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Are Manufactured and Mobile Homes Safe Against Storms?

Manufactured that meets home construction and safety standards

Why are manufactured homes safe compared to site-built housing?
The answer may surprise you!

A great home should be spacious, welcoming, and of course, sturdy against inclement weather of all types. After all, who wants a house that doesn’t keep you warm and cozy in a storm? While most homes can stand up to rain and winds in general, things get a bit more complicated if you live in a tornado or hurricane-prone area.

If you’re looking for an affordable home, you might consider a manufactured home or mobile home.But since they aren’t connected to a foundation, are manufactured homes truly safe against tornadoes and hurricanes?

They are! But let’s take a deep dive into this question and explore why you can trust manufactured homes to be just as safe against tornadoes and hurricanes as site-built houses.

Manufactured vs. site-built homes

Manufactured homes are far improved from the mobile homes of yesteryear. In many cases, they have floorplans, interior design choices, and amenities that are comparable to site-built houses. The difference is that manufactured homes are built in factory environments on solid steel frames. They’re protective, dependable, and not at all fragile like detractors may suggest.

But they aren’t made on-site. Instead, manufactured homes are transported to their final destinations after someone purchases them. Owners can live in beautiful manufactured homes on rented space or real estate they purchase.

Even though many manufactured homes are just as tough as site-built housing, the myth that manufactured homes are weaker in the face of heavy wind hazards persists.

Manufactured homes – built safe according to the HUD Code

Staff inspecting a manufactured home for construction and safety standards

If manufactured homes aren't built on-site – and thus, aren't attached to ground foundations by default – why aren't they more vulnerable to tornadoes and hurricanes? In short, because of design and construction provisions laid out in the HUD Code.

Congress passed the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act in 1974, which then led to the US Department of Housing and Development (HUD) Code. The HUD Code was officially implemented in 1976; to this day, it outlines safety rules for all future manufactured homes.

In a nutshell, the HUD Code is a series of design and construction guidelines that requires all manufactured homes to be made on permanent chassis. This ensures that manufactured homes are built to last and according to national safety standards. The HUD Code also specifies processes that construction companies must abide by before, during, and after building new manufactured homes.

Updates to the HUD Code

The HUD Code did not originally include provisions to ensure all manufactured homes could withstand tornado-level forces. However, the HUD Code was updated twice: first in 1994 and later in 2000.

1994 update

When Hurricane Andrew struck Florida and Louisiana in August 1992, it came with winds blowing at speeds over 150 mph. This hurricane led to new building requirements within the HUD Code. These requirements were instituted on July 13, 1994.

Since that date, all manufactured homes have been constructed to be resistant against wind speeds of:

  • Up to 100 mph for manufactured homes placed within Wind Zone II
  • Up to 110 mph for manufactured homes placed within Wind Zone III

According to the National Weather Service, these zones include areas that regularly see high winds from tornadoes or hurricanes, primarily along the southeastern US coast. They ensure that manufactured homes built for these locations are tough enough to stand up to storms just as well as site-built houses.

2000 update

In 2000, Congress further updated the original 1974 Safety Standards Act. This included additional provisions for ongoing installation standards and practices, such as:

  • Limiting the materials that manufactured homes are designed and constructed of
  • Removing the use of corrosive materials from manufactured home designs
  • And more

Between these two updates, the HUD Code now guarantees that manufactured homes are safer than ever. Both prospective and current homeowners can enjoy many of the benefits of manufactured homes – including their affordability – without worrying about their safety.

How safe are manufactured homes?

Put simply, very!

As noted above, the toughest manufactured homes are built to withstand wind speeds of up to 110 mph. This is also the maximum required safety design limit for site-built homes. In other words, with proper installation, manufactured homes are designed to meet the same minimum standards as site-built housing.

That said, many tornadoes and hurricanes can kick up wind speeds of more than 110 mph. Therefore, anyone who lives in hurricane or tornado-prone areas must have safety and evacuation plans in place. While manufactured homes are safe relative to site-built houses, they’re not invulnerable – and neither are site-built homes.

Are manufactured homes safe in tornado/hurricane-prone areas?

A tornado brewing near a manufactured home

With proper installation, manufactured homes are designed to meet the same minimum safety standards against tornadoes and hurricanes as site-built housing. Some research indicates that most storm damage to manufactured homes actually occurs from debris impacts, not from high winds themselves.

On top of that, many manufactured homes, including double wide manufactured homes, can be attached to permanent foundations on real estate plots. This makes them almost identical to site-built homes in terms of safety, functionality, and more.

Find the right manufactured home for you!

Manufactured homes in states like Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, or Oklahoma are effectively safe against hurricanes or tornadoes. Furthermore, manufactured homes are oftentimes wise investments and may be perfect options for your homeownership dreams.

21st Mortgage can offer you the financing you need to purchase a manufactured home ASAP. As the number one manufactured and mobile home lender for 11 years and counting, we’re well equipped to provide you with the ideal manufactured home loan or insurance plan. Contact us today!

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