If you've ever considered purchasing a pre built home, but have hesitated because you were worried about quality, its time to take another look. Many of today's pre built homes are well built structures constructed in a factory in much the same way as on-site construction homes. If you're looking to build a home but don't have time to go through the entire construction process and all the regulations and inspections involved, purchasing a prefabricated home may be a great option for you.
Manufactured Homes (aka Mobile Homes)
Built on a permanent steel chassis, manufactured homes are pre-assembled right on the chassis with wheels so they are ready to pull behind a tractor trailer. Once the home is relocated on the building site, the steel frame and wheels will be covered up with material matching the home's exterior siding. The advantage of this steel frame is the support it offers during the transportation of the home, because it is a permanent part of the home itself. This will also facilitate moving of the home if it is purchased by a second owner for moving to another location.
Standards for the building of manufactured homes are regulated according to the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and will have a certification label on the the outside of each transportable section of the home. If a manufactured home is installed on a permanent foundation, it becomes considered real estate and will be regulated and taxed the same way other homes are. Most manufactured homes sit on their built-in chassis with the skirt covering up the transportation section of the frame.
The main difference between manufactured or mobile homes and modular housing is that modular housing must be built according to the same state standards as site built homes. The reason they are considered pre built homes is because they are assembled in a factory in a varying number of modules, depending on the size desired. These modules are then transported whole and assembled on the construction site.
Modular homes are generally considered a more upscale version of prefabricated housing. In fact, with upgrades such as granite countertops, tile flooring and other customized options, some modular housing units are more pricey than site-built homes, also known as stick-built houses. Modular housing materials are nearly identical to other construction, using wooden beams and steel posts for support. They can be stacked and reorganized into a number of different layouts according to the needs of the buyer.
Since modular housing modules do not have their own built-in steel frame chassis, they are transported on carriers that can be reused for other home transportation needs. Once they are placed on-site, they are considered regular real estate, just as if they had been built on the construction site.
Pre Cut Homes
Known as mill cut, pre cut, ready cut, kit houses, catalog or mail order houses, this type of manufactured housing was most popular in the early 1900's. With a variety of styles including simple floorplans like a bungalow up to intricately designed colonial homes, kit house companies delivered all materials needed for the home's construction to the building site for a fixed price. This price usually excluded masonry, brick and concrete, which needed to be arranged for locally for the building of foundations and finishing work.
Pre cut homes are built as permanent fixtures, and are stick built just like any other on-site constructed home. Much like a puzzle, all pieces for construction of the home were delivered (as many as 10,000 to 30,000 pieces in all, with numbered and pre cut pieces to help make assembly easier. Having the pieces already measured and cut eliminated the need for on site measuring and cutting of pieces, which was especially welcome in a time when there were not power tools available to homeowners or even carpenters.
Assembly of pre cut kit homes was claimed by manufacturers to save 30 to 40 percent of labor over traditional methods of building. All of the original kit homes manufacturers went out of business during the mid to late twentieth century, due to inexpensive options such as tract homes, which sprung up post WWII. In modern times, there are still options for pre cut log homes offered by some manufacturers.
Pre Built Log Homes
Besides pre cut log homes, another specialized type of pre built housing construction that is currently popular is the building of prefabricated log homes. These are especially nice for those wanting to have a vacation getaway on a piece of property that they own where there isn't already an existing home. Since prefabricated homes tend to be less expensive and go up faster than stick built homes, they are a great option for those wanting a second home located a distance from their permanent residence. With much of the construction done before arriving on site, the pre built log home can be completed without as lengthy of an oversight period at the building site.
Smaller log cabins can be a great option for those who don't want a huge place that is difficult and expensive to maintain and heat. Having a little log cabin near a secluded spot in the woods, or next to your favorite fishing hole, makes the perfect place to unwind and relax. Because of its antique feel and simple lifestyle appearance, the pre built log homes have remained popular for many decades. Log homes tend to be cost effective, energy efficient and sturdy over the long haul. Most popular for vacation homes are small, open floor plans starting at 650 square feet. Larger pre built log homes can also be produced in sections and assembled on site, and are good enough quality to be enjoyed as permanent homes if desired.
A Second Chance for Prefabricated Homes
Originally manufactured to be easily movable, today's pre built homes are designed mainly for ease of construction, and most are never moved after initial placement. Considered in many cases a less expensive way to build, prefabricated homes go up faster and can become permanent real estate if desired. Though factory built homes of the past had a negative stereotype, today's manufactured housing breaks this stereotype with homes built to much higher standards which can be permanent homes for years to come.