The “Second Story” series offers another look at a past Modular Musing blog entry. Why the reprieve? In most cases, like this one, it’s because the topic at hand is too big to cover in just one story.
“What’s the biggest difference between modular and stick-built homes?” That’s a question we hear daily because it’s a good question with a very good answer.
The answer depends on your interpretation of “the biggest difference.” For the sake of this answer, we’ll assume the biggest difference means the most significant benefit that modular construction offers over the stick-built method.
There are many differences between modular and stick-built homes. After informally polling some of the team here at Excel to see if there is a consensus about which difference is the “biggest,” we came to the conclusion that two differences rise to the top of the list when comparing modular and stick-built homes. Those differences are:
MODULAR HOMES ARE STRONGER
After Hurricane Andrew struck Florida in 1992, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) studied the performance and strength of various buildings and found that modular homes stood up to hurricane-force winds much better than standard stick-built homes.
The secret to modular homes’ strength lies in the manufacturing process. To help the modules withstand the demands of the transportation process, modular homes are built with an average of 20 percent more materials than regular homes and often at less cost, but more on that later.
MODULAR HOMES CAN BE BUILT FASTER
Depending on the model and the number of customized options, a modular home can be built in the factory, installed on its foundation and made ready for move-in in as little as five or six weeks. More typically, it might take two to three months, and larger homes might take five months, but that’s still much faster than a stick-built home.
There are several reasons for this efficiency. The main one is that the process we use to build the homes in the factory is much like an assembly line. Each station has staff who are experts in specific tasks, which is one of the reasons modular homes are higher in quality. Our manufacturing process is extremely streamlined, and very little time or material is wasted. Less material waste also means lower costs for the home owner.
The other main reason for the quicker build time is that while the modules of the home are being constructed in the factory, the foundation can get underway at the same time. Obviously, in a stick-built home, the foundation must be built before the rest of the home can be started. Lastly, because modular homes are constructed indoors, there are no weather delays, and builders can work more efficiently and cleanly.
So there you have it. Not one, but two big differences between modular homes and stick-built homes. Of course, those aren’t the only differences, just the biggest ones. We could list all of the others, but then we’d look like we’re just showing off.