Modular housing is on the rise, and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
According to the Manufactured Housing Institute, this kind of construction now makes up 10 percent of all new single-family home construction in the U.S., with 22 million Americans currently living in modular homes. There were 94,390 manufactured homes produced in 2020, from 136 plants located all across the country. While some in the more traditional residential construction business may turn up their noses to pre-fab homes like these, the huge selling points for customers here aren’t hard to understand — where a site-built home averages a cost of $114 per square foot, a manufactured one sells for just $55 per square foot. For the countless Americans struggling just to put dinner on the table every night, much less buy real estate, that’s an extremely attractive offer.
Manufacturers of these dynamic kinds of housing, clearly, are doing pretty well for themselves right now. But historically, they also face a public perception of modular housing as less-than: as modest structures with minimal stylistic choices, dated finishes and few premium options to choose from.
As U.S.-based manufacturers ourselves, the team here at Trim-Tex understand these struggles — we’ve spoken to folks from all over the modular construction industry, walked onto their factory floors and have seen first-hand the problems they’re facing time and time again. As a result, we’ve been developing solutions tailor-made for this industry to help carry it into the modern landscape.
In our estimation, three of the most critical issues we’ve witnessed would be:
- The basics: corner cracking, ripped seams, popped joints/trims and difficult repairs — all of which are especially common during the transportation process.
- Foremen, superintendents and general contractors from just about every corner of the trades know this one well: a limited labor pool and high turnover, creating a challenge with training and skill-sharing. Advanced skill levels can be hard to find!
- Limited finish options missing modern looks for current demands.
While we at Trim-Tex don’t own any magic wands we can wave, we’ve been manufacturing solutions for over 50 years now that we think are uniquely suited to helping address each of these concerns in a major way.
Top-quality, paintable beads/trims for every angle and circumstance
Take a look through the Trim-Tex catalog, and you’ll find over 200 different sizes, styles and angles of drywall finishing solutions that are specifically designed to save you time, material and labor. There are Giant L Beads to cover wider surfaces, like window returns and doorways, fully protecting these surfaces with no additional finishing materials required; Jumbo Archway Bead to quickly, easily finish an arched entryway for a more modern look; and Magic Corner, the problem-solver to handle any off-angle or high-stress joint without fail.
All Trim-Tex products are both strong enough to withstand impact and flexible enough to let a modular structure move without cracking around the seams, even during transportation — all while saving on time, labor and material costs.
Easy to install, easy to train
There’s a reduced learning curve to Trim-Tex corner beads and products — for most of them, if you’ve got a staple gun, a can of spray adhesive and a box of mud, you’re most of the way there already. Installing a Trim-Tex product is a standardized process, easier and faster than the alternative. Plus, a vinyl corner bead won’t get damaged as easily as metal counterparts during the installation or transportation processes.
Trim-Tex is now starting to offer free training on our products to manufactured-home teams. By the time we’re done, installation is structured enough that crews will be able to train other crews in the ways of finishing with vinyl corner beads. Hopefully, this will go a long way toward narrowing the gap in skilled labor in this business.
Trim-Tex provides the total package for a stylish finish
Trim-Tex’s collection of drywall solutions is loaded with eye-catching accessories that will bring modular housing units to the premium expectations of the current customer. Modular housing crews will easily be able to pull off interesting details and stylish corners, without sacrificing on cost or durability.
Just a few of these include: standard 90-degree corners; three smooth sizes of Bullnose bead for a little extra flair around your corners; the sharp, crisp lines of a Chamfer Bead; Reveal and Shadow Beads to add eye-catching details you can’t get anywhere else; and baseboard adapters to effortlessly transition between a corner and your basic baseboard. There’s really no end to the new directions folks in the manufactured-housing industry can go here for looks that let their structures stand out, and it won’t take a ton of cash or training to do it.
If you’re working in on-site home construction, it’s time to start taking modular housing more seriously — your customers definitely are, and 90 percent of people who buy one are satisfied with their purchase. This sort of construction certainly isn’t going away anytime soon, and with partners like us in their back pockets, manufactured homes are going to start looking better and better.
And if you work in modular housing, we want to show you just how far you can go with Trim-Tex. We are now offering free services for this industry, including product and process reviews, current product consultations, site visits and custom recommendations, and on-site training by the technical team at Trim-Tex Drywall Solutions. Together, Trim-Tex and modular housing can form a powerful team — hit the button below to request more info on how we can help modular housing manufacturers secure a brighter future for their businesses!