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Factory Home Tour Video Transcript

See Our Factory Tour


Suppose you were asked to name something made in a factory. You might have thought of … let's face it, just about everything is built in a factory. Is this the way your computer was built? A vehicle is probably one of your biggest investments. Suppose it was built this way. Not very likely scenarios, are they? But if I asked you what is the most expensive thing you might buy not built in a factory, you'd probably name … right, a home. Your home? Why on earth would you spend thousands of dollars on your biggest investment for something not built in a factory or building center? With traditional home building, all it takes is one good downpour during construction to quickly turn your dream home into a nightmare. Add in unreliable subcontractors, low-budget materials and before long, a little wasted time turns into a lot of wasted money.

Maybe you've never thought about homes that are built in a factory or building center. Please note, we're not knocking all site builders. There are plenty of reputable builders, and most have a specific niche in today's market. Besides, many folks like living in subdivisions and feel quite comfortable in high-density population areas. That's where site builders do best. They can have many jobs going on at once. They can have their construction materials delivered, in bulk, to the same general area. And they can supervise their crews because they are working in the same area during different stages of construction. But allow me to introduce you to Palm Harbor's exclusive SmartPlus system. In a nutshell, we can build the home of your dreams to any code required by your local governing jurisdiction. We build it smart, with all the ecological and environmental construction aspects you'd expect from a green builder. Plus, we build it faster, and at the same time your site work is being completed. This process puts you in your home faster than you thought possible. And, did I mention our homes are beautiful, hosting dozens of awards on design, construction and energy savings?

Factory built: It's more than just a good idea. It's a better way to build. Think about it: Every component in your home was produced in a factory, from doorknobs to roof trusses. Why do they do it? It's more efficient. Materials are stored inside, located at the fingertips of the worker. Employees represent a stable workforce and show up to work each day Materials are ordered and delivered in quantities that are cost-effective. By maintaining control of its production, suppliers of components can achieve higher quality at lower cost and can be more competitive in the marketplace. Suppose you need a new kitchen faucet. Imagine a plumber showing up at your house with a bag of screws and washers, fittings and other hardware, a whole box of specialty tools and begins to assemble your faucet before installing it. How much do you think this faucet would cost you? Lower costs for components allow us to give you a better home at the price you can afford. You really do get more home for your money. I think you get the picture now. As I said earlier, it's more than just a good idea. It's the better way to build. Now, let's get on with the Palm Harbor SmartPlus factory tour.

Video: Factory Tour Introduction


With each stage of the construction process, you'll notice several things that are different from conventional home building. We don't move our workers from site to site, building to building. Our associates show up to work each day doing the same job at the same place. We bring the home to the worker, where he or she has all the construction materials, tools and supervision to do the job. It's all planned in advance and on schedule. Efficiency equals cost savings, and that saves you money. Another thing that you'll notice that’s different from conventional home building is that we actually build homes from the inside out. We don't have to hurry to get a roof on to lessen the chances of damages by weather. Our homes are built indoors. The roofing is practically one of the last things we put on a Palm Harbor home. Video: Construction

Our Workforce

At Palm Harbor, from the boardroom to the factory floor, it's our people who turn the commitment to quality into a superior home. Our associates are not day laborers or workers following the next job wherever the work is. They are highly trained craftsmen and women that show up to work each day knowing they are helping build the best-selling brand-name home in America. They live in the community and are a part of our family. They are committed to building your home to your complete satisfaction so that you'll refer others. We know who is building your home. When you schedule a factory tour, we invite you to meet them. Video: Our Workforce


Lumber used to build Palm Harbor homes has been certified for moisture content and grade. Palm Harbor inspects and measures each and every delivery to ensure all lumber meets stringent specifications. The ones that don't are rejected. And we use and reuse practically every inch of our lumber. Waste is a cost, and we don't waste anything. Wet lumber like this, if used in a home, increases the chance for warping, mold, insects and other environmental consequences. I assure you, the lumber inside a Palm Harbor home is not exposed like this. Video: Lumber Etc.

