Modular Home vs Stick Built: The Differences You Should Know

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The build vs buy question is a big conundrum for homeowners struggling to get the absolute best deal. 

On the one hand, building a house can cost an average of $289,415, which is $66,415 more than the cost of buying an existing home. On the other hand, building a new house ensures you get what you want in your home. There is also peace in knowing that everything is up to today’s building standards.

If you are stuck in this dilemma because of your restricted budget, then various options for building houses might be a better fit. 

Modular home vs stick built homes both offer options that can work within your budget and preferences. However, you may find one more fitting for your needs, but which one is it?

Let’s dive into the module home vs stick built conundrum. 

1. What is a Stick Built Home?

Stick built houses uses a traditional way of framing using “sticks” or pieces of lumber. In simplest terms, it is a wooden house that a builder puts together on-site.

The sticks go into the walls and roof, linked together and nailed. Once the frame is complete, the builders then place plywood on the exterior side and drywall on the interior parts. 

2. What is a Modular House?

A modular home is the complete opposite of stick built houses as most of the process happens off-site. It consists of sections called modules, which they build inside a factory.

They then deliver these sections to the site and link them together to form the overall structure. A professional contractor places these on a prebuilt foundation to assemble them.

To an untrained eye, a modular house does not look that different from a stick built house. It also complies with the same building codes and standards.

3. Modular vs Stick Built Cost and Value

Even with similar materials and floor plan, modular homes are often cheaper by 5 to 25% because it eliminates some risks. Building inside the factory, for example, doesn’t subject the workers and the materials to adverse weather conditions.

This makes it quicker to build modular home vs stick built homes, even if we take into account the assembly. As a result, labor costs are also cheaper. Any mistake while cutting, measuring, and fitting each stick is another factor that can drive up costs. 

Other than that, delivery costs and other variables will influence the cost of your home. If your lot is near a modular home factory, for example, the delivery costs are going to be even cheaper. This is going to be a major part of your budget if the lot is 500 miles away from the factory.

It’s also important to note that you must own the land where the modular home will stand. If you don’t, this can add to the total cost of construction. 

As for the value, some people may argue that stick built homes have a higher resale value. A major contributor to this is the perception that these are sturdier than modular ones.

However, this is only a misconception. Modular houses also adhere to the same structural standards. If maintained well, it can last for a long time, which we can say about stick built houses, as well.

You can learn more about this subject here.

4. Modular Home vs Stick Built Building Process

One advantage of having the sticks nailed together on-site is that you will be able to inspect all One benefit of having the sticks assembled on-site is that you can inspect the materials. You can also check out the construction of the frame if you have the time to stop by.

That doesn’t mean that the lack of inspection by the homeowner will cause the modular home factory to be lax, though. A reputable company has professional inspectors who ensure the quality of each step.

The construction time-frame will vary. In general, though, modular homes are faster to build than stick built homes.

Because the construction of a modular home starts in the factory, you can have the foundation built at the same time. Weather will almost have no effect on the schedule. It will only have a chance to interfere with the creation of the foundation.

For these reasons, the erection of modular houses may finish in a shorter time-frame. However, the difference can only mean 1 to 2 months. This is not much of an issue if you’re not running on a tight schedule.

5. Customization Options Between the Two

Modular homes can offer you the ability to customize the appearance of your home. Builders also have a wide range of floor plans for you to choose from. From there, you can then decide on the windows, wall, and other structural elements to make it yours. 

If you have a specific design in mind, there are full custom modular builders, but these are quite rare. They can accept renderings and they can build your dream modular home from scratch.

Nonetheless, it can’t beat the level of customization options with stick built houses. Full customization is the norm; you are not limited by their floor plan designs and you can get a custom one if you want.

The limited options of modular designs can be a major drawback. Still, it isn’t a problem for some people since the selection of designs is plenty enough. 

Choose the Right Option for You

When it comes to deciding between modular home vs stick built home options, there’s no solution fit for everyone. You have to factor in your own preferences, budget, and schedule.

In both options, there are quality and well-made homes if you know how to look for great contractors. If you’re on a budget, though, consider getting a modular home instead. But if you care for the resale value, the more traditional stick built home may be for you.

Make sure to explore both options to make sure you arrive at the right decision for you. Read our other blog posts to learn more. 

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