1980s Jim Walter Homes

punk-a-doodle

Crowing
9 Years
Apr 15, 2011
2,957
174
251
Does anyone here own a Jim Walter Home built in the 1980s? Is it still standing?

I'm looking into a home that has a lot of positive traits. It is affordable, on acreage, has good water sources...but, I found out the maker is Jim Walter. For those who don't know, this business is largely known for using very cheap materials, left long trails of angry customers, and has recently (many would say, finally) gone out of business.

This home was built in the late 1980s, and is on tall stilts. It seems to be structurally sound to me, though there was a very slight unevenness to the floor in one spot of a short hallway. Nothing squeaked, no sagging, no cave ins, no wall paper maybe hiding cracks (but there was new carpeting). It has some owner built additions that also seem sound and might support the main structure. Looks like old pipes may have leaked but were replaced with plastic pipes, and many Jim Walter homes were just he shells still in the 80s so electric and plumbing may have been done by different contractors.

Should I trust a home inspector to tell me if problems will arise with the build? If there are structural issues would they be likely noticeable by now?

If you have firsthand experience with 1980s Jim Walter homes, I'd love to hear about them.
 

rebelcowboysnb

Confederate Money Farm
11 Years
Nov 14, 2008
14,674
665
368
Independent State of Dade NWGa
Jim Walters homes were normally only dried in by them an finished by the home owners. The structure should be sound but the rest is a matter of the skill of the owner.

I live in a 1966 Jim Walters home that to this day is unfinished. Half the walls are sheet rock still.

It survived more than one tornado an I have watched much nicer houses that came apart.

The ground has sank an the roof line is not strait any more. You can also see it in the way the doors close.

I think they were built pretty good all in all...
 

punk-a-doodle

Crowing
9 Years
Apr 15, 2011
2,957
174
251
Thanks Rebel! I'm a bit worried about it sinking, but the doors all seem to be closing fine, and roof is level. Your house sounds like an impressive survivor.
 

punk-a-doodle

Crowing
9 Years
Apr 15, 2011
2,957
174
251
Oh wow, looks like it's held up really well! Really comforting to hear from someone who has a JW home that has seen some years.
 

kat25

Hatching
6 Years
Oct 24, 2013
1
1
8
You've probably already made up your mind since this is an older post but I'd like to add my two cents worth. I own 2 Walters' homes, both built in 91 and I'd buy every one that I could lay hands on if I could afford it . Walters used sub contractors to build their homes and apparently some subs did better work than others. And since the finish work was done by the homeowner, the quality of the work can be really good or really bad. That includes the plumbing and electrical work. Out in the country where building codes may or may not exist, the previous owner might have decided to try his or her hand at plumbing and wiring, that might not be a good thing. Another thing to be aware of is that a lot of the late 80's,early 90's houses were sided with Masonite. If Masonite isn't religiously painted, caulked, etc, it literally falls apart (and off the house). Both my Walters' houses are very sound, they certainly weren't pretty when I bought them but they are solid.
 

punk-a-doodle

Crowing
9 Years
Apr 15, 2011
2,957
174
251
Hey Kat, we ended up buying it and are currently living in it! :) We hope to put cedar siding on it down the road as the Masonite siding is worthless stuff, but are very happy with the bones of the house. The original owners/builders did an amazing job on anything more carpentry oriented. They used stilts much wider than the minimum diameter needed, put on a great deck and barn, and the bones seem solid. The plumbing and electric are not done to code, but not awful either. Don't know what they were trying to do when they put a bathroom in what should be a closet and attic access though. That will need to be taken out eventually. Slowly ripping up the carpeting and putting down cork and wood floors instead, and eventually would like a metal roof. Kind of giving it a new shell inside and out pretty much. Great to hear your input. Thanks!
 

zebramom4

Hatching
Aug 26, 2018
1
0
1
Does anyone here own a Jim Walter Home built in the 1980s? Is it still standing?

I'm looking into a home that has a lot of positive traits. It is affordable, on acreage, has good water sources...but, I found out the maker is Jim Walter. For those who don't know, this business is largely known for using very cheap materials, left long trails of angry customers, and has recently (many would say, finally) gone out of business.

This home was built in the late 1980s, and is on tall stilts. It seems to be structurally sound to me, though there was a very slight unevenness to the floor in one spot of a short hallway. Nothing squeaked, no sagging, no cave ins, no wall paper maybe hiding cracks (but there was new carpeting). It has some owner built additions that also seem sound and might support the main structure. Looks like old pipes may have leaked but were replaced with plastic pipes, and many Jim Walter homes were just he shells still in the 80s so electric and plumbing may have been done by different contractors.

Should I trust a home inspector to tell me if problems will arise with the build? If there are structural issues would they be likely noticeable by now?

If you have firsthand experience with 1980s Jim Walter homes, I'd love to hear about them.
Hi when I was a freshman back in high school in 1987 we bought a Jim Walter home.well they built the shell and my dad and all of us in the family finished it..so we had the outer walls windows floors. So from the outside it looked finished but when you walked in it was completely open see through every room lol...we put up Sheetrock installed the electrical..everything but when it was done it was awesome and to this day it is still standing no issues..it's a great house..lotsa memories there..I would recommend these homes...
 

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