Traditional or Modular: Which one is right for you?

Traditional Construction, also known as stick-built, takes place completely at the homesite. The linear building process (foundation, followed by walls, roof, etc.) requires that every stage of construction take place in a prescribed order. Day to day weather plays a significant factor in the construction process. Inclement weather can add substantially to the construction schedule. Wet weather can also contribute to the diminished integrity of construction materials and potentially result in some long term issues.

Modular Construction takes place in a climate-controlled environment in which the home is built in sections, known as modules. Modules are constructed to exact specifications–inclusive of all materials (number and size of all lumber, nails, screws, etc.). While this construction is taking place, the foundation and utility work is being done at the homesite. The modules are then transported to the homesite for assembly. Modular homes should not to be confused with “mobile homes” or “trailers,” which are small, inexpensive homes that are held to a lesser code standard.


APPEARANCE

Traditional–Traditional homes are customizable in every way, more so than modular in certain instances.

Modular–Once completed, modular and traditional homes typically look the same. Modular homes come in all designs and sizes, can have underground basements, are highly customizable, can also accept additions at a later date.


TIMETABLE

Traditional–With completed designs and permits in hand, traditional homes can be completed in 6-8 months. Since all construction occurs at the homesite, a linear process allows no overlapping of the construction phases. Because of this, weather delays can have a considerable impact on the construction schedule, resulting in compromised product quality, mold and mildew issues.

Modular–With completed designs and permits in hand, modular homes can be completed in 4-6 months. Because the module construction and the foundation work occur simultaneously, module homes require less time to build. Weather delays have very little impact on the final construction schedule.


COST

Traditional–Comparable to a modular-constructed home.

Modular–Comparable to a traditional, stick-built house.


CONSTRUCTION QUALITY

Traditional–Less durable ‘builder-grade’ construction materials are typically used for on-site construction. More substantial materials and construction processes can be substituted at an additional cost. Building materials (framing lumber) and the final house product can be compromised by weather conditions during construction (mold, etc.).

Modular–Modular homes are ‘over-built’ to withstand highway travel. More construction is given for tensile strength (such as gluing and screwing drywall and sheathing). This results in a tighter home that is draft-resistant and less prone to settling and cracks. Because the house is constructed in an indoor setting, its construction and materials have not been compromised by weather.


CUSTOMIZATION

Traditional–Traditional homes are completely customizable.

Modular–Existing modular home designs can be customized extensively or originate from all new design.


APPRECIATION

Traditional–Traditional homes increase in value at the same rate as a modular-built home of the same design.

Modular–Modular homes increase in value at the same rate as a stick-built home of the same design.


CODES & INSPECTIONS

Traditional–Traditional homes are only required to undergo minimal municipal (or county) building code inspection.

Modular–Modular homes are required to undergo an internal inspection by the manufacturer, a second certification by a third party inspector, and a municipal (or county) building code inspections, thus ensuring top quality construction industry standards.