?

  34. What are the limitations on homesites where a mobile/manufactured home can be located?

  35. What does a home inspector look for when examining a mobile home crawl space?

  36. How do I look for mold in my mobile home?

  37. What is the difference between the electric service to a mobile home and a site built home?

  38. How can I make my mobile home more energy efficient?

  39. What are the ventilation requirements for bathrooms and kitchens in mobile homes?

  40. How much is a used mobile home worth?

  41. What would cause half of a double-wide mobile home to lose electric power?

  42. What are the common problems to look for when buying a mobile home that is older than 40 years?

  43. How many manufactured/mobile homes are there in the United States?

  44. Can I convert a shipping container into a HUD-Code manufactured/mobile home?

  45. Where do I find the water heater in a mobile home?

  46. How do HUD-code mobile/manufactured home standards compare to the IRC building code for site-built homes?

  47. What are the right words for the parts of a mobile/manufactured home?

  48. What is the right humidity level in a mobile home?

  49. Can you do a mobile home inspection with no electric power or water?

  50. What is the difference between a manufactured/mobile home water heater and a regular water heater?

  51. What is a manufactured home?

  52. What is the building code for mobile/manufactured homes in Florida?