Zzzzzzip, that sound means your pants are secure, your jacket and you are ready to head out into the cold or that silky black dress is seconds from hitting the floor. When we say something is “zipped up tight” we take it to mean all is safe and sound.
Houses are not zipped together, at least not yet. Maybe sometime in the future someone will invent a way to zipper up a house. Today and for the last couple hundred years or so, houses are fastened together with thousands of nails and screws. Nails had a profound effect on building houses. They were a strong and quicker method than the post beam construction at the time of their introduction. Initially nails were expensive because they were not mass produced. Once nails were able to be produced quickly and in huge quantities, home building methods changed significantly.
Since mass production works so well for making a lot of something fast, it seems to follow that homes started being mass produced in factories. Sears, Roebuck may have been the first producer of factory built homes. The sometimes mistakenly referred to Craftsman homes, actually more an architectural style, are a popular with some home buyers today. The modern modular home appeared around the 1950s. They are quite common now. I inspect several every year.
Modular houses consist of factory built sections or modules. Each section is built and then packaged for transport to the customers building site. The sections are then assembled and fastened together. Each section must be joined together using fasteners. Most often I see large bolts spaced along the seams where the modules join.
On a recent home inspection I found some of the attic / roof seams of a modular house separated. The gap was quite wide, about one inch in most places.
The contractors I found had used nails to fasten the sections together. Standard framing nails from a nail gun. Not a bolt or screw could I find anywhere on this all important connection. Now not to jump to conclusions, the factory may specify skinny little framing nails are fine for securing this seam, but I strongly tend to doubt it.
It looked like the house was coming unzipped from the top down. Kind of like that silky black dress, except this unzipping doesn’t conjure up the same kind of good time feeling.
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