Buying Power

Where a local builder might be able to get a few good deals, on the components he uses to build your home, he probably doesn't have the buying power of a large corporation. After all, we negotiate and buy thousands of doors and windows, refrigerators and ranges, and millions of board feet in lumber. Truckloads of supplies, components and building materials are delivered daily for upcoming home orders. It's these vast economies of scale and buying power that allow us to negotiate national contracts to reduce costs and pass those savings on to you. Video: Buying Power

Floor Department 1

Practically everything we build is an assembly process. With Computer Aided Design, or CAD, as it's called, precise measurements and cuts are made for every home, with minimal waste or overage. Most components are built in a jig, like this one, to ensure the final assembly is built true and square, with precision and accuracy. Floor joists are 16 inches on center, for strength. Some floors may be built with 2-by-6, 2-by-8, or even 2-by-10 framing members It depends on the design of the overall home, where the home will be delivered, and its ability to perform as engineered. Video: Floor Dept.

Floor Department 2

In this area, some of the electrical and plumbing work will be initiated, as well as insulation and decking. Decking is structurally rated and fits tongue-and-groove for strength, preventing buckling while providing a uniform, ridge-free surface. Decking is mechanically fastened and glued to framing members for extra strength, so floors won't squeak. Also, you won't find cheap particle board flooring in our homes. It can disintegrate with the smallest amount of moisture. Palm Harbor uses Pex water lines. This space-age material withstands extreme temperatures: hot and cold. And, will not burst during freezing temperatures. It's flexible and bends without crimping, and therefore reduces the number of fittings required throughout our homes. This makes your plumbing leak-proof, guaranteed. It costs us more than other materials, but for total peace of mind, it's totally worth it. Both water lines and duct work are installed within the insulated envelope to reduce energy losses to the outdoors. Many of our facilities differ slightly in their construction due to factory design constraints. This floor assembly is built upside down to help facilitate the workers in installing some components. When completed, it will be picked up; flipped right side up to continue its way on the remainder of the construction process. Whether built right side up, upside down, the outcome is the same: a true, square, level floor that establishes the base on which your home will be built. Video: Floor Dept. 2

Cabinet Shop

You may not have given much thought about the importance of cabinet construction in your new home, but we have. Cabinets play a major part in your kitchen, your bathroom, and storage areas throughout your home. It's important they be strong, durable and beautiful. For that, we've made million dollar investments at our building centers on computerized equipment to build state-of-the-art cabinetry that you'd expect to find in homes costing many more times than ours. Our Durabuilt cabinets are constructed with speed and precision while saving labor and materials, but without sacrificing strength, durability, and functionality. There's nothing that makes me or my wife any madder than a kitchen cabinet that is not tall enough, deep enough, or that has fixed shelves that are one inch shorter than a cereal box. We offer adjustable shelves, in very strong, beautiful cabinets. We've even registered the name Durabuilt, and as far as I'm concerned, there's nothing better. Now, that's what I'm talking about. Video: Cabinet Shop


With computer-aided design, or CAD, as it's called, precise measurements and cuts are made with minimal waste or overage. Walls are built in a jig, like this one, to ensure the final assembly is built true and square. Exterior wall studs are spaced 16 inches on center and are constructed with 2-by-4 or even 2-by-6 framing members. It depends on the design of the overall home, where the home will be delivered, and its ability to perform as engineered. Sheetrock is fastened and glued to framing members for extra strength. Did I mention how strong these walls were? They have to be. These home sections may be transported over several hundred miles and can even be picked up with cranes if necessary. Video: Walls


Palm Harbor builds roof structures for each home depending on where the home will be installed, and the appropriate roof load zones for snow. This includes rafter and truss design and spacing. Insulation is determined by the thermal zone where the home will be installed. We use bat or blown insulation to ensure all voids are covered so you don't lose precious heated or cooled air. Roof sheathing is water-resistant oriented strand board, or OSB as it's called in the industry. Narrow-width joints between adjacent sheaths are staggered for strength, and all horizontal joints are gapped using H clips for expansion and support. Many builders don't use them, because it increases their costs. Warranted shingles are installed over a waterproof membrane that protects the structural sheathing and roofing components. Video: Roofing

