The first thing potential buyers of floating homes in Portland want to know is, ‘what about the float?’  Buyers of floating homes have done a bit of research, and they know the float is pretty important, and also that the inspection is important. But they don’t really know much about how to interpret the inspection report for a floating home, or much else about the float.

What is a float?

The float on a floating home is basically the foundation.  Floats are constructed several ways. Logs running vertically, and wood or steel stringers running horizontally, or cement (yes, it floats if hollow or constructed to float). Some older floats are made of steel boxes or tires that are cobbled together. Another part of the float is encapsulated Styrofoam, which is the flotation for the float.  These bales are inserted in the grid of logs and stringers, and they are used to float the house high enough (but not too high) and to balance the house.

How long does a float last?

A log and stringer float or a cement float under a floating home will last forever with proper maintenance.  Brand new, a float might be given a 50 year life. But that can be extended by periodic replacement of the stringers, maintenance to the logs, additional flotation and so on. The house doesn’t sink on the last day of 50 years. The health of the float will be determined by the health of the wooden supports (logs and stringers), no growing vegetation on the wood, keeping river varmints from living under the floating home and cleaning the area around the floating home. 

Float Inspection for Floating Homes

The float inspection is done to provide buyer or seller a snapshot of the health of the float on a given day. A diver evaluates the condition of the logs and stringers (rot or breakage). The numerical value given to the float in the float inspection corresponds to the length of time a lender will use the float as collateral for a floating home loan. 

Are you lucky enough to live on the river? Call me! If you are lucky enough to live on the river, you are lucky enough!!


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