What Size Are Studs In A Mobile Home?


Mobile Framing StandardsJust like with any construction project, construction standards and regulations for Manufactured (Mobile) Homes has gotten much better over the years. Some early examples of manufactured homes were built to be easy to transport and inexpensive to build.

The Short Answer

Before 1976 (HUD Standards)
  • Exterior Walls – 2”x2” or 2”x3”
    • Most older 12’ and 14’ wide homes used 2”x3” studs
    • Very old 8’ and 10’ wide mobiles used the small 2”x2” studs
    • Generally, stud spacing is 16” on center
  • Interior Walls – 2”x2” are the most common
    • Sometimes interior wall studs on some of them to be 1”x2”
    • Stud spacing tends to be 24” on center for interior walls
  • Truss Roof System (All over the map)
    • Often 2”x2” or 2”x3” truss structures
    • Top member of truss is often arched without a center peak
Post 1976 HUD Manufactured Homes
  • Exterior Walls – 2”x4” or 2” x 6”
    • 2”x3” may be available depending upon wind standards
    • Spacing is almost always 16” on center
  • Interior Walls – 2”x3” or 2”x4”
  • Truss Roof System
    • Generally 2”x4” truss systems
    • Some new builders offer 2”x6” on certain models

Why Read Further?

  • Insulation R values are dependent upon studs and hollow cavity depth
  • Wall strength factors
  • Remodeling points to consider

Insulation R-Values

Mobile Home InsulationWhat are R-Values? The better insulated a home is, roof, walls and floor, the more energy efficient the home becomes. Noise abatement is also a benefit of higher insulation factors. So what does this have to do with the size of the studs?

Insulation works by trapping dead air within tiny pockets inside the insulation. The thicker the wall, the more tiny pocket the insulation can hold. In reverse, a thinner the wall will have fewer dead air pockets.

Wall Insulation

The amount of insulation your walls can hold when done properly will determine the overall R-value rating your walls will support. This all depends upon the type of stud used for your wall framing.

The weather zone you live in will dictate the amount of wall insulation you need for a properly insulated wall. Keep in mind that older mobile homes (pre-HUD) often have exterior wall studs that are 2”x3” or even smaller in some cases. You would have difficulty in properly insulating a home in cold climates with exterior walls that are framed with studs smaller than 2”x4” studs.

The following table gives the R-values possible with 2”x4” and 2”x6” exterior wall studs:

Insulation Type

Thickness of Insulation Itself

Appropriate for Wall Type:

R-13

3.50″

2 x 4 stud walls

R-15

3.50″

2 x 4 stud walls

R-19

6.25″

2 x 6 stud walls

R-21

5.50″

2 x 6 stud walls

Roof Insulation

Whether to keep out the cold or the heat, roof insulation is of utmost importance. For most climates, R-30 to R-40 is recommended for attic insulation. Keep in mind that the higher the R-value, the more space is needed to install it.

There is not usually any attic access in manufactured homes. This is because of the limited amount of space between the ceiling below and the roof above.

In older mobile homes, the amount of space between ceiling and roof was very narrow along the side walls. There was not much space to install a high R-value insulation product. Many of these older homes have R-values in the R-10 to R-15 range.

Many newer homes now have at least R-30 ceiling insulation values and some have options for R-38 to R-50.

Wall Strength

Mobile Home Wall StrengthThe strength of any wall is dependent not only on the materials used but also the construction methods used to build it. Manufactured homes are almost always built with wood-framed wall systems.

The weight of your roof causes compression loads to be placed on a load-bearing wall in your home. The additional weight of snow will compound the compression on these walls. Also, strong wind and gusts will apply shear forces on walls. Shear forces they to move the wall from the rectangle the wall was meant to be and move it to a parallelogram.

Mobile Home Shear WallBuilding codes, whether local for site-built homes, or to HUD standard for manufactured homes, require that walls be built strongly enough to withstand these forces.

Interior Walls

Most site-built homes today are also built with wood-framed wall systems with 2”x4” or 2”x6” used the vast majority. Most site-built homes also use 16” on center studs in the outer walls and interior load-bearing walls. Most interior partition walls use 24” on center studs.

The reason many interior non-load bearing walls increase the spacing to 24” on center is that it reduces the amount of wood needed. For example, an 8’ long section of wall with 16” on center spacing will require 7 studs. If the spacing is increased to 24” on center, the number of studs can be reduced to 5. For non-load bearing walls, this will not affect the structural integrity of the home.

Manufactured homes are largely built the same. There are still manufactured homes built with 2”x3” interior wall studs, however. Keep in mind that interior, non-load bearing walls are simply dividing up the interior space of the home and are not structural.

You may question the ability of the smaller studs to carry the load of things hung on the interior walls such as cabinetry or shelving. When cabinetry is attached to an interior wall on the actual studs, the weight is transferred vertically through the stud to the flooring system. The use of the smaller studs for interior non-load bearing walls should not affect the strength or function of a home.

For homes built with interior walls using the smaller studs, the only real difference you may notice is the appearance of the wall thickness around door openings.

Remodeling Points To Consider

When doing remodeling projects to a manufactured home, you should be aware of the size of studs used in both interior and exterior walls. This becomes most important when considering the types of replacement doors or windows you may be using; especially doors.

If your manufactured home uses at least 2”x4” studs for exterior and interior walls, you should not have any issues using standard doors purchased from any big box store. Often the height of the doors may need to be cut down from their standard height if your wall systems are shorter than a typical site-built home.

On the other hand, if you own a home that uses 2”x3” studs for either the exterior or interior walls, you may have difficulty purchasing doors and frames meant for a thicker wall.

In these cases with the thinner studs, there are a number of workarounds I have used when remodeling an older mobile home using standard site-built home products.

One thing we have done with the thinner wall system is to build up the wall around the door opening on either side of the wall. This can be aesthetically pleasing in appearance. We simply use 1”x6” lumber to frame around the door. This adds the additional thickness needed for the door frame.

Conclusion

Newer manufactured homes that conform to HUD standards put in place in 1976 will provide a home that is built to weather the test of time. We have remodeled many 30 to 40-year-old manufactured homes that are structurally sound and still in excellent condition after decades of service.

Understanding the types of exterior walls, interior walls and roof truss systems in use for your home will help you to make the right decisions for purchasing or remodeling a manufactured home you have interest in.

Related Questions

  • How Far Apart Are Studs In A Trailer Home? – Exterior walls are almost always 16″ on center. Many homes have 24″ on-center studs on the interior partition walls, although many are also built with 16″ on-center interior walls as well.
  • How To Install A TV Mount In A Mobile Home? – There are a few considerations here. First, you need to know the stud spacing on the wall where you plan to mount the TV. If the mount allows you to go directly into the stud then mounting a TV on that wall should be fine. Using drywall anchors on a wall for TV mounting generally will not work. Many mobile homes have wall material that is 1/4″ to 3/8″ thick. there generally is not enough strength in this material to support the weight with drywall anchors alone.

Chuck O'Dell

Chuck has been renovating and flipping properties since 2003. At this point he has over 100 properties under his belt. Chuck says that rehabbing homes is the most fun part of his real estate career. He helps clients get their homes ready to sale, helps his buyers with after-purchase remodeling; often very substantial renovations including full kitchens and bathrooms. Chuck started investing in, buying, renovating, selling, and flipping manufactured homes both in parks and on their own fee-simple lots. He says that one of the most satisfying part of renovating the mobile homes is creating beautiful, affordable housing that people are proud to own, and call home!

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