Final Finish

Top to bottom, inside and out, Palm Harbor ensures that all the details; all the little things get done. Many things are happening at once at this phase of the construction, both inside and out. Appliance installation, trim work, painting, light fixtures, mirrors, tile work and carpeting just to name a few. But it doesn't stop here. Just because the home is out the factory door and exited the Final Finish station, don't feel it's completely finished. We've already gone through hundreds of inspections of everything that you don't see. Now, we go through the inspection process again—this time, for everything you do see. Video: Final Finish

Move-In Date

How long do you think it takes to get a house built with conventional construction? Six months? Nine months? Longer than that? Suppose the lowest-bidding foundation crew is not available for 45 or 60 days? Sure, your builder probably could get it done quicker, but he'd have to pay more, and that would eat into his profits. He'd rather wait on the low bidder. Unless, of course, you were willing to pay for timeliness. Meanwhile, he can't schedule the framing subcontractor until the foundation is complete and passed inspection.

One of the biggest advantages Palm Harbor has in home building is speed. Our factory-built process means no weather delays or cost overruns during construction. So, there is no wasted time or materials. About 80 percent of your home's construction takes place indoors. The remaining 20 percent of the work takes place at the home site, and will include amenities such as the foundation, wells, decks, sidewalks, septic systems and utilities. This site work can take place while your home is being built. Unlike conventional construction, you don't have to wait on site work and foundation before home construction begins. In most respects, we can deliver and install your home as soon as the foundation and other site work have been completed. This process puts you in your new home faster than you thought possible, saving you time and money. Video: Move-In Date


Some homes are complicated to install. Some are relatively easy. This particular home was built in a building center hundreds of miles away and delivered in sections to this job site. It just happens to be one of our model centers. This operation is called the rough set, which means it is installed on the foundation and all sections structurally joined. The home is then weathered in, meaning it is sealed from the elements. Keep your eye on the clock. This event took the best part of one day. Palm Harbor Homes, more home for your money. Video: Installation

Building Green

Wow! Look at all that scrap. No wonder our landfills are taking over our planet. Did you ever see how much lumber and other building material is carried onto the job site? Ever notice how much scrap is generated? One of the biggest environmental offenses of conventional home building is the rubble left behind. Did you know that construction waste makes up 30 percent of landfills? Palm Harbor Homes are engineered to produce minimal waste. By being built in a factory, it's an assembly process of pre-cut components specifically calculated by computer-aided design to minimize waste. This is not waste. This is our recycling bin, where we salvage off-wall and other non-critical items to put back into the system. We measure our waste by the number of dustpans, not by the construction site Dumpsters or truckloads. You can see where I'm going with this, can't you? At Palm Harbor, we've been green for as long as there was a color in the Crayola box. Well, maybe I'm exaggerating a little. But in our 30-plus years of building quality homes, we have always looked for ways to have less of an impact on our environment and conserve energy. Video: Building Green


At Palm Harbor, we build our home modules in a centralized building center and then transport them down the freeway at 55 miles per hour to your home site. Then, our home sections are often lifted by crane and swung into place. To ensure that our homes endure this transport stress and still deliver superior energy efficiency and 100 percent customer satisfaction, our homes must be designed, engineered, and built to a higher standard. Consequently, our homes typically weigh significantly more than same-sized site-built homes. And the differences are in the details. Here are a few examples: Engineering. Each of our homes is engineered for maximum strength, energy efficiency and wind zone protection—typically exceeding state and federal building requirements.

Advanced adhesion techniques. Conventional site construction relies on nails and screws to provide strength. We add a third process for super-strength: Industrial adhesives. By combining these, our homes are stronger and better-prepared to take on the stress of transport and the elements. Superior structure assemblies. Our roof-to-wall and floor-to-wall assemblies combine the strength with adhesives, nails, screws and galvanized steel straps. This multiple-step strapping process keeps the structure of the home intact during strong winds, helping to prevent leakage. Exterior sheathing. Sheathing in the floors and walls of each home section provides a solid construction envelope for transport strength and for the life of your home. Site-built homes often sheathe only portions of the exterior. Secure structures. Our structures are screwed and strapped to permanently attach them to the home's foundation. This provides a strong foundation for your home against hurricane-force winds. Since 1979, more than 150,000 families have trusted Palm Harbor Homes with their safety. It is a trust we do not take lightly. The strength we build into every home is one of the most important ways that we provide more home and more peace of mind for your money. Video: Energmiser

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