Modular vs. Manufactured Home: Spot the Difference

    Modular vs. Manufactured Home: Spot the Difference

    May 04, 2021

    When searching for a home, you often see or hear the term "modular" or "manufactured" when describing a type of home. We're here to help explain the difference between the two with the viewpoint of someone who spent many years in the modular home field:

    Many without direct knowledge of the difference between a modular and manufactured home tend to shun the modular home, or confuse the two. I personally would prefer a modular home, hands-down. Without getting off track, lets discuss some major differences between the modular and manufactured homes.

    A manufactured home (also known as a mobile home) is built on a steel frame trailer with a permanence. It includes stamps and tags that have to be found in order for funding for the sale to be completed. The homes have a hitch (which is sometimes removed), and they can be set onto a foundation. They have uncommon sized studs in the walls and rafters in the roof, and the joists that are used in the ceilings are not your typical lumber either. They lack the width you would typically see in a stick built or modular home. You also don't normally see too many variations of design. You will typically see only single wide and double wide structures with the same particular look on the outside of the home that you have been used to for decades.

    Modular homes are still built in a factory just the same as you would expect a manufactured home to be, but the differences are vast. Modular homes are constructed of the same lumber you would typically see in stick built homes. They do undergo a different process that stick built homes do, however. Sheet rock is held onto walls and ceilings with a special two part expanding foam that is an adhesive and can be seen as draft deterrent. They are secured by sheet rock screws and spackled and taped the same as you would with the stick built process.

    The ceilings/roof systems on a modular home are secured to the walls with different types of hurricane straps, nails and hurricane clips and can be intentionally built to withstand high wind zones. Most stick built homes have access to these clips and straps, but few use them.

    A common misconception is that they all look the same. The modular home has come a long way since it's debut of the ranch style home. They can come in many different shapes and sizes. They are built in sections and shipped to the construction site where a crane is waiting with a specially trained crew to secure the sections to the foundation and to each other. If you prefer a Victorian style home, even that can be done with modular homes. They have specially constructed trusses to accommodate the style of roof that will be going on your home: High wind, heavy snow load, or hips and valleys as well as dormers.

    It can be difficult to walk into a home and tell the difference between stick built and modular unless you know what to look for. Modular homes are energy star efficient due to the weather proofing process that is difficult to mimic with stick built. The structural integrity is virtually unsurpassed with the amount of straps and clips that go into tying it to it's walls and ceilings. A modular home's windows and stairs can still be of high end quality depending on the choice of the purchaser, just like with a stick built home.

    Curious how a modular home is built? We scoured YouTube to find a video gives a little more information on the process. Check it out by clicking HERE.