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Thread: Lustron Home

  1. #1
    Kevin Stenson's Avatar
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    Question Lustron Home

    Has anyone ever inspected a Lustron home.These were kit homes manufactured after the 2nd world war. They were delivered by train or truck and bolted together.Slab foundations and single story. maintenance free and only a small number were ever built. I am scheduled to inspect one and am looking for some insight.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Lustron Home

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Stenson View Post
    Has anyone ever inspected a Lustron home.These were kit homes manufactured after the 2nd world war. They were delivered by train or truck and bolted together.Slab foundations and single story. maintenance free and only a small number were ever built. I am scheduled to inspect one and am looking for some insight.
    Maintenance free?! I wish I had one of those!
    Seriously, never heard of 'em. But it looks like there's a bunch of info on the web.


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    David Banks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lustron Home

    We have five in my town. They are about 60 years old, and they look almost new from the street. I was right next to one a few weeks ago, but I have never inspected one. The government was going to buy a whole bunch of them, and then the company went out of business. The exterior siding is like what you would find on a washing machine or dryer. I think they are a basic steel framed building. You'll probably have the usual things in a 60 year old house, i.e. no grounding, obsolete heating system, etc. The original heat was an in ceiling radiant, which may or may not still be in use. I guess they had some kind of weird washing machine / dishwasher, but I have never seen it.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  6. #6
    Richard Allen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lustron Home

    I live in a Lustron and here are some things to look out for or check. Here's what I can think of at this time> Lustrons aren't entirely maintenance free. Some portions of exterior panels are known to rust in vicinity of windows.

    (1) Inspect the porcelain-coated roof tiles to see if porcelain coating is intact. Check for missing coating and perforation of rusted steel in such areas.

    (2) On exterior, inspect the lowest course of exterior panels---check for the lowest edge of the metal panels to make sure they are firmly attached to the internal wall framing. Condensation and moisture may have accumulated inside, down low and caused the exterior panel's attachment point to rust and thus detach from its internal frame bracket. In such cases, the lowest panels will be bulging outward a bit and you will be able to pull them outwards. Mice, air drafts/heat loss, other insects/vermin are a concern here. Mice entry is a complaint of Lustron owners. The mice can enter at the joint between the concrete pad and the lowest course of Lustron panels.

    (3) The Lustron has a plenum just above the interior ceiling panels. In the original heating system, hot air is blown through the plenum to radiate heat downwards. Make sure the upper composite panel that forms the upper surface of the plenum has not been stepped on and broken by people working in the attic. Ignore this inspection item if a new heating system has been installed that does not make use of the plenum.

    (4) Inspect the main access panel, inside, near the back door. It's the panel that is down low. Inside is usually the main water shutoff. Inspect plumbing valves, etc. as in a normal home.

    (5) Inspect the curved details that form the exterior top and bottom of the large picture windows in the living room, dining room and bedrooms. Check for exterior rustthrough and water penetrtion at corners and edges. Any problems are by now visible by red rust streaks.

    (6) On house exterior check for problems with the grey rubber seal/gasket that should be intact and secure between each panel and its neighboring panels. Loook for openings where water can seep through.

    (7) Similar to #6: On house exterior inspect corner vertical corner profiles for looseness and gaps where air and water can seep through. These pieces can become loose and separate from the frame and allow air and water in. Gasketing should be intact, tight and gaps uniform. This will help prevent heat loss through air infiltration.

    (8) If Lustron windows are original, check for condition and continunity of the flexible gaskets that help minimize air and moisture infiltration.

    (9) Inside, floor level, for linoleum floor areas with no added molding.... where floor meets perimeter walls, inspect for gaps where air or moisture can pass through. This may be a problem area due to breakdown of concrete foundation at wall juncture. Caulking and concrete repair may be needed.

    (10) Related to #9 above, from outside, down low, inspect concrete pad where it meets internal metal sill plate. If concrete is eroded away in places, mice can enter wall structure. Use a mirror to look upwards. Even a 1" gap can lead to mouse infestation in the walls and attic.

    (11) Electric outlets. If 3-prong outlets exist, check for function of ground. Lustrons of course were of the age when only 2-prong outlets were installed. Some owners have put in 3-prong but not correctly established a ground.

    (12) Inspect walls around tub and down low under kitchen sink for looseness. They are metal and may have been exposed to excess moisture and rusting.

    (13) Inspect exterior tiles for rusting where porcelain enamel coating has been chipped or removed. These need to be treated and coated.

    (14) Check for smooth function of pocket doors in bathroom and bedrooms. They should be movable with moderate effort at most.


  7. #7
    Dennis Hood's Avatar
    Dennis Hood Guest

    Default Re: Lustron Home

    Yes, I inspected one about 8-10 years ago. In fact, there were about 6 on that street and some are covered by vinyl. What's interesting is the amount of metal in these things--remind me of an old Sohio gas station. Electrical would be a big concern eg. condition of wiring, grounding, etc. I understand that they are becoming a collector's item due to the nostalgia I guess. Sort of like old diners.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Lustron Home

    Richard,

    Great reply to his question. You pretty much covered all the bases.
    Good information If I ever run across one.

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

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